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Then there is Critias who was the grandfather of the Critias of the dialogues. This elder Critias told the story of Atlantis to his grandson, Critias, who then conveyed the story to Socrates in the dialogues. The dialogues that follow were written by Plato some time around BC and are English translations by Benjamin Jowett: Note : The pages and paragraphs of the dialogues are a convenience created by myself. Timaeus Serves only as a brief introduction to Atlantis, a preface.

Goto Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Critias Provides a detailed description of the lost island and its people as well as information about the ancient Athenians. Goto Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Cast of Characters All of the men, except for Timaeus, who take part in or are mentioned in Timaeus and Critias are known to have actually existed in ancient Greece. Those who actually take part in the dialogues: Timaeus - there is no historical record of him. Critias - Plato's great grandfather.

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Socrates - Plato's mentor and teacher. He was condemned to death by authorities in Athens for "corrupting the moral of Athenian youth"; He lived from to BC. Hermocrates - statesman and soldier from Syracuse. Those mentioned in the dialogues: Solon - Athenian traveler, poet, and lawgiver who lived from approximately BC. As a scholiast on Plato's Timaeus 20a notes: "he was called an amateur among philosophers, and a philosopher among amateurs. While little remains of Critias' philosophical writing, numerous quotations by later writers attest to multiple works on a variety of topics.

Unfortunately, these fragments reflect neither a comprehensive nor a thorough understanding of his philosophy. Enough remains, however, to understand something of his practice as a philosopher, his epistemology, his conception of the soul, and his ethics. Much of his philosophical teaching appears to have been presented in multiple books of Homilies and Aphorisms. It is tempting to imagine that the Homilies which may be understood either as "lectures" or "conversations" may have represented an early form of the dialogue, but an insufficient number of fragments survive to give a clear picture of their literary character.

If Critias' Homilies were indeed in dialogues, he may have influenced his cousin Plato in his choice of an innovative literary form for the presentation of philosophy. At the very moment that Theramenes seems to be swaying the audience, Critias steps forward and says: "I believe the business of a leader should be that if he sees his comrades being deceived, he should not permit it.

Critias believed that law, order, and the divine are merely human creations that function as tyrants over humanity--thus, morality is relative to the individual and a trained, noble character should be regarded as superior to any law. This ethical preference for the educated individual over human law occurs in several of the other fragments of his work, but is best illustrated in the fragment from the satyr play Sisyphus , which is attributed to Critias.

Authorship of the play continues to be disputed by scholars, but there is nothing in the one surviving fragment fr. If law and the gods are a human construct, it follows that they are no match for the learned individual. Although the quotation is clearly meant to be spoken by Sisyphus, who was condemned by the gods for his impious acts, the second-century AD medical doctor and skeptic Sextus Empiricus quotes this passage as evidence of Critias' atheism.

Additional circumstantial evidence for Critias' atheism may be found in his open blasphemy toward the gods at the climax of the condemnation of his political rival Theramenes Xen. Having taken refuge atop the sacred altar in the council house, Theramenes calls Critias and his followers "the most unholy of men.

Apart from the surviving fragments of the plays and the elegiac and hexameter poetry attributed to him, nothing is known about Critias' work as a playwright and poet. Only a single quote from the Tennes survives, the end of a hypothesis of the Rhadamanthys remains along with three brief fragments, and some nine fragments are extant from his Pirithous. A substantial fragment from the satyr play, Sisyphus , discussed above also remains.

Timaeus And Critias by Plato Plato - Penguin Books Australia

In the sole surviving fragment of his hexameters, Critias celebrates the sixth-century BC poet Anacreon, who was reputed to be the lover of Critias' homonymous grandfather fr. This fragment also contains the earliest reference to the kottabos game, a favorite sport at aristocratic symposia; another fragment in elegaic couplets further records the Sicilian origins of the game fr.

Critias' apparent love for this drinking game, which included a brief prayer for one's younger lover, is undoubtedly behind Theramenes' famous last words at his execution in BC. After having been compelled to drink hemlock, Theramenes reputedly tossed the dregs from his cup and in clear imitation of kottabos practice said: "This to Critias the fair" Xenophon, Hellenica 2. Two fragments of Critias' elegies honor Alcibiades fragments 4 and 5. One of the fragments, in fact, states emphatically that it was Critias who proposed the successful motion for Alcibiades' return from exile fr.

