The Minoans and the Mystery of Atlantis

Daphne Nikolopoulos
History / Arts & Letters

Course Description

Between 1600 and 1500 BCE, an epic volcanic eruption, one of the greatest in Earth's history, devastated the Greek island of Thira (modern-day Santorini) and its enlightened inhabitants, as well as surrounding civilizations. A large portion of the island sank beneath the sea, burying a significant Minoan settlement in a tomb of water and ash. A subsequent tsunami further devastated the Minoans in nearby Crete, effectively crippling one of antiquity's greatest civilizations. Who were the Minoans and how did the loss of their tribe, due to the Minoan eruption, impact ancient history? Was Thira the location of Atlantis, as suggested by Plato? And could an event of such magnitude and impact happen again? This lecture will examine the Minoans, the series of events that altered the topography of the volcanic island, and the theories behind what and who was lost in the pyroclastic flow. For several years, award-winning novelist and journalist Daphne Nikolopoulos has been researching ancient world cultures and their impact on the evolution of religion and spirituality for her archaeological thrillers and historical fiction.

About the Instructor

  • Daphne Nikolopoulos, writing as D.J. Niko, is the author of The Sarah Weston Chronicles archaeological thriller series. Books in the series include The Tenth Saint, which won the Gold Medal in the juried Florida Book Awards' popular fiction category, The Riddle of Solomon, and The Oracle. She also is the author of The Judgment, a historical novel set in 10th century BCE Israel and Egypt, which was awarded a national bronze medal in the Independent Publisher Awards. A career journalist who has worked in the U.S. and Europe, Nikolopoulos is currently the Editor in Chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and Editorial Director of Palm Beach Media Group. A native of Athens, Greece, she has traveled to and lived in various parts of the world – including out of a backpack for two years. She is a second-year MFA candidate at the University of California, Riverside.