Thursday, 4 October 2012

Description Of Atlantis II

In Poul Anderson's The Dancer From Atlantis (London, 1977), I did not fully grasp Anderson's physical description of Atlantis as Duncan Reid approached the island but it becomes clearer on page 102, when he is there:

Atlantis is an island in the Mediterranean;
on the island are hills covered by a city;
within the island is a lagoon;
in the lagoon are two smaller islands, one at the mouth of the lagoon, the second further in;
the second of the smaller islands is the smoking volcanic mountain, higher than the hills and visible from sea;
the Gatewarden isle at the mouth of the lagoon, landscaped and built on, is the seat of the Ariadne who is the spiritual ruler of the Keftiu people as the Minos on Crete is their political ruler.

I had not understood clearly until this stage that the volcano was a smaller island. What is clear is that it is active - a column of smoke too thick to be bent by the wind rises for a thousand feet -, that its eruption will entirely destroy Atlantis and that the resultant earthquakes and tsunami will also destroy the nearby Cretan civilisation.

Reid has not arrived in time to see the mythical sinking of a mid-Atlantic continent but he will witness a major eruption that will change the balance of power in the Mediterranean and give rise to the familiar legend.   

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