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Former good article Atlantis was one of the Philosophy and religion good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Rfc: Atlantis as Fiction, Allegory[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The consensus is that fiction(al) is the best choice. AlbinoFerret 16:22, 29 December 2015 (UTC)

Should the introduction describe Atlantis as "fictional" and an "allegory" (rather than a legend, myth, etc)?--Jack Upland (talk) 04:23, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

As you know—since you've participated in the discussions—this (along with related questions) has been discussed several times already. I think "fictional" is probably the best we're going to get. "Legendary" tends to imply that a legend about Atlantis existed in Plato's day, on which he drew for his account (something for which there is no evidence); and "mythical" has a similar problem, along with the probable unfamiliarity to many readers of myth used in the special sense of "Platonic myth". Deor (talk) 13:58, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Reply: This argument has been going on for years, and that's why I wanted to see if we could get some outside input. If Plato invented the story of Atlantis, then, yes, it would be fair to call it "fictional". However, that is only one scholarly theory. The introduction says: "present-day philologists and historians accept the story's fictional character" and then cites only one source! And this is after years of debate on that one issue.--Jack Upland (talk) 00:36, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
One could describe it as an "imagined" island, which is ambigous between meanings. It could mean that it's purely intended as fiction all the way down, or that Plato is fictionalizing a story that he took to have some plausible basis. But this might confuse readers further, too. Anyway, just throwing this in the ring, since I see now that my comment above has renewed a much larger and longer discussion than I realized.2601:1C0:C001:9D43:9115:40AA:DBE4:D985 (talk) 08:45, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
The one source that confirms modern classists view on Atlantis is a conference proceedings, in other words something an entire conference of philologists and historians agreed upon. Case closed. --bender235 (talk) 16:38, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
To be clear about what conference proceedings are: they're actually not the consensus of a conference, but some of the papers that the organizers found worthy of publication. Conference proceedings can often include things that other participants disagree with vehemently.
On the other hand, there does seem to be a firmer scholarly consensus than I'd previously recognized that Plato intended this as fiction in the literal sense, rather than a fictionalized version of an older story that he was playing with. So looking over that literature persuades me, at least, that "fiction" is the right term.
To be clear, I don't think there ever was a society of "Atlantis", but the possibility that Plato was drawing on some older story would not make that story itself real. The logical range of options is not just "Plato invented this" or "Plato talked about this because it's true". It also includes "Plato was drawing on an older story of some kind, which was itself untrue." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:1C0:C001:9D43:81B1:FAAC:8B68:AF7C (talk) 17:51, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I think presenting any one interpretation of the Atlantis story as the truth violates NPOV. Merely listing the various theories with sources to specific writers should be enough. Dimadick (talk) 14:37, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
Legobot brought me to this article. Atlantis *is* fictional and an allegory. People who say otherwise are cranks. An encyclopedia should be smart, not FRINGEy. We can discuss other theories, but they are not the mainstream understanding by far. DreamGuy (talk) 15:06, 15 November 2015 (UTC)
DreamGuy: plenty of people call Atlantis a "myth" or "legend". Are they cranks?--Jack Upland (talk) 01:51, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
The origin of Atlantis? Cranks or ignorant (or both). Wikipedia does not encourage them. DreamGuy (talk) 15:13, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Depends on how they define it. If they mean "myth" as in Platonic myth, they are correct. Unfortunately, 99% of Wikipedia readers (unlike 100% of scholarly classicists) won't know the difference between Platonic myths and actual Greek mythology. --bender235 (talk) 04:04, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
I don't think the portrayal of anyone in the present conversation as a crank (up a bit) helps matters. There's a hard issue being debated here: how to define the term "fiction" and how best to communicate the status of this Platonic myth to those who haven't spent time poking around Plato's use of storytelling. I don't think "fiction" has exactly the right connotations, but I don't think another word would fare better. "Fictionalized" takes a side, in presuming that some sort of real event lurks behind this. Whatever the historical inspiration, it seems right to say that "Atlantis" was fictional, since we have no reason to believe that anything with that specific name existed, and since Plato is clearly spinning up features that could not have existed. (So, even if there was a place called "Atlantis" in oral history, it wouldn't have had the characteristics Plato attributes to the place. Sort of like New York in reality and, say "New York" in a Hollywood superhero movie.) "Fictional" is probably the best term to stick with, in the absence of a better choice. 2601:1C0:C001:9D43:AD9F:3133:9A42:D95A (talk) 06:50, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
That is basically what I mean. And I actually used that same comparison quite a lot. Like New York City being the inspiration for Gotham City, but Gotham still being purely fictional. The same goes for Atlantis. Plato sure took inspiration from here and there, but Atlantis still is fictional. And none of the places that served as its inspiration is Atlantis. --bender235 (talk) 23:35, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
That assumes that *any* served as inspiration. Cranks say otherwise. We cannot agree with them. Does anyone read WP:FRINGE? DreamGuy (talk) 01:07, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by this, DreamGuy. We can agree with lots of claims that cranks also agree with. What we can't do is agree with the specific claims that make them cranks. The article itself notes that many scholars think Plato may have been drawing on particular historical events (e.g. the eruption of Thera) for rhetorical resonance, so there's nothing fringe about the notion that he may have been taking inspiration from *something*. If the premise that "we must disbelieve everything that a fringe person believes", well, we're going to logically over-reach on all kinds of things (e.g., both sides agree that Plato wrote the relevant dialogue). Maybe I'm misunderstanding your intent, though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:1C0:C001:9D43:D1D5:F5E3:E6B5:98A8 (talk) 06:32, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
Currently, the article is hanging a lot on one paper by Diskin Clay. I don't see any justification for saying that any other theory is fringe.--Jack Upland (talk) 02:14, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
We could easily a add a dozen scholarly articles in as much languages to support the Clay article, but why? --bender235 (talk) 05:05, 17 November 2015 (UTC)
That sums up Bender's attitude, which is why I wanted some outside input.--Jack Upland (talk) 02:37, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Bender on this, after looking at the literature a bit. I'm obviously not an expert on this part of Plato - my area of history is different - but I think if the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes Atlantis as a fiction Platonic myth, then I think we should defer: "There are in Plato identifiable traditional myths, such as the story of Gyges (Republic 359d–360b), the myth of Phaethon (Timaeus 22c7) or that of the Amazons (Laws 804e4). Sometimes he modifies them, to a greater or lesser extent, while other times he combines them—this is the case, for instance, of the Noble Lie (Republic 414b–415d), which is a combination of the Cadmeian myth of autochthony and the Hesiodic myth of ages. There are also in Plato myths that are his own, such as the myth of Er (Republic 621b8) or the myth of Atlantis (Timaeus 26e4)." The myth of Er clearly falls into the category of Platonic fiction, and this categorization suggests that Atlantis is regarded the same way. (I can say out of professional knowledge, by the way, that the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is regarded as a reputable source - this isn't a random electronic page, but a heavily peer-reviewed source.) 2601:1C0:C001:9D43:8D74:B7AE:74C9:8703 (talk) 04:04, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I think that's a good source for calling Atlantis a "myth", which is a good neutral word. Then we could say that many or most scholars believe Plato invented it - and then give a few sources, not just Clay. I don't understand why a single citation is acceptable for such a sweeping claim. But I don't think that encyclopedia is a particularly good source for calling Atlantis a fiction invented by Plato. It could be merely saying there is no "identifiable traditional myth" prior to Plato's reference. By the way, the WP article on the Myth of Er describes it as a "legend" and a "myth", so I don't see the problem here.--Jack Upland (talk) 05:29, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Myth is a poor choice for wording as it implies that there were stories of Atlantis that predate Plato. To a lesser extent, it also implies that there could be something true that Plato's account was based on. There is no evidence for Plato's Atlantis being based on anything that predates his writing. Edward321 (talk) 05:51, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

