Apparently the earliest records of Atlantis are in the dialogues of Plato 'Timaeus' and 'Critias'.

The story of Atlantis was told to Plato by Critias, who received it from his grandfather Critias, who learned it from his father Dropides, who learned it from Solon.

Solon was a traveler, who in the city of Sais in Egypt learned of the ancient Athenians' victory in the war between Athens, the city of Athena, and Atlantis, the city of Poseidon, nine thousand years before their time. Atlantis was described as an island "in front of" the Pillars of Hercules larger than Libya and Asia put together.

A little mytho-history:

Poseidon gave birth to ten children (five sets of twins) by Cleito. He divided the island into ten parts and divided it among the children. The first-born child, named Atlas, was the first king of Atlantis, prince of the best and largest portion, and both the ocean and the island were named after him. The others were Eumelus/Gadeirus, Ampheres and Evaemon, Mneseus and Autochthon, Elasippus and Mestor, Azaes and Diaprepes, and they were princes of the other nine portions.

Atlantis grew to be an amazingly rich city with, among other things, orichalcum deposits (orichalcum said to be second only in value to gold in those days) and elephants.

Atlantis sank into the sea after one day of violent earthquakes and floods, leaving a large shoal of mud that left the ocean unnavigable.

The names in the story are unabashedly Hellenic: Critias says this is because the Egyptian story had translated the names into that language, and Solon was able to retranslate them into Greek. (Sure.)

And that's all I know about that.

Muke has presented quite a good writeup detailing the traditional view on what Atlantis was and what kind of deal it had. More recently, however, people like Graham Hancock have been publicizing a fairly interesting theory concerning it. Hancock's discussion of Atlantis has spanned several long, fairly readable, and often bestselling books, and hence I can not summarize everything he has said, but what follows is a brief, innacurate nutshell.

Essentially, Hancock toured the globe, listened to the myths of natives, and examined their artifacts and monoliths.

He noticed that a startling number of the natives' myths deal with the idea of some kind of civilizer emerging in a time of chaos and giving science, art, and civilization to the natives who were before the civilizer's arrival savages. To the Aztecs, the civilizer was Quetzalcoatl. To the Egyptians, Osiris. Others in the Americas called him Kulkulcan. The civilizer has had many names and appeared in the myths of many cultures. Furthermore, peoples all over the Earth have stories dealing with some kind of cataclysmic flood that wiped almost everything out: we, of course, have the story of Noah, the Sumerians had Utnapishtim, and other cultures had their own very similar flood and remnant motif. Hancock also listened to many of their other stories, and came ot the conclusion that several of them were metaphorical depictions of both the heavens, aspects of science, and mathematics. Hancock postulated that the similarity in myths between such distant peoples and the information about the stars and sciences in their myths was because some ultra advanced race encoded that information into stories that could be told and spread by word of mouth. Furthermore, the stories are a commemoration of their memory and a warning to future generations. The stories were encoded in myth so that they could be easily passed down by word of mouth through the generations until the tales could reach a race advanced enough to truly comprehend what was up.

Hancock also found evidence for his theory in the great monuments that stand all over the Earth. Looking at the similarity between the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico and the smiliarity between the megaliths that are all over the Earth, Hancock decided that they, too, were built by an ancient race. Claiming that such monuments aligned at one point with certain constellations, he has determined when they were built by doing a regression on the motion of the stars to see when the monuments would have been aligned with their counterparts in the heavens: for example, his computer simulations of the stars' movements show that in BC 10500, the Sphinx was aligned with Leo the Lion, thus it was therefore built around that time. Furthermore, the geologist Robert Schoch has dated the sphinx to around BC 8500 or earlier by looking at the sphinx, deciding that the weathering done to it was done by water, and then determining that the last time it rained in sufficient quantities in Egypt to weather the sphinx in that manner was around BC 8500. This is an extremely unorthodox date; the generally accepted number by Egyptologists is BC 2500, however they really aren't very sure. Hancock has used similar regressions on other monuments to support his thesis of an ancient race.

