Many scientists, geologists and archaeologists seem to claim that there is a connection between the island of Santorini and the lost island of Atlantis, Plato’s famous legend. First let’s take a brief look at the legend in order to grow a better understanding on this connection.

According to the renowned Greek philosopher Plato, there was a special island called Atlantis that reflected his notion of the ideal state and there is a detailed description of it in his works Timaeus and Critias. Atlantis belonged to god Poseidon, his mortal wife Cleito and their ten children and it was named after their first son. Poseidon’s home was at the center of the island and he built five more concentric rings around it, two of land and three of water. The island was majestic, perfect and flourishing in every aspect and all the inhabitants lived well and happily for many years. At some point though, the excessive wealth brought about vanity and greed that clouded people and they wanted even more, so they decided to conquer Asia and Europe. However, in the war they had started themselves, they were defeated by the Athenians and their glory ceased to exist once and for all. Zeus and the rest of gods decided to sink the whole island in order to save the world and so it happened after a powerful earthquake and a flood, when Atlantis disappeared forever into the sea.

Since then the mystery of its exact location remains unsolved and from time to time various researches have been done across the globe in order to detect the sunken Atlantis. Some of the firm believers of the theory that the mythical island did exist, argue that a possible location can be the island of Santorini. This theory was developed due to the great volcanic eruption that took place in 1613 BC and caused the extermination of a whole civilization, the Minoan, which was affected deeply by the catastrophe in many levels. The convergence of some facts, such as the coincidence of the dates of both destructions, the shape of Santorini before the explosion that together with the two nearby islands, Therasia and Aspronisi, used to form a big circular island, as well as the findings of the excavations in the pre-historic city of Akrotiri that revealed a brilliant and sophisticated civilization, was enough for some people to make this theory credible.

However, to most people this story is just what it is – a myth – and every myth’s purpose is didactic. The wise philosopher probably wanted to show his fellow citizens the consequences of arrogance and disrespect towards gods and warn them about the wrath of gods. Nowadays, this still remains a valuable lesson on modesty and also reminds us the major impacts of natural disasters, like the one that hit Santorini. Nevertheless, everyone can interpret the myth of the lost Atlantis as he or she wishes, as there won’t seem to be a definite closure to this case.

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