Santorini has often been connected
with Atlantis, the legendary continent that plunged to the
bottom of the sea while it was at its zenith. The mystery
surrounding the destruction of the one, and the disappearance
of the other has preoccupied scientists for generations.
The starting points for the debate about Atlantis are the
references to be found in Plato's dialogues 'Timaeus' (21E-25D)
and 'Critias' (108E-121C). According to the account given
in the former, Athenian lawyer Solon visited Egypt (590 BC)
where he was told the story of Atlantis by a priest at Sais:
"a great and wonderful state which ruled over the other
islands" which owed its power to the civilization that
had evolved there.
The kingdom consisted of two islands, the 'larger' and the
'smaller', and there were ten cities. Of these only two were
mentioned specifically, the 'Metropolis' and the 'Royal City'.
The people of Atlantis launched an attack on Athens 900 years
before Solon had talked to the priest. But the Athenians defeated
them and liberated all the lands that Atlantis had conquered.
Later Atlantis suffered a terrible earthquake and a flood,
sinking in its entirety into the sea. Finds from the excavations
at Akrotiri have led scholars to conclude that the lost Atlantis
was none other than Santorini. However over the centuries,
as myth was retold, experts beg to differ. Professor Marinatos
identified Atlantis with Minoan Crete. Perhaps Crete was the
'larger' island, the 'Royal City', while Santorini, with which
Crete had ties, would have been the 'Metropolis' or 'smaller'
The question still remains: was there such a place as Atlantis?