ATLANTIS, ATALANTIS, or Atlantica, a legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean, first mentioned by Plato in the Timaeus.
According to the priests, Atlantis had been a powerful kingdom nine thousand years before the birth of Solon, and its armies had overrun the lands which bordered the Mediterranean.
Finally the sea had overwhelmed Atlantis, and had thenceforward become unnavigable owing to the shoals which marked the spot.
These, which are described in separate articles, helped to maintain the tradition of an earthly paradise which had become associated with the myth of Atlantis; and all except Avalon were marked in maps of the 14th and 15th centuries, and formed the object of voyages of discovery, in one case (St Brendan's island) until the 18th century.
For the theory that Atlantis is to be identified with Crete in the Minoan period, see "The Lost Continent" in The Times (London) for the 19th of February 1909.
These sudden appearances of vast bodies of lemmings, and their singular habit of persistently pursuing the same onward course of migration, have given rise to various speculations, from the ancient belief of the Norwegian peasants, shared by Olaus Magnus, that they fall down from the clouds, to the hypothesis that they are acting in obedience to an instinct inherited from ancient times, and still seeking the congenial home in the submerged Atlantis, to which their ancestors of the Miocene period were wont to resort when driven from their ordinary dwelling-places by crowding or scarcity of food.
The most interesting, and in many respects the most remarkable, is the philosophic romance, the New Atlantis, a description of an ideal state in which the principles of the new philosophy are carried out by political machinery and under state guidance, and where many of the results contemplated by Bacon are in imagination attained.
222,233); New Atlantis (Works, iii.
If, however, we are to attach weight to English writers of the latter half of the 17th century, we shall find that one of Bacon's greatest achievements was the impetus given by his New Atlantis to the foundation of the Royal Society.
Joseph Glanvill, in his Scepsis Scientifica (dedication) says, " Solomon's house in the New Atlantis was a prophetic scheme of the Royal Society "; and Henry Oldenburg (c. 1615-1677), one of the first secretaries of the society, speaks of the new eagerness to obtain scientific data as " a work begun by the single care and conduct of the excellent Lord Verulam."
Morley (1905); and, with the New Atlantis, in the " World's Classics " series (introduction by Prof. T.
Wisdom of the Ancients and New Atlantis, in " Cassell's National Library " (1886 and 1903).
Smith, New Atlantis (1900).
The oldest suggested etymology (1455) fancifully connects it with the name of the Platonic Atlantis, while later writers have endeavoured to derive it from the Latin anterior (i.e.
His Atland (or Atlantika) appeared in four folio volumes, in Latin and Swedish, in 1675-1698; it was an attempt to summon all the authority of the past, all the sages of Greece and the bards of Iceland, to prove the inherent and indisputable greatness of the Swedish nation, in which the fabulous Atlantis had been at last discovered.
In Bacon's New Atlantis (1624-29) science is the key to universal happiness; Tommaso Campanella's Civitas Solis (1623) portrays a communistic society, and is largely inspired by the Republic of Plato; James Harrington's Oceana (1656), which had a profound influence upon political thought in America, is a practical treatise rather than a romance, and is founded on the ideas that property, especially in land, is the basis of political power, and that the executive should only be controlled for a short period by the same man or men.