That's one view. Scholars such as Dorothy B Vitaliano, John V Luce, and Eberhard Zangger have advanced different views. I don't believe they are saying that Plato's "fiction" was "inspired" by previous events. That makes no sense. They are saying that the story represents a collective memory of Crete, Troy, or whatever. In any case, even if it was established that Plato had invented it - which it hasn't been - a "fictional island" doesn't represent what Atlantis has become. The article is not devoted to discussing the fiction. It spends a lot of time discussing the views of people who believed Atlantis was real. When people search for Atlantis, they are searching for a legendary island, not a fictional island. There is no contradiction in saying that a myth, legend, purported supernatural phenomenon, or even religion is based on a piece of fiction: this is the case with Vril, the Spalding–Rigdon theory of Book of Mormon authorship, etc. Every myth or legend has to start somewhere.--Jack Upland (talk) 06:28, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
It could say "Atlantis is a mythical island that originates within an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato's Timaeus..." or something of the sort. That would indicate that it's *become* a myth after Plato wrote about it. Would that come closer to what you have in mind? 2601:1C0:C001:9D43:D55:DC6A:F43A:32F3 (talk) 16:19, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
I think the current version, with "mentioned" rather than "originates", is better. A lot of debate went into that. By the way, I've just discovered that it's contestable whether Plato is the earliest known source: see [1]. In A History of Greek Philosophy Vol 5 (p 248),[2] W K C Guthrie points out that Plutarch, in his life of Solon, disagrees with Plato's account, and notes, "This might suggest a second source, but in context sounds more like a personal surmise on the part of Plutarch's own authority".--Jack Upland (talk) 22:41, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Uh, the first source you linked to seems to assert that there was trade between the Egyptians and South America. That doesn't say good things about the rest of the author's argument...
Guthrie is pointing out that Plutarch doesn't give us reason to think the story of Atlantis predates Plato. --Akhilleus (talk) 06:13, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
"[...] even if it was established that Plato had invented it - which it hasn't been [...]"
Who established that Gotham City was invented by Bob Kane? Please cite a dozen scholarly articles in support. I claim it was part of South Chinese mythology for 10,000 years. Prove me wrong! --bender235 (talk) 05:17, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - I think that legend is the best description. It clearly has the status in modern times of a legend. It is considered to be fiction by mainstream scholars, but not by the fringe who treat it as a true story. I recommend against the use of the word myth because that word has multiple meanings, and the story is a myth in several senses, but it is not part of classical Greek mythology and could be thought to be. I recommend against the use of the word allegory because not all of the interpretations of the legend are allegorical. Legend is the best description. Robert McClenon (talk) 04:10, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree totally. "Legendary island" is my preferred description. Papamarinopolous is apparently Professor of Applied Geophysics at the University of Patras, but he does seem an extremely "fringe theorist". W K C Guthrie, on the other hand, is an expert, and he concedes that Plutarch's text "might suggest a second source". He isn't dogmatic, and neither should we be. And since it matters so much to Bender235, I think it was Washington Irving that first called New York Gotham City. Or was it Irving Washington?--Jack Upland (talk) 08:11, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Jack Upland, you're misunderstanding Guthrie's footnote. He says "Plutarch's text might suggest a second source, but in context sounds more like a personal surmise on the part of Plutarch's own authority." Guthrie allows that Plutarch's Life of Solon could be interpreted to mean that there was a second source for the Atlantis story (which you see as a pre-Platonic one, Guthrie doesn't actually say that), but Guthrie does not think that's the case. He thinks that the source Plutarch was drawing upon surmised that. You're using Guthrie to support the possibility that Guthrie himself thinks less likely. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:50, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Jack Upland is not only misunderstanding the footnote, he's ignoring the text the footnote links to, which says "It must be remembered that Plato is our only authority for the story...." (Note that the emphasis is in the original.) Edward321 (talk) 14:48, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
No. You're misunderstanding my point.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:17, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
No, you are misunderstanding Guthrie and the ancient texts he's writing about. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:02, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
The subject "Atlantis" was and remains fictional. The fact that it became legend-like folklore over the past 2,000+ years is already described in the lead. But the key point is that it was not a legend when Plato wrote it down. Plato invented the story from scratch. --bender235 (talk) 15:24, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Bender235 on this point. Plato invented the story of Atlantis. Perhaps he was inspired by other stories, but that's the case with every fictional story, right? There's nothing wrong with the article saying that Atlantis became a legend as later writers elaborated upon Plato, or made up entirely new stuff about Atlantis, but it starts as fiction. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:50, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
Right, so it's OK to start with: "Atlantis is a legendary island..." The article is not just about Plato's story.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:17, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
No, I don't agree with starting "Atlantis is a legendary island" at all. The article begins with Plato's story, because he invented it. Putting "legendary" in the opening sentence will mislead readers about the origin of Atlantis. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:02, 21 November 2015 (UTC) defines legend as "a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical."[3] Atlantis is not popularly accepted as historical. Edward321 (talk) 01:45, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
And it probably doesn't apply to Atlantis because only recent fringe scholars scholars call it real. DreamGuy (talk) 15:08, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Zangger claims Troy is Atlantis, not that Plato invented Atlantis and had based some details on it. The page is a shambles confusing this and others. I believe other people here have also pointed out Luce thought Crete was Atlantis, not Plato was the inventor and was inspired by tales of the Minoans. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JakesterK (talkcontribs) 16:47, 25 November 2015 (UTC) "This argument has been going on for years, and that's why I wanted to see if we could get some outside input. If Plato invented the story of Atlantis, then, yes, it would be fair to call it "fictional". However, that is only one scholarly theory." -- For clarification, Naddaf (1994) who is cited on this page points out that: "The vast majority of classical scholars take the story to be what Plato explicitly denies it to be: invented myth. The serious exceptions to this rule are writers who adhere to the Thera-Cretan hypothesis". He then references Luce and Galanopoulos as examples of those scholars arguing Atlantis was not invented by Plato, but an Egyptian tradition of Minoan Crete that was passed to Solon, eventually to Plato. It would help if people stopped confusing this for the idea Plato invented the story but was 'inspired' by the Minoans.JakesterK (talk) 17:01, 25 November 2015 (UTC) From this site: "Are there academicians who consider Atlantis to be real? Yes, there always have been academicians who considered the possibility that Atlantis was a real place, and such academicians still exist today. Among them names such as Alexander von Humboldt, August Boeckh, Wilhelm Christ, Theodor Gomperz, Wilhelm Brandenstein, Massimo Pallottino, Spyridon Marinatos, John V. Luce, Eberhard Zangger, Herwig Görgemanns."JakesterK (talk) 17:17, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

