Atlantis is a mythic civilisation lost underwater according to European mythology.
The Continent of Mu is a mythic civilisation lost underwater according to pre-columbian South American mythology.

The myths of Mu were researched and published by Churchward in the 1920s.

Are there any common details between the two lost civilisations?

  • I can't speak specifically about Mu, but both sound like Flood Myths to me. There are at least 20 of them and they all revolve around a great civilization being flooded by divine action. They may actually be founded in a seed of truth (i.e. an actually flood may have occurred somewhere in ancient times. Talk Origins has a stupendous writeup on the topic.
    – user93
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 23:18
  • And taking a look at the wikipedia article for Mu, it looks like a 19th century invention, not a legitimate myth from any culture. This might fall under the pseudo-science guideline and should perhaps be closed. Reference: Are discussion of mythology-related pseudo-science off-topic
    – user93
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 23:30
  • 4
    Questions about mythology related pseudo-science are off-topic.
    – user93
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 23:31
  • Perhaps not pseudo-science per se, but certainly tales which were purposely invented for various purposes, as opposed to believed as truth by the storytellers.
    – Luna
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 8:42
  • 1
    This seemed to be something of a grey area, to me. Both lost islands have inspired more than their share of pseudo-science baloney, of course. But Atlantis, at least, seems to be widely believed to be a part of Greek mythology. A myth of a myth perhaps (how meta).
    – femtoRgon
    Commented May 1, 2015 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


The biggest one, to my mind, is that neither of them are really mythological, per se.

Atlantis was a fictional island made up by Plato. It serves as the fictional antagonist to Plato's ideal state in "Timaeus" and (especially) "Critias". They are written in the dialectic style, in which the character Critias narrates the story of Atlantis.

Scott Arthur Leonard provides a statement on it's classification in his article "A Closer Look: Is Plato’s Story of Atlantis a Myth?"

It is, perhaps, most accurate to conclude that Plato’s Atlantis story is not myth so much as it is mythic. That is, it imitates myth in most important respects. It projects metaphysical assumptions, it comments on cultural origins, and dramatizes a set of virtues, values, and beliefs just the way a better-developed, more culturally representative myth might do.

And a more thorough treatment of it's fictional nature can be found in Diskin Clay's "Plato's Atlantis: The Anatomy of a Fiction"

There remains debate on whether there was some other story (mythological or historical) that inspired Plato's island.

The continent of Mu sprang from a discredited translation of a Mayan Codex. From there, it was developed into a full-blown hoax by James Churchward.

The Codex in question was known as the Troano Codex, but has since been combined with the Cortesianus Codex, and is known (collectively) as the Madrid Codex. It's actual contents, having since been better translated, are summarized in "Research Methodologies and New Approaches to Interpreting the Madrid Codex" by Gabrielle Vail and Anthony Aveni:

...it is the longest of the surviving Maya manuscripts, containing approximately 250 almanacs concerned with a variety of topics, including rain ceremonies associated with the deity Chaak, agricultural activities, ceremonies to commemorate the end of one year and the start of the next, deer hunting and trapping, the sacrifice of captives and other events associated with the five nameless days (Wayeb’) at the end of the year, carving deity images, and beekeeping.


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