The Timaeus and Critias are the apex of reference for scholars and armchair investigators alike. It seems these texts are ubiquitous in nature and we would be hard pressed to find someone who has not been exposed to the account of Atlantis being drowned by the sea. But this epic retelling of the unfortunate end of a civilization does not maintain a monogamous relationship with the Timaeus and Critias. The Laws is Plato’s last and longest dialogue – a massive tome spanning a daunting twelve books. The dialogue begins with the question of who is given the credit for establishing a civilization’s laws and is commonly recognized by scholars as bonafide history, unlike the uniformitarian damnation of the Timaeus and Critias as deplorable fiction. Much like the other works of Plato, The Laws are a documented account of conversation taking place between iconic characters of ancient Greece and the mentioning of Atlantis occurs during an exchange between an Athenian and a Cretan.
Athenian: Then what view do you both take of the ancient legends? Is there any truth to them?
Clinias: What legends are you talking about?
Athenian: Those which recount recurring destruction of humanity by floods, epidemics or from a variety of causes, when only a few survivors are left behind.
Clinias: Oh, those stories are entirely credible to anyone.
Athenian: Well then, let us discuss one of those mass exterminations, the one that was brought about by the Great Deluge.
The obvious mention of the Great Deluge is indicative of the destruction of Atlantis. As we shall see in Chapter 3, the Great Deluge is a memory shared by our ancestors on a global scale. A catastrophe that only connects with modern man through the myths and legends of antiquity – an event that our species refuses to acknowledge as a plausible cause for the destruction of an unknown civilization that reached incredible technological, military, and societal achievement. In a similar vein, Plato describes an epoch in which humanity plummets into an age of ignorance – an era that was brought on by the destruction of Atlantis.
Athenian: At such a time there was a total destruction even of the cities in the lowlands and along the seacoasts.
Clinias: Doubtless, we can make that assumption.
Athenian: Additionally, all kinds of tools, weapons, implements, and instruments were lost, together with any scientific discoveries that were known before the destruction… the condition of mankind after this calamity was as follows – There was horrendous and far-flung extermination, but after the waters retreated somewhat, large areas of exposed land were left unpopulated for the remaining survivors and their diminished animal stocks. For their drowned city, its constitution and laws, the very things we are discussing here, do you image that, putting it mildly, even the fainted memory of them was preserved?
Clinias: Surely not.
Athenian: Then we may conclude that the numerous generations of men who led such a diminished existence for mere survival were unskilled and ignorant in the various arts, by comparison with the age before the Deluge or with our own.
Why would Plato provide his audience with such direct and detailed affirmation in a text that’s focal point was divine law and law-giving, the relationships of philosophy, religion, and politics, and the importance of natural law and natural right? It seems no accident that Plato weaved a revisiting of the Atlantis account into his later works.
The narrative of the destruction of Atlantis as put forth by Plato is an incredibly detailed account that includes exceedingly precise descriptions of the concentric circular shape of the city-state, dimensions of the temple of Poseidon, the flora and fauna of the region, as well as the methods by which the kings would exact their rule. These brief illustrations are a minuscule example of the copious characteristics provided by Plato and the Timaeus and Critias both provide curious minds with the meticulous explanation of the lost civilization. Because the author’s descriptions are so vivid and detailed, many have treated his work as the retelling of a historical event and these ancient signposts comprise what has been refered to as “Plato’s Checklist.”
About the Author: Andrew is the founder and editor in chief of Lost Origins. He is also the host of the radio show that falls under the same moniker. Andrew has been researching ancient mysteries, alternative historical theories, and lost civilizations for over fifteen years and founded Lost Origins to provide a sounding board for authors and researchers to share their theories and concepts with the world. Andrew is currently working to complete two manuscripts that explore several ancient mysteries. He lives in Denver with his family.