The fabled Island of Atlantis (Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος) is thought to have been first mentioned in an allegorical fictitious work by the Athenian Philosopher, Plato, c. 380 BC. I could forgive you for assuming that is where the story of Atlantis ends. However, in the 2399 year gap from that alleged origin to the writing of this text, the mystery surrounding Atlantis has grown tremendously.
The following is an account of Usermaatre Ramesses III (the 2nd Pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty of Egypt) & The Battle of Djahy:
“Now the northern countries, which were in their isles, were quivering in their bodies. They penetrated the channels of the Nile mouths. Their nostrils have ceased (to function, so that) their desire is [to] breathe the breath. His majesty is gone forth like a whirlwind against them, fighting on the battle field like a runner. The dread of him and the terror of him have entered in their bodies; (they are) capsized and overwhelmed in their places. Their hearts are taken away; their soul is flown away. Their weapons are scattered in the sea. His arrow pierces him whom he has wished among them, while the fugitive is become one fallen into the water. His majesty is like an enraged lion, attacking his assailant with his pawns; plundering on his right hand and powerful on his left hand, like Set[h] destroying the serpent ‘Evil of Character’. It is Amon-Re who has overthrown for him the lands and has crushed for him every land under his feet; King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands: Usermare-Meriamon.”
— translated by Egerton and Wilson, 1936.
Very little is known about these invaders, other than the fact that they came from the sea. Only referred to as ‘the sea people’, unable to ever successfully sack Egypt though they are credited with the toppling of several civilizations of the Bronze Age. These seafarers to some, represent a possible candidate for a people that may represent a tangible Atlantian presence in the ancient world. Perhaps due to their numbers and military capability it was falsely assumed they came from some great land mass. An island that rivaled Egypt in cultural and technological progression. When in reality, these “sea people” may have came from humble islands scattered throughout the Mediterranean.
In a way, Atlantis to most of us represents how we feel about antiquity at large. Just as great civilizations are lost to destruction, their enemies, the wrath of nature or the passing of time. It isn’t difficult for most of us to believe that there was once a great civilization that existed in this world, which we know nothing about. As though the very nation, after a great battle, earthquake, flood or the will of a God – sunk beneath the sea. Lost, never to be seen again.
Often we’re so caught up in our literal understanding, we fail to realize that land doesn’t make nations, people do. This rang just as true in the ancient world. A nation of nomadic warriors, for whatever reason, once dispersed, it’s as though their once great Kingdom had dissolved into thin air. Gone without a trace.
Whether or not there was ever an actual island that sunk into the sea known as Atlantis, most of us could never be entirely certain. But to this day, the sea surrounding the missing island bears the name Ἀτλαντὶς θάλασσα, which translates to “the sea of Atlantis”. To this day, it is known as the Atlantic Ocean.