The First Civilization on Earth

What follows is the most comprehensive history of the DC Universe Atlantis. In the past, no history has attempted to detail all eras of Atlantis' development. Peter David took pains to construct the rich Atlantis Chronicles, a great account of the final sinking of the continent, and the lineage that led to Aquaman.

The Arion series gave clues about the society's early days, but neither really references the other era, nor did they ever reveal exactly where the continent lay.

Finally, in Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50, a map was printed showing the entire undersea landscape.


+ Over One Billion Years Ago: The Darkworld

The seeds for Atlantis were planted hundreds of thousands of years before human life appeared on Earth. It began in another dimension called Darkworld, a place created by an other-dimensional cosmic entity. Essentially, when this entity fell to sleep, its energies were left to "their own devices" and its dark dreams were given solid reality. A group of godlike beings arose from this sleep, three of whom served to balance the dark and the light: Chaon, twisted god of evil and chaos; Gemimn, goddess of order; and Tynan, cosmic balancer of order and chaos. Other gods were later revered by the Atlanteans including their chief, Weaver, guardian and master of multicolored threads of magical energy; Deedra, goddess of nature who tethered Darkworld to Atlantis by a great chain; and Jheryl, goddess of truth and knowledge. (Atlas)

+ 65,000,000 Years Ago: The Hunter/Gatherers

The genetic seed for Atlantean civilization came in the form of an alien race known as the Hunter/Gatherers. This race arrived on Earth during the time of dinosaurs and legend claims that they hunted what remained of the dinosaurs to extinction. (Aquaman #17, 1996)

+ 1,045,000: Years Ago: Diaspora

Millions of years passed and the alien Hunter/Gatherers matured as a species. They regretted their past transgressions and set about undoing their cosmic damage. They returned to Earth (and the other worlds they'd ravaged) as colonists and interbred with early hominids. This population founded the ancient city known as Hy-Brasil, on a small continent in the North Atlantic Ocean. This civilization was the forebear to all Atlanteans. In meantime, in outer space, the Hunter/Gatherers were conquered by dragon-like aliens called the Anunnake. One day, the Anunnake would return to reclaim the Hunters' former colonies.

One million years ago, in our world, physical evidence suggests that Homo erectus was the most human-like hominid in existence. Homo sapiens did not appear until about 400,000 years ago. In the DC Universe, one might theorize that the evolution of Homo erectus into Homo sapiens was a result of the intervention of the Hunter/Gatherers. But the Atlantis Chronicles assert that much later, regular humans were living in caves concurrently with the highly developed Atlantean civilizations. Atlanteans are known to have migrated across the globe and thus, were the forebears of many civilizations on Earth. (Aquaman #17-24, 1996) Much later, some Atlantean humans would further evolve into Homo magi.

This parent society grew into Atlantis, whose name was referred both to the continent and to its vast empire, which spread across the Earth. The original Atlanteans learned how to unlock the secrets of mystical power and their society was built with magical energy. One of the first and greatest Atlantean sorcerers was Calculha. Calculha discovered a network of mystic multicolored threads—visible only to sorcerers—that brought magic from the nether-realm, Darkworld. Calculha mastered the threads, but although he harnessed Darkworld's energies, its origins remained a mystery, and attempts at exploration proved too dangerous. NOTE: Calculha's name was originally spelled "Caculha." Post-Crisis tales made this change consistently.

The other primary source of mystic energy was the earth itself, which had inherent magical powers. The ancients carved the Twelve Crystals of the Zodiac to focus and tap this might, and distributed the gemstones at even intervals across the planet, building twelve major city-states over each power site. Each stone had unique properties to which sorcerers of that house owed their particular powers and each city-state was ruled by sorcerer-monarch. Together, the rulers were called the Conclave of Twelve. (Aquaman v.2 #1) These crystals may have been powered by living entities, trapped inside. In later times, Arion and Garn Daanuth would discover that one of the crystals possessed power only while inhabited by the demon named Aries. (Arion #)

The first true (and largest) Atlantean city-state was called The City of the Golden Gate. One of other twelve was Hoshan, which may have been somewhere in modern-day China. Most of the other eleven major city-states remain unnamed. But other contemporary cities on the same continent as the Golden Gate have been mentioned. Among these were Hy-Brasil which became heavily armed and was the nucleus of defense for continent. (This city was mentioned as once being on the surface, so it must be from Atlantis before it sank. [Aquaman #18, 1996]) Another frequently-mentioned society is Mu. One account suggests that Mu itself was a continent. Perhaps this was another name for Atlantis itself. A land called Thamuz was home to savages who later attacked the City of the Golden Gate. And Khe-Wannantu was the future home to the warrior, Wyynde.

Places from where the Atlantean legend spread may have been sites for the twelve original city-states. In America, North Africa, Mexico, Europe, Scandanavia and India there are names for the fabled land—and they all beginning with the letters "At-."

This issue establishes that Atlantis was built atop the ruins of an ancient civilization, the first intelligent race of Atlantis, slain in an earlier Ice Age millennia ago. This race was called the Rmoahal. Most of them practiced psychic magic. Arion finds hieroglyphics which he can read due to his training in his previous form as Ahri'ahn. To wit "In our ignorance, we have striven to rival gods. We do now repent, our civilization is vast, yes our science unsurpassed, but worth is now shaken. Who knows why we felt it neccessary to choose even the first subject four our experiments of intended improvement? The terrible truth is that we failed to create gods of ourselves. The first subject was a monster. Yes, his sorcery of the mind was greatly increased, and yes he no longer required sustence of the flesh. But now, fed on pshycic engeries, destroying the minds of his prey, many were slain and even more were required to subdue him. Let his benighted prison, then, stand as tragic testament to our vain folly. And let our pitiful creation slumber forever". Arion thinks "And when the ice came, the Rmoahals must have fled this city, abandoning their travesty of creation. Somehow the thawing age...and the attempt to tap my own psychic power...must have awakened him!" (Arion #11)

