"...In a single day and night of misfortune, the island of Atlantis disappeared into the depths of the sea."
— Plato, Critias
"The continent of Atlantis was an island, which lay before the Great Flood in the area we now call the Atlantic Ocean... Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent ships to all corners of the world. On board were the Twelve - the poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist, the magician, and the other so-called gods of our legends, though gods they were."The fabled lost Utopia (or dystopia), often described as sinking due to man's hubris and descent into decadence. A common setting with many interpretations, and some times just generally used as a stock setting for fantasy and speculative fiction stories. Generally it's an Advanced Ancient Acropolis chock full of Functional Magic, and/or Lost Technology. Aliens or Google Earth may also come into play. A story setting or legendary place doesn't necessarily have to be Atlantis per se to tap into the myth fabric, but it can be any sort of lost civilization that had great achievements and then were mysteriously lost. Other examples include Mu (Pacific Ocean), Lemuria (Indian Ocean) or Thule (Arctic Ocean) ... heck, even "Antediluvia" (literally, "Land Before The Deluge"), in Christian settings. Often the capital city of the Precursors/Advanced Ancient Humans. Due to the connection with the city being an island that sunk, mermaids are often connected to it. Such as the people of the city surviving by learning to breathe water really quick in the Underwater Ruins, even rebuilding them into an Underwater City. Historically, "Atlantis" draws on ancient myths from various cultures, but the main details are drawn from Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, where it is a sort of thought experiment related to his visions of the ideal society. In this original version it was an all-conquering empire only successfully resisted by his ideal Athens, which was destroyed in the same cataclysm. One of the original Islands Of Mystery. Unfortunately, if it's under the sea, it will be less interesting than it sounds. If you're looking for the BBC series, it's here. If you're looking for the 1993 Danish musical, it's here.
— Donovan, Atlantis
Examples of Atlantis Itself
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Anime and Manga
- The Vision of Escaflowne had Atlanteans as the creators of the world on which the story takes place.
- One plot-arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! involves saving the world from the power which destroyed Atlantis. As a nod to Plato, the arc involves three Atlantean dragons, named "Critius", "Timaeus", and "Hermos", nods to the characters of Critius, Timaeus, and Hermocrates in Timaeus and Critias.
- The main character of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is the last descendant of the Atlanteans, who are actually aliens.
- In Transformers Armada, the poor lost civilization gets even more destroyed in a battle for a plot device.
- In Transformers: Super-God Masterforce, Atlantis was the tomb of Gilmer.
- Transformers Cybertron: Atlantis is actually an ancient Cybertronian space ship, part of an initiative to colonize worlds beyond Cybertron and connect civilized planets with a network of space bridges. It suffered a computer crash and sank into the Bermuda Triangle, with one of the plot coupons on board. The Autobots track it down in the present day and reactivate it (it's in good condition thanks to the self-repair systems). It's seemingly destroyed in the battle for the Omega Lock, but turns out to be still around, albeit damaged, twenty-odd episodes later, and plays a role in the show from then on. Eventually, the Atlantis and its three sister ships are re-united and combined into the truly massive warship Ark, used as a staging ground in the penultimate battle and as a Wave Motion Gun by Primus to destroy the Unicron Singularity. Afterwards, the Ark is separated back into its component ships. In the finale, they set off once more to begin the Space Bridge Project anew.
- Raideen originates with the Mu.
- As does its Spiritual Successor RahXephon.
- The Mysterious Cities of Gold features both Atlantis and Mu in the backstory. The second series reveals that Esteban is a descendant of the Atlantians, which briefly causes conflict between him and Tao, whose ancestors came from Mu.
- Genesis of Aquarion: Atlantis was not the stereotype depicted in the trope. Everyone in the modern day, 12,000 years after the prologue, is fully aware of Atlantis's existence. It's called Atlantia, not Atlantis, too. It was the home of the highly evolved Shadow Angels, who treated humanity like cattle to be harvested and have their life energies fed off of. They were sealed away after humanity won the initial war.
- One episode of the Pokémon was about Ash Ketchum and the gang coming upon an ancient underwater city called Pokelantis, which was said to have been sunk by the Legendary Pokemon Ho-oh to dispose of its evil king. Unfortunately, the evil King of Pokelantis's ghost decides to possess Ash...
- Undersea home of superstrong, water-breathing mutated humans in both the DC Comics (Aquaman) and Marvel Comics (Sub-Mariner) universes. Lemuria also exists in the Marvel Universe; its people are green-skinned as opposed to the Atlanteans, who are blue.
- In the Blake and Mortimer book Atlantis Mystery, a passage to Atlantis exists in a network of caves in the Azores archipelago. The Azores are an often cited place for Atlantis' location, usually coupled with the theory that the archipelago itself is an Atlantean mountain range that remained above water after the continent sank.
- Astérix: In Asterix and Obelix All at Sea Getafix, Asterix and Obelix set sail to Atlantis, where the population has figured out the secret of eternal youth. Needless to say after they leave they decide to keep its location a secret. Uderzo also went a little overboard with the realism in this story, showing flying cows and horses on Atlantis, in a tribute to Fantasia.
- De Kiekeboes: In De Bermuda Driehoek (The Bermuda Triangle) the cast sets out to explore the mystery behind The Bermuda Triangle and finds out it's actually an underground city, ruled by a villain named Attalantis.
- Child of the Storm has Namor mentioned several times before he finally pulls a Big Damn Heroes in chapters 71 and 75. Word of God has hinted that the legacy of Atlantis prior to its sinking will play a key part in the sequels.
- The Tomb Raider (2013) fanfic The Camera Loves You, based on the plot of the original Tomb Raider game, has Lara hired by businesswoman Jaqueline Natla to help find Atlantis. Natla, the story's Big Bad, is actually one of the original rulers of Atlantis, who is trying to raise the city once more and bring about a new age.
- Even The Wizards Must Pay Their Due by Gamma Cavy utilizes this in a very sneaky fashion. Amestris Xing, and all the other countries in Fullmetal Alchemist canon are on the hidden continent of Alfone, which cut itself off from the rest of the world when the inhabitants of the time got sick of the corruption in the rest of the world. Cavy thus uses the existent legend of Atlantis to neatly fill the plothole in any fanwork involving Amestris etc. existing in our world.
- "Al Hanthis" from the Deva Series is said to be a civilisation whose out-of-control artificial magecraft threatened Earth before the founders of the Circles destroyed it, with marked similarities to the Lyrical Nanoha-canonical Al Hazred. Eventually, Al Hanthis resurfaces, with its people still having designs on Earth.