A personal German website calling itself "Academic approaches towards Plato's Atlantis as a real place" is bound to say it's real. Find a real source. DreamGuy (talk) 15:06, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Those on that list have argued it was real. Are you denying there are classicists and archaeologists who think Atlantis was a real place? They're in the minority, but they still exist. By slandering these people as cranks, you come across as a loon yourself.JakesterK (talk) 17:46, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
ctrl + f (find) and type "crank". DreamGuy has been using this word over and over, it actually makes him look like the buffoon - his only method of argument is ad hominem. JakesterK (talk) 17:49, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Are these people cranks or 'fringe scholars'??? John V. Luce, classicist, former professor and emeritus Fellow of Classics at Trinity College, Dublin; Spyridon Marinatos, archaeologist, excavator of Akrotiri, Thera. Others can be noted here. I think it's ridiculous these scholars are being slandered as cranks, or 'fringe'. JakesterK (talk) 17:58, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I would say that Luce's and Marinatos' ideas about Atlantis are now regarded as fanciful and cranky by many classicists. Here's J. Rufus Fears, writing in 2002: 'Less benign is the pseudo-historical/archaeological approach to Atlantis. The preeminent example remains John Luce's 1969 book Lost Atlantis: New Light on an Old Legend. This is the work of a distinguished academic, determined to show that Minoan Crete was the historical kernel of Plato's Atlantis. Luce's book is a double exercise in mythopoeism: Plato's fantasy of Atlantis set astride Sir Arthur Evans's fantasy of a Minoan thalassocracy. The travesty of Atlantis as Minoan Crete was debunked at length in the reviewer's essay "Atlantis and the Minoan Thalassocracy." There (p. 131), I called it "a tissuework of fabrications."'
Any theory that depends on the idea that the Thera eruption caused the downfall of Minoan society will not win wide acceptance among scholars familiar with Bronze Age Greece because it's become increasingly clear over the last few decades that the Thera eruption predated the Minoan collapse by a century and a half or more. Marinatos died in 1974, and Luce made his fullest case for Crete as the historical kernel of the Atlantis story in a book published in 1969. What seemed like a plausible theory then simply doesn't now. The lede should be based upon the current academic consensus. --Akhilleus (talk) 21:31, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

