Atlantis is mentioned in Plato's Timaeus and Critias dialogues.

I would like to know how I can set the story to a location in or around the Caribbean, during a time frame that would "fit" the story of Atlantis.

Pulling elements from the Atlantis story:

  • It was an island beyond the Pillars of Hercules
  • Famous for their orichalcum metal
  • Atlanteans originally seen as "good" but became evil/corrupt over time by the Athenians
  • Involved in a war with Athens (said to be 9,000 years before the lifetime of Plato)
  • Conquered areas of Libya up to Egypt
  • Conquered areas of Europe up to, and including part of, Italy
  • Lost the war against Athens, and saw lands subsequently freed from Atlantean rule
  • The island, at a later date, was destroyed by Earthquakes and subsequently submerged

A description of the island:

an island consisting mostly of mountains in the northern portions and along the shore and encompassing a great plain in an oblong shape in the south "extending in one direction three thousand stadia [about 555 km; 345 mi], but across the center inland it was two thousand stadia [about 370 km; 230 mi]." Fifty stadia [9 km; 6 mi] from the coast was a mountain that was low on all sides ... broke it off all round about ... the central island itself was five stades in diameter [about 0.92 km; 0.57 mi]

With further details:

enclosed it with three circular moats of increasing width, varying from one to three stadia and separated by rings of land proportional in size. The Atlanteans then built bridges northward from the mountain, making a route to the rest of the island. They dug a great canal to the sea, and alongside the bridges carved tunnels into the rings of rock so that ships could pass into the city around the mountain; they carved docks from the rock walls of the moats. Every passage to the city was guarded by gates and towers, and a wall surrounded each of the city's rings. The walls were constructed of red, white and black rock quarried from the moats, and were covered with brass, tin and the precious metal orichalcum, respectively.

In Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (a video game from the 90's and various comic books) given measurements are said to be subject to multiplication errors. This idea can be re-used to change elements such as "9000 years" to "900 years" or "90 years".

My question is this:

How can I re-imagine the story into a Caribbean location during "ancient" times? The story must fit with given details or give suitable explanations to why the detail differs. The story must fit into the history of the region(s). It can use other elements of established stories of lost islands/civilisations in the Caribbean region.

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    $\begingroup$ The Caribbean is already a possible location for the city. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 13 '16 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ What is the problem with situating Atlantis in the Caribbean? It is beyond the pillars of Hercules, although a bit more to the west. It fits with Mayanism, the 16th century tendency to state that the indigenous people of the new world could never have built the Mayan temples. Depending on your intention a problem could be mixing the part Caribbean culture that originate from African slaves into the story. $\endgroup$ – Kasper van den Berg Apr 13 '16 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ Also the Bermuda Triangle seems to always gain some interest when you start talking about Caribbean water areas... $\endgroup$ – Theyna Apr 13 '16 at 20:05


The largest problem you will run into would be the conflict between Athens and Atlantis, and the conquest of part of the Mediterranean. If Atlantis was situated in the Caribbean the Atlanteans would have to cross the Atlantic Ocean in order to reach these areas. There are a number of issues to consider.

Firstly, assuming they possessed technology comparable to the Athenians, this would be very difficult. Greek ships relied primarily on shoreline navigation and hope to get from place to place. It wasn't until the invention of the compass, the sextant, and the development of centrifugal escapements in clocks that allowed more advanced navigation possible. Speed would also be an issue, since rowing over long distances would be slow and require food stores beyond what was capable of such a vessel.

Secondly, why would the Atlanteans desire to conquer the Mediterranean? From the Caribbean there are far closer targets for them to conquer, namely the American continents, and also Africa, should they actually manage to make the trans-Atlantic journey in the first place. The Greeks were truly small potatoes compared to the rest of the world, if you analyze from a global perspective.


So let's try to work around these problems. First we have the assumption the Atlanteans had similar tech to the Ancient Greeks. Can we alter that? Might the Greeks simply been lucky in their victory over Atlantis? This might explain quite a few things, actually. Here's what I'm thinking:

Perhaps there was a faction of Atlanteans discontent with their stations and decide to venture East in pursuit of freedom/conquest/riches/whatever. Atlantis could have the technology to make the trip, perhaps; afterall, they have advanced metallurgy (orichalcum), so why not advanced navigation techniques and sailing ships? So these malcontents flee to the East on their ships and discover a new continent! Sailing up the shoreline, looting and conquering, they eventually wind up in the Mediterranean sea where they encounter a "primitive" society of Greeks. The Greeks don't just lay down and die but instead fight back, and en masse. These Atlanteans, who are not warriors, and do not possess the resources to truly fight back, eventually retreat from the Greeks.

From the Greek perspective they have defeated an evil conqueror from the West. Captured Atlanteans speak of their homeland on a Caribbean island, which the Greeks interpret this to mean somewhere nearby, since the Greeks have no real concept of the size of the Earth, and definitely don't know about the Americas yet. Captured Atlanteans also speak about why they left in the first place, which the Greeks take to mean that the Atlanteans-proper have become evil and corrupt, when in reality it was the malcontents who were the evil ones.


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