Critias, Son of Callaischros, the Athenian, - a Sophist and a Tyrant

Frolov Edward D.

The wide-spread opinion that Critias had split personality, being destructive in politics but creative in literature and philosophy, is not true. Both his political ambitions and his literary activity were deprived of moral principles, and thus both in his words and in his deeds he represented a very integer type of that strong but antisocial personality, that was celebrated so vividly by Callicles in Plato's Gorgias. Critias' case helps us understand a complicated, or rather perverse, essence of such new phenomena in Greek political and ideological life as sophistics and tyranny. Interesting as they are, they cannot win our sympathy. Representatives of the new philosophy deserved their mocking-name of sophists, i.e. not truly wise men, but sly philosophizers. At the same time the tragic finales of almost all «supermen»-pol-itics of the late 5th century reveal the real bankruptcy of those who tried to realize the ideals of the new sophistic doctrine.