Destruction of Athenian Army
The Destruction of the Athenian Army, together with that of Atlantis, as related by Plato, (Timaeus 25d) makes no sense if the whole story is allegedly offered as a morality tale, where the wicked and corrupt Atlanteans are destroyed because of their evil ways. Normally, such a story would show the allegedly morally superior Athenians prospering and triumphant over their opponents. The very fact that both military protagonists were destroyed, though not necessarily at the same time, would seem to be at odds with the idea of it being a morality tale and instead adds to the credibility of Plato’s narrative as containing some historical truth. Bernard Suzanne offers a totally different interpretation based on the background and motives of Critias(a).*Serbian Atlantis sceptic, Slobodan Dušanic (1939-2012), has noted(b) that “while the Atlantis myth has been recognised, with good reason, by the majority of modern Platonists as a parable, no consensus has been reached on the parable’s character or precise purpose.” I’m not sure if this is a criticism of Plato or of modern scholarship!*
Plato’s description of the demise of Atlantis and the obliteration of Athens has prompted many writers to link these occurrences with more global events. The association of Atlantis with catastrophism has persisted for over a century, ever since Ignatius Donnelly published his landmark book Atlantis and his contribution to catastrophist literature Raganorak. However, the idea of Atlantis as a victim of a global or at least a very widespread catastrophe was articulated as early as 1788 by Giovanni Rinaldo Carli who claimed that a close encounter with a comet caused worldwide devastation that included the permanent inundation of Atlantis.
Atlantis is recorded by Plato as being destroyed in ‘a day and a night’, which led George H. Cooper to made the point that the knowledge of the speed of its demise could only have come from ‘survivors or passing mariners’ and should have been incorporated into the traditions of many nations[236.283].
The bottom line is that the date of the destruction of Atlantis and its army is not known, although it has been assumed by commentators to have occurred shortly after the war with Atlantis. All that Plato says is that it happened “at a later time’ Similarly, Plato records the destruction of the two armies in the same passage (Tim.25d,e) in a manner that might suggest a common cause, a view that I’m inclined to accept.