- In the fanfic Erika Gefallen : Atlantean Unicorn, Atlantis is a magitek starspanning empire a thousand years after they return to earth and conquer it.
- In Paris Burning, the destruction of Atlantis was brought about by the Anthropomorphic Personification of the city itself, wishing to free himself from his role as a psychically-bound figurehead.
- The 90's Gamera movies had Gamera and the Gyaos originally being Atlantean creations, with the clash between them resulting in Atlantis' destruction.
- In 10,000 BC, the slaves say that the God of the Pyramid came from an across the sea when his homeland sank beneath the waves, although others say he's from space.
- "Hy Brasil" in Erik the Viking is clearly Atlantis at heart, down to the Greek stylings of the culture. The name, however, comes from another mythical island.
- As one might expect, Atlantis also features in Mac Gyver Lost Treasure Of Atlantis.
- Added to the 1959 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth. It's nothing more than ruins at the bottom of a volcano shaft.
- The film Atragon features Mulian enemies and their Kaiju Manda.
- Atlantis, or something like it, features as part of the back-story of MST3K classic The Final Sacrifice.
- In Cocoon, Atlantis was the site of the Antareans' first base here on Earth.
Walter: Everyone else said, "use the North Pole", and I said, "no, too cold". Sinking never occurred to me.
- Escape From Atlantis is a 1997 film in which an American family winds up in Atlantis after being teleported to another dimension by the Bermuda Triangle.
- Doug McClure escaped from the Warlords of Atlantis in his last monster movie from Amicus Productions.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium has the island of Númenor, west of Middle-Earth in The Silmarillion. Its last king came to Middle-Earth as a conqueror, captured Sauron and took him home as a prisoner. Sauron being Sauron, it wasn't long before nearly everyone was worshipping Darkness and Sauron himself was High Priest. He even got the king to launch an invasion of the Undying Lands, at which point God intervened and not only sank Númenor, but changed the Earth from flat-earth to a globe. In case anyone missed the point, the epilogue has the survivors call their lost home Atalantë, "the Downfallen".
- Tolkien's notes state that the Atalantë bit was purely coincidental. Prof. Tolkien wondered what Númenor would be in a certain in-universe language and got "Atalantë". He was actually annoyed with this, since he knew people would assume he was implying this was the origin of the name Atlantis, when as a linguist he knew language change doesn't work that way.
- Though originally, Tolkien was planning on writing a book called The Notion Club Papers, where one character dreams of Númenor and its downfall. While the name wasn't meant to be related to Atlantis, the idea was.
- Incidentally, the Númenóreans then founded Gondor, which Tolkien admitted took quite a few cues from Ancient Egypt. Coincidence?
- The Illuminatus! Trilogy has Atlantis as the birthplace of The Illuminati, at least according to one of the anti-Illuminati fronts in the novel.
- "The age when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities" is part of the Back Story of the Conan the Barbarian stories. Kull, another Robert E. Howard character, was an Atlantean warlord. In the official timeline, the first civilizations started in Europe around 40,000 B.C., when the continent was known as Thuria, and the greatest nation in Thuria was Valusia. The Thurian age ended after about ten thousand years, and Conan's adventures took place many centuries after Thuria's doom, during the Hyborean age, which also saw the collapse of all civilization.
- In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, the Angel Islington used to be the guardian angel of Atlantis until it sank. Islington serves the main characters Atlantean wine saved from its destruction. ...It's revealed later that Islington is the one who sank it. The only thing he says on the matter is "They deserved it!" Since he was locked away for it, it's clear God doesn't agree.
- The fall of Atlantis figures prominently in Sherrilyn Kenyon's The Dark Hunters series, as the Atlantean goddess Appollymi The Destroyer nearly wipes out the Greek pantheon while Atlantis is destroyed.
- Greg Donegan (pen name of Bob Mayer) wrote a series of books featuring Atlantis' ancient enemy returning.
- Andre Norton's SF novel Operation Time Search. In the distant past, both Atlantis and the island of Mu were sunk beneath the surface due to the Atlanteans' misdeeds. At the end of the book, the intervention of a time-traveler from the future (our present) prevents the sinkings from occurring and both islands appear in the modern world.
- Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle combines the fall of Atlantis, the Roman withdrawal from Britain, and Arthurian legend (heavily drawn from Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain) into one giant advertisement for why Christianity is better than pagan religion.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley's works:
- The Mists of Avalon uses Atlantis as the source of the old pre-Christian British religion, or at least the lore of the priestesses and bards.
- Web of Darkness and Web of Light are set in Atlantis itself.
- Ancestors of Avalon by Diana L Paxson bridges the gap between the novels set on Atlantis and the Avalon series, making a connection previously only hinted at.
- Parodied somewhat in Terry Pratchett's Jingo: Klatch and Ankh-Morpork go to war over an island that rises from the sea. It had sunk a thousand years ago or thereabouts, though.
- While he did make some references to Atlantis and the Cthulhu mythos, it was also based partly on a real event.
- A number of sunken civilizations have been mentioned in passing over the Discworld series, most notably the former inhabitants of Holy Wood and the original homelands of some very old golem characters. At least one sank embarrassingly slowly; the inhabitants spent years wading.
- In C. S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew, the eponymous magician (Uncle Andrew) stores his most valuable magical items, a pair of rings with the ability to transfer the wearer between planes of existence, in a box he believes to have been made in Atlantis.
- In the first Lensman book Triplanetary, Atlantis has jet aircraft and nuclear weapons which, along with the machinations of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, lead to its demise.
(In fact, it's implied that the wholesale destruction of the small continent was accidental. The plan was for the humans to simply nuke each other. However, the first missile fired by one of the nations was knocked off-course by a Heroic Sacrifice of an Atlantean operative. Unfortunately, the missile ends up hitting a fault line, which results in the whole continent being swallowed by the sea. Oops.)
- The Takers, a modern Two Fisted Tale by Jerry Ahern. The Gladstone Log is the MacGuffin which sends the protagonists off on their adventure. It's the log of a privately-funded 19th Century expedition to seek Atlantis, set up by British Prime Minister William Gladstone. The villain (who came across several translated pages in WW2) has spent decades searching for it, in the belief that the 'Atlantis' described is an alien base whose technology will give him vast power.
- Dragonlance has Istar, a powerful empire whose Kingpriest grew to believe he, himself, was on par with the gods. When he communed with them to ask to join them, they destroyed his city by throwing a "fiery mountain" at it, which caused the Cataclysm that altered the surface of the entire world.
- Subverted in The Diamond Age, where most of the characters call themselves Atlanteans... but in that case, it just means "people from the trans-Atlantic tribe."
