Unlike many legends whose origins have been lost in the mists of time, we know exactly when and where the story of Atlantis first appeared. The story was first told in two of Plato's dialogues, the Timaeus and the Critias, written about 330 B.C.
Though today Atlantis is often conceived of as a peaceful utopia, the Atlantis that Plato described in his fable was very different. In his book Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology, professor of archaeology Ken Feder summarizes the story: "a technologically sophisticated but morally bankrupt evil empire — Atlantis — attempts world domination by force. The only thing standing in its way is a relatively small group of spiritually pure, morally principled, and incorruptible people — the ancient Athenians. Overcoming overwhelming odds ... the Athenians are able to defeat their far more powerful adversary simply through the force of their spirit. Sound familiar? Plato's Atlantean dialogues are essentially an ancient Greek
As propaganda, the Atlantis legend is more about the heroic Athens than a sunken civilization; if Atlantis really existed today and was found, its residents would probably try to kill and enslave us all.
It's clear that Plato made up Atlantis as a plot device for his stories because there no other records of it anywhere else in the world. There are many extant Greek texts; surely someone else would have also mentioned, at least in passing, such a remarkable place. There is simply no evidence from any source that the legends about Atlantis existed before Plato wrote about it.
The 'lost' continent
Despite its clear origin in fiction, many people over the centuries have claimed that there must be some truth behind the myths, speculating about where Atlantis would be found. Countless Atlantis "experts" have located the lost continent all around the world based on the same set of facts. Candidates — each accompanied by their own peculiar sets of evidence and arguments —...