Pre–Platonic References to Atlantis are rare but this should not be surprising. First of all Atlantis is probably a Hellenised version of another name given to Solon by the priests of Sais. It is perfectly understandable for an individual state and its people would have a number of unrelated names, some of which can have a colloquial or even derogatory origin.
A good example of this today is the land where ’Dutch’ people come from has been known variously as ‘The Low Countries’, ’Holland’ or ’The Netherlands’. My own country has been known as ‘Ireland‘, ‘Erin‘, and ‘Hibernia’ and its people are often referred to as ’Celtic’, ’Irish’ ’Paddys’ in Britain or ’Micks’ in America.
Consequently, we should consider the name ’Atlantis’ as a possible invention of Plato’s and seek out pre-Platonic references through the descriptions used rather than by any name utilised by Plato.
Furthermore, Atlantis is probably just a ‘name of convenience’, applied to the alliance of a number of independent states, many of which were individually known previously by other names to the Greeks through trade. After all, if the Atlanteans were situated close enough to trade, they were close enough to invade.
J. Warren Wells[783.13] has pointed out that the word Atlantis was used by Hesiod in line 938 of his Theogony, centuries before both Plato and Solon, while Hellanicus of Lesbos certainly used the term before Plato. The earliest suggestion of Hellanicus offering a possible pre-Platonic mention of Atlantis was voiced by J.V. Luce in his contribution to Edwin Ramage’s Atlantis : Fact or Fiction[0522.72]
A collection of pre-Platonic references to Atlantis which do not directly use its name has been compiled by R.Cedric Leonard(a).
(a) See Archive 2055)
Also See: Hellanicus of Lesbos