- The Atlantis in Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis is the world before the Vietnam War.
- R'lyeh from the Cthulhu Mythos would be the insane, abusive cousin to Atlantis; built with Alien Geometries by terrible monsters from beyond the stars, who ruled the world long before the tiny scurrying creatures that would become men some day even existed. It sank long ago, entombing its master Cthulhu under the ocean. This keeps him in a state of sleeping undeath until the stars are right for him to rise again, destroying our pitiful existence and ending the age of man. Not out of malice; he probably wouldn't notice us, much less realize that his rising had wiped mankind from the Earth.
- In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo shows Professor Aronnax the ruins of Atlantis.
- In Aleksandr Zarevin's Lonely Gods of the Universe, Atlantis is an island originally populated by primitive humans. Then a dozen Human Aliens from a faraway world arrive and use their advanced (20th century level) technology to pass themselves off as gods. Their males spread their seed among the local women, creating various hair colors (all humans used to have black hair). The "gods" threw regular orgies to keep themselves busy and helped the natives build up a navy to raid settlements along the Mediterranean. Then a comet came and caused a giant tidal wave. About half of the "gods" survived and are still alive (they're immortal). Then time travel gets involved, and things get really confusing.
- The Isaac Asimov short story "Shah Guido G" features a flying city named Atlantis that rules the world with an iron fist and female soldiers called Waves as part of the setup for a lame pun. Sinking (well, falling) due to a descent into decadence is done unusually literally — over the two centuries since Atlantis was lifted, the anti-grav motors had been gradually more strained from increasing construction of mansions and the like, with requests for newer, stronger motors denied in favour of spending resources on games and fun for the Higher One caste. Eventually it was strained to the point that a single new building could put it at risk of overloading — at which point a rogue Higher One, finding his society corrupt and unwilling to change, manipulated the leader of the world to call in an entire division of military troops... and their several thousand tonnes worth of ships. The anti-grav motors were overloaded, Atlantis went dark and did what a rock in the air usually does...
- Atlantis shows up in Everworld, surviving on the bottom of the ocean, protected by a dome. Poseidon and Neptune continually fight over it, but it manages to maintain independence and democracy in a Crapsack World, largely thanks to its mayor (who is from our world).
- In Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars by Daniel Pinkwater, the supposedly lost continents of Atlantis, Mu, Lemuria and so on actually exist in different planes of existence. Clarence Yojimbo explains that stories about these places sinking into the ocean arose out of the rare incidents when a person from one plane of existence would be able to ever perceive another, which would only occur "maybe a few times in his life."
- In the Oera Linda Book Atlantis is called Atland. It is implied Noah's flood sank it.
- The Submerged World in Chronicles of the Emerged World is an underwater nation inhabitated by sea-humans and merfolks alike. Eventually after the second book they're persuaded to join the war against The Tyrant.
- In David Gemmell's Stones of Power novels, the Stones had their origin in Atlantis, and several Atlanteans appear as characters (even though the earliest of the novels is set centuries after Atlantis' fall — one of the powers the Stones enable is Time Travel).
- La from the Tarzan novels is the queen and high priestess of the lost city of Opar, which is a surviving colony of Atlantis in Africa. Also, the Disney version of her for some reason portrayed La with dark skin and white hair.note
- In Dinotopia, the lost city of Poseidos is implied to be Atlantis. Like the Disney film, it is an Advanced Ancient Acropolis which made liberal use of Power Crystals.
- The Isles of Syren in Septimus Heap are described to be the leftover of a sunk land.
- Atlantis was the original Earth base of the Airlia in the Area 51 novels.
- Henry Kuttner wrote a number of stories about Elak of Atlantis.
- Henry Kuttner also wrote short stories about Hogbens — a family of mutant hillbillies with supernatural powers living in backcountry USA. The oldest family member — the grandfather — was born in Atlantis, mutated from exposure to nuclear reactors and left Atlantis shortly before it was destroyed when said reactors exploded.
- The Mystery of Atlantis, from the Time Machine gamebook series, is about finding out, well, the eponymous mystery. The ending reveals that the tale of Atlantis's destruction emerged from memories about a cataclysmic volcano eruption at Crete.
- In Young Wizards, a whale wizard recruits the human protagonists to assist in an underwater ritual that keeps a malevolent supernatural presence contained. To impress upon them the importance of this ritual, she explains to them that the one time in history that the ritual went awry, it caused the fall of Atlantis.
- In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Atlantis was the original home of the Elder Race. Its downfall was brought about by a battle between its twin rulers, magic users of tremendous power.
- In The Guardians of Childhood, the wizard Ombric is the last survivor of Atlantis. This has not been relevant to the plot so far.
- The Atlantis in Grailblazers is not only underwater, it keeps magically moving around, thus making it unlocateable by mainland governments. The Atlanteans take advantage of this to go into financial services, as the ultimate in offshore tax havens.
- A Song of Ice and Fire gives us Valyria, the ancient capital of a great empire once known as the Valyrian Freehold. Home to the most advanced civilization of its time, Valyria was destroyed in a single night when a natural disaster sank much of the peninsula and turned the rest into a fiery wasteland.
- In the Nemesis Saga, it's eventually revealed that Atlantis was an outpost on Earth of the Alantide, a race of Human Aliens allied with the Ferox in their Forever War against the Aeros. The city was destroyed by Nemesis-Prime, but many of its inhabitants survived to scatter around the planet, where they eventually completely intermingled with the human population and gene pool.
- The main plot point of Lauren Kate Teardrop and Waterfall is the return (resurfacing) of Alantis, to be brought about by the protagonist Eureka - who happens to be a descendant of Selene from Atlantis, born and raised in just right circumstances to fulfil the prophecy. Unfortunately, the return of Atlantis also means The End of the World as We Know It.
- In the multiverse that is the setting of Ryk E. Spoor's Jason Wood and The Balanced Sword series, Earth used to be connected to Zarathan, the World of Magic, where there was an enlightened island nation called Atlantaea. The fall of Atlantaea as part of the catastrophe that resulted in the two worlds being sealed off from each other is the origin of the Atlantis myth. (Both series contain a few characters who remember Atlantaea, either through Past-Life Memories or because they're just that old.)
- Robert Sheckley has a story where a genie attempts to trade with the owners of a modern appliance shop because he got a responsible job at the palace due to Nepotism, so spells for cooling a room during the summer or cleaning clothes are beyond him, but time travel isn't. At first, the shop owners are afraid it'll cause a Temporal Paradox, but decide to squeeze the deal for all it's worth once the genie says he's from Atlantis, and it only has a couple of years left until complete destruction.