+ 527,654 Years Ago: Arion Begins

Though prosperous, Atlantis was not necessarily a peaceful society. During its early years, it was ruled by a body of mad sorcerers. These sorcerers were eventually wiped out and replaced by peace-seeking rulers. Greatest of these sorcerers was the long-lived Calculha. He was seduced by Dark Majistra of Mu and they had two children together: Ahri'ahn (the elder) and Garn Daanuth. But Majistra was ever bound for chaos, and Calculha for the light. The couple separated soon after the boys' births and the brothers were raised apart. Calculha raised Ahri'ahn under the magic of the light, while Majistra taught Garn the dark arts. The boys were so young that they remained unaware of their family ties for hundreds of thousands of years. (Who's Who v.2, Arion the Immortal #1)


There is one modern-day account about a special special paint created by the Atlanteans. Anything painted with it could come to life at night to act for good or for evil, depending on artist's intentions. (All-Star Comics #28, 1946)

+ 152,000 Years Ago: Homo magi

The presence of magic in the Atlantean empire eventually led to the evolution of a second human species. Homo sapiens branched off into Homo magi. This species possessed an innate understanding and control of mystical forces, while Homo sapiens found their path by pursuing the laws of nature and science. Atlantean Homo sapiens still possessed the resources to learn magic, but a rift grew between the species. Curiously, as Homo sapiens' scientific knowledge increased, so did their number. The Homo magi, however, dwindled due to persistent intermarriage between the species. For some unexplainable reason, whenever members of the opposite species met, they were immediately attracted to each other. True Homo magi coexisted with other societies for millennia.

Eventually, they decided that the only way to preserve their pure lineage was to isolate themselves. In 30 BCE, the Homo magi sealed themselves off in a society in modern-day Turkey. (JLofA #164-165) It remains unclear whether the original Atlanteans themselves were all Homo magi. Atlantean chronicles do not specifically mention this species.

+ 145,000 Years Ago: The End of the First Age

Atlantis thrived for nine hundred thousand years under the guidance of Calculha and the Conclave of Twelve. Calculha had received a prophesy of great destruction for Atlantis and convened the Twelve to discuss it. Calculha believed that the zodiac crystals were the key — it was vitally important that they remain protected. His former wife, Dark Majistra, countered that they should unite the crystals instead and use them to defend against potential danger. The Conclave sided unanimously against Majistra, and so she undertook a plot to steal the crystals herself.

Brothers Garn Daanuth and Ahri'ahn had been warned by their embittered parents to be wary of each other. Calculha also told Ahri'ahn that the boy was destined to become Atlantis' protector, and that he would one day wear a special garment woven with the magical strands of power from Darkworld. Likewise, Majistra employed Garn in her scheme to draw the twelve crystals away from their homes. Majistra knew that this disturbance would wreak great chaos, but she assumed that the crystals' power would grant her godhood sufficient to create her own world.

To stop her, Calculha made a grave request of Ahri'ahn. The boy flung himself amidst the crystals and disrupted Majistra's spell; this set off a chain reaction with dire results for all four individuals. Ahri'ahn's sacrifice caused Majistra to explode. Father and son sent the crystals back to their rightful places, but despite their success, the ambient power ravaged Ahri'ahn's young form. The surge from this power traveled back through Ahri'ahn's mindlink to Calculha and flung the elder into the realm of Darkworld itself. From there, Calculha managed to protect Ahri'ahn's energies and send them into the sun. Garn was left alone on Earth, but his skin had turned snow white.

Garn dedicated himself to the study of magic, hoping that one day he would have the opportunity to avenge his mother. Over the next 100,000 years, Garn mastered dark sorcery and succeeded his mother as the leading sorcerer of Mu. A large portion of Earth's magical energy was lost in his family's struggle and a great ice age slowly blanketed the once-mighty Atlantean empire. Thanks to their aggressive pursuit of science, Atlantis would survive this cold and continue to prosper. (Who's Who #9, Aquaman #1)


In the tale from Arion #4, Garn and Ahri'ahn were still adolescent. Yet Arion the Immortal places Ahri'ahn's birth at 527,654 years ago. It was the same writer, so they either aged slowly or the birthdate was facetious.


Though Calculha managed to save the Twelve Crystals, their remaining power was further curtailed by greater cosmic forces. Far away in space, a major sun went nova, and the violent emanations of its explosion had vast repercussions on the mystical as well as physical planes. Great zodiacal alignments were disrupted and a flux resonated through the magical field that permeated the universe. The ultimate result was that Earth, once a great epicenter of mystic concentrations, lost even more of its magical potential.

As the rulers of the twelve great Houses discovered their loss, they sought to save themselves and the rest of the mystic community of the world. They knew that once the magic was gone, they would be reduced to the level of ordinary humans, and the rich profusion of beasts and wizards, gryphons and faeries, unicorns and dragons — would cease to exist. The masters of the twelve Houses poured all their powers into a single vessel, a young witch named Citrina. They bade her seek out a suitable, unformed mystical realm, a dimension far removed from the earthly plane, and there create a new world for the magicks of Earth.

At last Citrina succeeded and created a new home named Gemworld. Most of Earth's mystic community migrated to the new land. Being a mystical realm, Gemworld stimulates, but is not bound by, the laws of physical reality. It consists of one great land mass surrounded by a sea, with several clusters of islands laying offshore, and its sun is a living entity. Every morning the sun surges out of its home in the eastern sea. Twelve Houses rule Gemworld, much as they had in Atlantis. Each realm aligned its character with the properties of a gemstone: Amethyst, Emerald, Garnet, Ruby, Diamond, Moonstone, Sapphire, Sardonyx, Topaz, Turquoise, Opal and Aquamarine. (Who's Who v.1 #9)

The Great Tragedy

+ 50,000 Years Ago: A Time of Science

Atlantean society was the most sophisticated on Earth and it experienced a period of growth and experimentation. In one such experiment, the resident Lord High Mage fashioned an exploratory vessel and hurled it to the stars with magical energy. Five thousand years later, it would return to herald the great continent's doom... (WW v.2 #1)

