The island supposedly sank into the sea thousands of years ago – taking with it a highly advanced civilisation. But did Atlantis really exist?
Countless generations have searched for it, but never found it. Atlantis is said to be a continent that sunk beneath the Atlantic Ocean near the Strait Of Gibraltar – founded by people that were half-god and half-human.
Legend goes that the island fell out of favour with the gods and was destroyed more than 11,000 years ago. Ancient Greek philosopher Plato (c.428-347 BC) spoke of it, telling the tale of Atlantis as it was told to him by Egyptian priests. Is the infamous story a blend of fact and fiction? Or just fiction, or just fact?
Some believe that the Atlantis referred to by Plato was actually Dogger Bank – an area of land home to thousands of Stone-Age settlers, and which used to connect the UK to the continent until the sea levels rose during the last Ice Age, about 7,500 years ago. And it’s though a massive tsunami struck, and the land was doomed.
Archaeologists have found evidence of human occupation and vegetation on the Dogger Land mass that’s hidden beneath the sea – which is still up to 66ft above the sea floor. Trawlermen regularly haul up mammoth bones in their nets in this particular area.
Others believe that Ireland was actually the Atlantis referenced by Plato – despite the fact it hasn’t sunk! Professor Erlingsson says, ‘[Ireland] is the only island in the world that matches the criteria of the island described by Plato… Ireland comes out as the only logical location for the central island of the Atlantean empire in Plato’s tale.” Others believe Atlantis is actually Antartica…
While many consider the legend of Atlantis – the lost city – to be just that, many are convinced it once existed, perhaps destroyed by a cataclysmic natural disaster, such as the ancient Great Flood, which is referenced around the world in several cultures, or an earthquake or volcanic eruption.
Fall from grace
It’s said the noble, advanced prehistoric people of Atlantis, which was an idyllic paradise, became greedy and petty, and lost their way – and the Gods became angry and sunk the island and its inhabitants as punishment.
In 360 BC, Plato wrote that, ‘In a single day and night…the island…disappeared into the depths of the sea.’ H
is description of Atlantis – one of humankind’s most enduring fables, steeped in myth and, maybe, history.