The Kritias ( ancient Greek Κριτίας Kritías , Latinized Critias ) is a late work by the Greek philosopher Plato , written in dialogue form , which has remained a fragment . The content is a fictional, literary conversation in which, in addition to Plato's teacher Socrates and the noble Athenian Kritias, after whom the dialogue is named, two guests from the Greek-populated southern Italy take part: the philosopher Timaeus of Lokroi and the politician Hermocrates of Syracuse . The identity of Critias is controversial in scholarship; it is either the well-known politician " Kritias IV ", a cousin of Plato's mother, or his grandfather " Kritias III ".
Critias is the main speaker, he gives a long talk; the three other interlocutors only have a brief word at the beginning. The action immediately follows on from that of the Timaeus ; in Critias the further course of the meeting is described, the first part of which is depicted in Timaeus . Presumably, the two dialogues originally formed a single work, which was only later split into two parts. Because of this togetherness, the term “Timaeus-Kritias” is often used in research literature.
In the lecture, Kritias wants to describe heroic deeds that, according to him, took place nine millennia ago when Athens waged a defensive war against the mythical island kingdom of Atlantis, which was already briefly described in Timaeus . First, the two states and the living conditions prevailing in them are characterized. Before the description of the fighting begins, the text breaks off suddenly. The main part of the story that should have followed is missing. Why Plato did not complete the work is unclear. Among his numerous dialogues, Critias is the only one who offers no discussion of philosophical questions, but only a fictional historical account.
The Atlantis story already sketched in Timaeus , which according to the announcement should be presented in detail in Critias , is a free invention of Plato according to the current state of research; there is no evidence of an earlier existence of the substance. The author's intention is to exemplify the basic ideas of his political philosophy and to illuminate undesirable developments in politics and society with narrative means from an ethical point of view.
The dialogue situation
The Kritias is part of a trilogy originally planned by Plato . This should consist of three consecutive dialogues with the same four participants at one and the same meeting of the group. It can be assumed that Plato originally had a unified dialogue consisting of three parts in mind. In any case, one of the participants in the conversation should act as the main speaker and give the other a lecture. It was not just about imparting knowledge, but the constellation with the planned three appearances also had a competitive character in the sense of the " agonal principle " rooted in the Greek mentality . Only for Socrates, who was not supposed to compete with the others, no lecture was planned. As one learns at the beginning of the Timaeus , he made his contribution the day before the meeting when he was host; now he is the guest of the others and listens.
The trilogy should begin with the Timaeus , continue with the Critias and end with the Hermocrates . The Critias but remained unfinished and Hermokrates Plato probably never started, probably because he gave up the trilogy project.
Critias, Socrates and Hermocrates are certainly historical persons. It is unclear whether Timaeus actually lived or is a figure invented by Plato. In the Timaeus Hermocrates mentions that he and Timaeus live in Critias' house as guests of Critias during their stay in Athens.
In contrast to many Platonic dialogues, in which contradicting views collide and refutation is sought, whereby sometimes sharpness and irony also come into play, in the Kritias, as in the Timaeus, the atmosphere is friendly, cooperative and characterized by mutual respect.
The problem of the identity of Critias
In antiquity and until the early 20th century there was no doubt that Kritias was the politician "Kritias IV" (* at the earliest 460 BC; † 403 BC), a cousin from Plato's mother perictions . This Kritias, who has also emerged as a poet, came from a noble and wealthy Athens family. He was one of the most prominent representatives of the oligarchic direction. After the catastrophic defeat of his hometown by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War , he assumed a leadership role as an oligarchic group in 404 BC. The democratic state order eliminated. The oligarchs seized power and set up a “ Council of Thirty ” as the highest body. Critias played an important role in the thirty-member council, which consisted of the leaders of the oligarchic movement. The terror-related rule of the thirty did not last long, however. Already in the following year 403 the troops of the oligarchs suffered a decisive defeat in the fight against a force of exiled democrats, with Critias falling in the fight.
"Kritias IV" was a son of Kallaischros , whose father "Kritias III" (* probably around 520 BC) had a grandfather who was also called Kritias ("Kritias II", * probably around 600 BC). The father of "Kritias II" was Dropides ("Dropides II"), the Athenian archon from 593/592 BC. BC, a friend and relative of the legendary Athenian legislature Solon .
