In the fifth century BC the Greek philosopher Plato describes the disappearance of the island of Atlantis, basing his tale on the account of Solon in the sixth century BC. Solon in turn had received his information from Egyptian priests. Plato’s account, written some time around 360 BC, is in part as follows:

" Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent . . . But, there occurred violent earthquakes and floods, and in a single day and night of misfortune. . . the island of Atlantis . . . disappeared in the depths of the sea."

Many scholars have speculated that Plato’s account of the destruction and disappearance of the island of Atlantis is a legend that is derived from the great eruption of Santorini in the Bronze Age. Most or all legends are based on some grain of truth, some natural or historical event, that has been re-told, modified and magnified with time. It is therefore well worth while to examine the legend further and look for parallels between the Atlantis account and what we know of Thera, or Santorini, as the island was known in ancient times.

Plato was founder of the famous Academy of Athens, where his most famous student was Aristotle. In the Timaeus and in Critias Plato describes Atlantis as being a circular island, with an interior ring of sea. Passages or canals extended from the inner ring to the open ocean. K.T. Frost was perhaps the first to suggest that the Atlantis legend might be related to the Thera eruption, but he suggested near-by Crete as the location of ancient Atlantis, and the Minoan culture as the basis for the culture of the mythical Atlanteans. Others have gone further and suggested that the island of Thera itself represents Atlantis. In support of this one may point out the ring-like and concentric structures of Thera, the passages to the open ocean, the total destruction of the island and its inhabitants, with a typical Minoan civilization.