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The Atlantis Dialogue: Plato's Original Story of the Lost City and Continent

Overview

Atlantis was first introduced by the Greek philosopher Plato in two "dialogues" he wrote in the fourth century B.C. His tale of a great empire that sank beneath the waves has sparked thousands of years of debate over whether Atlantis really existed. But did Plato mean his tale as history, or just as a parable to help illustrate his philosophy?

In "The Atlantis Dialogue," you'll find everything Plato said about Atlantis, in the context he intended. Now you can read and judge for ...

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Overview

Atlantis was first introduced by the Greek philosopher Plato in two "dialogues" he wrote in the fourth century B.C. His tale of a great empire that sank beneath the waves has sparked thousands of years of debate over whether Atlantis really existed. But did Plato mean his tale as history, or just as a parable to help illustrate his philosophy?

In "The Atlantis Dialogue," you'll find everything Plato said about Atlantis, in the context he intended. Now you can read and judge for yourself!

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"An easy read . . . Provides a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about the Atlantis myth." -- Judy Justice, Midwest Book Review, Mar. 2002 (Reviewer’s Choice)

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SAMPLE

CRITIAS: Consider then, Socrates, if this narrative is suited to the purpose, or whether we should seek for some other instead.

SOCRATES: And what other, Critias, can we find that will be better than this, which is natural and suitable to the festival of the goddess, and has the very great advantage of being a fact and not a fiction? How or where shall we find another if we abandon this? We cannot, and therefore you must tell the tale, and good luck to you; and I in return for my yesterday's discourse will now rest and be a listener.

CRITIAS: Let me begin by observing first of all, that nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them; this war I am going to describe. Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis, which, as I was saying, was an island greater in extent than Libya and Asia, and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean. The progress of the history will unfold the various nations of barbarians and families of Hellenes which then existed, as they successively appear on the scene; but I must describe first of all Athenians of that day, and their enemies who fought with them, and then the respective powers and governments of the two kingdoms.

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
An easy read, The Atlantis Dialogue provides a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about the origins of the Atlantis myth.
Judy Justice
An easy read . . . Provides a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about the Atlantis myth. (Reviewer's Choice)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938497158
  • Publisher: Shepard Publications
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Pages: 46
  • Sales rank: 382,463
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.11 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Critias. Consider then, Socrates, if this narrative is suited to the purpose, or whether we should seek for some other instead.

Socrates. And what other, Critias, can we find that will be better than this, which is natural and suitable to the festival of the goddess, and has the very great advantage of being a fact and not a fiction? How or where shall we find another if we abandon this? We cannot, and therefore you must tell the tale, and good luck to you; and I in return for my yesterday's discourse will now rest and be a listener.

Critias. Let me begin by observing first of all, that nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them; this war I am going to describe. Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis, which, as I was saying, was an island greater in extent than Libya and Asia, and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean. The progress of the history will unfold the various nations of barbarians and families of Hellenes which then existed, as they successively appear on the scene; but I must describe first of all Athenians of that day, and their enemies who fought with them, and then the respective powers and governments of the two kingdoms.

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    Where did the story originate and is any of it true?

    The legendary tale of the lost continent of Atlantis starts in 355 B.C. with the Greek philosopher Plato. Everyone knows this, but what everyone doesn't know is that Plato had planned to write a trilogy of books discussing the nature of man, the creation of the world, and the story of Atlantis, as well as other subjects. As we all know. only the first book was ever completed. The second book was abandoned part way through, and the final book was never even started. Plato used dialogues to express his ideas. This type of writing style is when the author's thoughts are explored in a series of arguments and debates between various characters in the story. Plato often used real people in his dialogues, such as his teacher, Socrates, but the words he gave them were his own. In Plato's book, Timaeus, a character named Kritias tells an account of Atlantis that has been in his family for generations. According to the character, the story was originally told to his ancestor, Solon, by a priest during Solon's visit to Egypt..........There had been a powerful empire located to the west of the Pillars of Hercules (the Straight of Gibraltar) on an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The nation there had been established by Poseidon, the God of the Sea. Poseidon fathered five sets of twins on the island. The firstborn, Atlas, had the continent and the surrounding ocean named for him. Poseidon divided the land into ten sections, each to be ruled by a son, or his heirs. The capital city of Atlantis was a marvel of architecture and engineering. The city was composed of a series of concentric walls and canals. At the very center was a hill, and on top of the hill a temple to Poseidon. Inside was a gold statue of the God of the Sea showing him driving six winged horses..............About 9000 years before the time of Plato, after the people of Atlantis became corrupt and greedy, the gods decided to destroy them. A violent earthquake shook the land, giant waves rolled over the shores, and the island sank into the sea, never to be seen again. So, is the story of Atlantis just a fable used by Plato to make a point? Or is there some reason to think he was referring to a real place? Well, at numerous points in the dialogues, Plato's characters refer to the story of Atlantis as genuine history and it being within the realm of fact. Plato also seems to put into the story a lot of detail about Atlantis that would be unnecessary if he had intended to use it only as a literary device................On the other hand according to the writings of the historian Strabo, Plato's student Aristotle remarked that Atlantis was simply created by Plato to illustrate a point. Unfortunately, Aristotle's writings on this subject, which might have cleared the mystery up, have been lost eons ago. This is a great, albeit short story, introduction into the legandary lost city of Atlantis. Plato was a brilliant mind with a nitch for story telling..........Hattely

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 8, 2012

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    Posted May 27, 2009

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