Archon 593/592 BC Chr.
* around 600 BC Chr.
* around 520 BC Chr.
† 403 BC Chr.
* around 450 BC Chr.
around 445–403 BC Chr.
428 / 427-348 / 347 BC Chr.
Plato's literary figure Kritias states in the Timaeus that when he was about ten years old, he heard the story of the war between Athens and Atlantis from his grandfather of the same name, who was then almost ninety years old. Since his great-grandfather Dropides was close friends with Solon, his grandfather Kritias had the opportunity to learn the story from the famous legislator.
If one proceeds from the wording of Timaeus and the historically correct family tree, the dialogue participant Critias as the great-grandson of Dropides is not to be equated with "Critias IV", but with "Critias III". The well-known Plato editor John Burnet spoke out in favor of this solution as early as 1914 . With this, Burnet opened the debate, which still continues today, about the identity of Plato's literary Critias. Very little is known about "Critias III"; after all, its existence is archaeologically secured. Regardless of the wording in Timaeus and the actual parentage relationships, some researchers are still of the opinion that the speaker in Critias must be the oligarch "Critias IV". They assume that Plato made a mistake or deliberately disregarded genealogical facts.
The researchers who advocate identification with "Kritias III" argue:
- After his defeat and his death, "Kritias IV" was completely discredited in his hometown, which had again become democratic, as he was charged with arbitrary executions during the rule of the thirty as the leading head of the oligarchic group. Therefore, Plato's contemporaries would have considered it a tremendous provocation if the philosopher had entrusted the most prominent and hated representative of the oligarchical reign of terror with the task of glorifying the glorious epoch of ancient Athens and the heroic deeds of the Athenians of that time. In addition, Plato's Socrates expressed his appreciation for Critias in the Timaeus .
- The distance between Solon's death in 560/559 and the middle of the 5th century, when “Kritias IV”, born around 460 at the earliest, was ten years old, is around 110 years. Therefore, if the oligarch's grandfather told the story to his grandson around 450 and was almost ninety at the time, it cannot have been alive before Solon's death.
- The literary Kritias mentions in the Timaeus that at the time when he heard the story from his old grandfather, Solon's poems were new and sung by many boys. That cannot be the case around 450.
- Plato's literary Kritias suggests that he has good long-term memory but poor short-term memory. This senile state of memory does not fit “Kritias IV”, which was still relatively young at the time of the dialogue.
- When Plato meant the oligarch, that is, made him the great-grandson of "Dropides II", he skipped two generations in his genealogical information. Such a blatant error is not plausible, because it is about Plato's own ancestors - "Kritias III" was his great-grandfather - and it is known that he attached importance to the fame of his sex and the knowledge of his own ancestry, as it was then in noble families was common.
- In other dialogues in which Plato allows "Critias IV" to appear ( Protagoras , Charmides ), he explicitly names him "Son of Callaishros", which rules out confusion. This suggests that the lack of this identifying reference in Timaeus and Critias is not accidental, but rather indicates that it is about a different person.
Proponents of the counter-thesis, according to which the speaker in dialogue is the oligarch, counter:
- "Critias III" is - as far as can be seen - a very pale figure, of whose existence hardly anything was known in the 4th century, when the dialogue arose. Therefore, when Plato's contemporaries read the name of the title figure in Critias , they had to think of the very well-known oligarch, which the entire ancient world did. This suggests that Plato meant him.
- There is evidence that during Plato's lifetime the time lag to Solon's epoch was held to be considerably shorter than it was.
- Plato also made his uncle Charmides , who like “Kritias IV” a well-known oligarch and who died with him in the fight against the democrats, the title figure of a dialogue, Charmides . Apparently he had no fundamental reservations about allowing representatives of the oligarchy to appear and giving them a positive role in the dialogue. In addition, Critias's dialogue action takes place more than two decades before the beginning of the oligarchical reign of terror, and Charmides is still a youth of around 14 to 17 years in the dialogue named after him; this will reduce the offense. In addition, Plato may have intentionally wanted to provoke. In any case, he was a critic of Athenian democracy, and it is possible that his judgment of the oligarch Critias' policies was milder than that of public opinion.