JakesterK (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic. Edward321 (talk) 18:21, 26 November 2015 (UTC) Another genius? My account is only a day old.JakesterK (talk) 19:18, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

Just for the record: Herwig Görgemanns not even remotely "considered the possibility that Atlantis was a real place." Görgemanns argues that (4th-century BC) Egyptian diplomats invited the story of a Greek-Egyptian alliance against the Sea peoples ("threat from the West") to encourage Athens and especially Chabrias for an alliance against the Persians ("threat from the East")—[the scholarly article is cited in the lead]. Görgemanns argues that if such a story existed (for which there is no evidence), it might have been picked up by Plato and re-used in his Atlantis myth. Görgemanns' hypothesis is far-fedged as it is, but not even remotely does he claim that "Atlantis was a real place." This, of course, calls into question the remaining names on JakesterK's list above. --bender235 (talk) 20:04, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
JakesterK - please tone down the abuse. It's not helpful to the discussion at hand. Trolling is not helpful here. In terms of the question of "real": the article considers the possibility that Plato was drawing on an older story. At the same time, it seems unambiguous that Plato is describing "Atlantis" with a degree of precision and detail that is very unlikely to have been included in any earlier oral stories, should any have existed. So describing "Atlantis" as fictional in Plato's account still holds, even if it drew on pre-existing accounts. The article addresses arguments that Plato drew on pre-existing sources in particular ways. If you want to protest against its current content, please suggest an alternative wording to the article that accepts that the burden of existing scholarship goes against a pre-existing source for the story.2601:1C0:C001:9D43:745D:394C:5800:4CF3 (talk) 21:09, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