Live Action TV
- Stargate Atlantis, notable here in that it was NOT destroyed in prehistory. It just left the galaxy. The city is actually a cityship (as in starship). The city is capable of landing/floating in an ocean, as well as submerging unharmed, thus playing off the "sunken city" myth.
- Somewhat played straight, in that the city was deliberately sunk and abandoned by the Ancients 10,000 years ago, after coming under overwhelming attack by the Wraith (in another galaxy). The surviving Ancients (who fled back to Earth through the stargate) passed the tale of Atlantis on to the ancient Greeks. So in the Stargate verse, the myth of Atlantis is actually true, they just left out the part that aliens were involved and it happened in another galaxy.
- In Doctor Who continuity, ancient Atlantis is seen to be under attack by Kronos in The Time Monster, while Azal implies that he destroyed it in The Daemons. The second Doctor visits the last remanants of that civilization living underground in the 60s in The Underwater Menace. There is a persistent fan myth that there are three different explanations for how Atlantis was destroyed, but only The Daemons and The Time Monster really conflict with each other.
- The Expanded Universe explains this as destroying bits of Atlantis, (the city, the under city and the island) one after the other.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys has had at least one episode dealing with the Atlantis myth.
- The MST3K experiment: Alien from L.A. featured Kathy Ireland falling down a hole in the Middle East and discovering the lost civilization of Atlantis — now a tribe of cave-dwelling Australians who use Steampunk technology and live under the rule of an oppressive "1984"-esque government. Really.
"Can't she believe how bloody Australian I am??"
- Another MST3K experiment: Hercules and the Captive Women had the title character (Hercules, that is, not the Captive Women) stumbling upon the Island of Atlantis and attracting the attention of its vampish queen. Hercules manages to resist her charms and destroy the Island before the Atlanteans can enact their plan to Take Over the World.
- An example of the aquatic variant, the 70s short-lived series Man from Atlantis stars Patrick Duffy as an Atlantean who fights crime using his swimming and water-breathing abilities. No kidding.
- Lissard, a greenskinned, scaled, fish eating humanoid and a henchman of Lord Fear in Knightmare is from Atlantis.
- The back story of Star Trek features Atlantis, a artificial landmass in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean created by the Federation. It did not sink. Although the only time the viewer gets to see it is in Star Trek: First Contact, when the whole shebang has been assilimated (along with the rest of the Earth) by the Borg.
- seaQuest DSV discovered evidence of Atlantis. More plausibly, an early episode had them excavating a ruined city off the North African coast which had been submerged after an earthquake.
- The Power Rangers visit the sunken island of Atlantis in season 15, Operation Overdrive, on their quest for the five jewels of the Corona Aurora, the crown of the gods. To protect the valuable historical site, the Rangers' mentor decides to keep the city's location secret. The actual location of the city, whether it's in the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, isn't revealed to the viewer, either.
- The team in Danger 5 travel to Atlantis to deliver uranium to power a Humongous Mecha for the fight against Hitler. Unfortunately, it's all part of Hitler's plot to take over the world.
- Atlantis. A troubled twenty-something searching for his Disappeared Dad somehow gets swept into a mythical Atlantis in episode one. The rest of the series is set there.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
- Atlantis is apparently a popular vacation spot for witches. One of Sabrina's dates takes her there offscreen. She remarks that the fish was fine but the chips were a bit too soggy.
- One of the novelisations "Age of Aquariums" has Sabrina discover the city inside a billionaire's aquarium. The reason the city was sunk in the first place was because the residents - called the Keftiu - complained too much.
- Lament for Atlantis by Mike Oldfield.
- "Atlantis" (instrumental) by The Shadows.
- Atlantis suite by Earth and Fire, from the album Atlantis.
- Sentinel suite by Pallas from the album The Sentinel.
- Sequelized 27 years later by Pallas's album XXV.
- Atlantis by Donovan.
- Voyage to Atlantis by the Isley Brothers.
- Crowning of Atlantis by Therion.
- Atrocity's entire Atlantis Concept Album.
- The band Visions of Atlantis.
- Stratovarius titled one of their instrumental tracks Atlantis
- Dark Fate of Atlantis by Luca Turilli (of Rhapsody of Fire fame)
- "Atlantis" by Deas Vail.
- "Lost Continent" by Thrice.
- The album Queen of the Wave by Pepe Deluxé is a Rock Opera with the decline and fall of Atlantis as its backdrop.
- In the albums by Power Metal band Iron Savior, the eponymous ship was built by Atlanteans to defend against the land dwellers.
Myth and Legend
This trope is basically archetypal. You'll find submerged cities everywhere you can throw a stone, especially these days.
- Obviously, the legend of the lost city of Atlantis from Classical Mythology. Except that, strictly speaking, it isn't; the story comes from the writings of Plato, which were basically philosophical parables, and there's no trace of Atlantis in surviving Greek folk-myths as such, though there were catastrophic flood stories and suchlike. Plato's story goes that the citizens of Atlantis somehow angered the gods, probably by trying conquer everyone else. As punishment for whatever had annoyed them, the gods sank the island to the bottom of the ocean, thus implying the Family-Unfriendly Aesop of "respect the gods, or you and your entire city will drown!" Worse, the sinking seems to have trashed everyone else, too — including the people who were fighting the Atlanteans. However, Plato never seems to have finished the story, so exactly why he imagined the gods intervened in such a cataclysmic way in an ongoing war between Atlantis and everyone else remains unknown.
That said, there are all sorts of theories about where Plato might have got his ideas from. One is that he based his account on the destruction of the Greek city of Helike (a.k.a., Elike) by an earthquake and tsunami in 373 B.C.; others mention the volcanic eruption of Thera on the island of Santorini around 1600 B.C. which all but wiped out the Minoan civilization, which based on the archeological evidence bore strong resemblance to Plato's descriptions of Atlantis.note There are also definite echoes of the wars between Greece and Persia in his story.
- In Celtic Mythology there's Ys, the famous drowned city off the coast of Brittany, the Welsh kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod which met a similar fate, the sunken Cornish kingdom of Lyonesse, and Avalon which, in some versions of the legend, also sank into the sea.
- Russian myth and legend has Kitezh which God saved from conquest by the Mongols by having it sink into Svetloyar Lake.
- Vineta, a mediaeval city somewhere along the coast of the Baltic Sea, and allegedly with a fate similar to Atlantis. Not much is known about Vineta, and therefore also not much concerning how big the grain of truth in the Vineta legend is.
- Indian legend has the kingdom of Dwarka, which is supposed to have sunk under the sea off Gujarat.
