Twice made up Atlantis

Seems the problem with writing a holy book is that once you’ve done it… well, it’s not groupies. It’s that you begin to think of all the other such texts you could write, all the odd forms of self-expression you could try — a King Gozer Bible, a Necro Noma Eikon the True Translation of the Book of the Mad Arab Abd-ul-al-Azreed, a Discordian Book of Fairy Tales and Nightmare Fuel, a Dark Silmarillion (“Suppose Melkor was half-decent… and all other Valar were utter bastards, and Eru was nothing but an Azathoth”), an Account of the Absolutely True and Unaltered Folk Tales, Superstitions and Common Habits of the Finnish People, a travel guide to a made-up place (have read a couple of these but can’t recall the names), a textbook from an alternate history — and so on, the whole lot of false documents. (Carrie, Watchmen, Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z; I have a major soft spot for these.)

It probably does not surprise the reader that the English homework that most excited my fancy at high school was “Write a list of ‘rules of conduct’ for a school” — I went all thus, thou, verily and commandment the n:th on that, being the somewhat demented  and quite officious autocrat of an imaginary place. The teacher was amused.

And so the following, too, just bubbled out of my head while looking at the Wikipedia page for Atlantis; I don’t know if I will go looking for the Quenta Silmarillion for which this would be the closing words of Akallabeth.

* * *

And so Atlantis was swallowed up by angry seas; and a great fury and despair came over the soldiers of Atlantis besieging the city of Athens. To their former scorn and disgust was now added a terrible measure of heedless hatred; and they stormed the walls of the city with no regard to their own losses, and broke in, and struck down every defender, and every man, and woman, and child, every living thing within the walls of Athens, and as they did this their faces were terrible to behold for they were like carvings of mad gods of despair, cold and inhuman.

When all of Athens was slain, they brought torches and ropes and burned the city; and what would not burn they pulled down; and they harnessed their beasts of burden and sowed salt into the ground that nothing should ever live in that place; but the western wall of the Great Temple they spared to bear in paint and carving the sign of DOOM, of Ib and of Sarnath, many times repeated.

So perished the city that had been the fairest of all in that time, save the cities of Atlantis. The temples of the first gods of the first Grecians were destroyed, and those gods were forgotten; and their people were scattered and forgot their glory; and when after long millennia Athens rose again, it had only dim shadows of its former glory, pride and fall. Even those it heard from other, older places.*

When this was done, the soldiers of Atlantis, a quarter of the number that had stormed the walls of Athens, and a pitiful fraction of the strength that had gone to war against it and its allies, were a broken army; for if they had been like carvings of mad gods, like reliefs frozen to show beasts in their inhuman fury and disregard of death, now they were like the weeping willow and the mourning brook: weary and moved more by nature than by their own will.

Some of them took ships or the long land route and made slow way to the Gates, and to the ocean shore. There they gazed west, and saw only a turbulent sea where the mountains of the Island Continent should have reared; and the most of them that had come so far laid down and died in the wet sand, and the waves pulled them to the sea and buried them along with their kin.

* : (Footnote: Plato tells that Solon the Lawgiver (6th century BCE) learned a garbled version of the story of Atlantis from Egyptian priests; but Plato’s version reeks more of the second Grecian gods (Zeus etc.) than of puerile Egyptian animal-worship. End of facetiously old-time scholarly footnote.)

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