The story about the island of Atlantis was first told 2,300 years ago by the Greek philosopher Plato, who said there was a great ancient city that was destroyed and submerged under the Atlantic Ocean.
It is unclear whether Greeks at the time took Plato’s account as a metaphor for the fall of successful societies or believed it was a record of history.
Either way, it is still a topic of hot debate for many scientists, historians and philosophers.
Here, MailOnline looks at the top five theories about the Lost City – from claims it was swallowed up by the Bermuda Triangle to never existing at all.
The story about the world of Atlantis was first told 2,300 years ago by the Greek philosopher Plato who said the great ancient city had been destroyed and submerged under the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantis is a myth that was mentioned in Plato’s dialogues ‘Timaeus’ and ‘Critias’ written around 360 BCE.
It is a tale that had been passed down through generations, according to Plato.
The Greek philosopher said it was told to him by his grandfather who was told it by the Athenian statesman Solon.
Solon had apparently been told this from the Egyptians.
The story tells of how there was once a mighty civilization based on an island in the Atlantic Ocean, that ruled over a number of other islands dotted around parts of Europe and Africa.
The society had great conditions for agriculture and amazing buildings.
It was made up of roads and canals.
It then waged war on other parts of the world like Asia and parts of Europe not conquered.
It tried to attack Ancient Athens, who fought back and became the only country to stand up to Atlantis.
Following the battle, Atlantis was hit by a series of violent earthquakes and floods.
The island then sank into the sea and its warriors were swallowed by earth.
1. Atlantis was swallowed up by the Bermuda Triangle
One theory about where the lost civilization disappeared to is that it was swallowed up by the Bermuda Triangle.
The patch of the Atlantic Ocean, also known as the Devil’s Triangle, became an urban legend after more than 50 ships and 20 airplanes disappeared in the area.
In his book, The Lost Continent Revealed, Charles Berlitz says that the ancient civilization could have also fallen prey to the notorious Bermuda Triangle.
Berlitz claimed that Atlantis was actually a continent off the coast of the Bahamas.
Those who support this theory point to the fact an underwater road, known as the Bimini Road, was found north of Bimini island in the Bahamas.
The underground rock formation, sometimes referred to as the Bimini Wall, is half a mile (0.8km) long, made up of rectangular limestone blocks.
The road lies around 18 feet below the sea’s surface and travels along a northeast, and southwest line.
It was first discovered by divers in 1868 who described it as a ‘pavement’.
The road’s location and perfect formation have led many to believe it could be the road to Atlantis, resembling roads similar to the era.
Bizarrely Bimini Road was mentioned by American mystic and prophet Edgar Cayce, 30 years before its discovery in 1938.
At the time he predicted: ‘A portion of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages and seawater near Bimini.
‘Expect it in ‘68 or ‘69 – not so far away.’
He also added that Bimini Island would have been considered one of the mountaintops of Ancient Atlantis.
Carbon dating carried out by scientists, however, has revealed that these structures could have been formed naturally through coastal erosion of limestone.
One of theory about where the lost civilization disappeared to is that it was swallowed up by the Bermuda Triangle
Bimini Road is an underground rock formation, sometimes referred to as the Bimini Wall. It is half a mile (0.8km) long, made up of rectangular limestone blocks near the Bahamas
2. Atlantis was destroyed in a natural disaster
Among the endless theories of what happened to the ancient world are suggestions that natural disasters are to blame for the destruction of the island.
Most prominently these include mass flooding, an earthquake or volcanic eruption.
One theory that keeps reoccurring is that the fall of Atlantis is in reference to a huge volcanic eruption that happened on the Greek island of Santorini (then known as Thera) about 3,600 years ago.
The eruption spewed out around 9.5 to 14.3 cubic miles (40 to 60 cubic kilometres) of lava, resulting in a large underwater caldera at Santorini and causing huge amounts of the land to become submerged.
One theory is that the fall of Atlantis is in reference to a huge volcanic eruption that happened on the Greek island of Santorini (pictured), then known as Thera, about 3,600 years ago
Around 10 million tons of rock, ash and gas were thrown into the atmosphere at this point.
This eruption, along with the large tsunami that is believed to have followed, is often blamed for the destruction of the society.
The Minoan civilization, who lived on the island of Thera are believed by many to be Europe’s first great civilization, building roads and palaces, and was the first on the continent to use a written language.
Archaeologists believed that the island had a flourishing economy as the Minoans were great fishermen, trading with other countries in the Mediterranean.
