That the legend of Atlantis was born from a detailed account of the Minoan civilization, and a mistranslation of the Old Testament?
In the book of Numbers, many numbers are given. (Stating the obvious, I know.) This is where the Children of Israel were essentially counted. However, scholars have debated for centuries the truth of the numbers we are given. It seems that they are entirely too large; how could the Children of Israel have grown so exponentially in so few generations?
The answer lies in the simple fact that the bible used to be written in shorthand. Rather than copy it word for word, it was a common technique--long before Gutenberg was born--to write the words in the bible without their vowels. This can be a very effective system, but in Hebrew, it sometimes poses a few problems.
For example, the word for 'professional soldier' is alluph, while the word for 'a thousand' is eleph. Without their vowels, these words are identical. So, in the bible, when it says something about twelve thousand men laying in wait to spy on the enemy army, it's probably a mistranslation and really means twelve professional soldiers were sent to spy on the enemy army.
So, what's this got to do with Atlantis? Hold your horses! I'm gettin there.
Plato obtained what has now been identified as a detailed record of the Minoan civilization and it's downfall. However, it was translated from shorthand. Because of the errors of translation, all figures in the account were multiplied by ten. Plato, being the Bill Gates of his time, knew that the Mediterranean was too small to hold such a vast civilization, so he wrongly decided that the location was the error, rather than the numbers. He changed the location to the only place he believed could have held such a civilization, and still be in line with the historical account: the Atlantic. Since no society in recent times matched the account, he pushed the date back to antiquity.
Hence, the legend of the lost empire of Atlantis was born.
Knowledge of the past is our inheritance; what we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies.