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