+ 45,000 Years Ago: The Time of Arion

Though it was a shade of the wonder it had been before the ice age Atlantis remained a glorious civilization. Science now dominated the twelve great cities, and some remnants of sorcery survived. Empires rose and fell over the centuries, and many cultures lost all ties with mighty Atlantis. Former colonies evolved civilizations of their own, but carried reminiscences of their heritage in rituals or words. (Aquaman #1)

The exodus to Gemworld left the Earth with precious few sorcerers. As such, Atlantis was left vulnerable to the power of Garn Daanuth. Garn became the greatest sorcerer on Earth and planned to conquer Atlantis just as his mother had once tried. But every yin has its yang, and so it was that Calculha, from his long exile in Darkworld, developed a near godlike mastery of magic himself. To save Atlantis from the encroaching cold, Calculha gathered Ahri'ahn's life energies from the sun and drew them to Earth in the form of a blood-red gemstone. He then guided a blind Atlantean guardsman, Wyynde, towards the stone. (This warrior would one day become an Atlantean legend. In the time of Poseidonis, the surrounding mountain range is named after Wyynde.) (Arion #4-5)

Wyynde was born to Sh'roco, king of the land of Khe-Wannantu. But the young boy could not bear the thought of sacrificing his freedom to one day succeed his father. So, as a boy, he fled Khe-Wannantu and eventually became a soldier for the City of the Golden Gate, serving under Lady Chian. When his troop clashed with a group of "Sub-men," Wyynde was wounded by the primitives' arrows and became separated from the rest of his patrol. He became lost in the snow-covered wilderness and the glare from the snow rendered him blind. It was then that Calculha guided Wyynde to the gem.

Calculha next instructed Wyynde to climb an ancient pyramid and set the gem upon its summit. This act restored Ahri'ahn to adult human form, and cured Wyynde's blindness. Inside the pyramid, Ahri'ahn found his destiny, the ancient garment woven from the threads of Darkworld. He also assumed a slightly new name: millennia of verbal traditions had rendered the pronunciation of "Ahri'ahn" as Arion. Thus when Wyynde spoke this name, Arion found it fitting, especially since all memories of his former life had now vanished. Arion set immediately about his mission as protector of Atlantis, and Wyynde became one of his closest friends. (Warlord #??; Who's Who v.1 #26)

Calculha brought Ahri'ahn back from heavens but was destroyed by Garn Daanuth — who only then learned that Calculha was his father, and Ahri'ahn his brother! Ahri'ahn drove Garn back and became the City of the Golden Gate's new protector, the Lord High Mage of Atlantis. (Arion #1, WW #1)

Lady Chian was daughter of Sato, lord of House of Shonan in Hoshan, one of the twelve official city-states of Atlantis. Chian was trained to be warrior, following Hoshan tradition. This gentle young girl was terribly anguished at being torn from her father and their peaceful home. The warlord's taskmasters trained her to be a warrior and Chian's hatred of their cruelty and of her father for letting her be taken away motivated her to master the skills of combat.

Finally, Chian slew three of the taskmasters and fled the warlord's keep, never to return. She spent the nest years wandering from place to place as a highly successful mercenary warrior. Eventually, Chian came to the City of Golden Gate, the leading city of Atlantis. There she became the captain of King D'Tilluh's royal guard. She also met Arion, his chief mage. Arion and Chian became bother lovers and allies and shared many adventures defending Atlantean civilization from various threats. Chian accompanied Arion and other survivors to safety when Atlantis finally sand. Her ultimate fate is unknown. (Who's Who v.1 #13)

Many of Arion's adventures are known from the early versions of the Atlantis Chronicles. Exactly when these chronicles first began is not known, but in the time of Arion, they were called The Chronicles of Choloh. Choloh himself was long gone by Arion's time, but his name was revered. Atlanteans also consulted an oracle named for the Chronicler. Often, the title was passed to Chroniclers' progeny upon their death. Only some of the Atlantis Chronicles survive to the modern day, but given the long history of this civilization, any surviving records are a miracle.

Arion and Garn clashed repeatedly after this. In one of these encounters, scars were magically seared onto the left side of Garn's face. (?)

Upon the death of his father, Sh'roco, Wyynde returned to Khe-Wannantu to become their new king. He married one of the women, Fawndancer, who had been pledged to him before her birth. But soon afterwards, the land of the Khe-Wannantu was sunk beneath the sea by Arion's evil brother Garn Daanuth. The only survivors of the tribe were Wyynde, his brother Nightfire and Fawndancer, who was permanently transformed into a creature of the sea. (Arion #16-18)

Wyynde's grief, combined with the strain on his mind when Garn temporarily took control of it, caused him to withdraw from reality mentally for a time. Later, Wyynde was genetically altered into a beast-man. But Arion succeeded in restoring Wyynde to his true form, and Wyynde was once more in good mental condition. Wyynde survived the sinking of the City of the Some years after the sinking, a restless Wyynde led an expedition that never returned. The exact circumstances of his death are unrevealed.

Arion and Lady Chian become lovers. (Who's Who v.1 #13)

Also known about this period in Atlantean history:

+ The Great Migration

The fate of the Atlantean continent was sealed with the return of an ancient exploratory vessel. The vessel was launched in the name of science by Atlanteans eons before, but it returned to Earth with alien conquerors instead. This drew the attention of the Darkworld god, Chaon. Chaon attempted to take advantage of the empire's vulnerability and launched his own attack. Arion and his friends resisted both Chaon and the aliens, but they were only able to stop one of the threats.

Chaon released a massive bolt of black energy which struck the City of Golden Gate. This set off a chain reaction that triggered the tectonic forces beneath the continent. As a result, most of the continent sank below the ocean, including the cities of Hy-Brasil and Mu. Hy-Brasil survived underwater and its people secreted themselves away for 45,000 years until they were called by Aquaman to defend Atlantis again. The aliens were defeated when one of their number, Etok, betrayed them and sent their ship into the sun. (Arion Special #1; Who's Who v.2, Aquaman #17-18)

Arion, Wyynde and Lady Chian led a band of adventurers to rebuild their society. Arion sent out six expeditions to seek out new homes. This era is known as "Great Migration." The legends of the Atlantis Chronicles recalls:

... mighty Arion abandoned the City of the Golden Gates, believing that it had been completely destroyed. It's comforting to us mere mortals to know that even demi-gods such as Arion could make a mistake. Arion's home, and indeed all of the surrounding area, surrendered itself to the seas. But the area further inland — that remained, although somewhat shattered and shaken. And when Arion left he took with him much of the technology and sorcery that had made Atlantis the cradle of civilization.

