Behold Forgotten Atlantis

“For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Heracles,' there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travellers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvellous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.”

Thus spake Plato, thousands of years ago, of a great lost civilisation that once warred with his native land. The original account of the Atlantis of 10,000 BC, bereft of all that was added on in later years as parables to warn of the dangers of technology. Every age seems to have developed its old Atlantis, a dark mirror of the fears of its own time; it has ultimately become some sort of ancient technological super-power, which dared tamper with the greatest secrets of science and was ultimately destroyed.

The version of Atlantis that has always fascinated me, however, is an older one; an ancient power that sent its mighty war-fleets to conquer the world, creating a vast empire, before it was destroyed by a great cataclysm; in the final days, Athens led an alliance to bring down the hated Atlantean Empire, before it two was shattered by the cataclysm that created a new Dark Age, one that would last until the Egyptians rose their pyramids, or the Sumerians built their cities.

Naturally, the historian in me must regrettably conclude that Atlantis almost certainly did not exist in anything like that form. Most likely it is a legend stemming from the Heroic Age of Greece, tales of wars against Minoan Crete, or some other seafaring power. It's a time we know too little about; a time when civilisation teetered on the brink of collapse. Nevertheless, the dreamer in me wants to believe in such a time, and such a place.

I presume you see where I am going with this. Atlantis as a starting point for stories isn't exactly new; Kull, after all, was an exile from that land, and Elak's adventures all took place in a version of that continent. Nevertheless, I think that the centuries following the fall of Atlantis, a time when the lights of civilisation are slowly fading throughout the world, where the remaining outposts of knowledge are growing more decadent and depraved...could not be a better time to tell stories of sword and sorcery.

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