Legends and mythologies have a basis in fact, the nexus from which ancient cultures tried to make sense of their world. It was a way to explain decisions and actions a person makes and to give guidance. Long before the bible, these tales served to provide instructions and warnings to communities. For example take Herakles and his 12 labours. A son of a god to a mortal woman (sound familiar??) who is condemned by a jealous goddess, influenced to kill his family, then told by the Delphic Oracle he must seek out the King of Tiryns to atone for his terrible deeds. Did a man called Herakles exist? Then one must ask the question as to whether Jesus existed. If the answer to the latter is yes, then couldn’t Herakles also be a real person?
My point is no legend comes from nothing. There was a source from which the tale was borne. Plato went into great detail to describe Atlantis, from the geography of the land, the animals, the skilled artisans and even a peek at the social structure of the people. Of course he may have elaborated on aspects of his writings, we all do that, but as any writer knows your story stems from fact. Research is a major part of my writing process, as is with a majority of writers, and Plato heard the legend while a child. Being the intelligent person he was, he would have sought further information before writing his account of Atlantis.
According to sources I’ve read, Plato never finished his moralistic tale of Atlantis for it was assumed he realised he was retelling Homer’s Iliad. Both Troy and Atlantis were destroyed by a single event, and yes, survivors of each managed to escape the atrocities. However, that is where the similarities (for me that is) ends. Besides the obvious cause for their downfall, each had a different path. One race found a new home and grew from strength to strength to become an Empire and the other fizzled out and replaced by a stronger force.
I think Plato never finished his parable of Atlantis because during his time, no one knew exactly what happened to the Atlanteans. [Much like the Sea People. Who were they and where did they come from? There is no hard evidence to explain who this elusive group were.] As Plato could not draw a satisfactory conclusion, he stopped writing. However the fate of the Atlanteans was similar to that of the Minoans.
Following the destructive tsunamis, conquered by the Mycenaeans and then the subsequent Dark Ages (which affected the surrounding nations: Hittites, Phoenicians, Canaans, Assyrians, Mittani and Kassites) the Minoans never recovered. They faded from existence long before Plato’s time. Evidence suggests the Sea People raided these regions and possibly later integrated with these once powerful empires. Therefore, is it possible due to the smelting pot of cultures, Plato and those before him or later, had no recourse to determine what happened to the Minoans? That this part of history dissolved into the Dark Ages that the Mediterranean empires were plunged? It certainly could explain why Plato didn’t finish his tale.
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As always, your comments are valued and welcomed.
Historical fiction fantasist Luciana Cavallaro, a secondary teacher, meanders from contemporary life to delve into the realms of mythology. Subscribe to her FREE short story http://eepurl.com/bhESs1
Theories About Atlantis http://www.crystalinks.com/atlantistheories.html