According to the Phantom Stranger, what remained was "an outcropping. Part of the archipelago left by the vanished continent." These inland cities were named Poseidonis and Tritonis. They grew and survived above water for over 30,000 years. (Atlantis Chronicles #1, Who's Who v.2 #1, Books of Magic v.1 #1)

Precisely where Arion and his future-wife Lady Chian finally settled is uncertain. Regardless, they built a new home and together watched civilization grow anew again. (Who's Who v.2) There are, however, several known Atlantean colonies:

After this period, the Twelve Crystals of the Zodiac were scattered, lost or forgotten. Their (much reduced) power would not be summoned until the 20th century, by the mad Atlantean known as the Ocean Master. (Aquaman v.2 #1)

Another 20th century hero, Resurrection Man, has also claimed that he helped Arion salvage the Atlantis Chronicles after the Great Tragedy. (DCU Heroes Secret Files #1)

Later …

The core of Atlantean magic was based on its ties to the Darkworld. At the time, none realized that Darkworld was a living cosmic entity. They did not know that as this creature began to wake, their powers — which came from its dreams — would fade. All the remaining sorcerers were left virtually powerless. As Darkworld ceased to exist, even its gods were left adrift, yet immortal, on Earth. Arion and Garn Daanuth also survived into the 20th century along with former gods Chaon, Weaver, Deedra and Gemimn. When the magic faded, Arion's friend Mara was in the form of a dog and she remained thus. In time, she forgot her life as a human. Arion's final days in Atlantean civilization remain unchronicled. He is believed to have married Lady Chian, but she was not immortal like him. He wandered Earth powerless, observing the rise of mankind but never participating. (Arion, 1992)

Vandal Savage found his way to Arion's new home, where he formed a partnership with Garn Daanuth. Together they formed the secret society called the Illuminati. (Time Masters #7)

In the 20th century, Garn encountered JLA, and claimed that when Atlantis sank, he encased himself in mystic amber, sleeping until time was right. He must have been lying, as he'd been active all along. (JLofA #217)

There are no further accounts of Atlantean history until the time of King Orin of Poseidonis, 30,000 years later …

The Atlantis Chronicles

+ c. 9,600 BCE: The Deluge

It had been many centuries since "Great Migration" and Atlantis was still thriving. Relatively isolated from rest of world, the small continent was content to develop by itself (although occasionally, a band of savages would attack city). (Atlantis Chronicles #1, 1990) When Atlantean King Thorvall died, his elder son Orin became King. (#1, #7) Under King Orin, former City of Golden Gate was renamed Poseidonis. (Presumably, Atlantis must have had some contact with Greek god Poseidon.) Orin's wife was Queen Narmea and Albart of Ancinor was the official keeper of "Atlantis Chronicles."

When Orin's best friend, Rajar, had visions of an attack by savages Orin defended Atlantic using laser cannons. Orin's brother, Shalako, on the other hand, was a religious zealot and called upon his goddess, Suula, to strike at savages. After this Orin ordered a transparent dome be erected over the city for protection. Shalako felt this would anger the gods and so he began praying to other "Dark Gods." Meanwhile, Shalako's young son Dardanus developed unhealthy attraction to Orin's newborn daughter, Cora. In this second era of brotherly rivalry, Atlantis met it's final fate—in the shape of a skull-shaped meteoroid falling to Earth. It was this object that sealed Atlantis fate final below the waves. (#1)

The skull-shaped meteroid (which Shalako believed was sent by the gods) was in fact an Anunnake ship, which crashed to Earth. The prehistoric legacy of the alien Hunter/Gatherers was long forgotten by the people of Atlantis. But Earth was not to be ignored by the Hunters/Gatherers' successors. This race of lizard-like warriors set out to conquer the Hunters' former colonies and eventually found their way to Earth. As the Atlantean continent settled on the bottom of the sea, the city of Poseidonis came to rest atop the Anunnake ship.

At least one of the Anunnake remained on Earth. This female became feared and worshipped in several cultures as the goddess Tiamat. At some point, Tiamat eventually placed herself in suspended animation inside the submerged Anunnake ship (beneath Poseidonis). (Aquaman v.5 #24)


The Phantom Stranger and Timothy Hunter encountered a very old Arion observing the continent's final destruction (c. 9600 BCE). This account is misleading because it suggests to some that Arion was actually present at the moment of its last sinking. Some might conclude that this meant he re-settled on the continent after the destruction of the City of the Golden Gate. But the weight of evidence clearly suggests that Arion left the old continent for good circa 45,000 BCE (and lost his magic soon thereafter). I believe that in this tale (Books of Magic v.1 #1), Arion was merely magically observing its final fate from afar. The Green Lantern Alan Scott once retrieved the "gun that dropped through time" in unnamed Atlantean city only minutes before continent sank. (All-Star Comics #53, 1950)

Needless to say, Atlantean society was thrown into chaos. The dome had spared a large number of inhabitants, but tensions continued to mount between Orin's Technocrats and Shalako's Shalakites. Orin sent out six exploratory vessels to discover the fate of rest of world while Shalako searched in the other direction through underground tunnels to abandoned city of Tritonis (presumably named after Greek god Triton.) Shalako called on his gods to guide him and his followers. With magical energies, they created a "hard water" dome over Tritonis and his people restored city. Hostilities between Poseidonis and Tritonis began almost immediately. (Atlantis Chronicles #2)

When two exploratory vessels discovered the meteoroid that sunk Atlantis, they were whisked through ocean to Egypt. The natives there welcomed the Atlanteans as gods. Indeed the Atlanteans helped guide the Egyptians and mated with best of them. These people then spread throughout nearby lands. (#6)