According to Görgemanns (2000), the Atlantis story was *not* invented by Plato (only he embellished it), but was Egyptian in origin: "der kern der geschichte ist dann eben nicht ine fiktion platons" ("the core of the story is not exactly the fiction of Plato"). Instead of Solon bringing back the Atlantis story from Egypt to Athens (Timaeus states this), he has Egyptians themselves take it there in the early 4th century BC, and Plato heard (or read) about it. Plato was not then the author of the story according to Görgemanns. Oddly this source is cited as evidence the Atlantis story is Plato's own fictional story on the main page, which is not true. Whether the story is fiction at all in Görgemanns view is a different question, but he doesn't think it is Plato's story. Either Görgemann is saying the Egyptians made up the story being inspired by the Sea-Peoples, or that the tale actually preserved a historical memory of the Sea-Peoples, as a traditional Egyptian myth. If the latter, that makes the Atlanteans (=Sea Peoples), and Atlantis real, but if the former, fiction. Its not clear in his work, what he is arguing for. Can you blame for this? Hardly. The strangest thing is the sources on the main page that supposedly say Plato invented the story: say no such thing. Görgemanns, Luce and Zangger all have an Egyptian origin for Atlantis, not Plato. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JakesterK (talkcontribs) 01:03, 27 November 2015 (UTC) i'm going to email the author of that site to come here and he can better explain and he can continue where I left it. apparently he was here a few years back but described it as "hell". JakesterK (talk) 10:10, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

It is sad that I have to repeat this over and over again, but a fiction based on a real event/place/person this remains fiction. All places and most characters in The Man in the High Castle are real, but the book is still a piece of fiction. Similarly, even if there had been an Egyptian tradition of the Sea Peoples invasion circulated to Ancient Greece, Plato's Kritias—and everything in it—still is a piece of fiction. Period. --bender235 (talk) 00:06, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Stick with fiction. It's widely accepted that fiction as we define that word in English dates to at least the Ancient Greeks, so there is no problem at all referring to fiction from that time period as fiction; The Iliad and The Odyssey are widely regarded as the earliest surviving novels, even. The fact that some kids think "fiction" means "whatever fun stuff was published in living memory" is not our concern, other than we'll school 'em otherwise. If scholars turn up an actual Atlantis legend as folklorists and mythographers would define that term, then we can rename and rescope the article. There is no actual Greek or other Classical mythology about Atlantis, so it's wrong to call it a "myth", even if that word has some other, less precise, uses. WP needs to studiously avoid using the word that way ("urban myth", "the myth of Elvis still being alive", etc.; even we use it in the fandom sense we should qualify it with a link or adjective the way we do with the fandom sense of "canon"). It's grossly misleading, both about what is being wrongly labeled as a "myth" or "mythological", and about what such a word implies when it's being used correctly. This really matters a lot when it comes to some topics, e.g. the Arthurian cycle – there are distinct and unrelated threads of history, legend, folklore, fiction, mythology (i.e. pagan religious narrative), and Christian religion all woven together, and these terms clearly distinguish between them. It's just plain ignorant and anti-educational to conflate them.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:14, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
SMcC - I agree with much of the sentiment here, but - by the principles you mention on your own page - beware of claims about "just plain ignorance" and "anti-educational" in this case. Some of us may be ignorant of some of the more fine-tuned uses of the terminology here (e.g. me), but this isn't something that everyone should know anyway, and it's certainly not anti-educational. Please, as your own page notes, stay on the top side of the pyramid.
There are complexities here: Plato scholars often describe Atlantis as a Platonic "myth", which is intended as a term of art by them. Moreover, it's possible for a myth of Atlantis to have developed post-hoc from Plato's discussion, as when others (e.g. Bacon) took up the "place" for their own purposes. "Myth" is a general category, and doesn't have to apply only to Greek myths. And of course, words do change their meaning over time. While it's important to recognize the conceptual shifts these changes entail, it doesn't seem helpful to deny that they can occur, particularly for an encyclopedia intended to communicate with non-specialist audiences.
The question at issue here is not whether the term "fiction" can reasonably be used about works from earlier time periods. It's about whether Plato's account of Atlantis should fit into this category *if* it is in some way based on an earlier account about Thera, etc. This depends on sticky questions about what our categories mean.
My own view is that "Atlantis" is a fiction, given the details that Plato describes for it, even if there were earlier accounts of something like this sunken island circulating in his era. (Which, for the record, I think is unlikely.) My sense would be that Plato's account is fictional *even* if these earlier accounts turned out to center on an island with the same name and same basic features. But I can see why others would deny it the name of "fiction" in that instance. (Perhaps we'd say that Plato sought to present a fictionalized Atlantis in that case, rather than fully creating a fiction.) 2601:1C0:C001:9D43:556C:A563:9DF8:B6A5 (talk) 05:37, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Timaeus (dialogue) and Critias (dialogue) are not described as works of fiction by Wikipedia, nor should they be. Plato is not a novelist; he is a philosopher. He is not interested in making up stories, but making points. If Plato did invent the Atlantis story (including the framing story about Solon going to Egypt), there is no parallel to that in Plato's works. As I said before, the article provides one source to say that "present-day philologists and historians accept the story's fictional character". I would like to see more evidence of that. As I said above, experts like W K C Guthrie are not dogmatic. The idea that Plato invented it remains a theory. Guthrie might think it is likely. So may you. So may I. I have been thinking it is less likely as I have seen this debate go on. But this article should not present one point of view. In any case, this article is not just about Plato's account. The opening phrase sums up the whole article. Atlantis has become a legend. It has been the subject of much fiction and non-fiction. We don't have to love the fiction or believe in the non-fiction.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:17, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
With regard to "there is no parallel to that in Plato's works", see Myth of Er for an example of a Platonic invention with a frame. Deor (talk) 10:07, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
And Wikipedia says, "The Myth of Er is a legend", and doesn't say that Plato invented it. The difference, though, is that we know the Myth of Er is supernatural. With Atlantis, Plato makes an effort to establish that Atlantis has a geographical and historical basis. If the Atlantis story is fiction, there is no parallel to that in Plato's works.--Jack Upland (talk) 10:23, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Atlantis, the myth of Er, and the ring of Gyges are all broadly discussed as examples of Platonic fiction. Many scholars have focused on how Plato's use of fiction fits into his philosophical aims. Here's one example: Here's an example of a present-day philologist (well, actually, Pierre VIdal-Naquet died in 2006) writing about the fictional character of Plato's Atlantis: "With a perversity that was to ensure him great success, Plato had laid the foundations for the historical novel, that is to say, the novel set in a particular place and a particular time. We are now quite accustomed to historical novels, and we also know that in every detective story there comes a moment when the detective declares that real life is not much like what happens in detective stories; it is far more complicated. But that was not the case in the fourth century B.C. Plato's words were taken seriously, not by everyone, but by many, down through the centuries." ( Or Christopher Gill, writing in 1979: "There is a sense in which Plato's Atlantis story is the earliest example of narrative fiction in Greek literature..." ( --Akhilleus (talk) 15:50, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
Also J. Rufus Fears, writing in 2002: "Must it be said again? The story of Atlantis is an invention of Plato himself. There is no historical kernel to it." ( --Akhilleus (talk) 15:52, 28 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Fictional.  "Legend" implies something that could be true but there isn't any proof. "Myth" implies that it is simply not true. Scientifically speaking, the chance that Atlantis actually existed is virtually zero. I'm my opinion, "fictional" is the appropriate word to use.
    Richard27182 (talk) 10:48, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

