Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend

Synopsis: Tells the story of the greatest natural disaster of the ancient world, an event that experts believe inspired the legend of Atlantis.
88 min

2,500 years ago,

the Greek philosopher Plato wrote of

an island he called Atlantis...

..that was swallowed up by the sea in

a single day and night.

Vanishing without a trace.

Ever since,

people have wondered where this

mysterious island might have been,

or whether it was all just a myth.

New research suggests that

Plato's story

was based on real events.

Tantalising evidence uncovered on

a Greek island of Santorini

has revealed an incredible civilization

advanced beyond it's time,

Destroyed by the greatest natural

disaster of the Ancient world.

Based on the latest

scientific research,

this is the story

of an incredible island,

the people that lived there...

..and the extraordinary last days

that inspired the legend of Atlantis.

A T L A N T I S:

3,500 years ago, the Greek islands

were home to a powerful and

advanced Bronze Age civilisation... that rivalled the

Egypt of the Pharaohs.

These were the Minoans.

In this world,

powerful priestesses presided over

strange and dangerous rituals.

Not bad for Cretens.

No offence.

- You think your son can better that?

He's Theran.

He's handsome, isn't he?

Did you choose him for

you mother, or for me?

My son is the finest

athlete in the whole of Thera.

We're all terribly impressed, Rusa.

Plato wrote of great bulls

roaming the temples of Atlantis.

And the bull was certainly

central to Minoan culture.

Hear me great Poseidon,

creator of the earth and sea.

Lend me the courage

of our forefathers and accept this

wine as an offering.

So important was the bull

that it gave birth to the legend

of the man-killing minotaur.

Half human, half beast.

Yishharu, you OK?

You've shamed us all!

Go home!

Bull leaping is thought to have been

an important initiation rite

for young Minoan men.

And possibly even women.

A spectacle performed all over Crete

in temple palaces like

this one at Knossos,

a massive complex the size of

four football fields

1300 quartyards, halls and chambers

At a time when most Europians

was still living in a mud house

This was the cradle of

Western civilisation.

For Queracio goddess of Thera.

You've made a good mariage to a good family.

Your future is secured.

- I know yours is father.

We're all set.

Where's Yishharu?

I was thinking I

might leave him here.

Save us all the embarrassment.

- He's a boy.

The wife creates the man.

Come on.

Don't worry, your prescious doughter

is safe with me.

Men, pull. Pull.

Minoans wealth was built on mastery of the sea.

Their powerfull fleeth dominated

the trade network of the Mediterranaen.

Positioned in the hart of this network,

between Europe, Africa and Asia

was Crete,

The strategic center of Minoan power.

And 70 miles North

was the island of Thera.

Known today as Santorini.

In 1620 BC this was the setting

for a disaster that would trigger,

the downfall of Minoan civilization.

You let me down,

in front of my bussines partner.

Ground shook!

That's before is the bull.

Your hand was shaking when you touch

the ground. You were nervous!

Maybe it was a sign!

- Sign? You haven't practiced enough!

You shamed me Yishharu, shamed Thera.

I wasn't shamed.

Admiring our beautifull island.

A jewell created by the gods

in the center of the ocean.

Perhaps we should make an offering.

Well, thanks! Bull didn't kill you.

Something was wrong.

I felt!

What's that?

Later described Atlantis,

As an Island consisting of

circular belts of sea and land.

Reconstructions of Thera,

show how well it fits that description.

The islands unusuall landscape

had been shaped by the most powerfull

geological forces on the planet.

The Therans were living

on a massive volcano.

When did this start?

- Two days ago, master.

Two days?

You, pass me some fish.

Can I have two?

Where are you going with those?

Poseidon's island.

I've got an offering to make. -You have

a feast to attend. -I won't be late.

Thera was too small to be self sufficient

but this Geographical position

Made it the key trading hub

within the Mediterranian.

It's merchants acted as middleman,

trading metal, olive oil, vine, pottery and spices

from Africa and Asia,

and other parts of Europe.

Evidence of this wealth

can be seen today

Their streets were lined with

multi-storey houses, decorated

with elaborate wall paintings.

They built the world's first

indoor toilets, connected

to an underground sewage system -

a luxury most Europeans would not

enjoy for another 2,000 years.

Presiding over this prosperous

society was the priesthood.

My son's wife, Pinaruti.


I've brought you oil,

to honour your island goddess.

That's for the high

priestess, not for me.

Come, I'll take you to her.

High priestess? Yishharu's wife.

Oil from the fields of sacred

Mount Juktas to honour

your island goddess.

Come with me.

Minoan women were remarkably

independent and influential.

The most influential of all

were the priestesses.

Their role was to communicate with

the gods,

often through elaborate rituals,

in which saffron seems to

have been used as a hallucinogenic.

Queracio welcomes you to

Thera, Pinaruti.

And we welcome you in her name.

Join us to give thanks

for your safe arrival here.

Don't forget your offering.

Like other ancient civilisations,

the Minoans believed that all

things were inhabited by gods.

There were gods for every

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Rhidian Brook

Rhidian Brook (born 1964) is a Welsh novelist, screenwriter and broadcaster. His first novel, The Testimony Of Taliesin Jones (HarperCollins) won three prizes, including the 1997 Somerset Maugham Award, and was made into a film of the same name starring Jonathan Pryce. His second novel, Jesus And The Adman (HarperCollins) was published in 1999. His third novel, The Aftermath, was published in April 2013 by Penguin UK, Knopf US and a further 18 publishers around the world. His short stories have been published by The Paris Review, Punch, The New Statesman, Time Out and others; and several were broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Short Story. His first commission for television - Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle - was broadcast in 2005 on BBC1 and starred Timothy Spall. He wrote for the BBC series Silent Witness between 2005-7, and the factual drama Atlantis for BBC1 in 2008. Africa United, his first feature film (Pathe), went on general release in the UK in October 2010. He is adapting The Aftermath as a feature for Scott Free and BBC Film. He has written articles for papers, including The Observer, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. In 2005, he presented Nailing The Cross, a documentary for BBC1. In 2006 he broadcast a series In The Blood for BBC World Service, recording his family’s journey through the AIDS pandemic. His book about that journey - More Than Eyes Can See - was published by Marion Boyars in 2007. He has been a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day for more than twelve years.He lives with his wife and two children in London. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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