Understanding the Lost City of Atlantis
Origin of Atlantis
The story of Atlantis appeared first in Plato's writing around 360 BC. Plato used Atlantis as a fable and portrayed it as a place that was wealthy, advanced, and incredibly powerful. However, unlike a utopia, Plato portrays the lost city as one that has been corrupted by wealth and power. It's likely that Plato made up the city to use as a plot device to make his point.
While this is the first time that Atlantis is known to be mentioned, it shows up in many writings but historians, mystics, and many other people. A fourth-century historian, Marcellinus referenced a historian from an earlier century who had a legend of the Druids of Gaul. It was said that when Atlantis sunk, it's inhabitants migrated to their current area. The druids were highly mystical people and believed themselves to be descendants of those immigrants.
Religious scholars also used Atlantis in many of their religious writing as well. An early Christian writer Arnobius believed that Atlantis existed but that it had been destroyed by pagans. A similar religious writer, Cosmas Indicopleustes believed that the world was flat and referenced Atlantis for this reason. he wrote that the island of Atlantis was conquered by the Athenians but then submerged under the sea as a part of their own protection. Other religious scholars believed that Atlantis was an island that sunk in the great flood.
In literature, there are multiple books and poems written about Atlantis. One story was written by historian Theopompus wrote of a land beyond the ocean. It was inhabited by a group of men who grew to a considerable size. An army was sent to conquer them but abandoned their quest when they realized how happy they had become and instead decided to stay in the lost city. Similarly, writers refer to Atlantis in their work as being either Utopian or dystopian.
While it's not known whether there is a lost city, it's an area that has inspired amazing works and legends. It's likely that Atlantis will continue to be an area of fascination.