- Two separate pinball tables have this name, a 1975 Gottlieb and a 1989 Bally.
- Atlantis is one of the locations you can travel to in Pro Pinball: Timeshock! It's accessible after visiting all seven continents, and is needed to start the "Global Domination" sidequest.
- Ripley's Believe It or Not! has the trip to Atlantis available as a Wizard Mode if seven letters in R-I-P-L-E-Y-S have been collected by completing the trips to the other continents.
- Atlantis: The Second Age, obviously. Though despite the name, the game actually covers the whole world of Earth's mythic past, and Atlantis is a Vestigial Empire surviving on what remains of its crystal technology.
- Mage: The Awakening posits Atlantis as the origin point for magical knowledge. It wasn't the only place where magic took place (various "barbarian" cultures had their own mages), but it was a major center of magical progress. It also bears the "hubris" connotations as Atlantis fell when a bunch of mages tried to ascend to the heavens then kicked the ladder down after them — which also made magic a lot harder to use for everyone else. The questions of where and when all this happened are unsolvable due to the sheer affront to reality that occurred when the Ladder fell.
- As the gameline developed it was made clearer that Atlantis was Lemuria, Mu and all the other such realms — or rather, that for the same reasons were and when the Ladder was made and fell are unsolvable, the realm where it happened could be any one of them, at any time and in any place. Atlantis is just the most commonly used name for the place amongst modern mages, for similar reasons to this trope being called Atlantis rather than, say, Lemuria.
- The Old World of Darkness was deliberately vague on Atlantis. The sourcebook Blood-Dimmed Tides gives ideas of what Atlantis could be/might have been, but leaves it up to the storyteller to decide whether to incorporate the city or if it existed at all.
- Rifts had a highly-advanced human kingdom on the continent, which disappeared with a powerful ritual that also took most of the magic away from the Earth. The Atlanteans themselves scattered, then the continent returned in a World Sundering event that destroyed civilization. It was subsequently taken over by a monster and his armies, who sees it as his own personal Las Vegas (for evil monsters).
- Ulthuan, home of the High Elves in Warhammer, is the Fantasy Counterpart Culture for Atlantis It didn't sink but it came close. Well, large parts of it sank, during the cataclysmic magical duels at the culmination of the Sundering when the Dark Elves tried to undo the magics holding Ulthuan above the waves. The westernmost realm of Tiranoc in particular was inundated, and its capital, Tor Anroc, now lies beneath the sea.
- In the End Times, it finally does sink.
- Early mentions of the nation of Alphatia, from the Dungeons & Dragons setting of Mystara, hinted that it was actually Atlantis. As Mystara's history was expanded upon in later game products, this connection was downplayed, but the continent of Alphatia eventually sank into the sea, nonetheless.
- In Unknown Armies, Atlantis is discussed. The Global section of the book reveals that the oldest school of magic came from there. Though this is probably just a rumor. Other books suggest the rumor was started by the guy who founded the school around the time of World War One so he could dupe gullible acolytes with fake mythological prestige. Which isn't to say Atlantis actually existing is out of the question...
- Pre-sinking Atlantis gets a full Fantasy Hero sourcebook from Hero Games. Post-sinking Atlantis appears in the Hidden Lands sourcebook for Champions.
- Magic: The Gathering has Lord of Atlantis, the first merfolk lord printed. This was later retconned; Atlantis is now a merfolk colony called Etlan Shiis, and "Atlantis" is the corrupted pronunciation used by the (human) Orvadians they traded with.
- The 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons book 'Stormwrack' introduces a new player race in the Aventi, who hail from the sunken city of Aventus.
- Pathfinder has the sunken continent of Azlant, complete with Sub-Mariner-looking "gillmen."
- Dozens of lost lands from folklore, including Atlantis, feature in Bard Games' three-volume RPG series The Arcanum, The Lexicon, and The Bestiary.
- Exalted features Luthe, a city of shining oricalchum that floated on the Western seas until it was sunk during the Usurpation by its Solar queen, who would not let the enemy take it. Thing is, the city's still occupied; not all the Dragon-Blooded soldiers, nor the city's inhabitants, got off before it was sunk, and Leviathan, a Lunar caught in a love triangle between the Solar queen and her husband, has spent millennia angsting over his failure and keeping the inhabitants and their descendants there. He's now worshipped as a whale god amongst them.
- See also part of the Backstory of the true Immortals from Witch Craft.
- Scion has Atlantis as being present-day Antarctica, though it was once further up in the Atlantic Ocean where Plato put it. Its people had their own gods, provided in the Demigod book and the Scion Companion for those who want to change canon, but as it stands the Atlanteans took to worshipping the Titans. The Atlantean gods got killed/imprisoned/something and the mortal Atlanteans attempted genocide on the rest of humanity, upon which all the other gods in the world descended on Atlantis, so very angry that they not only sank it and killed every single Atlantean but ended up shifting it to the South Pole, more or less by accident. An object lesson in avoiding making enemies of dozens of pantheons' worth of petty, vengeful deities.
- GURPS Atlantis, by Phil Masters, is a GURPS 3rd Edition sourcebook which includes material on Plato, other stories, and undersea operations, as well as three takes on Atlantis for different types of campaign: the High Fantasy "Orichalcum Age", the Ancient Conspiracy "Heirs of Minos", and the Weird Science "Lords of the Deep". The first of these would later become the timeline "Orichalcum" in GURPS Infinite Worlds.
- The old Alternity and d20 Modern setting, Dark Matter, includes references to Atlantis as a matter of course, as a Conspiracy Kitchen Sink setting. A "secret history" timeline suggests The Greys had made first contact with humanity on the Aegean island of Thera, creating the society that would become known as Atlantis. The Minoan eruption that "sunk" this Atlantis was blamed on the catastrophic failure of an alien power generator.
- 80s boardgame Escape from Atlantis, where players have to escape from a sinking Atlantis.
- Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld takes guests to the famed underwater city, where they are greeted by an evil sea witch before managing to escape.
- The original version of Poseidon's Fury at Universal's Islands of Adventure had Atlantis as Poseidon's homeworld, and it also served as the setting for the climatic battle between Zeus and Poseidon.
- Astro Boy: Omega Factor for the GBA features Mu as a whole level, however it's pretty intricate to the game's entire plot. The game's main villain, as well as key technology said villain uses comes from this civilization
- One of the levels in Cruis'n Exotica takes place in Atlantis. Yes, the cars are racing underwater.
- Also, one of the levels in the "Tempest Pack" DLC for Hydro Thunder Hurricane is set in Atlantis as well. And yes, the boats are underwater, too.
