The Atlantis story remains one of the most haunting and enigmatic tales from antiquity, and one that still resonates very deeply with the modern imagination. But where did Atlantis come from, what was it like, and where did it go?Atlantis was first introduced by the Greek philosopher Plato in the fourth century BCE. As he discusses about the origins of life, the universe and humanity, the great thinker puts forward a stunning description of Atlantis—an island paradise with an ideal society. But the Atlanteans soon degenerate and become imperialist aggressors: they choose to fight against antediluvian Athens, which heroically repels their mighty forces, before a cataclysmic natural disaster destroys the warring states.Plato’s tale of a great empire that sank beneath the waves has sparked thousands of years of debate over whether Atlantis really existed. But did Plato mean his tale as history—or just as a parable to help illustrate his philosophy?
Dr. Stephen P. Kershaw has spent the majority of his career in the world of the ancient Greeks, both intellectually and physically. He has been a Classics tutor for twenty-five years and currently teaches at Oxford University. Kershaw has been commissioned to write Oxford University's new course on the Minoans and Mycenaeans, which will include investigations into the Atlantis tale in relation to the eruption of the Santorini volcano. Kershaw also runs the European Studies Classical Tour for Rhodes College and the University of the South. He has written several books, including A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths and A Brief History of the Roman Empire. Dr. Kershaw lives in England.