In his dialogues “Timaeus” and “Critias”, written in about 360 BC Plato tells the story of Atlantis. This is also the earliest known account of the lost continent. In “Timaeus”, Plato told where Atlantis was located; beyond the “Pillars of Heracles” now know as the Straits of Gibraltar in what became known as the Atlantic Ocean. Also, Plato gives some of the details of the land and history of Atlantis. Later in “Critias”, Plato gives the story that Atlantis waged an aggressive war in the Mediterranean basin, conquering many nations and enslaving their people. Their backs against the wall, an alliance of free nations, led by Athens, defeated the Atlantean forces in a final climatic battle. After that defeat, the gods in revulsion at the corruption of the Atlanteans, destroyed them “a single day and night”, with massive earthquakes, floods and tidal waves that made the island sink beneath the sea. Plato’s Altantis, while a rich and fertile land, has a no more advanced technology than the rest Greek world at that time.
And so the “history” of Atlantis was left alone for about 2000 years. Until Ignatius Loyola Donnelly published in 1882 “Atlantis: The Antediluvian World” For Donnelly, Atlanteans were god-like with high technology and when their island was destroyed the survivors scattered to the four corners of the world and became the models for gods, legends and helped uplift the rest of the world civilizations.
In 1888, Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society and famed occultist, took some of Donnelly’s ideas, and expanded them. She produced the idea that the Atlanteans had airplanes and high explosives and was very advanced in other sciences as well.
The So-called “Sleeping Prophet”, Edgar Cayce gave many ‘trance reading’ in the 1920’s that told the supposed history of Atlantis. In Cayce’s version Atlantis fell in a civil war between the “Sons the Law of the One” and the “Sons of Belial” being destroyed when The evil “Sons of Belial” unleashed a crystal beam weapon that sounds very much like a laser beam.
More recently many of the so-called “alterative” archeology advocates, such as Graham Hancock, continue to tout the existence of an advanced pre-historical, even if they don’t come out and name it Atlantis.
Of course there is not any real evidence to support any of this historical, archeological claptrap. All the theories about a real Atlantis is the worst kind of pseudo-history.
Garrett G. Fagan, “Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public” (Oxford: Routledge, 2006)
Plato’s Dialogues at www.classicallibrary.org/plato/dialogues
Edgar Evans Cayce , Hugh Lynn Cayce “Edgar Cayce on Atlantis” (New York: Grand central publishing, 1988).