- Reversed in Age of Mythology, where Atlantis is still a completely normal island not far away from Portugal — which is possibly a reference to the Azores theory mentioned above.
- In Chrono Cross, Dinopolis is a Reptite civilization merged into the story's universe from an Alternate Universe by Lavos to counteract the influence of Chronopolis. Chronopolis promptly defeated Dinopolis and ruined it. The ruins became Sky Dragon Isle.
- In Chrono Trigger, the Kingdom of Zeal is perched on a Floating Continent in the story's 12000 B.C. It had previously derived its power from solar energy, but started instead tapping the power of Lavos sleeping inside the earth. Eventually this awoke Lavos, who started to rain Death from Above (or in this case, below) that caused the Kingdom of Zeal to break up and Colony Drop into the ocean. Scattered ruins remain to be found in later ages.
- Ecco the Dolphin visits Atlantis during his journey. In this iteration, Atlantis was at war with aliens stealing lifeforms from Earth to snack on, and the island was sunk by a beam from said aliens. Luckily the Atlanteans were masters of time travel and escaped into the past.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, the Centra civilization fits this trope. Being the parent civilization of most of the current civilizations in the game's story, it was obliterated 100 years before in a single event by a cataclysmic natural disaster called the Lunar Cry. This would normally be Death from Above, but the presence and activation of the Crystal Pillar in Centra at the time caused the Lunar Cry to specifically target Centra dead-on with Kill Sat effects.
- Final Fantasy X briefly shows a city that was sunk beneath the Moonflow. Wakka claims the citizens built it just to show they could and the city sank because of their pride.
- In Golden Sun, you and your party visit their world's version of Lemuria, which has sunk into ruin because of Alchemy being sealed away.
- Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, as if it wasn't obvious. The game also references Hermocrates, which would have been the third dialogue in Plato's trilogy if it had been written.
- The plot of the first Tomb Raider game revolves around the search for a lost Atlantean superweapon.
- In Xenogears, the Zeboim civilization exists as Underwater Ruins beneath the Aquvy region. It was annihilated 6000 years prior by global nuclear war that wiped out most of the planet's population.
- Lemuria is mentioned in Ever17. It's never revealed as to whether it ever really existed or not, but it's implied that it didn't. It's mostly used to tie into the plot of possible psychic powers, time travel and divine wrath, some of which are real and some are not. Maybe. Lemuria is also used as a metaphor about questioning reality, a recurring theme in the game.
- Unreal Tournament 2004 has a Double Domination map, that takes place in Atlantis. The map is called DOM-Atlantis. Still under the sea, but all that water is kept out of the arena by Atlantean magic.
- The Journeyman Project 3 has Atlantis as one of the three time periods visited during the game. The city is unusually realistic and well-researched in this game (apart from the Alien Technology), with the developers going out of the way to show their work through comments made by Arthur your AI sidekick.
- In essence, thanks to advanced technology left behind by helpful Precursors, Atlantis was a theocratic city-state built on a Mediterranean island, with dikes opening up usable land. They were isolationist and rather elitist, enslaving any who found the city. It's destruction was due to a battle between two alien races after the Lost Technology.
- World of Warcraft has the undersea city of Nazjatar - capital of the ancient Night Elf civilization before its sinking, now home to the nagas that the Highborne Night Elves were mutated into.
- Skies of Arcadia has Soltis. Which was sunk by its creators.
- And was named Atlantia in the Japanese Version.
- Atlantis is the primary setting for the Expansion Pack Poseidon - Master of Atlantis. It doesn't take itself all too seriously.
- 'God of War'
- Atlantis was going to appear in God of War II, but was Dummied Out.
- Referenced in God of War III in the battle with Poseidon, who claims that; "Atlantis will be avenged!" hinting that Kratos had a hand in the city's destruction, which is hardly surprising.
- Kratos travels to Atlantis in Ghost of Sparta. You guessed it: Kratos sinks it.
- In Timelapse, Atlantis is the last world you can visit. It's quite beautiful, contains technology from Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, and it's nearly empty — the Atlanteans left for another planet. Watch out for the one remaining inhabitant, though.
- In the world of Dystopia, Atlantis is an aquatic city with no definite location in the Atlantic Ocean. One would think that the Space Elevator attached to this free floating city would make it easy to find, but poor weather is common and the city tends to move often. It nearly sank during a terrorist attack.
- You visit several Atlantis-like places in Aquaria, although in this case, none of them sank; they were underwater already, home to an assortment of aquatic sentients (all of them humanoid, to a greater or lesser degree). Naija is the last surviving member of the most Atlantis-like of these, the Mithalans, whose society fell when their priests, in the search for eternal life, imprisoned, tortured, and warped their own god; besides Naija, all that remains of the Mithalans are feral, aggressive mutants not dissimilar to the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
- There is one, in fact; it's never given a name (only referred to as "The Sunken City"), but it's familiar to your partner, and may be the same city that was once floating in the sky before it was brought down by the cataclysm that created the Big Bad. Unlike the other ruins you encounter, which have the appearance of being designed to take advantage of being constructed in underwater caves, the buildings in The Sunken City have the look of being terran in origin.
- "Atlantis" shows up in Banjo-Tooie as Underwater Ruins.
- Mu and other lost islands are mentioned in Terranigma. They are only present in the game if the player "revives" them by visiting secret towers in the beginning of the game. They don't contain much, just a free inn and a nice weapon.
- The titular land of Ys and other lost civilizations in the series. The former is apparently inspired by the Celtic legend of the city of Ys, although it's a Floating Continent rather than a sunken city. The sixth game does have one of those, though.
- In Dominions 3, there's an Atlantis. It's a civilization composed of frog-people and fish-people from coral reefs and deep sea trenches, and it's not especially advanced in either magic or technology (though its basalt enchantments are nothing to scoff at). It doesn't sink, but it's destroyed twice, and the survivors of the Second Fall become Inuit-esque death mages.
- Mega Man 6 had Centaur Man's stage be modeled after Atlantis, because Greece was (allegedly?) near Atlantis.
- Rapture from BioShock was meant to be a new-age, art-deco, Objectivist Atlantis. Not that it really worked out, other than the art-deco thing.
- Shin Super Robot Wars had the Mu civilization. In the back story of Shin, a certain race fled their homeworld under the threat of the Ze Balmary Empire. Split into different factions with different leaders, they attempted to flee. One group fell beneath Balmar's shadow, while another fled to the safety of the Dug. Finally, one staked their lives on traveling to an unknown, distant region of space. This faction formed the Mu culture, which were wiped out before the start of the game.
