We live in a world in which almost all cities around the globe are planned to perfection. Engineers, architects and scientists have mashed their skills together to give us this convenient land. In the 18th century itself, people weren’t lucky enough to live in cities which had drainage, electricity and an efficient water supply. This would probably make you think that we live at the pinnacle of human achievement but there are those that believe that this is not the case. They believe that there once existed a city that surpass out civilization and our technology. You guessed it! We are talking about the mythical city of Atlantis!
According to the works of Plato, a Greek mathematician and an essential figure in the development of philosophy, the city was one that was ahead of its time. On the Island of Atlantis lived a confederation of Kings, who controlled the surrounding islands and most of the continents that surrounded Atlantis. Besides the Kings, the city had the most elite architects, scientists and engineers that were leagues ahead of the rest during their time.
The city of Atlantis was described by him as magical and precisely planned. It was built of stone, that was quarried from the nearby rocks, brass, tin and precious orichalcum was used to cover the stone. The place was designed in such a way that light was distributed evenly to the palace and the houses that stood beside it. Clean drinking water was supplied to every house and a well-planned drainage system was attached to each house which ran around the city. Atlantis was the center of trade for all the surrounding nations and was clearly the most supreme nation, whose men were healthy and fit for battle, and whose wealth surpassed any other during its time.
Ironically, despite the effort and technology put into this city, one major factor, the location of the city, is believed to have brought an end to this civilization. This magnificent city was situated on a rock that was volcanic. One night all hell broke loose when the volcano erupted, and the very rock this civilization stood on was decimated. The magnitude of the volcanic eruption was so great that the quake swallowed the entire city overnight. Those trying to flee were killed by the tsunami caused by the earthquake. Within 24 hours, this elite civilization was wiped out to one of the worst natural disasters ever known to man.
Fact or fiction, this story has marveled millions who have come across it and one such Greek archaeologist, Angelos Galanopoulos, based on the writings of Plato in ‘Timaeus’, decided to try and convert this famous work into a fact. After studying the works of Plato, he proposed that the volcanic island of Thera in the Aegean Sea, now known as Santorini was the basis for stories of Atlantis. The descriptions of Atlantis, according to Plato, is a perfect match for this very site. He argued that Plato mistook the actual date of the disaster by a factor of ten because Plato had claimed that Atlantis was destroyed 9000 years before Solon whereas the actual figure was 900 years. Galanopoulos obtained samples of charcoal from under the layers of volcanic tephra thrown out at the time of the eruption and subjected them to radiocarbon dating, the dates on returning, dated back to the destruction of Palace of Knossos on Crete, the neighboring island.
During the early 19th century, a real life Indiana Jones, Arthur Evan on his quest to find treasure and the link to ancient Greek mythology, excavated the Island of Crete only to uncover a magnificent city which he called the Minoan civilization, who were the ancestors of the people of Atlantis. The layout of the uncovered city rightly fit Plato’s description of the layout of Atlantis. Till today archeologists are uncovering this city piece by piece and these crumbs could finally reveal the greatest civilization that ever lived. These discoveries could redefine history and might prove to be the basis on which we build our societies. If all goes well, and the island of Satorini doesn’t burst into flames again, we might be on the brink of rewriting history and turning the fantasy of a lost civilization into a fact.
In trying to solve the puzzle that is Atlantis, many have offered their own theories as to its location and fate. Many believe that the Atlantians might have known about the impending disaster and taken steps to prevent all their knowledge from being destroyed. According to the American clairvoyant, Edgar Cacey, Atlantis might be located somewhere near Bimini. He also claimed that they had taken a mass of their literary works and other achievements and hidden them in one of the paws of the sphinx.
Some people believe that the whole story of Atlantis is just that, a story, and that none of it was true. There are also some that believe that Atlantis itself may not have existed but the catastrophe, the natural disaster that destroyed it, was real. What the truth behind Atlantis really is, we may never know but there can be no doubt about the intrigue that this story holds for all those who read about it.