Myths – what does that mean? ‘Mythos‘ is the Greek word for ‘word‘, ‘speech‘, ‘narrative‘, ‘story‘ and ‘mythus‘ is Latin for stories which were created by a nation and which revolve around gods and heroes. In myths, the usual topic is the fight between good and evil within a dramatic scenario. In addition, they represent the relationship between upper world and lower world. This was meant to help people orientate themselves toward an ideology or lifestyle, respectively.

Mythology is the science concerned with the comparisons and analyses of myths. In my opinion, the exploration of myths should be restricted to “atheists“, for this is the only way to have myths compared and analysed on an independent and unbiased basis. The writings on Atlantis report, our topic, actually is not a “myth“ but a dialogue between scholars that is focused on a myth which, no doubt, belongs to the domain of legends. How so? I’ll tell you: until the point in time when the “Timaeus-Critias Dialogue“ took place, Atlantis was in no way connected to the myths and beliefs of the people in the Mediterranean area.

The Egyptians who told this dialogue to the Greek people virtually praise Greece which sets the attentive reader thinking. In most myths, unfamiliar gods are subject to hatred. Moreover, even the temples of the main deities were razed in military conflicts. The Bible (Old Testament) includes sections dealing with massacres that were tolerated and ordered during “idolation“. This kind of blasphemy was meant to show the defeated people that their god is “a mere cipher“. In addition, they should call their prior authorities into question.

However, things were different in Egypt. The Egyptians even set the Greek people on a higher level and only give covert hints on the Egyptian superiority. But why did they do so? Did they intend to flatter the Greek people and thereby gain new allies? Or does the report not come from Egypt but from Plato?

Moreover, the circumstances roughly at the beginning of the dialogue shake the whole dialogue to its foundations:

“(...) I will tell an old-world story which I heard from an aged man; for Critias, at the time of telling it, was as he said, nearly ninety years of age, and I was about ten.(...)“

To me, this sentence sounds really odd – an old man of ninety years tells a story and a young boy aged ten listens to him. Accordingly, Critias, the old man, must have been mentally fit and Critias, the young boy, must have been a child prodigy to be able to remember all these things in every little detail. Draw your own conclusions.

Maybe Plato intended to make people think about Atlantis – remember Plato was a philosopher. As a politician defending democracy, he might have wanted to point at the fact that governmental degeneration finally leads to doom.

In case it was his intention, Plato made Atlantis a myth – and we can hardly imagine life today without it. With Atlantis, Plato unconsciously advanced our present inquiring mind, he set off scientific expeditions both over and underwater. In doing so, Plato contributed to the exploration and analysis of unknown terrain.

In the final analysis, people themselves can be claimed to have created the myth of Atlantis on the basis of Plato’s credibility. For example, had exactly the same myth been introduced to the world by the Roman emperor Nero, there would be no Atlantis today.  

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