The adjustment to underwater live was not easy. When no explorers returned, Orin assumed that Atlantis was all that remained alive on Earth. His scientist Thorne soon invented a way to allow Atlanteans to breathe underwater. The Tritonians ultimately accepted the serum as well, but Shalako's prayers to his Dark Gods caused his people to grow fishlike legs as well. The Tritonians responded by killing Shalako and his family, except for Dardanus (who hadn't taken the serum). (#2)

In time Dardanus came out of hiding and returned to Tritonis. He proceeded to attack his cousin Cora's suiter, Bazil, in jealousy. Orin banished Dardanus and Bazil and Cora went on to marry. But on the night before their wedding, Dardanus returned and raped Cora. (#3) Though she and Bazil did marry, she bore Dardanus' child, a scaled green-skinned creature with blond hair who became the notorious Kordax the Cursed. Both because of his vicious nature and his blond hair, Kordax was left to die in ocean. But Kordax survived in sea, and learned he had the ability to communicate with, and control sea creatures. (#4) Because of Kordax, any Atlantean child born with blond hair was now considered taboo.

As time passed, Atlanteans of both cities noticed changes in their biology. In general, the undersea people aged at a slower pace. Poseidonians began to grow small fins on back of their legs and the Tritonians were born with fishtails instead of legs. Orin decided to open Poseidonis' dome and allowed the water to infiltrate the city. Dardanus eventually met his son, Kordax, and the two returned to challenge the royals. This incited the first full-fledged civil war. (#4)

In battle, Kordax lost control of his sea creatures, which then turned on the Tritonians. Both peoples were forced to battle the sea creatures together. Before the battle was over, Dardanus had killed great Orin, whose spirit rose to battle that of his brother Shalako. The new queen, Cora, ordered Kordax's left hand be amputated, and he was banished from Atlantis. (#5) Afterwards, there was peace between the two cities. (#5)

Also known about this period in Atlantean history:

+ c. 1200 BCE: Atlan

Poseidonis and Tritonis lived together peacefully for millennia. The bloodlines of Manu and Nala continued and merged in the union of their descendants, Honsu and Lorelei. Honsu and Lorelei have 3 sons—Atlan, Haumond and Kraken. As youngster, Atlan's hair turns blonde, he is banished from city. Helios becomes new Chronicler. Years later, Atlan returns to Poseidonis to reveal that there are still civilizations on surface world. Honsu and Council of Ten decide to invade surface world. Shayera and the Idyllists object, and leave Poseidonis. Atlan, who is also a mystic, tells Shayera to beware children with "purple eyes," which becomes superstition. (Atlantis Chronicles #5-6) The Idyllists settled in the Hidden Valley and founded the city of Shayeris/Crastinus.

Kraken followed in his father's footsteps, becoming great warrior, while Haumond was more peaceful. However, both sons accompanied their father on Atlantis' conquest of surface world. This Atlantean force built a great island city near Europe named Bazilia (after the warlord Bazil). From this base, they swept through Europe and the Middle East, battling Vikings, Chaldeans, Babylonians, then set their sights on Egypt. (#6)

+ 1175 BCE: Egypt

Egyptian legends tell of an invasion by "Sea Peoples" during reign of Ramses III. These "invaders" were actually Honsu's Atlanteans. The Egyptians fought valiantly and the Atlanteans could not endure its hot sun and deserts. Honsu ordered his troops to retreat to Bazilia, leaving Haumond behind. Haumond was brought before Ramses, who revealed that he was actually a descendant of the original Atlantean explorers sent out by Orin. (#6)

The Atlanteans continued their conquest of Europe. In Athens, Honsu challenged the Greeks to send their greatest warrior against Kraken. Kraken was killed by the Athenian champion—who turned out to be Haumond. The Atlanteans soon returned to the ocean floor and Bazilia sank; Haumond returned to Egypt. (#7) NOTES: This site of Bazilia may be a reference to the island of Santorini, which is often theorized to be the site of the ancient civilization.

As Atlan's sorcerous powers grew, he gave Haumond a potion which allowed him to live on land longer than other Atlanteans and extended his life span. Below, Kraken's offspring continued royal family line. They grew, supplanted Honsu, and continued to fight amongst themselves. (#7)

Sometime after this, the alien founders of Atlantis — the Hunter/Gatherers — returned from space and dredged the city of Bazilia up from ocean. They improved its technology and charged a man named Spought to monitor the Earth for them. Their city had the ability to levitate and was dubbed the Floating City. (Aquaman v.5 #22)

The Obsidian Age

+ 1043-1000 BCE: Gamemnae

In 1043 BCE, the Atlanteans' longstanding fear of Kordax drove them to a fateful decision. A blond-haired child named Gamemnae was expelled from the underwater empire. Somehow, the girl survivied and became a great sorceress. Twenty-three years later, she returned to Atlantis and raised the city above the water. Her power was so great that she became Atlantis' undisputed ruler. This act not only gave her godlike powers but also bound her soul to the continent of Atlantis. This bond could not be broken unless the continent itself was destroyed. (JLA #75) Gamemnae soon took a husband from another land. She ensnared the statesman, Rama Khan of Jarhanpur and the pair led the nation to greatness. This time would be known as Atlantis' "Obsidian Age." (#70)

In 1015 BCE, this age was disrupted by yet another tragedy — all of 21st Century Atlantis was shunted 3,000 years into the past! This was part of a seemingly well-conceived magical contingency plan by King Orin (Aquaman). Orin had read in the Atlantis Chronicles that during this time, Atlantis experienced a long period of peace and stability. But when his people arrived, they found that the city had been raised above sea level. Many of the refugees suffocated in the air and Orin led the survivors into the water. Gamemnae approached Orin as a friend, but soon trapped him in an aqueous form, inside a magical pool. The remaining Atlanteans were enslaved beneath the water. (JLA: Our Worlds at War #1; JLA #72)