We have overwhelming consensus from editors that it should read fiction. More importantly, the reliable sources say it too. I hope the people who want other wording will acknowledge it and move on. DreamGuy (talk) 15:26, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Fiction as first mention, and legend/myth explained in current popular culture: From an anthropological point of view, Atlantis functions as a myth in modern society. Of course it is a fiction, but it has entered the realm of popular myth in present day Western society. Very few people know that Plato authored it, but they do know the image of the city/kingdom and it functions as a trope of the horizon in modern society's collective imagination. Therefore, we should first introduce it as a fictional island authored by Plato, and then explain that it has entered the modern consciousness not via Plato by through popular culture references. The article seems to be tending there, but could use some work. It could also use some copyediting on Plato's account. SageRad (talk) 23:47, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
In 1937, F. M. Cornford mentioned the academic consensus in a footnote of his Plato's Cosmology - "Serious scholars now agree that Atlantis probably owed its existence entirely to Plato’s imagination". An exception was Rhys Carpenter who argued "I am now prepared to maintain that in Solon's day there was preserved in Egyptian temple chronicles the mention of an island that had sunk beneath the sea during a tremendous natural upheaval, and that this island - for which Plato invented the name Atlantis - was no other than Santorin". (Discontinuity in Greek Civilization, 1966, p. 31). According to Carpenter, Atlantis is history, not fiction. He thought the island of Atlantis was Thera (Santorini) as preserved in Egyptian hieroglyphic records, and that priests at Sais had shown these to Solon, and this information reached Plato. This was a very similar argument used by John V. Luce (The End of Atlantis, 1969), and a few other classicists. I don't know any alive today who still argue for this, and this view seems to have died out by the late 1970s since it was debunked (Fears who is cited above had a paper published in 1978 dismissing Luce, 1969). What people have not mentioned having read some of the chat above is that Luce revised his views in the 1970s (the proceedings are the same as Fears, 1978), to claim Solon never was told about Atlantis etc. He shifted his position from seeing Atlantis as history, to fiction.Lemurian66 (talk) 03:59, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Firstly, I think most of the scholars mentioned here are dead: Diskin Clay, Rufus Fears, Vidal-Naquet, etc. I think this just indicates there isn't much scholarly attention to Atlantis. Secondly, Cornford says "probably". Like Guthrie, discussed above, he is not dogmatic. However, in Wikipedia this becomes: ATLANTIS IS A FICTION INVENTED BY PLATO AND EVERY SCHOLAR AGREES. Thirdly, I don't agree that "legendary" means it could be true. The Holy Grail and the Philosopher's Stone are both called legendary in Wikipedia. By the way, the Legend article lists "Atlantis" under "Lists of famous legends".--Jack Upland (talk) 10:04, 3 December 2015 (UTC)
Well, its scholarly wording: "probably", "convincingly" etc. We cannot be sure of anything 100% (e.g. Julius Caesar might not have existed). Wikipedia just cites the consensus and goes along with it, does it not? This is like the theory of evolution. The problem with not going along with the consensus - is every article will then have in the opening that people disagree with it, even when they are 0.01% of academics. Aside from Carpenter and Luce, do you know of any other classical scholars arguing for a historical Atlantis in the last century? Very few classicists have ever argued for this position.Lemurian66 (talk) 14:51, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Eberhard Zangger is a "geo-archaeologist" (which is basically the geomorphology of human sites), he doesn't have good knowledge of classical texts, or Plato. His book was dismissed when it was published (see Renfrew, 1992: "[ Mere Platonic Invention?). The problem with the "list of academics" cited above who allegedly maintain Atlantis is historical, is that few people on it are/were classical scholars.Lemurian66 (talk) 15:03, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Why do they need to be classical scholars?--Jack Upland (talk) 09:02, 6 December 2015 (UTC)
Because those are the people who are experts on ancient Greek literature and philosophy. --Akhilleus (talk) 13:31, 6 December 2015
  • Fictional and allegory should i.m.o. be the first mention, because that's the way the story originated. The story is not in it's nature a legend. Legends don't get born like that. It's also not a legend in the context of the way it is mentioned in the lead Gerard von Hebel (talk) 03:08, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Atlantis abuse , this page stinks[edit]