Another brief pentameter line records the axiom: "More men are good from practice, than from nature" fr.

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The axiom fits well what is known of Critias' emphasis on training in the building of character, but is perhaps striking when his own aristocratic pedigree is considered. The remaining elegaic couplets, which record various customs and facts relating to the Spartans, apparently belonged to a "Politeia of the Lacedaemonians" in verse fragments Politeia is a term often best translated as "constitution," but often refers more broadly to a "way of life" rather than strictly political matters.

Critias appears to have been one of the first to compose such "constitutions" either in verse or prose.

  1. Online Library of Liberty;
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  5. Citation Styles for "Timaeus and Critias".
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  7. Critias reportedly believed that the Spartan politeia was the best Xenophon, Hellenica 2. In his rhetorical training, Critias was influenced by the grand, antithetical style of Gorgias and Antiphon and continued to be read by students of rhetoric such as Cicero On Oratory 2. Furthermore, his work was remembered by later rhetoricians of the Second Sophistic as an excellent example of pure Attic oratory see, for example, Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists 9.

    The Manuscripts of the Critias

    None of Critias' speeches survive intact, although H. Wade-Gery has argued that a speech attributed to Herodes Atticus is a work of Critias.

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    However, U. Albini's careful and thorough study of the speech leaves no possibility for a date of composition of the "Herodes" speech earlier than the second century AD. More profitably, S. Usher has argued that the speeches given by Critias in Xenophon's Hellenica are condensed versions of the originals. Xenophon almost certainly knew Critias and his rhetorical style personally, and may have been present to hear him attack Theramenes in the council chamber, but how precisely he recalled the words spoken must remain a matter of speculation.

    Fragments of Constitutions of Thessaly fr. Boeckh and other scholars have attributed to Critias a "Constitution of the Athenians" wrongly ascribed to Xenophon, but this argument has found little favor. Other extant fragments from unnamed prose works include biographical details of the lives of the poet Archilochus fr. In addition, the lexicographer Pollux cites words from Critias' works on some twenty occasions--a testimony to Critias' stature as a writer of pure Attic Greek and, perhaps, to his educated diction.

    In the fragments from his "Constitution of the Lacedaimonians" Critias never fails to record his admiration for even the most mundane features of Spartan society. Along with Lacedaimonian moderation in drinking wine and toasting their fellows fr. He also recorded that "it was a Lacedaimonian, Chilon the wise, who once said, 'Nothing too much, all beautiful things arrive at the proper moment'" fr. Critias was one of the first to write histories of individual city states.

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    It is likely that Xenophon used and perhaps even imitated Critias in the writing of his own "Constitution of the Lacedaemonians," although he never says as much. It is also possible, if not certain, that Aristotle used Critias' work in the composition of his "constitutions" of the Greek city-states, but this too must remain an open question. The breadth of Critias' work in philosophy, drama, poetry, historical writing, rhetoric, and politics is impressive. He was not a particularly original thinker, but generalists seldom are. Alcibiades and Critias had both been associates and onetime students of Socrates.

    Professor William Morison writes:. Critias produced a broad range of works and was a noted poet and teacher in his own time.

    Plato's Critias -- Brief Introduction

    The fragments of three tragedies and a satyr play, a collection of elegies, books of homilies and aphorisms, a collection of epideictic speeches, and a number of constitutions of the city-states both in poetry and prose all have been passed down in the works of later authors. IEP: Critias, 1. Professor Forrest E.

    Since Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon were trying to persuade the jury that Socrates was a corrupter of youth, they naturally needed an example to support their claims and they found — or invented — one in Critias who, by that time had been dead for four years. However Critias' atheism developed, whether inspired by Socrates or simply by his own observation, it was unapologetic and stark.

    It is also curious that, as far as one can tell, Critias would have written his works expressing doubt in the divine when he was younger and far less powerful than in the time of the Thirty. School of Athens by Raphael Public Domain. There was a time when the life of men was unordered, bestial and the slave of force, when there was no reward for the virtuous and no punishment for the wicked.

    Then, I think, men devised retributory laws, in order that Justice might be dictator and have arrogance as its slave, and if anyone sinned, he was punished.