Meanwhile, in 1004 BCE, Gamemnae further expanded her dominion. She and Rama Khan recruited heroes from across the globe (and from rival societies) to form a multicultural League of Ancients: the Anointed One, Manitou Raven, Sela, Tezumak and the Whaler. (JLA #70, JLA/JSA Secret Files) In response to a dire prophecy by Gamemnae, Manitou Raven and Tezumak travelled to the 21st century to destroy the Justice League. They did not succeed, but instead set the JLA on the path to locating 21st Century Atlantis. The JLA casted a spell and arrived circa 1000 BCE. Raven and Tezumak also returned from the future and alerted the Ancients to the JLA's plans. (#66, 68, 70)

The JLA located the enslaved Atlanteans, who had been protected by Mera, their 21st century queen. Gamemnae's Earth-driven powers were too strong for the JLA, and the heroes were all slain by the Ancients. At the last minute, however, the bravery of Green Lantern convinced Manitou Raven change sides and oppose Gamemnae. He used Green Lantern's heart as a sacrifice in order to save the JLA's souls. The power of the sacrifice enabled Raven to cast a containment spell around Atlantis, effectively trapping Gamemnae within. There they all remained for years until the JLA's successors arrived with a plan. The new JLA freed Aquaman from the pool. The future king was forced to make a painful decision: to break Gamemnae's soul-bond to the continent and nullify her magicks, he chose to re-sink Atlantis. The people from the 21st century returned to their own time. Manitou Raven and his wife, Dawn, also chose to emigrate to the future. (#72, 74, 75)

In shame, the Atlanteans of the First Millennium BCE removed any trace of this horrible time from the Atlantis Chronicles. Sadly, it is this very omission which creates the false impression of peacefulness in the Chronicles, and which will lead Orin to bring his people back to this time.

+ c. 30 BCE: The Homo magi Retreat

In order to retain the purity of their race, the Homo magi eventually sealed itself off from the world in the mountains of Turkey. This race had diverged from Homo sapiens during the Stone Age. (Justice League of America #165)

Also, at a time "enturies ago," another group of Atlantean magicians from Poseidonians and Tritonians left to found two new cities. They became known as Sher'Hedeen. (Aquaman v.5 #5)

Modern Atlantis

+ King Orin—Aquaman

Over thousands of years, a Atlantis became a diverse collection of underwater cities and races. Some of these cities were apparently established after the sinking of the continent. The following are the known, modern underwater Atlantean civilizations:

Atlantean history repeats itself in many tragic ways. In addition to the legacy of geological instability, it suffered from a long line of brotherly rivals. After the Deluge, many Atlanteans also developed extreme xenophobia. This last matter manifested in opposition to Poseidonis' future king, Orin. Orin was born of Queen Atlanna of Poseidonis and fathered by the ancient mage, Atlan. This heritage did not save Orin from a cruel fate, as he was born with the blond hair of his evil ancestors, Kordax and Gamemnae. Orin was left on a reef to die, but the magic in his blood would save him. Orin was born with the ability to communicate with sea life. As a result, he immediately bonded with a school of dolphins. Orin was accepted by the dolphins as family and was raised through his teenage years in this environment. (See Aquaman)

Eventually Orin found his way back to Atlantis and assumed his royal destiny as king. But his presence in Poseidonis brought unwanted attention to the sea floor. A string of tragedies led to Orin's abdication of the throne. The state was then left to King Thesily and Orin's aide, Vulko while Orin lived among surface dwellers. In his wanderings on land, Orin was dubbed "Aquaman" and he was a founding member of the Justice League of America. This led him into contact with his long-lost half-brother, Orm Marius — the Ocean Master. Orm was also fathered by Atlan by an eskimo woman.

Orm's hatred of Orin drove him to uncover an ancient, pre-Deluge library containing the secrets to Atlantean magic. As his power grew, he was able to locate and collect six of the ancient zodiac crystals. One became a holy relic called the Lia Fail to the people of Thierna Na Oge. One served as a governmental seal in Poseidonis. With the help of Nuada Silverarm of Thierna Na Oge, Aquaman was able to overcome his brother on the astral plane. In the end, the two known crystals were returned to their homes. Presumably, the others were kept for safekeeping by Nuada or Aquaman (it is unlikely that they would have gathered up their own seals and left the rest for another would-be conqueror). (Aquaman, 1988)

Decades before the rise of Aquaman, the Creature Commandos encountered the remnants of a Pacific colony of Atlantis. Atlantean science had created a group of robots to carry on the work of Atlantean conquest. (Weird War Tales #111)


Aquaman's post-Crisis continuity was rewritten by Peter David, who also wrote the Atlantis Chronicles. Though he established much of the history, David also changed the nature of Aquaman's relationship to his brother Orm (the Ocean Master) and to Atlantean legend as well. His Aquaman series (volume 5) suggested that the events of the 1988 mini-series (where Aquaman discovered Thierna Na Oge and met Nuada) had not happened. I see no big discrepancies between the two, so I have kept that mini-series as part of this history.

There are some wacky pre-Crisis Atlantis appearances, which should be considered apocryphal:

+ Atlantean Reunion

As ever, fate drew Orin back to his former kingdom. This time, he began having visions of an impending threat to the undersea realm. Indeed, he was unconsciously sensing a great — and terrible — reunion. Foremost among these events was the return of the prehistoric Hunter/Gatherers — the alien race who seeded Atlantis! Two great Atlantean enemies were also due to return: Kordax, the blond-haired chaos bringer; and Tiamat, terrible goddess of the Anunnake race.

Orin's connection to Poseidonis led to the gradual rise of the ancient alien ship buried beneath that city. As it stirred, Tiamat was awakened below, and the city began to rise up off the ocean floor. Since Tiamat had been on Earth for millennia, she was unaware of the truce between the Anunnake and the Hunters. She became an ally to Kordax and sought to subjugate humanity. Meanwhile, Orin instinctively acted to unite the extant cities of Atlantis against the Hunters. The Hunters had already arrived on the surface and made an alliance with the United States. They had long since made peace with the Anunnake and promised to help lead Earth to a new golden age. Orin was not swayed by this altruism and set about uniting his Atlantean kin. He found friends in Thierna Na Oge, but encountered vicious resistance in Hy-Brasil (which he squashed).

