Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ancient Greece (pt. 13)

I don't mind thinking of Minoa as the historical equivalent to Atlantis, but I'm no scholar and am probably good with it just because I've always been fascinated with the myth ever since my imagination was sparked reading The Magician's Nephew, C. S. Lewis's epic fantasy, in which the character Uncle Andrew explains the following to his nephew in the second chapter:

"Ah—that was a great day when I at last found out the truth.  The box was Atlantean; it came from the lost island of Atlantis.  That meant that it was centuries older than any of the stone-age things they dig up in Europe.  And it wasn't a rough, crude thing like them either.  For in the very dawn of time Atlantis was already a great city with palaces and temples and learned men."

Not too accurate, but then again the myth of Atlantis is such that gets fantasized all the time.  It is almost like El Dorado, or Mars, or the Garden of Eden itself—everybody has their own opinions about its history, about what it could have been like.  And it is fun to make up stories about it, like Lewis did.  Even Tolkien (a close friend of Lewis's) made a fantasy version of the Atlantian myth to put in his own stories of Middle Earth (the island of Numenor shares several characteristics of Atlantis).  Lewis actually wrote a lot about Atlantis.  (I know we're way off topic, but I'm there now, so I'm just gonna keep going).  He always referred to it as a "mythology," however, not a historical fact or even a possibility.  An entry in his diary from 1922 tells of a conversation he had with a friend of his, Dr. John Askins ("the Doc"):

"He talked about Atlantis, on which there is apparently a plentiful philosophical literature: nobody seems to realise that a Platonic myth is fiction, not legend, and therefore no base for speculation."

Perhaps not.  Since then more archaeological discoveries have been made.  But whether there was a real Atlantis or not, it's still just fun to imagine (and I think Lewis and Tolkien would have agreed with me there).  It's fun to make up stories about it and think about how cool it would be to ride on one of those super fast flying fishes that they have in the Disney movie (heehee).

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