The first mention of Atlantis was by Plato in what is believed to be - or should have been - a 3-part book, or 2-part that was never completed. It literally ends in mid-sentence! It's likely that Plato never finished it for some reason, but there's also a chance that the remaining parts were either lost or destroyed. Unless they miraculously turn up, we'll never know.
The story is dated around 360 BC. It is a dialogue between 4 people: Socrates, Critias, Timaeus, & Hermocrates. It was translated to English by Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893).
My opinion on the stories of Timaeus & Critias is that Plato had something to tell the world and used a dialogue between 4 persons to do it. Socrates could very well have recited the whole thing to him, but the book was written almost 40 years after Socrates' death. How much is truth, fiction, or lies can't be known. That's up to you to decide. I've read the story a couple times over the years but have never gotten into much of the debate around it. One day, if I decide to study it more maybe I'll change this part of the intro but I think debating over something like this is a lost cause since nobody's right.
Where do I look for Atlantis info in these?
Anyway, I'm going to post both stories for you to read. They are long so I'll break them down into smaller parts for you. Timaeus mentions Atlantis in the beginning - so if you're reading just to read about Atlantis, you'll want to stop after the first page. The rest has to do with things like the creation of mankind and a whole bunch more interesting - yet boring - stuff. Sorry to all the scholarly types who enjoy works like this, but I have trouble paying attention when reading books of this type.
Critias is full of Atlantis and much more interesting. It goes into a lot of detail you can't find anywhere else unless reading through Edgar Cayce archives.
As for the people involved, all but Timaeus are well known people of the time. Records of them can still be found - we know they were real people.
Timaeus can only be found in here. Any other references of him in history are in relation to Plato. Timaeus could very well have been a made up person for the story but he could just as easily been a no-name who happened to be present. According to Wikipedia, he was a pythagorean philosopher who lived in the 5th century BC, but I'm not sure who the source was for that information.
Socrates was a philosopher of Athens who lived from 469 B.C. to 399 B.C. At age 70 he was ordered to drink a hemlock cocktail (poison) as a death sentence for heresy and corruption of youth. Plato was a student of his, which probably meant that Socrates recited most of Timaeus and Critias to Plato at one time.
Hermocrates (birth unknown, died 407 B.C.) was a statesman and a soldier from Syracuse. He fought with Syracuse against the Athenians.
Critias - Two of them??
Now, this part can be confusing - there are actually 2 Critias's in the stories. The one in the dialogue is a relative of Plato. He was an Athenian political leader and writer. Born in 460 B.C., he was killed in battle in 403 B.C.
And those 4 men are talking about these 3 men.
In the dialogue of the stories themselves, there are 3 more people who are talked about. In a way, Plato is writing down what had been passed on for generations.
Solon is the person who the whole history starts off with. He was an Athenian traveler, poet, and lawgiver. He lived around 638-559 B.C. Solon was the original person who learned the story of Atlantis from an Egyptian priest.
Dropides and Critias II
This brings us to Dropides. He was some sort of relation and good friend to Solon. Solon passed the knowledge of Atlantis on to Dropides. Dropides then passed the knowledge on to his son, Critias. The Critias talked about in the stories is actually dialogue Critias' grandfather.
So to sum it up, the Critias talking with Socrates, Timaeus & Hermocrates, is telling a story told to him by his grandfather, also named Critias, who was told the story by HIS father Dropides (young Critias' great-grandfather) who was told the story by his friend/distant cousin, Solon, who was told the story by some Egyptian Priest during his travels, who had been told the story through 9000 years of other priests who had been told by the survivors of the deluge. Now, young Critias, Socrates, Timaeus & Hermocrates are standing around years later taking about the story. Years after that, Plato wrote this all down. Wow! I hope that sums it up. If not, read it again.
Ok, enough already! Here it is:
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