Essay on Atlantis and Plato

Submitted By melihcagdas
Words: 1006
Pages: 5

Melih Çağdaş Atlıhan

The myth of Atlantis has been one of the most controversial cases that succeded to preserve its attractiveness since the very early period of history writing. Besides its philosophical and political studies, story of the Atlantis took place in Plato's two dialogues which are Timaeus and Critias. Yet, it is a clear fact Plato tended to manage a didactic tone which is not surprising for the Ancient Greek historiography. Thus, the story of Atlantis contains more complex themes rather than being an intriguing tale. Roughly, the story starts with an explanation clarifying how Solon acquired this information as a result of his journey to the Egypt. In the city of Sais, capital of the King Amasis, Solon had a rewarding conversation with Egyptian priests that brought the story of Atlantis to Athens. There is no doubt that the myth of Atlantis is an example of Platonic term called “noble falsehood” that aims to higlight moral advices and heroic roots of Athenians. To proceed, it is useful to mention what are the main concerns of this attractive story which has been argued for thousands of years.

Firstly, we should focus on subjects used by Plato in order to legitimize the myth of Atlantis. Solon, one of the seven wisest men of Ancient Greece, is the most significant factor that gives legitimacy to his story. His reputation among the Athenians was used by Plato since his wisdom and honesty was out of question in that particular place and time. Critias son of Dropides grounds the story of Atlantis on a conversation between Solon and himself. On the other hand, Solon's story which is retold by Plato contains several convincing passages. Similarities between Egyptian and Hellen origins of gods which were highlighted in the text might be used in bringing this myth into the reality. Such as the case of Athena and Neith as told in Timaeus, Egyptian priests claim to be relatives of Athenians who are direct descendants of same ancestors that established their cities. “On one occasion, wishing to draw them on to speak of antiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world-about Phoroneus, who is called "the first man," and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants” (Timaeus) Thus, it is possible to state that these passages are used by Plato in order to give legitimacy and plausibility to the Myth of Atlantis.

The Myth of Atlantis is a story which basically mentions a war had occured 9.000 years ago between the Athenians and Atlanteans who were dwellers of great islands of Atlantis. The legend states that Atlantis used to be a home to an astonishing island civilization which was beyond the Gibraltar or as Ancient Greeks called “the Pillars of Heracles”. According to legend, Atlantis' culture was highly advanced and it had a constitution suspiciously similar to the one mentioned in Plato’s “Republic.” It is an interesting fact that Plato tended to create his own noble falsehood in order to highlight the significance of his “kallipolis”. Plato's search for an ideal city might be a direct reason which fostered him to create this myth. It is easy to state that Atlantis is a shadow of Plato's ideal city which ought to be just and advanced at all level. If we go back to the legend, Atlantis was protected by the god Poseidon, who made his son Atlas king who is also the origin of name Atlantis and the ocean that surrounded it. As the Atlanteans grew powerful, their ethics declined. Their armies eventually conquered Africa as far as Egypt and Europe as far as Tyrrhenia before being driven back by an heroic resistance of Athenians. Later, as a result of divine punishment, the island was destroyed by earthquakes and floods, and sank into a muddy sea. To interpret, there stands suspicious similarities between this legendary war and Peloponnesian War. Throughout the Critias, Plato gives detailed…