Throughout history many legends and myths have been introduced to society. A legend can be defined as a traditional story popularly regarded as historical but unauthentic. Robin Hood has become a legend commonly well known to the twenty first century. The legend of Atlantis is one that has been debated upon over the years to whether or not it is fictional. An unreliable amount of geographical evidence supports a non-existent Atlantis. Plato’s writings of Atlantis are the only known existence of the civilization. Belief and pure imagination in Atlantis supports the civilization to be a story of mind’s eye. There is an insufficient amount of evidence to suggest that the legend of Atlantis is more than a myth.
There is no adequate geographical evidence that can locate the existence of Atlantis. Throughout the years researchers have intertwined facts to where Atlantis may be. The only problem is multiple researchers have located ‘Atlantis’ in different parts of the globe. The location of Atlantis has led many to believe the legend could be situated in destinations such as the Caribbean, the Azores, the Canaries, Iceland, Crete, Tunisia, and even Sweden (Atlantis). However, there are European discoveries that support evidence of Atlantis existence in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean. The natural path of eel migration is very similar to the silhouette in which Atlantis is described (Muck). Geological evidence does not equivalent the description in Plato’s writings though. “There was an island situated in front of the Pillars of Hercules; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together”(Murphy). But, Sparta was really only 14km long by 5km wide at the time (Atlantis). Therefore misinterpretations of historical fact and geographical information compose an uneasy attempt to locate Atlantis.
Historically the only evidence of Atlantis ever existing is in the writings of Plato. Plato states that Atlantis extended beyond the Pillars of Hercules and led into the Mediterranean. According to Plato, volcanic eruptions sunk Atlantis (Atlantis). Theories about Atlantis have led scholars to believe all it is, is a piece of fiction. The destruction of Thera has led many scholars to also believe that Thera is Atlantis. The explosion at Thera connects the majority of theories from around the world that Thera is Atlantis (Joslyn). However, James Romm believes Plato created the legend to
convey philosophical theories because: He was dealing with a number of issues, themes that run throughout his work. His ideas about divine versus human nature, ideal societies, [and] the gradual corruption of human society are all found in many of his works. Atlantis was a different vehicle to get at some of his favourite themes. (Drye), Ultimately the writing of Plato does not allow enough historical information to prove that Atlantis is not a myth.
Finally, literary evidence supports the proposal that Atlantis is a story to capture the imagination of people. Atlantis depicts the ideal type of society where vast majorities fantasize about living in it. It is a society where the founder’s are half human half god and a society where many precious metals and exotic wildlife are found (Drye). While it is true that Daniel Dombrowski implies that Atlantis is only a literary device invented by Plato for the sheer purpose of imagination. “The only place in which Atlantis can be found, in addition to the writings of Plato, is in the minds of those with an imagination as vivid as that of Plato” (Stewart). Although there are recorded volcanic eruptions and earthquakes prove that parts of the world vanished underwater. The destruction of a city in a single night by an earthquake and seismic sea wave bear the main hallmark of Atlantis (Stewart). Even though many of these historical earthquakes and volcanic eruptions do remain true, none of them have an abundance of evidence to support the realism of Atlantis. Atlantis is a great myth that has a lot of elements individuals like to dream about.
With that being said, legends and myths can do a lot to the brain to generate thinking. The overall truth about Atlantis has yet to be discovered but is the legend of Atlantis true? The legend that is Atlantis simply does not have the overall facts to support its existence. The geographical information about Atlantis does not coincide with the information from Plato. Plato’s writings are the only potential truth about the legend. Atlantis was a powerful source of invention to expand the functioning mind. Therefore, Atlantis is a fictional legend that implies it is more than a historical myth.
“Atlantis Obviously Near Gibraltar”. BBC News Online. 20 Sept. 2001. BBC News. 16 Sept. 2012 ; www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1554594.stm ;. Drye, Willie. “Atlantis – True Story or Cautionary Tale”. National Geographic. National Geographic Magazine. 18 Sept. 2012. . Joslyn, Jon. “Atlantis: In Search of a Lost Continent”. 1997. Questar Home Video. 17 Sept. 2012. Muck, Otto. The Secret of Atlantis. Toronto: William, 1976. Murphy, Verity. “Hunt for the Lost City of Atlantis”. BBC News Online. 30 Oct. 2003. BBC News. 17 Sept. 2012 ; www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3227295.stm ;. Stewart, Iain. “Echoes of Plato’s Atlantis”. BBC History. 7 Feb. 2011. BBC History. 18 Sept. 2012 ; www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/greeks/atlantis-01.shtml ;.