There has been a whole bunch of speculation of where Atlantis is/ was. It apparently was a myth of a lost city where gods went, and did some stuff.

But where and what was it in mythology?

  • See also irregularwebcomic.net/640.html in which two archeologists disagree about the location of Atlantis, and the annotation lists sixteen possibilities.
    – b_jonas
    Apr 25, 2016 at 8:46

3 Answers 3


First of all, Atlantis was an island - island of the Far West. And the gods were not particularly active in regards to the island.

I would say that Atlantis is absent from mythology, because the first mention that we know of comes from Plato and is used as a vehicle to expand on his political views.

It is in Plato's Timaeus where we are given the location of Atlantis: beyond the the pillars of Heracles (which is today's Gibraltar).

As asked, here is the English quotation - I just do not have access to the Greek original:

For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Heracles',' there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent.

  • 2
    Note that "The Pillars of Heracles" was pretty much the limit of Greek geographical knowledge at the time. So this would basically be saying, "Oh, its nowhere you know about".
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 26, 2016 at 17:59

Ok, I found an answer. For Greek, at least.

Atlantis is a mythical island, off to the far west. People were sunk in the island of Atlantis for their immorality. It was ruled by ten Titan rulers, Atlas as the Eldest.

From Plutarch,

"He [Solon] also spent some time in studies with Psenophis of Heliopolis [in Egypt] and Sonkhis (Sonchis) of Sais, who were very learned priests. From these, as Plato says, he heard the story of the lost Atlantis, and tried to introduce it in a poetical form to the Greeks."

Wonder about the Egyptian connection, between Atlantis. Where does that come from?

Some other mysterious quote from Plato:

Now first of all we must recall the fact that 9000 is the sum of years since the war occurred, as is recorded, between the [Atlantes] dwellers beyond the pillars of Herakles and all that dwelt within them; which war we have now to relate in detail. It was stated that this city of ours [Athens] was in command of the one side and fought through the whole of the war, and in command of the other side were the kings of the island of Atlantis, which we said was an island larger than Libya and Asia once upon a time, but now lies sunk by earthquakes and has created a barrier of impassable mud which prevents those who are sailing out from here to the ocean beyond from proceeding further.

Ok, now what is this war? What is this?

Some stuff about the rulers,

Concerning the allotments of the Gods, that they portioned out the whole earth, here into larger allotments and there into smaller, and provided for themselves shrines and sacrifices, even so Poseidon took for his allotment the island of Atlantis and settled therein the children whom he had begotten of a mortal woman in a region of the island of the following description. Bordering on the sea and extending through the center of the whole island there was a plain, which is said to have been the fairest of all plains and highly fertile; and, moreover, near the plain, over against its center, at a distance of about 50 stades, there stood a mountain that was low on all sides. Thereon dwelt one of the natives originally sprung from the earth (autokhthones), Euenor by name, with his wife Leukippe; and they had for offspring an only-begotten daughter, Kleito. And when this damsel was now come to marriageable age, her mother died and also her father; and Poseidon, being smitten with desire for her, wedded her; and to make the hill whereon she dwelt impregnable he broke it off all round about; and he made circular belts of sea and land enclosing one another alternately, some greater, some smaller, two being of land and three of sea, which he carved as it were out of the midst of the island; and these belts were at even distances on all sides, so as to be impassable for man; for at that time neither ships nor sailing were as yet in existence. And Poseidon himself set in order with ease, as a god would, the central island, bringing up from beneath the earth two springs of waters, the one flowing warm from its source, the other cold, and producing out of the earth all kinds of food in plenty. And he begat five pairs of twin sons and reared them up; and when he had divided all the island of Atlantis into ten portions, he assigned to the first-born of the eldest sons his mother's dwelling and the allotment surrounding it, which was the largest and best; and him he appointed to be king over the rest, and the others to be rulers, granting to each the rule over many men and a large tract of country. And to all of them he gave names, giving to him that was eldest and king the name after which the whole island was called and the sea spoken of as the Atlantic, because the first king who then reigned had the name of Atlas. And the name of his younger twin-brother, who had for his portion the extremity of the island near the pillars of Herakles up to the part of the country now called Gadeira after the name of that region, was Eumelos in Greek, but in the native tongue Gadeiros,--which fact may have given its title to the country. And of the pair that were born next he called the one Ampheres and the other Euaimon; and of the third pair the elder was named Mneseus and the younger Autokhthon; and of the fourth pair, he called the first Elasippos and the second Mestor; and of the fifth pair, Azaes was the name given to the elder, and Diaprepes to the second. So all these, themselves and their descendants, dwelt for many generations bearing rule over many other islands throughout the sea, and holding sway besides, as was previously stated, over the Mediterranean peoples as far as Aigyptos (Egypt) and Tyrrhenia [in Italy].

