The fabled Island of Atlantis has created an aura of several legends around it for a long time now. Everytime we pronounce the name “Atlantis”, perhaps one of the oldest dream of the human civilization evokes from its quietus. There are many stories that can conduce us to the origin of the mythical kingdom of Atlantis, the accounts direct us towards the vibrant, mighty Atlantis empire emanating of providential ancestry.
The most reliable source denoting the descent of the Atlantisians is most likely to be the one depicted by Plato in his two dialogues, ‘Timaeus’ and ‘ Kritias’. The story is interesting, it is exciting and it has all the qualities to be a fairy tale of olden times, may be that’s the reason why Atlantis never ceased to exist as a mythical realm and acquired the epitome of a land, too good to be a fascinating dream.
The legend of Atlantis was been compiled by Solon, a renowned Greek lawmaker, who travelled to Egypt about 150 years before Plato actually rendered the tale. Solon was a person of great repute and the Egyptians received him amiably. The Egyptians were respectful towards him for his Athenian lineage, as they used to take the Athenians as their next of kin as both of them were worshippers of the same goddess, whom the Egyptians called, ‘ Neith’ and the Athenians as, ‘Athena’. Therefore the Egyptian priests narrated the chronicles of Atlantis to Solon and it formed the major part of the evidence proving the myth, “The Atlantis”.
Atlantis emerged at the dawn of civilization when the world belonged to gods and they ruled upon their own share of the globe. Poseidon, the god of sea got Atlantis as his portion of earth to rule upon. He married Cleito, who was a mortal woman. They had five sets of twin sons, the eldest one being Atlas.
Poseidon gifted Cleito with a beautiful home atop a high hill at the center of the Island. The home looked across a prolific plain surrounded by seas. Poseidon created five homocentric ring of land and water in order to guard the home of his beloved wife. He also made hot and cold spring over there and that was the reason Atlantis never came across scarcity of water. The entire Island was distributed among the ten sons of Poseidon and the portion with Cleito’s hilltop home and the land bordering it was assigned to Atlas and the rest to others . Thus the ten brothers and their successors constituted the imperial ancestry of Atlantis.
Gradually, Atlantis ascended to an abode of bliss, a magnificent city that thrived towards excellence. The kingdom was warded by the set of rules made by Poseidon himself, all of them were been followed religiously by all the members of the ruling bodies. Thereafter the kingdom of Atlantis continued to flourish as long as Poseidon’s principles were maintained earnestly. Sooner did the trouble begin when the rulers with course of time started neglecting and disobeying the rules set by Poseidon. They started taking mortals as their spouses and thenceforth inheriting human traits. All the human qualities soon took hold of them, pride being the major element and they craved more and more for power. Poseidon’s rules were been forsaken and chaos rose to havoc initiating war in their homeland. Gradually the rulers extented their power to conquer Europe and Asia and bring different countries under their dominance.
This growing autocracy of the Atlantisians made gods angry , who in turn, decided to teach them a lesson by demolishing the island. Therefore shortly after a victory of the Athenians over the Atlantisians, a ruinous earthquake followed by a massive flood engulfed the entire island of Atlantis submerging it beneath the sea. Thus Atlantis could just exist as nothing but a lost world engraved in the pages of mythology.
This story dates backs to about 9000 years before Plato’s narration, though there are several points which seems to be controversial towards the establishment of the truth behind the glorious legend of Atlantis. They also create hindrance to the base that can enable Atlantis to be a part of history. First and foremost, the time period depicted is itself erroneous, as 9000 years place the scenario during the Early Stone Age . This can’t be historically correct as that period can’t mark such advancement in sphere of agriculture, architecture and navigation procedures. Hence we can place the origin of Atlantis about 900 years ago, that is the Middle Bronze Age, which marked a remarkable development.
Now, the next question is about the true position of Atlantis and it’s there where the connection of the Greek Island of Santorini with Atlantis begins. At many context Atlantis has been referred to as the Santorini Islands in Greece, which was the site of Minoan Civilization. There are various reasons that the Santorini Islands are been identified as Atlantis as series of more or less similar events took place in both the places.
Thera , a volcano existed at the Mediterranean Sea, about 120 kilometers away from Crete. The people of Crete were been referred in history as the Minoans. They have established the legendary Minoan civilization under their great king Minos. It is said that a eruption of Thera about 3500 years ago, ie, 1690 and 1620 BC marked the end of the Minoan Dynasty. This incident entails the base of Santorini being denoted as Atlantis, as in both cases a form of natural calamity induced to the doom of the kingdom.
The position and contour of the Santorini Islands also add up to the visible evidence of Atlantis being Santorini.Plato describes the Atlantis Island as a concentric circular structure. Geographical evidences prove that the settings of Santorini also bear homocentric structure till these days and even before the Minoan eruption. On the other hand, according to Plato, Atlantis was situated on the far side of the “ Pillars of Hercules”, which were at that time actually referred to the “Strait of Gibraltar”. This further positions Atlantis into the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, on that circumstance, Atlantis for no reason can be addressed as Santorini Island as it is located in the Mediterranean Ocean. This controversy can be negated if we put stress on the fact that, may be at olden times the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ were not associated with ‘Strait of Gibralter’. Putting the truth , the other way round, we can also assume that, may be the black cloud from the Mionian eruption has acquired the stature of the ‘ Pillar of Hercules’, and led to the discrepancy.
Another important reason to connect Atlantis and Santorini lay in the views that Plato bore about the Greek society and its values, which he allegedly defended. Perhaps, the reason of creating this account was Pluto’s intention to draw a contrast between the Greek society and its values. Else, it can be a mere wrong interpretation of Pluto’s account. He told that Atlantis is “bigger than Libya and Asia put together”. As in those days most of the accounts were orally recollected so it can be very well said that there must be an occurrence of a mistake which accidentally transformed “bigger than” (“meson”) and “between” (“mezon”). If this be the true fact then Santorini can be indistinguishable to Atlantis.
Lastly, from whatever details acquired about the volcanic phenomena of Thera it can be very well compared with the pictures of the catastrophic calamity, that took place in Atlantis, drawn vividly by means of words in Plato’s description.
Anyway, after this intense discussion on the origin of the Atlantis myth and linking it to the Santorini Islands , it’s still not possible to establish the fact as truth. It can only be said that Crete existed as the mainland and Santorini as its metropolis . The eruption brought an end to the civilization. The same event took place in case of Atlantis too with the facts different on some aspects. Therefore Atlantis can be Santorini or it may not. Researchers will keep on gaining grounds, more details will be accumulated and accomplished but the mystery will remain unsolved and Atlantis will continue to hold its mythical ordinance.