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1. Description of Atlantis, the sunken continent

Plato, in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias1, relates the legend of a powerful nation that around 9500 BCE inhabited a continent greater in size than ancient Libya and Asia combined. This nation attacked and conquered Europe and Asia, with only the Greeks being able to prevail against them. Sometime after the invasion, however, the Greeks and the Atlanteans were ‘swallowed up’ by the sea in a single grievous day and night.

The continent, which lay beyond the Pillars of Hercules, is described as having had a central, “rectangular and oblong” shaped plain with a 3:2 length-to-width ratio, surrounded by mountains but with an opening to the sea. A mountain that was “low on all sides” ran through the centre of the plain.Atlantis had ten states or provinces, each with its own king and capital city. The fabulous royal city of Atlantis was surrounded by circles of sea over which bridges had been built.The royal city of Atlantis alone had a standing army of what based on calculations must have been close to 1 million soldiers and a fleet of 1200 warships2. The capital cities of the other states had armies of varying sizes, with a total population of between 64 and 100 million people 3.

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