The Legend of Atlantis, and the Shaping of the Modern World
The Minoans, who were later morphed in Greek mythology into the vanished civilization of Atlantis, had been the Mediterranean’s greatest naval power, as well as the dominant force in the Aegean, including what became Greece and the Greek world. A trading power, the Minoans were oriented towards Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean, and were strongly influenced by those civilizations. While the Minoans flourished, the Aegean world in their thrall was by necessity oriented in the same direction, and strongly influenced by the Egyptian and Eastern civilizations as well. The Thera eruption weakened Crete and the Minoans sufficiently to create a power vacuum in the Aegean, which was filled by the emerging Mycenaeans in mainland Greece. They went on to conquer Crete and destroy the Minoans, and became the dominant power of the Aegean.
The Eruption and Tsunami Could Have Shaped Our Modern World
Unlike the Minoans, the Mycenaeans’ energies were focused not on trade with Egypt and the Levant, but on colonizing the Aegean, the western coast of Asia Minor, the Black Sea coast, and the western Mediterranean. That change of orientation significantly reduced Egyptian and Eastern influences upon the Greeks, and when the Greek world flourished centuries later, long after the Mycenaeans had themselves vanished, it would do so as a civilization distinct from those of Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean, rather than as extension and outpost of those cultures. Since Western civilization is founded upon that of the ancient Greeks, an argument could be made that today’s Western civilization and its impact on the modern world would not exist but for the Thera eruption of the mid-2nd millennium BC.