- Star Ocean uses Mu. Legends say it was an incredibly advanced civilization that was sunk when a meteorite hit it. The exact nature of its destruction may or may not be something else, but it resulted in the survivors being teleported across the galaxy.
- In Gun Nac, the waters of Area-3, according to the US manual, lie above the sunken city of Atlantajorja.
- In Universe at War, it is later revealed that a giant Masari colony ship is submerged (but not for long) under the Atlantic ocean. The ship's name? Atlatea. Considering it's implied that the aliens had a hand in aiding our species' development...
- In the Kamishibai paper theater show Golden Bat (1930), the Super Hero protagonist is from Atlantis. He is awoken from his slumber in the modern day by a little girl.
- A popular Danish musicalnote was written around Atlantis and the flood. The setting was chosen as it gave the writers complete freedom when it came to choosing a musical style.
- In Wapsi Square, the ancient civilization known as Lanthis was the source of the Atlantis stories. Ultimately, their attempt to make a very powerful weapon resulted in a planetary societal collapse end of the world scenario.
- In Dustpit Follies, it turns out that Atlantis sunk because aliens attacked. The city was of the "technology more advanced than modern day" varient. One of the characters has a harddrive that apparently survived the destuction and thousands of years. He bought it from a flea market for 10 bucks.
- Shelley, Amy and Desmond visit Atlantis in one of the last chapters of Scary Go Round.
- Atlantis and its self-caused destruction figure heavily in the back-story of Collar6.
- In Zukahnaut, when the protagonist finds himself in the body of a Sea King after a mind-swap, he automatically assumes his kingdom is Atlantis. When he discovers that it isn't, he changes its name to Atlantis immediately.
- The SCP Foundation houses SCP-496 which hints at having interacted frequently with citizens of (possibly) Atlantis.
- SCP-612 reference "mountain copper", the miracle metal attributed to Atlantis.
- In Angel of Death, Atlantis was a 10,000 year old civilization, which, according to Valthakar, it's former king, was totally unparalleled in its art, ethics, and philosophy by anything that exists today. It was also a victim of lich attacks in the old days when liches served the underworld. It survived everything the Underworld threw at it, then, for no evident reason, sunk, leading Valthakar to the belief that trying to preserve anything with magic is pointless for a lich.
- Cosmo of The Fairly OddParents! takes this to absurd lengths when it's revealed that he sunk Atlantis...9 times. This is even lampshaded when a character stops and asks "How?"
- Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The city is powered by a crystal called the Heart of Atlantis, which is what sunk it in the first place. The princess Kida was a child at the time of the sinking but is still young and spry in 1912.
- Parodied in an episode of Futurama, "The Deep South", where the Planet Express crew stumbles upon the lost city of Atlanta, GA. It comes complete with a parody of the Atlantis song quoted above, sung by Donovan himself.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) (2003), Atlantis—or, as it's called by the natives, Y'lyntis—was at the center of several of the series' subplots, including the origin of the turtles' second lair.
- The underwater city of Atlantis also showed up in an episode of the original cartoon. Oddly, one of its inhabitants was a Fish Person, while the rest were human (a dome kept out the water).
- Another version of Atlantis exists in ancient Greece in the original series. This one has the followers of Atlantis make April wear the amulet that makes her queen and resurrect Atlantis from the sea.
- The DuckTales episode "Aqua Ducks" was largely set in Atlantis.
- In Ruby Gloom, Misery's disaster-plagued lineage apparently starts at Atlantis, where Misery the First had a summer home. Inexplicably, she has slides.
- Atlantis is where most of the movie In Search of the Titanic takes place. This animation is a sequel to The Legend of the Titanic which is loosely based on Titanic disaster.
- Parodied in Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats with "In Search of Catlantis".
- Centurions featured four episodes partially set there.
- The Godzilla Power Hour featured an episode about Atlantis with a rampaging robot being responsible for the sinking.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: Atlantis used to be the centre of water demon Bai Tsa's empire. When she's set free in season two, she heads straight for it only to find it in ruins due to the intervening centuries.
- Atlantis shows up in several Spongebob Squarepants episodes, but is most prominent in "Atlantis Squarepantis". (A throwaway line in that story reveals that its Atlanteans came from another planet.)
- Phineas and Ferb decided to find and raise Atlantis one day.
- In Xiaolin Showdown, Master Fung mentions that Dojo (when he was having one of his "evil" days) sunk Atlantis.
- The group actually visits Atlantis in a later episode, a deserted ruin with a big "Welcome to Atlantis" sign outside. Dojo wistfully remarks that "you should've seen this place a few thousand years ago."
- In Mighty Max both Skullmaster and Virgil come from Lemuria. It is unclear whether this is the same place as the undersea city that Skullmater destroyed in order to trick the populace to give him their souls for "safe keeping".
- Visited by the title character of Alfred J. Kwak, and it's inhabited by Dodos, long thought extinct after a massive flood.
- The Prince of Atlantis
- Count Duckula - episode 'The Lost City of Atlantis.'
- In Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends Atlantis fought and drove off the Shadoens some time in ancient history.
- In the Justice League episode "The Terror Beyond", the reason why Atlantis is an underwater city is revealed. Long ago, an Eldritch Abomination and its forces attacked Earth. The king of Atlantis created a powerful magical trident that could banish the monsters. Unfortunately, he had to drain the magic that kept Atlantis afloat to do it.
- Parodied in Family Guy: "Hey kids, it's a recreation of the lost city of New Orleans!" *Awed music plays as they pan over submerged skeletal remains of a Girls Gone Wild video, among other things* "...Dad, was there ever a real city of New Orleans?" "No one knows, Chris. No one knows."
- Sabrina: The Animated Series has Sabrina claim that her ancestors built it - and Salem oversaw the construction. Naturally bringing it up is a Berserk Button for him.
- Even The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show gets in on this, when our heroes get thrown aboard on a cruise trip. There's nothing much to it aside from some ruins, though, and the sole inhabitant is a belligerent centaur.
- Atlantis was the "jewel of the Empire" according to an alien villain in Men in Black, it seems that Earth itself was part of an interstellar Empire in antiquity and the city sunk at some point. It's still a popular tourist location for marine aliens.
- Plato described Atlantis as "beyond the Pillars of Heracles" (read: Gibraltar* ) and "as big as Libya and Asia (read: the part of Africa north of the Sahara and Asia Minor, i.e. Turkey) combined", home to a great civilization wiped out by natural disaster. For centuries after the discovery of the New World, certain mapmakers insisted on identifying the Americas with Atlantis.