The page is patrolled and abused by several admin who push their own views on Atlantis, bizarrely admin Doug Weller gives fringe books on Atlantis 5*, but also misrepresents their views showing he has never read them. It is apparent Doug never read this book because he writes: "What he is not arguing is that either Minoan Crete or Cyladic Thera was Atlantis. He is suggesting that instead Plato drew his story of Atlantis from proto-historical elements about both civilizations." This is completely false, Castleden actually makes the Cretan-Atlantis equation throughout his book and argues Atlantis is a traditional story, not a story Plato himself invented (inspired by Crete, or "drew his story" from Cretan elements), rather Castledon like John V. Luce (1969) thinks Atlantis was Minoan Crete.

its also known is a sockpuppet of Edward

Cronyism on this site though won't take action because "bender has 200k edits". So if you sit on this site all day making thousands of edits you are free to create a whole sockpuppet army.Cadfaelite (talk) 15:48, 30 December 2015 (UTC) :still the intro misrepresent zangger and luce. lol. What loons run this place...

hohoho learn something for a change:
Luce (1969) is identical to Zangger (1992) in regards to Solon having passed down the story to Plato through his family:
"Solon's account, and possibly also a Solonian manuscript, then descended to Plato by the route he indicates within his own family. This would explain why it was a genuine historical tradition, and yet not a part of current Greek mythology." Luce, The End of Atlantis, 1969 p. 140
There is no distinction between Zangger and Luce here. Bender is wrong about both, not just Zangger. The "skeptics" that dominate the Atlantis entry are complete amateurs and are apparently not familiar with much Atlantis literature. Some clown has just re-added both source (Luce & Zangger) when they don't match up to what is said. SolontheAthenian (talk) 16:28, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
CritiasAtlantis (talk) 15:59, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Castleden p. 7 "The thesis of this book is that this story is not one piece of identifiable proto-history but several, and that Plato drew them together because he wanted to weave them into a parable that commented on the state of the world in his own times." p. 181 "The hypothesis revived repeatedly in the twentieth century - that Minoan Crete was Atlantis - has proved inadequate to the case and has been rightly been rejected." If as I suspect these two editors are socks we can delete this section including this post of mine. Hardly worth refuting someone who claims Castleden claims Atlantis was Minoan Crete. Doug Weller talk 17:05, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Even if they are not sockpuppets, it is ridiculous to ignore the fact that we have just had an RfC. I wouldn't have bothered initiating that RfC if I had realised that so much of the debate over the years has been fabricated.--Jack Upland (talk) 17:50, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
They're all blocked. I've got no doubt they are socks, almost certainly from the same stable as JesusWaters and SolontheAthenian above. The Castleden stuff is copied from another website where I've been attacked. Doug Weller talk 19:03, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Not sure how to react to this nonsense. Probably it's best not to react at all. Don't feed the trolls. --bender235 (talk) 22:51, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Are there academicians who consider Atlantis to be real?[edit]

