Science: Unsinkable Atlantis

A number of people were outraged last week by a man named L. Sprague de Camp. Mr. de Camp announced in Natural History that Atlantis and other "lost continents" had never existed.

Plato started it all, according to De Camp, by describing in his Dialogues a marvelous country beyond the Pillars of Hercules (Gibraltar and Ceuta). Life was beautiful in Atlantis, said Plato, but an earthquake had foundered the continent, leaving only shoals to mark its site.

Plato may have got his idea of a lost civilization from the Minoan Empire in Crete, which collapsed about 1400 B.C. Or he may have...

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