- As a writer, Plato claimed his literary freedom and placed little value on chronological consistency, as a number of anachronisms in his dialogues show. The only important thing to him was the relationship to Solon, on whose authority he wanted to appeal. Therefore, he can be trusted to skip two generations if, for literary reasons, he intended to let the oligarch Critias appear and not let the chain of tradition become too long.
Socrates, Timaeus and Hermocrates
Socrates, Plato's teacher, plays an insignificant supporting role in Critias - unlike in most of Plato's dialogues in which he appears - because he had already communicated what he wanted to present to the group the day before. He only takes the floor once, before the beginning of Critias' lecture, and assures Critias and Hermocrates a benevolent assessment of their forthcoming efforts on the demanding topic. In doing so, he refers to the competitive nature of the lecture series.
Timaeus is the first to express himself in Critias , but only briefly, after which he only listens. In the dialogue named after him, he appears as a distinguished and wealthy citizen of the Greek colony Lokroi Epizephyrioi (today Locri in Calabria ), who held high offices in his hometown. It is not expressly stated that he was a Pythagorean , but it can be easily deduced from his utterances in the Timaeus . His competence in all areas of philosophy, especially in the field of natural philosophy , as well as in astronomy is emphasized.
It is unclear whether Timaeus was a historical person or was invented by Plato. The historicity is disputed in the research, since all information handed down about Timaeus can be derived from Plato's statements. While some classical scholars reckon with the possibility that it is a historical person, most of the more recent research argue against it. A literary fiction suggests that Timaeus appears to Plato as an important politician and important scientist and that such a man, if he had actually lived, would have left a trace in the sources.
Plato's Hermocrates is the Syracusan politician and troop leader who became known in the Peloponnesian War as a determined and successful adversary of the Athenians. Like Socrates and Timaeus, he only makes a brief appearance in Critias before the lecture of the title character, but it has already been announced that he will later be the last speaker at the meeting.
The time of the dialogue action
The action of Timaeus-Critias' dialogue follows on from a conversation the day before, in which Socrates presented his concept of the best possible state. But this certainly does not mean - as was believed in antiquity and as late as the 19th century - the discussion presented in Plato's Dialogue Politeia .
The gathering of Socrates, Timaeus, Critias and Hermocrates takes place during a festival of the goddess Athena . It can only be the large or small Panathenaia , which were celebrated in the summer month of Hekatombaion . The year of the dialogue action cannot even be roughly determined. The dating approaches in the research literature vary widely, they fluctuate between the 440s and the last decade of the 5th century and depend on various, sometimes very speculative, assumptions. Since the Critias of Dialogue is already at an advanced age, researchers who identify him with the oligarch "Critias IV" have to advocate late dating; the hypothesis, however, that it is "Kritias III", requires an early dating (at the latest early 420s). It is hard to imagine that Hermocrates could have visited Athens after the start of the expedition to Sicily in 415; a point in time after 415 should therefore be excluded. Plato probably had no concrete historical situation in mind.
All four take part in the preliminary talk, then the lecture of Critias begins, which is not interrupted by the others. Before Critias gets to the main part of his story - the description of the war between ancient Athens and Atlantis - the dialogue breaks off.
The preliminary talk
Timaeus expresses his relief that he has finished his lecture on the creation of the cosmos and asks the deity for knowledge if he was wrong. Now, as agreed, it is Critias's turn to give his presentation. He asks for an indulgent assessment, since he believes that his historical theme is more open to attack than Timaeus with the cosmological one. Socrates willingly assures him and Hermocrates, who is to speak last, goodwill. But he also points out that it will not be easy to match the Timaeus' performance in the competition with something of equal value. Hermocrates makes it clear that such a challenge must be courageously accepted.
Critias spoke up. At the beginning of his remarks, he asked Mnemosyne , the goddess of memory, for assistance. He refers to what he has already communicated in the preliminary talk of Timaeus about his subject and the origin of his knowledge. The listeners already know that Kritias relies on information from his grandfather of the same name, who told him the story of ancient Athens and Atlantis. In doing so, the grandfather referred to a report by the famous legislator Solon ; while he was in Egypt, he received his knowledge from an old priest in Sais . The priest had informed his visitor that the Egyptians, unlike the Greeks, had historical records going back very far.