Are there academicians who consider Atlantis to be real? Yes, there always have been academicians who considered the possibility that Atlantis was a real place, and such academicians still exist today. Among them names such as Alexander von Humboldt, August Boeckh, Wilhelm Christ, Theodor Gomperz, Wilhelm Brandenstein, Massimo Pallottino, Spyridon Marinatos, John V. Luce, Eberhard Zangger, Herwig Görgemanns. Donnis Rome Viharo with an ectoplasm on top (talk) 21:08, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

The page you cited also says "There are principally three types of Atlantis hypotheses", with the first being "Atlantis is an invention by Plato, a so-called 'Platonic Myth'. This is at the moment the opinion of the vast majority of academicians." Since this is "the opinion of the vast majority of academicians", it is the view that the Wikipedia article should reflect. See WP:FRINGE. Deor (talk) 21:43, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Just looked at Luce's chapter in Ramage's book - I don't see where he considers it to have been real. And he calls it legend. Doug Weller talk 21:55, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Whether or not there is an academician, somewhere, who considers Atlantis to be real is not especially important. There is somebody, somewhere, who believes almost anything. We need to focus on mainstream understanding as documented in reliable sources. Thanks, Isambard Kingdom (talk) 22:20, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
This does not seem to be an accurate assessment of the views of Luce or Görgemanns. Zangger is not an academic, and when he writes about Atlantis he is to be considered a crank. I don't think we need to keep this section going, except perhaps to ask why this user has come up with a new, strangely-named account to post a link to a site that has been mentioned many times in the archives... --Akhilleus (talk) 22:53, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Jon Donnis Rome Viharo with an ectoplasm is a sock of CritiasAtlantis (among others) and has been blocked.[4] Edward321 (talk) 14:55, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Actually sock of AngloPyramidologist/GoblinFace, a number of been blocked this month. Doug Weller talk 17:11, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, have the other SPAs who commented on this page been checked, like those who participated in the RfC above? It's not a big deal, but I'm wondering just how much of this talk page consists of sockpuppet posts. --Akhilleus (talk) 20:14, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Quack Hunter was thought to be a puppetmaster but found to be another AP sock. So OldTacitus, SolontheAthenian, JesusWater and AncientScribal are also AP socks. But VandVictory is an OccultZone sock. Must strike their edits when I have time. Are there any I might have missed? Doug Weller talk 21:27, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
JakesterK and Lemurian66 might be socks. I can't comment on whether they've been checked of course, and they haven't edited since editing here. But they aren't stale so I might check when I have time - although I don't know how easy that might be. Doug Weller talk 21:33, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 May 2016[edit]

Bk4687 (talk) 19:47, 2 May 2016 (UTC)I Atlantis exists i know it exists and i can prove it i believe in Atlantis and whoever does not shall be sorry because they will not recieve any moeney i get from finding Atlantis the lost city.ψΩΏΏΨΨΨΨΨΨΨῺῼΏ

X mark.svg Not done. There's no edit request here, just a rant. Deor (talk) 19:53, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 August 2016[edit]

Please change

"But at a later time there occurred portentous earthquakes and floods, and one grievous day and night befell them, when the whole body of your warriors was swallowed up by the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner was swallowed up by the sea and vanished; wherefore also the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal mud which the island created as it settled down."[citation needed]


"But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island."

Source is MIT's digital archive, which contains a translated Timaeus - translated by Benjamin Jowett - and is available for reference online at [1]


HatterJack (talk) 10:58, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

Question: Is it just me, or does it seem like the quote, regardless of the translation, is very oddly placed within the article?Topher385 (talk) 11:11, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. The quote desperately needed a reference citation, so thank you very much, HatterJack!  Rules of enpagement Paine  22:33, 19 August 2016 (UTC)