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(krĭsh`ēəs, krĭtēəs), c.460–403 B.C., Athenian political leader and writer. A relative of Plato, he was an aristocrat and had early training in philosophy with Socrates and wrote poems and tragedies. He is best remembered, however, as one of the Thirty Tyrants imposed on Athens by the Spartans. He was soon at odds with Theramenes, who was put to death. Critias earned a name for rapacity and bloodthirstiness, although Plato seems to have admired him, using him as a speaker in the dialogues Protagoras, Timaeus, and Critias. When ThrasybulusThrasybulus
, d. c.389 B.C., Athenian statesman. A strong supporter of the democratic and anti-Spartan party, he successfully opposed (411 B.C.) the oligarchical Four Hundred and later had Alcibiades recalled.
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 led his forces against the Thirty, Critias was killed in battle.



Born circa 460 B.C.; died circa 403 B.C. Athenian political figure (ancient Greece) of the oligarchical trend. Off-spring of an illustrious aristocratic family; pupil of Socrates.

In 411 B.C., Critias was an active member of the oligarchical regime of the Four Hundred. After the reestablishment of democracy (410), he was expelled from Athens. With the fall of Athenian democracy in 404 he headed the oligarchical board known as the Thirty Tyrants; he relied for support on the most reactionary part of the aristocracy and the armed Spartan garrison. Critias followed a policy of bloody reprisals and confiscations. It was on his proposal that Theramenes, leader of the more moderate tendency in government, was executed. Critias was killed in a battle against troops of the exiled Athenian democrats at Piraeus. Critias is known also as a philosopher, orator, and writer, from whose works only excerpts are extant.

Fragments of his works are to be found in Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, edited by H. Diels (vol. 2, 5th ed., Berlin, 1935).


Nestle, W. “Kritias: Eine Studie.” Neue Jahrbücher für das klassische Altertum, vol. 11, 1903.
Blumenthal, A. Der Tyrann Kritias als Dichter und Schriftsteller. Stuttgart, 1923.


References in classic literature ?
Fresh in the memory of the Athenians, and detestable as they deserved to be to the newly restored democracy, were the names of Alcibiades, Critias, Charmides.
the wisdom of Critias, the poem of Solon, the virtues of Charmides, they may have been due only to the imagination of Plato.
The crimes of Alcibiades, Critias, and Charmides, who had been his pupils, were still recent in the memory of the now restored democracy.
Plato is silent about his treachery to the ten thousand Greeks, which Xenophon has recorded, as he is also silent about the crimes of Critias.
Or he may have been regardless of the historical truth of the characters of his dialogue, as in the case of Meno and Critias.
We cannot argue that Plato was more likely to have written, as he has done, of Meno before than after his miserable death; for we have already seen, in the examples of Charmides and Critias, that the characters in Plato are very far from resembling the same characters in history.
The fragment of the Critias has given birth to a world-famous fiction, second only in importance to the tale of Troy and the legend of Arthur; and is said as a fact to have inspired some of the early navigators of the sixteenth century.
Laws prevented people from doing violent deeds that could be seen -- Sophist Critias
Atlantian culture in the Timaeus and Critias, serve as two ready and
49 Which legendary island was first mentioned in Plato''s dialogues Timaeus and Critias.
427) leads into a discussion of spaces which transcend the physical world, such as the backdrop to the myth of Er, and 'political geographies', such as the description of Atlantis at the beginning of the Critias.
On Socrates' association with Critias, see Xenophon, Mem.