In the Dreaming City, he found that his evil brother, Orm, had taken over. Orm eventually destroyed that city. Lastly, he located the ancient Floating City — Basilia. It's ancient caretaker, Spought, had been left in charge by the Hunters. When Poseidonis began to rise, its residents fled to Tritonis. They were led by Vulko and Orin's son, Koryak, who demanded that the Tritonians show the way to a lost city in the tunnels beneath Tritonis. The Tritonian King Iqula and Queen S'ona eventually acquiesced and Koryak's expedition awakened Kordax. Kordax had been imprisoned by Atlan and quickly set about using the Poseidonian refugees as his slaves. Koryak killed many Tritonians before he was stopped.

Orin successfully turned the Floating City against the Hunters, but it was destroyed in the process. The Hunters realized that they were up against formidable opposition and eventually stood face-to-face with Orin himself. Orin had surmised the truth before the Hunters could reveal it: though they were a truly peaceful race, the Hunters' "golden age" for Earth would first require the annihilation of its entire civilization. The Hunters acknowledged defeat and left Earth. (Aquaman v.5 #7-23)

The legacy of brotherly rivalry now lives on between Orin's son Koryak, and his surrogate sons, Garth and Arthur (see below).


It has been suggested that a being known as Xaos that resided in the center of the Earth was responsible for the sinking of Atlantis. Not long ago, Xaos was responsible for a series of Earthquakes in San Francisco, but was banished and returned to his home in the Earth's Core by Zatanna. (Zatanna: Come Together #1-4)

One other magical artifact that survived the sinking of Atlantis was the Talisman of Atlantis, whose possessors include Sindella and Zatanna. (#2) (Based on the appearance of this artifact, it is possible that this artifact is actually the Optic Gem, which was possessed by the Highlord of the Homo Magi (JLofA #164-165) and given to Zatanna after she saved the Homo Magi from a wasting disease of unknown origin. (Zatanna Special 1)

Zatanna was also described by the Highlord of the Homo Magi, and Koll, guardian of the Shrine of Ages as The Chosen One. (Zatanna Special #1)

+ Arion the Immortal

Arion himself lived to the modern day as well, but he and the gods of Darkworld were left powerless soon after the Great Tragedy. Arion (as Aristotle Ronald) and Deedra, Gemimn, Weaver and Chaon eventually came to live in New York City. Though they were unable to tap into the power of Darkworld, they retained enough magical essence to remain immortal and to perform superficial charms. In the meantime, Garn Daanuth had become the military leader of the nation, Kuran. (Arion the Immortal,1992)

It seems that none of them was aware that their power had actually come from the dreams of a powerful cosmic entity. This entity, while asleep, was Darkworld! Having remained "awake" for over 40,000 years, it began to come to rest once again. As a result, Arion and Chaon soon discovered that their powers were returning. With the awakening, the gods were summoned back to Darkworld by beings called the Blonnjuu. Arion and the old gods were less than thrilled; they had come to accept and enjoy their simple humanlike existence. But Darkworld was bent on slumber and sought Garn Daanuth as it's protector, just as his father Calculha had done before. Arion was too powerful for either of them. Allied with the gods, he bonded Darkworld to Garn, whose screams would keep it awake for eternity. What power remained was gathered by Arion. (Arion, 1992)

Since then, Arion has been a very reluctant adventurer. During his battle against Darkworld, he again encountered Power Girl. (#5) Since regaining his power, he has been called upon by Aquaman to help defend Atlantis (Aquaman #) and by the Martian Manhunter to save Katar Hol (Hawkman #33). Recently, his body was overtaken by the rogue Lord of Order known as Mordru. Arion's essence was imprisoned on Gemworld and freed by Power Girl, with the help of Dove. As they returned to confront Mordru, Arion admitted to Kara that he had lied. He was not, in fact, her grandfather. He offered no further details except that her real mother would soon be forced to reveal seek Kara out herself. (JSA #49-50)

+ Worlds at War

When the cosmic menace called Imperiex threatened Earth, Aquaman enacted a magical contingency plan to save Atlantis. With the help of magicks conjured by Tempest, he transported 21st century Atlantis 3,000 years into the past. According to the Atlantis Chronicles, this was a peaceful time, but Orin was decieved by a falsified record. In truth, the city had been brought to the surface by the tyrant sorceress, Gamemnae. (JLA: Our Worlds at War #1)

When the Justice League traveled into the past to rescue Aquaman and his people, they were all captured by Gamemnae. (JLA #67-68) A new JLA rescued them with the help of Manitou Raven. In order to finally defeat Gamemnae, Aquaman was forced resink Atlantis in the distant past. But even though he had saved his people, Orin was branded a traitor and cast out from Atlantis. (JLA #75)

Sub Diego and the Sword of Atlantis

When the original Aquaman outgrew the adoptive company of his dolphin "mother," he went to live on land with Thomas Curry. Curry disappeared after a time, but his brother, Phillip Curry approached Aquaman for help in saving his own son, Arthur Joseph. Arthur was born ill, and while he was still a baby, Phillip used Aquaman's DNA to save the child. Eventually, though, Arthur's physiology gave out and his heart stopped. The boy lay dead for some time when, upon another visit from Aquaman, Phillip stole a sample of his magical hand. This also failed to revive Arthur. During the second great Crisis, Aquaman sacrificed his own humanity to protect Atlantis. Some of this same magic reached out to the deceased Arthur as well, awakening the bit of taken from Aquaman's aqueous hand. Orin's spirit infused the boy, and the part of Orin's soul that was now missing was replaced by something else undefined. Aquaman was transformed into a grotesque creature known as the Dweller in the Depths. (Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #57)

Once he was revived, Arthur's memory was hazy and he believed a different story. He remembered his life Avalon Cay, Florida, but he believed that he was lost at sea when his home was destroyed during the crisis. Arthur soon found himself wandering the sea, where he met the notorious King Shark and used his newfound metahuman strength to help fight off a band of mer-creatures. It was the King Shark who led Arthur to the Dweller in the Depths. The former Aquaman's memories were hazy as well; he dressed Arthur in familiar garb—his own. The Dweller made another comment that suggested that Arthur's mother had been a native of the sea; this is unconfirmed. (#40) NOTES: This story puts Arthur's age at 23.

