Atlantis and Egypt

I was watching a show last night on the History Channel (not exactly the most accurate place for info, but fun sometimes) and they were talking about Atlantis and the various theories on where it is. One of the theories (the one most plausible to me) was that Atlantis was simply the Minoan civilization and that the events described were about the explosion of Santorini and the downfall of their civilization. Plausible, but without any physical evidence…at least thats what I thought (and still do).

This gets to my question. On the show they were talking about how the Greeks learned about the Atlantis story from the Egyptians (supposedly). I always thought this was, well, if not bullshit at least that there was no physical evidence of it. However, according to the show there ARE Egyptian writings that talk about the destruction of Santorini and the Minoan civilization (they don’t call it ‘Atlantis’ of course)…as well as go on to describe how the Greeks invaded and conquered the Minoans after the disaster (i.e. describing the supposed legend of Atlantis).

Is any of this reality based?? Are there Egyptian writings that describe the event? Obviously even if there are there is nothing to say that they are what Solon Timaios was supposedly shown and brought back to Greece. Still, I was wondering if there really are such records…and what they say exactly. How close to the supposed story of Atlantis are they?

My other question is…it was always my understanding that historically there WAS no evidence of a story of Atlantis (by any name) in Greece before Plato. True?


In Plato’s dialogues, one of the interlocutors claims to have heard the story of Atlantis in Egypt (or from an Egyptian, I forget).

So far as I know, Plato is the only source for the Atlantis story, I’m inclined to think he made the whole thing up to illustrate his philosophy, and gave the story and Egyptian origin to give it an exotic air. Saying that things came from Egypt to make them seem the product of ancient mysteries and learning was a common thing to do in the ancient world (and in the medieval world, the Renissance and up to modern times now that I think about it).

Off the top of my head, here are some other things that were given a questionable Egyptian origin:

-The Gypsies
-The Book of Mormon (or at least was supposed to originally have been written in Egyptian.
-The Jews
-Math (or more specifically, the mathematical mysticism of Pythagoras and the like)
-A lot of Greek religion and art (granted at least some of this probably did come from Egypt).
-The Hermetic “traditions”
-Jesus (after his parents fled Herod)

My point being that giving something an Egyptian origin to make it seem exotic and mysterious is a really old practice