The story of Critias
First of all, Critias reminds us that he has already summarized some key points (in the Timaeus ): The war that will be discussed took place nine millennia ago. On the one hand there was the part of humanity that lived “beyond the pillars of Heracles ” - that is, west of the Strait of Gibraltar ; the leadership of this war party was held by the kings of the island of Atlantis. The opposing side were peoples who lived east of the "pillars"; with them Ur-Athens, the predecessor state of Athens, was the leading power. In his presentation, Kritias wants to deal individually with the many peoples and Greek tribes involved. First of all, the two main powers, Ur-Athens and Atlantis, should be introduced so that one can gain an impression of their state order and military power. Critias begins with Ur-Athens, where he first discusses the mythical origins of this state and then goes into geography and society; then he contrasts the Athenian conditions with those of Atlantis. The description of Atlantis is far more extensive than that of original Athens.
Once the gods divided the entire earth by mutual agreement. Then each deity arranged for the settlement of their area according to their respective special concerns and took over the establishment and control of the state there. The landscape of Attica , the capital of which was Ur-Athens, fell to the divine half-siblings Athene and Hephaestus , who were of the same disposition: Both particularly valued knowledge or wisdom, as well as the arts and crafts. They made sure that the land produced able people who were distinguished by bravery and cleverness. In Attica, the natural conditions were particularly conducive to the cultivation of these virtues. However, since Ur-Athens was later destroyed by a natural disaster, the historical continuity broke off; With civilization, the historical records also perished, the surviving people eke out a miserable existence in the mountains as culturally illiterate people. From the sunken civilization, only the memory of the names and a few deeds remained with the descendants. As examples, Kritias cites the names of mythical kings of Attica - Kekrops , Erechtheus and Erichthonios - and the king's son Erysichthon , who in reality were personalities of ancient Athens and heroes in the war against Atlantis.
The society was organized according to classes. Right from the start, the leadership was held by “divine men” - wise leaders; they ensured a spatial separation of the peasant and artisan class and the warrior class. The warrior class formed the upper class. The Athenian warriors not only acted as “guardians” of their fellow citizens engaged in production, but also all other Greeks voluntarily submitted to their protection and control; all of Greece was administered by them. The defense of the state was the responsibility of women and men together, the women of the warrior class fought in the war. The warriors had no private property, all property was common to them. The farmers and traders were responsible for their material supplies, but they were not exploited; they only had to provide the warriors with essentials. The living conditions of the upper class were modest and the use of gold and silver was frowned upon. The government ensured stable conditions among the warrior class; the number of citizens fit for military service was kept constant at around twenty thousand. Otherwise, too, the prevailing attitude was conservative; the already optimized conditions were to be retained, and innovations were also avoided in the architecture.
Critias gives precise information about the extent of the Urathenian state. Accordingly, this was much larger than Attika at the time of the dialogue action. The territory extended to the Isthmus of Corinth , it also included the landscape of Megaris with the capital Megara . The balanced climate was very beneficial, the soil extremely fertile; the agricultural yield far exceeded the still considerable that Attika was producing at the time of the dialogue. Therefore it was not difficult for the original Athenians to maintain a large standing army. In addition to the agriculturally usable areas, there were also extensive forests. Kritias points out that even in the present day Attica is not inferior to any other landscape in terms of fertility, although the quality of the soil has declined sharply as a result of erosion over the past nine millennia. The fertile soil was washed into the sea and was lost, because since the sea is already deep in the coastal area, no alluvial land was formed. What is left of the former fat soil is only a “remnant”, which Kritias compares with the skeleton of an emaciated, sick body. The forest has also decreased. The rainwater did not flow directly into the sea as in Plato's time, but was held well by the ground; there were far more springs and rivers, as evidenced by the still existing spring sanctuaries from ancient times. One of the springs has its source at the Acropolis , its water has a pleasant temperature in every season. The plateau of the Acropolis was huge, its dimensions exceeding that of the entire urban area in Plato's time. It was inhabited by the warriors; under their slopes were the settlements of the artisans and the peasants living near the town.
The warriors of ancient Athens ruled Greece fairly and were held in high esteem throughout Europe and Asia. Both the excellence of their souls and the beauty of their bodies contributed to their fame.
At the beginning of his description of Atlantis, Kritias notes that one should not take offense at the Graecization of non-Greek (“barbaric”) names. The Egyptian priests had already translated the names of the Atlanteans into their language according to their meaning and Solon then translated them - again based on the etymology - from Egyptian into Greek. He, Kritias, was now in possession of Solon's relevant notes that his grandfather had left him.