Arthur soon met Mera, who was attempting to lead others to rebuild Posiedonis. Underwater society was now unstable and beseiged by barbarians. (#41) He also met the creators of Winward Home, a floating city that was home to the Sea Devils and Capt. Jimmy Lockhart (the former Red Torpedo), and the ghost of Aquaman's old friend, Vulko. (#42)

Arthur was soon recalled to Mera's aid. He and the Sea Devils learned that Mera's people—an other-dimensional race called the Aurati—had been enslaved by the Ocean Master. (#43-44) The heroes collapsed cavern walls upon the operation but Orm escaped. (#45) Also during this time, Arthur met the tentacled people from the undersea cities of Neos and the manta-people of Sharaiah.

When they returned to the remains of Poseidonis, they found another Atlantean had been resurrected as well. Aquaman's son, Koryak had been transformed into Narwhal by the people of Dyss. Koryak's memories were also incomplete, and he killed his father. This horror hardened Arthur's resolve to protect and restore Atlantis. (#50) Hoping to find answers behind Aquaman's murder, he accompanied Tempest and others back to Sub Diego and found it had been taken over by Black Manta. (#51)

At Tri-Dent in San Diego, Prof. Curry learns his son is alive and his captor is Krusivax, son of Kordax. He seeks to reclaim Atlantis for his own. King Shark arrives outside the barrier and Topo helps him get in and Arthur summons small creatures to vex Manta's goons. King Shark bites Manta's helmet off, not killing him, but leaving him greatly scarred. Rodunn summons Mera to see that Orin's body is turning to water. She mentions that Koryak's body had been stolen. (#53)

Urlok god of Dyss is awakening and only Orin can stop him. Arthur meets Krusivax and his father again. Krusivax is working for Vandal Savage. (#54)

Topo shows her a video by Gregory Jupitor fo Porgene. He has mad ethe video in anticipation of a disaster. He admts they are responsible for Sub Diego. Jupiter's new disaster will come from an implant in the earth, a lithophage, stone eater, a group organism. It sprouts a body like a fungus then eats at tectonic plates. This would affect the entire Pacific Rim. Narwhal rejects his masters and seeks answers from Atlantis. Krusivax killed his mother. Arthur escapes with his father but encounters Vandal Savage. (#55)

Savage moves to set a bomb in motion. Krusivax unleashes Mother Skorpa on Arthur. Savage escapes and Arthur pursues him in his sub, swimming faster than ever before. He throws Savage off the plane and moves onto Krusivax, whose thoughts he finds he can control. He forces the villain to push the plane's self-destruct, give him the code to stop the bomb, then jumps free while the plane expldes. Arthur goes to see to his father. (#56)

When Arthur was injected with truth serium by the villain Clownfish he received a vision of the Lady of the Lake, who showed him his true origins. Arthur was angered that his father had stolen from Orin, and he rejected the name "Arthur," choosing to go by Joseph instead. (#57)


Power Girl

The most well-known falsehood related to Atlantis is the origin of Power Girl. In original DC continuity, Power Girl was from Krypton in the Earth-2 universe. She was one of a handful who survived the original Crisis and landed on the new Earth. The continuity on this Earth had no place for her, and for years she searched—not remembering her pre-Crisis roots—for her past.

She eventually "discovered" that she was the granddaughter of Arion himself. As the story went, Arion agreed to help Power Girl's mother protect the girl and he crafted a story about his own son, Calculha II. This son bore Power Girl (Kara) and a brother, Khater. Supposedly, Arion had subjected her to genetic experiments to make her stronger and advance abilities of Atlanteans everywhere. Garn Daanuth returned and possessed Kara's body. Arion placed Kara in crystal chamber in suspended animation, sent her into another dimension to save her from Garn. When Kara emerged, she possessed memories which led her to believe she was the long-lost cousing of Superman. She joined the Justice Society as Power Girl. Years later, he came to her and told her a false story: that she was his granddaughter from 45,000 years ago. (Secret Origins v.2 #11)

I would assume that in post-Infinite Crisis continuity, where Power Girl's true origin is acknowledged, that these tales involving her and Arion no longer exist.

+ 10,000,000 Years Ago

Long before man walked Earth, beings now known as The Circle were born, their origins unknown.Their appearance would indicate they were not all of same species. When mankind is born, Circle become hunted & killed as witches & warlocks. "Eons ago", the Chosen One leaves Circle. Legend fortells he would return someday to help Circle leave Earth. (Adventures of Superman #427, 429, 435; Mayfair's Superman Sourcebook '92) Members of The Circle in modern day include Prana, Zahara (#427), Sthula/Concussion (#429), Deuce, Charger (#430) It is possible The Circle were earliest Homo magi or forerunners of Atlantis.



  • Books of Magic v.1 #1, Neil Gaiman (1990)
  • JLA #66-75
  • Warlord #55-61 (1982)
  • Who's Who v.1 #1, 9, 13, 26
  • Who's Who v.2 #1


  • Aquaman v.1, 63 issues (1962-71, 1977-78)
  • Aquaman v.2, 4-issue limited series (1986)
  • Aquaman v.3, 5-issue limited series (1989)
  • Legend of Aquaman, one-shot (1989)
  • Aquaman v.4, 13 issues (1991-92)
  • Aquaman: Time and Tide, 6-iussue limited series (1994-95)
  • Aquaman v.5, 74 issues (1994-2001)
  • Aquaman v.6, #1-39 (2003-06)
  • becomes... Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40-57 (2006-07)
  • Arion, Lord of Atlantis, 35 issues + Special (19??)
  • Arion the Immortal, 6-issue limited series (1992)
  • Atlantis Chronicles, 7 issues (1990)



  • Atlas of the DC Universe, Mayfair Games, DC Comics, used under license by Mayfair Games. Paul Kupperberg; Editors: Jack Barker & Jacqueline Leeper (1990).
  • Atlantis: The Eighth Continent, Charles Berlitz
  • Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, Ignatius Donnelly
  • Critias and Timaeus, Plato