- The "real" Atlantis that inspired the legends Plato borrowed from was likely the Minoan Empire, a thriving Bronze Age trade empire which essentially controlled the entire Mediterranean Sea and its shores from their capital on Crete, their wealthy (and respectably advanced technologically for the era) port city Akrotiri on Santorini, and other settlements throughout the Aegean Sea. They were major trading partners of Mesopotamia, Egypt and the various city states which became nations like Greece, Rome, and Carthage. Contemporary accounts and archaological evidence universally indicate a thriving nation rich in culture, military and naval might, and wealth, set to become Rome before Rome. And then they learned why it's a really, really bad idea to build your economic and military center on a ring-shaped island with an awesome central harbor that from time to time does strange things like boil or emit fumes. The eruption of the Santorini volcano was one of the most violent in recorded history, with documentation of the ash cloud and crop failures in places as far away as China. While they apparently had the sense to evacuate Akrotiri when the island began to fall apart around them (leaving the ruins buried under meters of ash on what survives of the island an archaeological Ghost City) this was still the beginning of the end for the mighty Minoan empire. The eruption which destroyed their Shining City, the ensuing tidal waves and aftershocks which devastated the rest of their settlements, and the volcanic winter which followed reduced the nation from ancient world superpower to a Vestigial Empire. What was not swiftly conquered by the rising Mycenaean confederation was simply absorbed into it or fled as refugees to Egypt and the Middle East. The first mighty empire to rule the Mediterranean region was forgotten for millenia as history faded into legend, and legend faded into myths about sunken islands and labyrinths with bull-headed monsters.
- There was also a theory that the Madeira and the Azores archipelagos were what remained of the land of Atlantis. Since they were beyond Gibraltar, it kind of made sense, especially considering the theory surrounding the Egyptian and Mesoamerican pyramids.
- There is a luxury hotel just outside Nassau in the Bahamas calling itself Atlantis. Consider Atlantis' fall was due to certain moral extravagances often associated with having too much money, and the delicious irony therein. Even more so considering it is in a hurricane zone and near to an earthquake zone, so "sinking" is possible, if remote.
- The Yonaguni Monument: A large, regularly-shaped formation off the coast of Japan's southernmost island. Some say that it was naturally formed due to its sandstone breaking due to seismic activity. Others believe that it could be the remains of some lost civilization's city or temple, and estimates state that it could date back to 8,000 BC, around the end of the last ice age. If the latter were true, then history as we know it would change drastically, since that would make the monument older than the Pyramids, and it would mean that there was a real civilization whose fate was similar to that of the legendary Atlantis.
- In the late 19th and early 20th century, before modern theories of plate tectonics ironed out their shortcomings, syncline theory looked more viable. It postulates large chunks of land randomly going up or down, thus any dry land may sink and become a sea bottom, and sea floor may rise. "Lost continents" featured prominently in scientific speculation to explain, for example, the presence of similar species and fossils in places separated by thousands miles of ocean or desert, like lemurs in both Madagascar and India. Naturally, anthropologists and linguists also jumped on board, using "land bridges" to explain human migration and so forth. Eventually people started to take the idea to its "logical" conclusion and suggested that whole, and potentially advanced civilizations might have once existed on these sunken lands, and so, like other myths, the legend of Atlantis maybe contained a kernel of truth to it. This idea was hugely popular in the early part of the 20th century, not just with crackpot mystics but with the population at large.
- This has led to a certain amount of confusion between Atlantis (in the Atlantic Ocean) and "Lemuria" (the link between India and Madagascar), among other sunken lands. The fringe theorists loved this stuff, and span some very wild stories off from that start.
- An updated version of this sort of theory is the idea that the landmass below the ice in Antartica was the original Atlantis.
- There is a strong belief among the people of Cornwall and Scilly that there is a sunken land under the sea that serves as their border known as Lyonesse. Apparantly, if you stand on the cliffs of southernmost Cornwall, you can still hear the churchbells ring under the waves. Similar stories are also told about the city of Ys off the coast of Brittany, Cantre'r Gwaelod in Wale's Cardigan Bay, and many other locations around the islands. Such stories may have foundations in truth: At the end of the last Ice Age when region was being first settled, sea levels were significantly lower- meaning many areas of the English Channel's shallows were consistently above the tide line. The isles of Scilly (for example) was one big island and there are traces of farm hedges underneath the waves.
- Changing sea levels and plate tectonics have caused low-lying areas of today's continents to spend long periods submerged. Presumably this will happen to such regions again, but only on a geological time scale.
- For a long time, Russians believed in a place called Zemlya Sannikova, or the Sannikov Land, said to be an island far north in the Arctic Ocean, northeast off New Siberian Islands, possibly a part of larger Arctic continent. Several explorers claimed to have seen it as they sailed through the polar sea in the late 18th-19th century, and Baron Eduard von Toll vanished on his 1902 search for it. There may have indeed been a Sannikov Land at one time, in which case it either was submerged or eroded; in fact, there are banks only meters deep in that area. It was also believed that a volcano could make the island warm, providing a home to migratory birds and allowing a vanished Onkilon tribe to still live there. These legends formed the basis for the story Sannikov Land, adapted into a 1973 film.
- Whilst it was not a shining mighty city, and whilst it did not disappear instantly, there was once a large tundra, with thriving Mesolithic human habitation, on Doggerland, a large landmass connecting the British isles and Europe. It flooded in around 6500 B.C, though it persists in the form of the Dogger Bank, a huge sandbank in the middle of the North Sea, portions of which can be stood upon at low tide.
- Zealandia, also known as Tasmantis, was a continental fragment that broke away from Australia 60-85 million years ago, only to subside almost entirely below the water level. Presently 93% of it is submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean, with only its central highlands protruding above the surface as New Zealand and mountains of New Caledonia at its far north.
- Two other submerged shards of Gondwana — in the Indian ocean — are Mascarene plateau (north and east of Madagascar) and Kerguelen plateau (halfway between Africa and Australia and further south than either). Only a few percent of each protrude from water. Both sunk tens of millions years ago.
- The Ruins of the pirate city of Port Royal lie beneath the waves. It sank because an earthquake hit and caused a tsunami-like wave (in the Caribbean, no less). The wave entered the harbor and as soon as it hit the city it reverberated and headed toward the other side of the bay, hit that, and then was sent back in a continuous cycle. It's not clear if that is exactly the reason the entire peninsula it was on sank, since the foundations of the town are still there under the water, but it certainly didn't help.
- When the Aral "Sea" dried, remnants of a number of medieval (9th-14th centuries CE) settlements were found on its bottom. If ancient chronicles are to be believed, there may have been several more cities there, possibly even older.