It was during the building of this successful civilization that parts of the island were suddenly destroyed, leading many to link the disaster with Plato’s theories.
3. Atlantis was Antarctica
A different theory suggests that Atlantis was actually a much warmer version of the chilly continent of Antarctica that exists today.
This is based off Charles Hapgood’s 1958 book, Earth’s Shifting Crust, which denied the theory of continental drift, which was very popular among scientists at the time before our understanding of plate tectonics came into full effect.
Instead, he suggested the Earth’s crust moved 12,000 years ago, causing the continent, which is now Antarctica, to move further south than from its original position in the Atlantic.
One theory suggests that Atlantis was actually a much warmer version of the chilly continent of Antarctica that exists today
This has in turn lent itself to explanations about Atlantis, with some hypothesizing that the warmer, more temperate conditions on the continent could have given way to more advanced civilizations.
But when this sudden shift happened, the society could not deal with the plummeting temperature.
Supporters of the theory suggest the once thriving city would have then been buried under layers and layers of ice.
Claims of a hidden land under the icy continent have even led to scientists trying to find glimpses of human life.
In 2017, researchers from the University of Brussels in Belgium believed they had found Atlantis beneath the ice in Antarctica
In 2017, the discovery of a hydrolic system underneath the ice sheets in Antarctica led people to hypothesize that it was evidence of Atlantic.
Scientists said they had found enormous structures, some as big as the Eiffel Tower, buried in the ice sheets.
One of the structures was made up of a mixture of mud and sandstone, standing at 490x130ft.
But those who made the discovery, from the University of Brussels in Belgium and the Bavarian Academy of Science in Germany said the land masses are really ‘water conduits and sediment ridges below the Antarctic ice sheet’, with the smaller spots being the start of wider water channels.
4. Atlantis was destroyed in a meteor strike
While it has been labelled as one of the most absurd theories about the lost city of Atlantis, some suggest that it could have been destroyed by a meteor.
In the Netflix series Ancient Apocalypses, British writer and presenter Graham Hancock claims Atlantis had been wiped out by a tsunami and widespread flooding that was caused by a meteor strike.
The television show claims survivors of the advanced civilization moved to another land where they taught maths, architecture and farming.
This theory has been widely criticised by archaeologists, with many criticising Hancock for presenting ‘alternative facts’ for entertainment.
In the Netflix series Ancient Apocalypses, British writer and presenter Graham Hancock (pictured) claims Atlantis had been wiped out by a tsunami and widespread flooding that was caused by a meteor strike
Hancock also asserts, as he done for many years in his books, that archaeologists had spent time trying to cover up the idea.
Flint Dibble, an archaeologist at Cardiff University, told The Conservation: ‘Hancock came very strongly and aggressively against the archaeological community.
‘I was shocked at how strongly aggressive this was. One of the things I’m wondering is if they are actively trying to appeal to a post-truth, conspiracy crowd.’
ITN, who produced the show, however, said it had been ‘triple fact-checked with alternative sources’.
5. Atlantis never existed at all
Despite all the intriguing theories, most scientists and historians have come to the conclusion that Atlantis probably never existed.
Many believe the works of Plato were fictional and created to substantiate his moral arguments.
Outside of Plato’s dialogues, there are no written records of Atlantis, despite there being a number of written records of other matters that survived from Ancient Greece.
Even with advances in oceanography and technologies that can carry out ocean-floor mapping, no traces of the sunken city have been found.
Back in 2001, one of the world’s leading academics in ancient mythology Alan F Alford, said Atlantis was a myth created by Plato.
He said: ‘Behind the tale lies a single secret of stunning simplicity: namely that although Atlantis was a lost paradise, it was not a lost city, island or continent, but a lost planet of the former golden age.
‘The loss of Atlantis was meant to signify a totally profound event – the cataclysm of all cataclysms that disrupted the universe at the beginning of all time.’
The expert said: ‘Plato is the sole authority on the story of Atlantis and to ignore what he said is to invent a new myth of one’s own.’
Many believe Atlantis never existed believing that the works of Plato were fictional and created to substantiate his moral arguments
Some of the locations people have guessed Atlantis was located
For hundreds of years people have tried to pin down an exact location for the mythical city of Atlantis.
Here are just some of the areas across the world where people have suggested Atlantis could be:
- The Black Sea
- The Greek Islands
- Mainland Greece
- The Azores
- The Faroe Islands
- The Bahamas
- The North Pole
- The Canary Islands
For hundreds of years people have tried to pin down an exact location for the mythical city of Atlantis
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