So where, then, was this race, what happened to them, and what was up with them? A proponent of poleshift, Hancock has come to the conclusion that Antarctica used to lie farther north in fairly recent times, and therefore that it used to be habitable. He believes that this ancient, advanced race used to live there before the end of the last ice age. When the ice age started ending in--guess what?--BC 10500, and the world began to go through some fairly tumultuous times as glaciers pulled back and melted, and, according to Hancock and Charles Hapgood, Antarctica began to fall farther south, this civilization realized that their end was nigh. Seeking to preserve what they could of their race and warn future peoples that such sudden and tumultuous events can happen, they sent out small bands of missionaries whose purpose was to jump start a new civilizations by civilizing the half-savage peoples of the Americas, Africa, Europe, and so on. They were what would one day be known as Kulkulcan and Osiris. The missionaries encoded scientific information as well as their own story of destruction into myths, which they told to the people they were civilizing, who, in turn, told to future generations. To further demonstrate to future generations that they existed, they also supposedly built things like the pyramids, the sphinx, and so on as great monuments that would survive the flood and indicate when and who they were by pointing at the stars.

Hancock's theory essentially takes many very odd coincidences, ties them together, and offers a solution with very little actual evidence. It is very interesting, to be sure, but even he admits that much of it is based on intuition. There are also several obvious flaws in it. For one thing, the need for poleshift has been entirely eliminated by plate tectonics. For another, many of the coincidences can be explained in a more mundane manner: much of Hancock's thesis is based on the belief that all of these similar figures and similar myths share genetic roots to one another, but many of these similarities (some of which are ridiculously superficial) can be explained by plain and simple parallel development, which Hancock basically ignores. I think the most ridiculous case of this was probably the bit in his book Fingerprints of the Gods where Hancock claims that the Americas and Eurasia must have had a common precursor (namely Atlantis) because the civilization of each use the symbol of the cross in their art. I, at least, find this just plain silly: there are certain symbols, certain ideas, certain motifs that are ingrained on the human brain and common to so many cultures not due to some kind of ancient super-race, but because men share a common tendency to explain certain events in certain ways when given similar stimuli and because men have a natural affinity for certain ideas and symbols.

I left quite a bit out in my summary; among other things, I didn't include the bit about the Jesus-Pisces connection, the star Sirius, the Dogons, the Olmecs, and some of Hancock's other claims and pieces of evidence. This, however, is the bare bones.

A final note: when did these Atlanteans from Antarctica predict that this current age would experience a cataclysm similar to their own and would, therefore, end, as evidenced by the calendrical system they gave the Mayans? December 23, 2012. Bummer: one day before Christmas.
Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Imagic
Model Number: IA3203
Year of Release: 1982
Atari Rarity Guide: 2 Common (alternate label versions may rate as high as 4 Scarce+)
Programmer: Dennis Koble

Atlantis, fabled city of antiquity, lies in peaceful waters. The major districts of the city-the Aqua Plain, the Domed Palace and the Bridged Bazaar-murmur with activity while vital generators whirl. Three defense posts guard the skies over the metropolis.

An ominous sound penetrates the sea surrounding the city. The Gorgon Fleet, fierce warriors intent on demolishing Atlantis, attack in force. How long can the city withstand the assault?

Atlantis was just about the best game that Imagic ever made. You command several Laser turrets. Defending the underwater city of Atlantis. The graphics are very colorful and rely on a lot of color cycling effects. Color cycling effects can make it seem as if the console supports more on screen colors than it actually does. The arcade version of Robotron 2084 used this to good effect, as did Atlantis.

The concept is similar to Missile Command in that you fire shots from several distinct locations that can be killed by enemy fire in an attempt to defend a complex of several cities. Unlike Missile Command, your enemies are spaceships that fly horizontally over your city and drop bombs. This style of gameplay was much more suited to the joystick, and I feel that this title is superior to the Atari 2600 version of Missile Command.

Imagic sponsored a large contest for high scores with this game. (The "Defend Atlantis" contest). The top scorers received a copy of the ultra-rare Atlantis II and went to Bermuda for a chance at $10,000.

Collectors Information

The box to this game was the standard "shiny" Imagic box, and it had an awesome picture of several space fighters attacking a floating city. The ships in the picture seem to have been heavily influenced by Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.

Atlantis is worth between $1 and $30 depending on the label. There were 5 different labels. Each valued differently. Games with boxes and manuals are worth more.