Already in Timaeus , Kritias described Atlantis as an island kingdom whose main island was larger than "Libya" and "Asia" combined; He repeated this statement at the beginning of his lecture in the Critias . With "Asia" maybe only meant Asia Minor , with "Libya" all of North Africa known to the Greeks at the time. The first ancestors of the people living there, as Critias now relates, emerged from the ground. When the earth was divided among the gods, Atlantis fell to the sea god Poseidon . With the mortal Atlantean Kleito, he fathered five exclusively male pairs of twins and established an empire for each of the ten sons on the island. So Atlantis was divided into ten parts. The eldest son was called Atlas . Poseidon gave him the largest and best territory that lay in the interior of the island. There the god had surrounded a piece of land with three concentrically arranged ring canals, so that the circular area enclosed by the innermost canal became an island with a diameter of five stadiums (888 m). The Royal Palace of Atlas was built on it. Atlas received at the same time supremacy over the entire island kingdom. The island “Atlantis” and the sea around it were named after him “Atlantic”.
Atlantis was the main island of a large maritime empire that included many islands in the Atlantic. In the course of an eastward expansion policy, the Atlanteans also subjugated a large part of the Mediterranean area: the African Mediterranean coast to the border with Egypt and the north coast to Etruria . In the case of the descendants of Atlas, the royal dignity associated with sovereignty over the entire empire was inherited to the eldest son according to the principle of primogeniture .
Atlantis had greater wealth than ever before - and probably later - another state. In addition to the income that the kings received from their foreign possessions, the island's rich natural resources contributed to this. One of these was the Oreichalkos ("Bergerz"), an enigmatic metal that was most valued after gold. The climate made lush vegetation possible, including especially fragrant plants; a diverse animal world - including the elephant, the "largest and most voracious" animal - thrived under the favorable conditions. In addition to rivers, lakes and swamps, artificial waterways shaped the landscape. The Atlanteans built a canal from the sea to the outermost of the three concentric ring canals inside their island and also created waterways between the three canals so that the circular central island, the political and religious center of Atlantis, could be reached by ship from the sea . The middle island was surrounded by a wall adorned with orichalkos, it was given the character of an acropolis .
On the middle island was the royal palace of the Atlas dynasty, which was connected to the central temple of Poseidon. The temple was huge and completely covered with silver and gold on the outside, adorned with gold, silver and orichalkos on the inside, the ceilings were made of ivory. In the temple and around it, golden statues were erected, depicting, among other things, Poseidon and the queens and kings of the ten kingdoms - women are mentioned first - as well as important consecration gifts from rulers and private individuals. The furnishings of the royal palace were continuously expanded, with each king trying to surpass his predecessor. This gave the facility an increasingly imposing appearance. On the outer of the two rings of land created by the three ring canals was the hippodrome , which with its length of about 10 km exceeded any hippodrome of antiquity many times over.
The outermost of the three ring canals, where the largest inland port of Atlantis was, was surrounded by a large city. The Atlanteans carried on a brisk foreign trade, their main port was always full of ships. The many merchants from all over the world arriving there made great noise with their babble of voices day and night.
Critias then turns to the topography of the remaining parts of Atlantis. The seashore was formed by high and steep rocks, the island was mountainous. In its center was a plain in the shape of an elongated rectangle, which was enclosed by mountains and surrounded the capital. It was three thousand stadiums (532.8 km) long and two thousand stadiums wide. A canal system was used to transport goods there. Around the central plain, an area of around 190,000 square kilometers, the Atlanteans dug an artificial moat that was a stadium (177.6 m) wide, 29.6 meters deep and ten thousand stadiums (1776 km) long. Critias expresses his amazement that such a work could be created by human hands.
The size of the island corresponded to the huge number of men fit for war that Atlantis could muster. The population of the central plain provided sixty thousand officers who had ten thousand chariots to equip. Each officer was also required to provide two cavalrymen and their horses, a two-horse chariot with an armed man and a charioteer, two heavily armed men, two archers, two slingers, three lightly armed stone throwers and spear throwers, and four seamen to manned the fleet of twelve hundred ships. In addition to this force from the upper king's own realm, there were the armies of the nine other realms, which Critias does not elaborate on. The total military strength was thus apparently several million men.
