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The writers of Atlantis have drawn on various myths, legends and history when creating the show. Atlantis is set in the legendary City of Atlantis, a place found in stories by the ancient Greeks - stories of a naval power that built an empire before itself sinking into the ocean. The series draws on the creatures, deities and heroes of Greek legend, adapt for the present day.[1]



Poseidon is one of the twelve Olympian deities[note 1] from Greek mythology. His main domain is the ocean, and he is called the "God of the Sea". Additionally, he is referred to as "Earth-Shaker" due to his role in causing earthquakes, and has been called the "tamer of horses"

er. Hera, Zeus's wife found out and told Semele that she should see Zeus in his true form knowing that it would kill her. Next time they met Semele asked Zeus for one wish. Zeus was so much in love that he accepted. Semele asked to see Zeus in his true form and Zeus sadly accepted but before Semele was burnt to a crisp he grabbed Dionysus from her womb and stitched him into his thigh until he was ready to be born. This made him immortal.



In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man. He dwelt at the centre of the Cretan Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.


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Satyrs were mythical creatures followers of Dionysus. They had human body but goat legs and goat horns. They were going after Nympes in the woods.



In Greek mythology Medusas was a monster, a Gorgon,[note 2] generally described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers to stone.

Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield.

While ancient Greek vase-painters and relief carvers imagined Medusa and her sisters as beings born of monstrous form, sculptors and vase-painters of the fifth century began to envisage her as being beautiful as well as terrifying.

In a late version of the Medusa myth, related by the Roman poet Ovid, Medusa was originally a ravishingly beautiful maiden, "the jealous aspiration of many suitors," but when she was caught being raped by the "Lord of the Sea" Poseidon in Athena's temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa's beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone.


In Greek mythology, Pasiphaë was the daughter of Helios, the Sun, by the eldest of the Oceanids, Perse. She was given in marriage to King Minos of Crete. With Minos, she was the mother of Acacallis, Ariadne, Androgeus, Glaucus, Deucalion, Phaedra, Xenodice, and Catreus. She was also the mother of "starlike" Asterion, called by the Greeks the Minotau, after a curse from Poseidon caused her to experience lust for and mate with a white bull sent by Poseidon.


Pythagoras is a famous mathematician and philosopher. Little is known about his life due to the lack of records. He was born on the Greek Island of Samos. Despite his many investigations, he is most known for discovering the Pythagorean theorem which states the lengths of the two legs of a triangle squared is equal to the length of the hypotenuse squared. He is known for having a large influence on Plato and creating an organization similar to a brotherhood or a monastery. 


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Hercules is perhaps the best known hero of Greek Mythology. He is the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. To pay for a crime he committed he had to complete 12 tasks assigned to him by king Eurystheus. Among his tasks was to kill the nine headed Hydra, retrieve the apples of the Hesperides , kill the Nemea's lion ,go to the underworld and bring back the threeheaded dog Cerberus.Hercules was killed by his (second ) wife Deianira. When centaur Nesus tried to kidnap her she was saved by Hercules. Nesus then tricked her telling her that if she put some of his blood on Hercules' shirt he would never be unfaithful again. Deianira kept his blood and when she realised that her husband was cheating on her she used it on one of his shirts. Hercules died in horrible pain caused by the cursed shirt. After his death he became a god.


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  Oracle is a word that was used in ancient Greek to describe the people that could tell the will of the gods or sometimes the places were they made their prediction. Predicting was an important fact of life in ancient Greece so they were oracles everywhere. The best known oracle is that of Delphi. The best known female oracle is Pythia. Other oracles are Dodona and Trophonius.


She is the daughter of King Minos of Crete and Queen Pasiphae. She is most famous for having guarded the labyrinth. She fell in love with Theseus who was to enter the maze and helped him survive by guiding him with string so he would not get lost in the maze. After the death of the Minotaur Ariadne fled Crete with Theseus.


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Erinna was a Greek poet, a contemporary and friend of Sappho, a native of Rhodes or the adjacent island of Telos or even possibly Tenos, who flourished about 600 BC (according to Eusebius, she was well known in 352 BC).

In 1928, a papyrus was found that contained 54 fragmentary lines by the poet. The poem is a lament on the death of her friend Baucis, a disciple of Sappho, shortly before her wedding.

The Seven Sisters[]

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Shabaka (Shabataka) or Shabaka Neferkare, 'Beautiful is the Soul of Re', was a Kushite pharaoh of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt, between 721 BC-707/706 BC.


In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus (Bacchus in the Roman pantheon), the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication.


In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet of Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. He was the son of the shepherd Everes and the nymph Chariclo. He is also the prophet Odysseus consulted when he went to the underworld.


In Greek mythology, Arcas was the son of Zeus and Callisto. Callisto was a nymph in the retinue of the goddess Artemis. Zeus, being a flirtatious god, wanted Callisto for a lover. As she would not be with anyone but Artemis, Zeus cunningly disguised himself as Artemis and seduced Callisto. The child resulting from their union was called Arcas.



Atlantis is a legendary island first mentioned by Plato's in c. 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "across the Pillars of Hercules"[note 3] that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa in the 10th millennium BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune." The mysterious city that Plato recorded had been passed down as a legend through many people. Atlantis was a city that was rich and wealthy. However they let their greed get the best of them and it was their downfall. Their attempt to take Athens rendered them weak but they still had their pride intact. Eventually Poseidon, got fed up with their wanting ways and send numerous natural disasters which eventually sank them.


In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, a mythical creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it. Theseus was aided by Ariadne, who provided him with a skein of thread, literally the "clew", or "clue", so he could find his way out again.


The mountainous district of Nysa, variously associated with Ethiopia, Libya, India or Arabia by Greek mythographers, was the traditional place where the rain nymphs, the Hyades, raised the infant god Dionysus. (''God of Nysa/Zeus of Nysa'')


  1. In general, the Olympians are the gods who live on Mount Olympus, all of them somehow related to the supreme god Zeus. More specifically, the Twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Hestia, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Hermes. Hestia was often replaced by Dionysus. Hades and Persephone were sometimes included as part of the twelve Olympians (primarily due to the influence of the Eleusinian Mysteries), although in general Hades was excluded, because he resided permanently in the underworld and never visited Mount Olympus. Other gods, like Heracles or Asclepius, could also be included.
  2. In Greek mythology, a Gorgon is a female creature. The name derives from the ancient Greek word gorgós, which means "dreadful." While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature and occur in the earliest examples of Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair made of of living, venomous snakes, as well as a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and she was slain by the mythical demigod and hero Perseus.
  3. The Pillars of Hercules was the phrase that was applied in antiquity to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern Pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar. A corresponding North African peak not being predominant, the identity of the southern Pillar has been disputed through history, with the two most likely candidates being Monte Hacho in Ceuta and Jebel Musa in Morocco.


  1. Merlin creators to explore Atlantis for BBC1 on Saturday nights, Jack Seale, Radio Times, 12th February, 2013.

Further reading[]

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