(View exact match)AtlantisSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Atalantis, Atlantica
DEFINITION: An earthly paradise described by Plato in two of his dialogues, "Timaeus" and "Critias". In "Timaeus" quoting Athenian lawgiver Solon Plato describes a circular island that developed a high level of civilization but which degenerated and sank into the sea (due to earthquakes) as punishment. Atlantis was a rich island whose powerful princes conquered many Mediterranean lands until they were finally defeated by the Athenians and their allies. It was described as existing 9000 years before Solon's birth - an unlikely dating. Though its location is unknown it is supposed to have existed between Africa and the New World (west of the Straits of Gibraltar) and larger than Asia Minor and Libya combined. Some have suggested that it was a vanished Minoan civilization or ancient Thera which was destroyed c 1470 BC. Many other interpretations have been offered including that Plato's Atlantis is a philosophical abstraction. In the Critias Plato supplied a history of the ideal commonwealth of the Atlantians.
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TheraSYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: modern Santorini
DEFINITION: Volcanic island in the Cyclades and the site of a Mycenaean settlement and a flourishing Bronze Age Minoan town (Akrotiri) on its lower slopes. The inhabitants were driven out by an earthquake c 1500 BC and in c 1470 a catastrophic eruption buried the remains under 30 meters of ash. There were shock waves across the south Aegean Sea and extent to which the volcano's eruption contributed to the downfall of the Minoans on Crete is debated. There is, however, a chronological problem: the destruction of the Minoan palaces on Crete seems to have occurred c1450 BC, some 50 years after the abandonment of Akrotiri. Based on evidence from a Greenland ice-core and from tree-ring and radiocarbon dating, some scholars believe that it occurred earlier, during the 1620s BC. Some tie the events to the legend of Atlantis. Around the beginning of the first millennium BC, Dorian settlers came to Thera. From 308 to 145 the island, a member of the Cycladic League, was a Ptolemaic protectorate. Akrotiri's houses contain some of the finest Minoan frescoes found in the Mediterranean.