Each of the ten kings ruled absolutely in his part of the world, he was the legislator there and could punish and kill his subjects as he saw fit. The relationship between the kings and the fulfillment of their common tasks was strictly regulated. At the regular meetings of the rulers, which took place alternately every four and every five years, a sacrificial ritual was performed, with the kings catching and slaughtering the sacrificial animals with their own hands. As part of the ritual, the ten kings undertook to comply with the regulations introduced by Poseidon that governed their relationships with one another. In the event of a violation, they cursed themselves and their descendants. They set up a court to punish transgressions, which could even order the removal and execution of a king by majority vote. Military action by one king against another was strictly forbidden, and if the rule of the dynasty there was threatened in one of the empires, all had to come to the rescue.
The way to war
After describing the conditions in the two states, Critias goes on to describe the prehistory of the great war between ancient Athens and Atlantis. For many generations, according to his account, the Atlantean rulers behaved according to the law, orientated themselves to the truth and directed their affairs with gentleness and wisdom. In doing so, they were guided by the will of Poseidon, from whom they descended and whose nature they therefore carried within them. In the course of time, however, the original divine share in the royal families dwindled, since the descendants of the god kept intermingling with mortals. Thus human nature gradually gained the upper hand. This led to the decline of morals, greed and injustice spread. When Zeus, the father of the gods, noticed this, he wanted to bring those who had strayed from the right path to their senses through a punishment and improve them. To discuss the upcoming measures, he called a meeting of the gods, at which he gave a speech. With the words "and after he had called them together, he spoke: ..." the lecture of Critias abruptly breaks off, here Plato's dialogue ends.
The reader does not learn the further course; The plan was probably to portray a major defensive battle based on the Marathon model , in which a numerically far inferior force overcomes a much stronger invading army. Critias already announced the outcome of the war, which ended with the victory of the original Athenians, in the Timaeus .
The question of role models
- See also Atlantis
According to the prevailing view today, Plato had no mythical or literary model for the subject of Atlantis. He probably composed it freely, but took suggestions for details from different works. Role models in historical reality and especially in contemporary politics are clearly recognizable, but the correspondences with them are limited to individual - sometimes important - aspects.
Mythical and literary role models
The idea behind the concept of a fabulous island that offers paradisiacal living conditions may have been the myth of the Phaiaks in the Odyssey . Even Hesiod's myth of the golden age , in which people from the nature of goods in abundance were provided and led a carefree life, may have influenced the image of Atlantis.
The concept of a state utopia , which claims a real existence for its fictional objects, was - as far as known - first presented in literature in Plato's Critias . A society based on community of property had already been addressed by Aristophanes in his comedy Ekklesiazusen .
Historical role models
Plato's Atlantis has historical models that were traditional enemies of the Greek world: Carthage and the Persian Empire . Individual elements of the description of the central plain and the capital of Atlantis seem to be inspired by Herodotus' historical work. In particular, correspondences with Herodotus information about the layout of the cities of Ekbatana and Babylon can be seen.
The Spartan state provided a historical model for individual aspects of the military system of Atlantis . The connection between Sparta and original Athens is clearer. With its territory much larger than that of Plato, Ur-Athens appears as a land power like Sparta; this is matched by the lack of maritime activity. The prevailing conservative sentiment, political stability and the disapproval of private luxury and commercial activity in the upper class of the original Athenians are also reminiscent of Sparta.
The possibility has often been considered that Plato was familiar with legendary traditions about a catastrophic event very distant in the past and that this inspired his literary fiction. Some hypotheses start from such a historical core of the Atlantis saga. Plato's Atlantis story also includes the destruction of the Atlantean civilization by a natural disaster, mentioned in the Timaeus and Critias . According to the statements of Critias in Timaeus , this is said to have occurred long after the end of the war against Ur-Athens. In particular, reference has been made to the decline of the Minoan culture in Crete , which is also associated with a natural disaster. For Critias , however, this aspect is out of the question, because his topic is a different one: he is about a war that is lost by the Atlanteans, but does not result in the end of the confederation on their island or even the destruction of the island . Parallels between the archaeologically determined features of the Minoan culture and those of Plato's Atlantis have also been cited as clues, whereby the role of the bull in the cult is particularly striking, but the assumption of a connection remains speculative, because there are no indications of a relevant tradition, the Could have known Plato.
