The earliest description of Atlantis was written down 9,000 years after the island nation was said to have existed. Plato told of this highly advanced nation, a place of incredible beauty… until in a single day and night, it sank beneath the waves. But was Atlantis ever real? Keep reading, and decide where you stand in the debate.

Atlantis, according to Plato

By Plato’s description, Atlantis was an enormous island in the Atlantic Ocean. As Atlantis became more and more advanced, the Atlanteans also became more unethical. Eventually, the island had to be punished. Even in ancient times, people debated whether Plato’s tale was a real historical account.

Strict skeptics denounce Atlantis as fact and put it squarely in the realm of legend. It is rather unbelievable that an island larger than Asia, which is how Plato described Atlantis, could remain hidden. But in many ways, Atlantis was a real city. At least, how it disappeared is a real enough story.

The real Atlanteans

The closest civilization to Atlantis is probably the Minoan culture, which disappeared when a violent volcano erupted in the Aegean Sea, near Greece, 3,600 years ago. The Minoans were highly advanced for their time, and known as seafarers in the ancient world. Then, they were gone. Their story closely links to the Atlantis legend.

With the discovery of the Bimini Road, the scientific community and the general public believed that evidence of Atlantis does exist. But after repeated studies, many now believe that the “road” is not an ancient ruin. Rather, it is a natural, not man-made, occurrence.

But was Atlantis real?

Can an entire island disappear beneath the waves of the ocean? In short, yes. There is ample scientific evidence to suggest that this exact thing has happened. History is littered with legends about civilizations and whole cities being swallowed by the sea, and the ocean floor is littered with proof of these events. So in short, the Atlantis legend could be real. In some ways, it is real.

Only 5 percent of the world’s seafloor has been mapped in detail. This leaves 95 percent of the ocean floor that is unknown. In that vast landscape, anything could be hidden — including an ancient, advanced city once swept under the waves.