Describes the 10 Titans of above.

Random goodness of Atlantis... TL;DR Atlantis was a sort of paradise.

The springs they made use of, one kind being of cold, another of warm water, were of abundant volume, and each kind was wonderfully well adapted for use because of the natural taste and excellence of its waters; and these they surrounded with buildings and with plantations of trees such as suited the waters; and, moreover, they set reservoirs round about, some under the open sky, and others under cover to supply hot baths in the winter; they put separate baths for the kings and for the private citizens, besides others for women, and others again for horses and all other beasts of burden, fitting out each in an appropriate manner. And the outflowing water they conducted to the sacred grove of Poseidon, which contained trees of all kinds that were of marvellous beauty and height because of the richness of the soil; and by means of channels they led the water to the outer circles over against the bridges. And there they had constructed many temples for gods, and many gardens and many exercising grounds, some for men and some set apart for horses, in each of the circular belts of island; and besides the rest they had in the center of the large island a racecourse laid out for horses, which was a stade in width, while as to length, a strip which ran round the whole circumference was reserved for equestrian contests. And round about it, on this side and on that, were barracks for the greater part of the spearmen; but the guard-house of the more trusty of them was posted in the smaller circle, which was nearer the acropolis; while those who were the most trustworthy of all had dwellings granted to them within the acropolis round about the persons of the kings. And the shipyards were full of triremes and all the tackling that belongs to triremes, and they were all amply equipped. Such then was the state of things round about the abode of the kings. And after crossing the three outer harbors, one found a wall which began at the sea and ran round in a circle, at a uniform distance of fifty stades from the largest circle and harbor, and its ends converged at the seaward mouth of the channel. The whole of this wall had numerous houses built on to it, set close together; while the sea-way and the largest harbor were filled with ships and merchants coming from all quarters, which by reason of their multitude caused clamor and tumult of every description and an unceasing din night and day. Now as regards the city and the environs of the ancient dwelling we have now well-nigh completed the description as it was originally given. We must endeavor next to repeat the account of the rest of the country, what its natural character was, and in what fashion it was ordered. In the first place, then, according to the account, the whole region rose sheer out of the sea to a great height, but the part about the city was all a smooth plain, enclosing it round about, and being itself encircled by mountains which stretched as far as to the sea; and this plain had a level surface and was as a whole rectangular in shape, being 3000 stades long on either side and 2000 stades wide at its center, reckoning upwards from the sea. And this region, all along the island, faced towards the South and was sheltered from the Northern blasts. And the mountains which surrounded it were at that time celebrated as surpassing all that now exist in number, magnitude and beauty; for they had upon them many rich villages of country folk, and streams and lakes and meadows which furnished ample nutriment to all the animals both tame and wild, and timber of various sizes and descriptions, abundantly sufficient for the needs of all and every craft. Now as a result of natural forces, together with the labors of many kings which extended over many ages, the condition of the plain was this. It was originally a quadrangle, rectilinear for the most part, and elongated; and what it lacked of this shape they made right by means of a trench dug round about it. Now, as regards the depth of this trench and its breadth and length, it seems incredible that it should be so large as the account states, considering that it was made by hand, and in addition to all the other operations, but none the less we must report what we heard: it was dug out to the depth of a plethrum and to a uniform breadth of a stade, and since it was dug round the whole plain its consequent length was 10,000 stades. It received the streams which came down from the mountains and after circling round the plain, and coming towards the city on this side and on that, it discharged them thereabouts into the sea. And on the inland side of the city channels were cut in straight lines, of about 100 feet in width, across the plain, and these discharged themselves into the trench on the seaward side, the distance between each being 100 stades. It was in this way that they conveyed to the city the timber from the mountains and transported also on boats the seasons' products, by cutting transverse passages from one channel to the next and also to the city. And they cropped the land twice a year, making use of the rains from Heaven in the winter, and the waters that issue from the earth in summer, by conducting the streams from the trenches.


As regards their manpower, it was ordained that each allotment should furnish one man as leader of all the men in the plain who were fit to bear arms; and the size of the allotment was about ten times ten stades, and the total number of all the allotments was 60,000; and the number of the men in the mountains and in the rest of the country was countless, according to the report, and according to their districts and villages they were all assigned to these allotments under their leaders. So it was ordained that each such leader should provide for war the sixth part of a war-chariots equipment, so as to make up 10,000 chariots in all, together with two horses and mounted men; also a pair of horses without a car, and attached thereto a combatant with a small shield and for charioteer the rider who springs from horse to horse; and two hoplites; and archers and slingers, two of each; and light-armed slingers and javelin-men, three of each; and four sailors towards the manning of twelve hundred ships. Such then were the military dispositions of the royal City; and those of the other nine varied in various ways, which it would take a long time to tell.