According to another hypothesis, Plato may have known an Egyptian account of the " Sea Peoples Storm " in the late 13th and early 12th centuries BC. These were attacks by several allied peoples who invaded Egypt from the north and were repulsed. Perhaps an embassy attested to by the Pharaoh Tachos , dated around 360 BC. Stayed in Athens and strived for an alliance, put forward historical arguments as part of her mandate and also referred to that invasion. The Athenian general Chabrias , who repeatedly stayed in Egypt and apparently was friends with Plato, may have established contact between the philosopher and the Egyptian ambassadors. If Plato used a report on the sea peoples storm, he has in any case heavily redesigned it for his own purposes.
Contemporary role models
With the Atlantis story, Plato intends to illustrate core theses of his political philosophy using a constructed example. The background is the recent past and the contemporary politics and society of his hometown, which he judges very critically. Using the means of literary fiction, Plato wants to show the reader the reasons for the political decline that his generation had to experience. From his point of view, the causes of the undesirable developments that he wants to denounce are of a moral nature.
The description of Atlantis has similarities with Athens of the late 5th and 4th centuries BC. Recognize. Some of these relate to details such as the decimal division of the country or the exploitation of natural resources, but above all to the core of the political concept: Like Athens, Atlantis is an important sea and trading power, whose expansionist efforts prove to be fatal. Plato is convinced that it is a fundamentally flawed state and political model that ultimately leads to catastrophe. The defeat of the aggressive sea power Atlantis is a literary echo of the collapse of the imperial naval rule of Athens in the Peloponnesian War at the end of the 5th century BC. At the same time, the invention of the Atlantis myth as a reaction to the resumption of the traditional sea power policy of Athens in the 4th century BC To understand. Plato evidently wanted to reject this attempt at restoring Athens' old grandeur. The beginning of the failure of the new maritime power policy, the instrument of which was the Second Attic League , he saw in the last years of his life. A turning point was the defeat of the Athenians in the alliance war (357–355 BC). This severe setback for imperial politics, which Plato condemned, was able to confirm his conviction. The alliance war is likely to have formed the immediate reason for the literary development of the Atlantis story.
Both original Athenians and Atlanteans are described as autochthonous peoples who arose under divine care on their piece of earth. For Plato, there is a close connection between the properties of the land and those of its inhabitants. The detailed descriptions of the geographical conditions are to be understood against this background.
The structure of the original Athenian state shows essential features of the ideal state of the Politeia . Like him, he is conservative and focused on stability. In contrast to historical Athens, he sees himself, as Plato advocates, a pure land power and does not pursue a policy of maritime expansion; a port and a navy are not mentioned. Maritime trade - a factor which, according to Plato's nomoi - has a corrupting effect - is also not mentioned in the description of Ur-Athens. The estate order with the separation of the peasants and craftsmen from the warriors or guards corresponds to the demands of the Politeia , likewise the community of goods of the warriors, the ascetic way of life of the ruling class and the use of women for national defense. However, an essential element of the social order of the Politeia is missing in Ur-Athens : the “women's community” of the warriors - the consequent renunciation of family structures - and the bringing up of children together. In Critias Plato tacitly renounced this utopian postulate, which was particularly offensive to contemporaries and posterity . Whether Plato conceived his original Athens as a complete or only partial realization of the ideal state order is disputed in research.
Original Athens and Atlantis have some similarities, but above all numerous distinctive differences. Both states were founded by gods and therefore originally conceived meaningfully and optimally set up according to the respective circumstances. Their territories were richly blessed by nature, and the climate and soil conditions were very beneficial for the inhabitants. Thanks to the divine influence, the life of the citizens in both states was characterized by virtue in the oldest times, and wise moderation determined the behavior of the people. The conservative original Athens preserved the foundations of its initial ideal state in the later course of its history. The Atlanteans also remained true to their original principles for many generations. In contrast to original Athens, however, Atlantis later opened up to influences that brought about change, and since the original conditions were optimal, change could only mean deterioration. Plato suggests that the seeds of corruption were present in Atlantis from the beginning; however, they could only have an effect when the divine influence waned.
