Nearly all major ancient civilization has a story of a great flood. For the Sumerians, it was the legend of Gilgamesh the great king and his companion Enkidu. For the Hebrew and eventually the Christians, it was the story of Noah and his menagerie aboard the Ark. And for the ancient Egyptians of the Middle Kingdom, writing in ?he Book of the Dog? there was the fear that one day Re might return humankind to the tears from when they came. Many scholars agree that for so many different and diverse civilizations to share such a distinct event, then this even most likely did occur.
Therefore, continuing this supposition, that several cultures agreeing on an event would be a record of its occurrence, a great flood did occur at some point in antiquity. What few, if any, scholars have been unable to agree upon is when and where this event took place. Given that all these civilizations are situated in the Middle Eastern area of the planet, it can be assumed that this flood took place in that area, possibly in the Mediterranean Sea, which is located near most of them, with the exception of Sumeria; Egypt and what is now Israel both have a natural border to the Mediterranean, while Sumeria (or now Iraq) lies hundreds of miles off its shores.
Having dealt briefly with the facts, we now turn to the supposition part of this essay. Given the three different civilizations with flood mythos and supposing that this flood came from the Mediterranean Sea, could it be possible that this great flood were perhaps the waters churned and raised by the sinking of Atlantis, when one also takes into account Plato? tale of the disappearing island in his ?he Republic? causing a natural disaster so unheard of in that day and age that it could only be considered the act of some angry god bent on punishing humans for their wickedness, as we see in the Gilgamesh and Hebrew legends? Or could it be that at the end of the last Ice Age, when the ice began to melt, the rising water tables took the city-island of Atlantis underwater, sending its residents fleeing in whatever directions they could run? Perhaps some moved south to become the civilization that became ancient Egypt and others north into Greece and Rome, while others moved to the close shore of modern-day Israel and others further inland to the Sumerian region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers?
If we turn to the former theory, how could it be true for an entire island to sink into the ocean fast enough to cause a flood? If we consider some of the rest of the Mediterranean area and in particular Greece and Italy, we see an unstable area of the world. We must consider the massive explosion of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, completely burying the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. This proofs at least one active volcano (still active, even today) in the vicinity of the Mediterranean. Turning our eyes to Italy, we look to the sinking city of Venice, showing that the land itself can prove unstable. This gives us two options: perhaps either Atlantis was completely built on this same weak soil as Venice, perhaps even limestone, which finally gave way beneath the weight of the country and sank beneath the ocean in a rush; or a volcano went active beneath or near the island, either causing a massive explosion under the island and bringing it crashing down, or sinking it in a tsunami-like wave. Were either of these options true, we would bear witness to few to no survivors.
If this latter theory is true, then the event that took Atlantis, supposing it was the inundation of post-Ice Age waters, which could have taken between ten and a hundred years to rise, it could not have been an overnight event as a volcanic eruption or overweighted bad soil. This would have allowed the Atlanteans to migrate away from the island and into new lands. Fleeing their vanishing homeland, these people, again, could have moved in nearly any direction: north, south, or perhaps west. Moving north, we could find the mythic beginnings of the Roman Empire, the tale of Romulus and Remus on the Tiber River. Moving south, we see the legend of Re crying tears that form people that he may one day take back into the water from whence they came. To the west, we see both Noah and Utnapishtim surviving a great flood by creating a giant boat and filling it with the animals and a few people of their respective lands, warned through some form of divine intervention. Plato suggests that Atlantis was far more technologically advanced than Rome and Greece of that day; perhaps science was their form of divine intervention.
With as many theories floating about regarding the fate of Plato? lost island-city as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on the beach, a few more theories added in the mix perhaps would not hurt too much. Atlantis is as much a myth today as Heracles, Osiris, or Utnapishtim were to the people of their own country, civilization, and era.
Perhaps another possibility exists, if one turns to more supernatural and archaic methods of explaining a mystery. Suppose the tales of some sort of divine intervention, be it the Greek or Roman gods or the Hebrew Yahwah or even the Ruler of the Underworld Osiris, could be the truth. Perhaps the Atlanteans did something that so angered either their own gods or the gods of a neighboring country that they were cursed and destroyed. Even modern man can still be at a loss to explain the workings of curses (Are they suggestive reasoning or is there power to the magic?), so it might be erroneous to rule this out simply because today? population believes in, by the majority, in a single god descended from Yahwah, or because science usually denies the existence of magic as mere folklore used to entertain the great unlearned masses of the Middle Ages and before.
And maybe there? just one more thing that could be. Maybe Atlantis was never real to begin with. Maybe Plato was using that term as allegorically as a 21st century man would tell someone to ?o to hell or perhaps makes a reference to heaven; they are not a real place, and no one has ever seen them, but many people are convinced that them exists. Perhaps Atlantis was the mythic place of legend for the Romans of that time period, a parable perhaps of what could have given society? excesses. The name certainly would not have been hard for a brilliant and well-versed man such as Plato to come up with: all he would have to do would be look into Greek mythology and find the legend of Atlas, holding the world on his shoulders for all eternity, and from there construct a fine legend of what could happen if the Roman people did not change this or that. Perhaps Atlantis is nothing more than the bedtime story of a very learned man, who has seen made his parable into a mythology and lost civilization all its own.