Orbiter OV-104
See also Space Transportation System and space shuttle
This orbiter is currently active.

Entered service October 3, 1985.

    STS-51J    10/03/85
    STS-61B    11/26/85
    STS-27    12/02/88
    STS-30    05/04/89
    STS-34    10/18/89
    STS-36    02/28/90
    STS-38    11/15/90
    STS-37    04/05/91
    STS-43    08/02/91
    STS-44    11/24/91
    STS-45    03/24/92
    STS-46    07/31/92
    STS-66    11/03/94
    STS-71    06/27/95
    STS-74    11/12/95
    STS-76    03/22/96
    STS-79    09/16/96
    STS-81    01/12/97
    STS-84    05/15/97
    STS-86    09/25/97
    STS-101    05/19/00
    STS-106    09/08/00
    STS-98    02/07/01
    STS-104    07/12/01

Atlantis was the fourth active orbiter in the fleet, and was intended to be the last of the line. This was changed when Challenger was destroyed, and Endeavour was built to replace it.

Atlantis was able to make use of many of the same design improvements that aided Discovery, including a reduction in weight of some 6,974 pounds, and nearly half the construction time of the original orbiters.

During the construction of Atlantis and Discovery, spare replacement parts were commissioned, amounting to an estimated $389 million. These included a spare aft-fuselage, mid-fuselage, forward fuselage halves, vertical tail and rudder, wings, elevons and body flap. These spare parts were later used to build Endeavour.

The rest of the orbiter fleet:
Enterprise * Columbia * Challenger * Discovery * Endeavour

ed note: In 2006, NASA anounced plans to retire Atlantis and use her for spare parts for Discovery and Endeavour.


In two of his Dialogues Plato tells that Solon, in the course of his travels in Egypt, questioned the priests and that one of them, who lived at Saïs in the Nile delta, told him of very ancient traditions which related to a war waged in the distant past by Athens against the people of Atlantis. This story which starts in the Timaeus is resumed and elaborated in the fragment we possess of the Critias. The people of Atlantis, according to the priest, used to live on an island which lay beyond the pillars of Heracles, where the Mediterranean ended and Ocean began. When the gods were sharing out the earth, Athens fell to Athena and Hephaestus, but Atlantis became the kingdom of Poseidon. In Atlantis lived Clito, a girl who had lost both her parents, Evenor and Leucippe. Poseidon fell in love with her. Clito lived on a mountain in the middle of the island and around her dwelling Poseidon raised a barrier consisting of walls and moats full of water, and there he lived with her for a long time. They had five pairs of twin sons, the eldest son of all being called Atlas, to whom Poseidon gave supremacy. He divided the whole island into ten areas. Atlas reigned on the mountain in the centre and it was from there that we weilded his power.

The island of Atlantis was extremely rich both in vegetaion and mineral wealth. There were not only many deposits of gold, copper, iron and other metals but also orichalc, a metal which blazed like fire. The kings of Atlantis built magnificent cities with great numbers of vaults, bridges, canals and tortuous passages, for ease of both defence and trade. In each of the ten districts there reigned the descendants of the ten original kings, the sons of Poseidon and Clito, all ruled over by the descendant of Atlas. Each year they all met in the capital for a special ceremony, during which they gave themselves over to a ritual bull-hunt and joined together in drinking the blood of the bull which they had slaughtered. Then they all passed judgement on each other, clad in flowering gowns of dark blue in the middle of the night seated among the enbers still hot from the sacrifice, after which all the lamps were put out. At this point the Dialogue ends.

These men of Atlantis had tried to conquer the world, but they were defeated by the Athenians nine thousand years before the time of Plato. According to a considerably different tradition, recorded by Diodorus Siculus, the men of Atlantis were neighbours of the Libyans and had been attacked by the Amazons (see Myrina), but in Plato's belief, the men of Atlantis and their island had disappeared for ever, submerged by a disastrous flood.


Table of Sources:
- Plato, Timaeus 21a ff.; Critias 108e ff.
- Proclus, Comm. in Tim. 21a ff.
- Strabo 2, 3, 6, p. 102
- Hdt. 4, 184
- Diod. Sic. 3, 54ff.

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