Such was the magnitude and character of the power which existed in those regions at that time; and this power the God set in array and brought against these regions of ours on some such pretext as the following, according to the story. For many generations, so long as the inherited nature of the God remained strong in them, they were submissive to the laws and kindly disposed to their divine kindred. For the intents of their hearts were true and in all ways noble, and they showed gentleness joined with wisdom in dealing with the changes and chances of life and in their dealings one with another. Consequently they thought scorn of everything save virtue and lightly esteemed their rich possessions, bearing with ease the burden, as it were, of the vast volume of their gold and other goods; and thus their wealth did not make them drunk with pride so that they lost control of themselves and went to ruin; rather, in their soberness of mind they clearly saw that all these good things are increased by general amity combined with virtue, whereas the eager pursuit and worship of these goods not only causes the goods themselves to diminish but makes virtue also to perish with them. As a result, then, of such reasoning and of the continuance of their divine nature all their wealth had grown to such a greatness as we previously described. But when the portion of divinity within them was now becoming faint and weak through being oft times blended with a large measure of mortality, whereas the human temper was becoming dominant, then at length they lost their comeliness, through being unable to bear the burden of their possessions, and became ugly to look upon, in the eyes of him who has the gift of sight; for they had lost the fairest of their goods from the most precious of their parts; but in the eyes of those who have no gift of perceiving what is the truly happy life, it was then above all that they appeared to be superlatively fair and blessed, filled as they were with lawless ambition and power. And Zeus, the God of gods, who reigns by Law, inasmuch as he has the gift of perceiving such things, marked how this righteous race was in evil plight, and desired to inflict punishment upon them, to the end that when chastised they might strike a truer note.

More Plutarch,

"Plato, ambitious to elaborate and adorn the subject of the lost Atlantis, as if it were the soil of a fair estate unoccupied, but appropriately his by virtue of some kinship with Solon, began the work by laying out great porches, enclosures, and courtyards, such as no story, tale, or poesy ever had before. But he was late in beginning, and ended his life before his work. Therefore the greater our delight in what he actually wrote, the greater is our distress in view of what he left undone. For as the Olympieion in the city of Athens, so the tale of the lost Atlantis in the wisdom of Plato is the only one among many beautiful works to remain unfinished."

He wrote all that and never finished??? What??

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    I feel like you might be missing some of the context of the story of Atlantis. To my knowledge, it's generally accepted to be a fiction used as an allegory by Plato, rather than a typical myth of the culture at large (though some question whether there is some historical inspiration for it, etc). Is Plato's story of Atlantis a Myth? and Plato's Atlantis: The Anatomy or a Fiction provide some insight on that topic.
    – femtoRgon
    Apr 26, 2016 at 4:21
  • I said what it was, and where, so I wasn't going to include a myth.
    – bleh
    Apr 26, 2016 at 13:42
  • 1
    @LokiAstari - Generally accepted by historians, classicists, archeologists and the like. Sorry if that wasn't clear. As I mentioned, the idea that some historical event, such as the Santorini eruption, served as inspiration for Plato's allegory is possible, though strictly speculation as far as I know.
    – femtoRgon
    Jun 16, 2016 at 20:18
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    @LokiAstari - Disagree if you'd like. I've listed a couple sources above, and here's another that explicitly states that it is the position held by the "vast majority of classical scholars."
    – femtoRgon
    Jun 16, 2016 at 21:55
  • 1
    @LokiAstari - Yes, that's right.
    – femtoRgon
    Jun 16, 2016 at 23:20

Atlantis was said to be an island, big one, somewhere westward of what is Gibraltar today. Supposedly west of Atlantis were small islands that one could travel from one to another and reach a large continent. (America) Yet the closest nation to the Atlantians were the Egyptians. It was also a city in that island with the same name, founded by Poseidon, after the Atheneans chose Athena as their patron. According to the story in the beggining Atlantians were the kindest people and shared everything between them which made everyone rich. But as they became rich they also became greedy, and at one point their greed lead them to invade their neighbours to steal their wealth. So they attacked Egypt which was unprepared and didn't fought back, but Atheneans saw that and prepared themselves to fight back, and thus the first war started. Poseidon himself decided to destroy his creation because its people sinned by inventing war.

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