Ingredients for disaster

‘…nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them; this war I am going to describe. Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis…’
Critias, Plato

In his two dialogues, Critias and Timaeas, Plato describes an old war between the Athenians and Atlanteans. The above quote describes how much time had elapsed as told by Egyptian priests to Solon. The figure of 9,000 years has been in dispute as experts have determined the recording of years by the Egyptians may have been misinterpreted by Solon’s interpreter. Whatever the argument, the number has become a legendary part of the Atlantis myth.

"Solon, the wise lawgiver of Athens" by Walter Crane - The story of Greece : told to boys and girls (191-?) by Macgregor, Mary. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Solon,_the_wise_lawgiver_of_Athens.jpg#/media/File:Solon,_the_wise_lawgiver_of_Athens.jpg

“Solon, the wise lawgiver of Athens” by Walter Crane – The story of Greece : told to boys and girls (191-?) by Macgregor, Mary. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Solon,_the_wise_lawgiver_of_Athens.jpg#/media/File:Solon,_the_wise_lawgiver_of_Athens.jpg

Wars, since time immemorial, plagued humanity. Power, greed, control and enslavement pepper the world’s timeline. It still happens today. What made Plato’s dialogues so remarkable was the discourse between Socrates and his students and the description of a fabled land destroyed by natural forces. Atlantis was the super power of its day, it had everything a strong nation needed to ensure imperium. They did not start out warlike. They were a peaceful people, ruled by just kings and the nation flourished. They traded with nearby nations and grew in stature. This growth, both in military power and wealth, changed them. Their benevolent character was overcome by the desire for supremacy and riches.

"Vatsoc" (Socrates) by Wilson Delgado - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vatsoc.jpg#/media/File:Vatsoc.jpg

“Vatsoc” (Socrates) by Wilson Delgado – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vatsoc.jpg#/media/File:Vatsoc.jpg

What happened next was predictable. War. Athens fought back and according to a speech given by Timaeas, they won.

‘…Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars.’
Timaeas, Plato

So who did the Athenians really fight? Could Plato be referring to the war against Troy? Or was it an older battle? The Minoans were a great power in the region and though there’s little information as to whether they were militant, they did have a strong army. Then there’s the myth of King Minos whose son was killed while in Athens attending an athletic event. There followed a war between the two which the Athenians lost. King Minos then demanded retribution with 10 Athenian youths and maidens to be sent to Crete every 9 years. It is possible Plato used the stories of Troy and King Minos to create his dialogues.

A map showing the supposed extent of the Atlantean Empire. From Ignatius L. Donnelly's Atlantis: the Antediluvian World, 1882. cropped by Beyond My Ken (talk) This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b36915. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atlantis_map_1882_crop.jpg#/media/File:Atlantis_map_1882_crop.jpg

A map showing the supposed extent of the Atlantean Empire. From Ignatius L. Donnelly’s Atlantis: the Antediluvian World, 1882.
Cropped by Beyond My Ken (talk) This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b36915. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atlantis_map_1882_crop.jpg#/media/File:Atlantis_map_1882_crop.jpg

Of course, this is all my supposition. What do you think?

Thank you for visiting and reading.

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

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13 thoughts on “Ingredients for disaster

  1. Dear Luciana,

    Thank you for sharing your fascinating background on the various theories regarding the lost civilization of Atlantis. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the theories regarding Atlantis and background on some of the ancient civilizations including the Minoans. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Regards,
    Linnea

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linnea,
      Thank you for the lovely compliment. It’s a fascinating legend as is the history of the enigmatic Minoans.
      Thank you so much for reblogging as well.
      Have a great week.
      Regards
      Luciana

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Trying to answer the query as to who did Athenians really war with in the context of your post may be akin to figuring out a mystery wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by riddles and compounded by puzzles, Luc… Thus the truth may remain shrouded by the haze of several millennia, and at best in the realm of conjecture. What probably holds relevance here is the threat of war as an instrument of foreign policy between nations, in spite of the lessons of history, of civilisations, extinct and still extant. ..best wishes..xx,

    Liked by 1 person

    • The myth of Atlantis certainly raises more questions, ones that as you’ve rightly stated could never answer and only people could guess at. That’s what makes it so intriguing and why people want to know the truth of Plato’s dialogue.
      Love your last sentence. Eloquent and accurate!
      Thank you Raj,
      xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cara Luciana, 💫🌟

    I enjoyed the way your present us intertwined hypothesis related to the lost city of Atlantis… And the fact that you are including Plato’s dialogues here is priceless to all of us who are interested in Mythology and Philosophy!….

    I found this information online [ Oxford Journal of Archaeology ~PLATO’S ATLANTIS ACCOUNT – A DISTORTED RECOLLECTION of the TROJAN WAR~
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0092.1993.tb00283.x/abstract ]

    “Parts of the lower town of Mycenaean Tiryns, Greece, became devastated and buried 3-5 meters deep during a torrential flood which coincided with a major earthquake which happened in 1200 BC)
    If the former coincides with Mycenaean Greece, the most obvious candidate for the latter must be Troy”…

    Despite this… I tend to think that Plato could have made reference not so much to The Trojan War but to an older Battle, instead… That it could habe included the Minoan civilization, as you highlight in your account.

    A wonderful post… Thanks for sharing and all my best wishes! Aquileana ⭐

    Liked by 2 people

    • Buongiorno cara Aquileana,
      I also had read somewhere Plato’s dialogues was a commentary on the Trojan War. It does make sense as Homer’s stories were pivotal to the introduction of the Greek alphabet and used in education at the time.
      Like you, I think Plato, as did Homer, take much older stories of war and compiled them into a more “contemporary” version to like with the present times.
      Thank you for the link. I’ve added it to my bookmarks on Atlantis 😀
      Have a wonderful weekend.
      ciao
      Luciana 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Luciana. I haven’t read Critias, so it’s interesting to hear about this war between the Athenians and Atlanteans. So many tantalizing possibilities – Troy, Minos etc. At the least it will make for some great storytelling! Thanks for this! Adam

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Adam,
      Thank you. It does lend itself to great stories and alternative perspective. It is an interesting tale, the war between Athens and Atlantis. One that perhaps relates to ancient battle the Athenians were involved in.
      Cheers,
      Luciana 😀

      Like

  5. Bella,
    Thank you for sharing another thought provoking theory. Possibilities of what actually occurred seem endless and you have given me much to think about! As always, you’ve penned a splendid post! xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ciao Bella,
      This legend has fascinated me since I was a teenager. It made wonder what could have happened to a race of people who were advanced compared to other cultures at the time. That’s why I think Atlantis and the Minoans are connected.
      Grazie tante for the lovely comment.
      xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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