The impulse to found a state can already be seen as a sign. With Athena and Hephaestus the determining motive was their love for knowledge and wisdom. Poseidon, on the other hand, was driven by his desire for a mortal woman; he founded Atlantis in order to provide her and his children with a generous supply from this connection. Passion thus played an essential role in the creation of Atlantis, while Ur-Athens was a product of autonomous reason.
Ur-Attica, like Atlantis, is an exceptionally fertile land, but the contrasting landscape structure symbolizes the contrast in the nature of the inhabitants, which has developed over time. While Ur-Attica as a whole and in its details is characterized by moderation and balance, the lush nature of the island of Atlantis reveals a tendency towards excess, which is ultimately also manifested in the inclinations and deeds of the Atlanteans. The island is also the habitat of wild animals such as the elephant, which, with its size and voracity, expresses in its own way the inclination to the excessive inherent in the nature of the land.
The contrast between the two countries is already evident at the elementary level. While in Ur-Athens the earth is the characteristic element, which fits the stability of this state, in Atlantis, the territory of the sea god Poseidon, it is water. Water is ubiquitous to the people of Atlantis. The mobility of water corresponds to the willingness of the Atlanteans, rated negatively by Plato, to open up to various external influences, to become unfaithful to their conventional, optimized way of life and to develop fatal inclinations out of their addiction to innovation. The danger of civil war must be averted through the solemn obligations in the context of the sacrificial ritual. The complex construction work is particularly emphasized in Kritias' presentation. The luxurious furnishings of the central temple district and the royal palace are continuously being increased, the canal system is being expanded, and maritime trade is causing noise and unrest; eventually the initial virtue declines and greed expands. In terms of foreign policy, this move is evident in a violent striving for expansion, which leads to reaching out into the Mediterranean and ultimately to the fateful war against ancient Athens.
In the military conflict, the numerical superiority of the Atlanteans is overwhelming: the central plain of the island alone has three times as many officers as ancient Athens had fighters. Therefore, the politically deliberate limitation of the troop strength of Attica could appear as a fatal disadvantage. Nevertheless, the original Athenians finally won. With this, Plato wants to demonstrate that ultimately qualitative, not quantitative factors are decisive. In the Politeia he took the view that in a well-established state the number of warriors should be kept stable. The victory of the original Athenians over the enormous armed forces of the enemy is intended to demonstrate the viability of such a state.
In addition, excess and arrogance ( hubris ) represent a disturbance of the natural order and displease the gods. Hence, however great their power, the Atlanteans' defeat is inevitable from the outset, for it corresponds to the advice of the gods.
Time and circumstances of origin
If the hypothesis of a connection with the alliance war is correct, there is a clear limitation for the time of writing Critias : Then only the years between 357 BC come for the creation of the work. And Plato's death in 348/347 BC. In consideration.
Until the middle of the 20th century, there was hardly any doubt that Critias would be classified among the late works. In 1953 Gwilym EL Owen contradicted this conventional view. His hypothesis, according to which Critias , like Timaeus, belonged in the vicinity of Politeia , i.e. was written before the later works, received a lot of attention in the period that followed. However, this early dating has not caught on; According to the current state of research, the Kritias is one of the last dialogues and the time lag to the Politeia , which belongs to the middle creative phase, is considerable. Gerard R. Ledger even assumes that it was composed after the late work Nomoi ; he thinks that Critias is Plato's last dialogue. The philosopher had first written the nomoi , but perhaps postponed the final revision of this dialogue; in any case, he then turned to the Timaeus-Kritias , but died before the completion of the Critias and was possibly prevented by death from bringing the Nomoi into a definitive version. It is also possible that he worked on the two plants side by side. In most recent research, however, the order Politeia , Timaeus-Kritias , Nomoi is favored.
Since the subject of Critias is the continuation of the conversation, the first part of which is described in the Timaeus , some researchers have opted for the obvious assumption that Plato first completed the Timaeus and then tackled Critias , but did not finish it. Proponents of the reverse drafting order oppose this. This should explain the relatively broad space that the announcement of Critias receives in the Timaeus . The hypothesis that Plato broke off the work on Critias before he finished the Timaeus has been put forward in various variants. One of them is that Plato first started Critias and then, after giving up the trilogy project, wrote the Timaeus , which he no longer conceived as the first part of a trilogy, but as a completely independent work. That is why he had included in the Timaeus a summary of the Atlantis story originally intended for Critias , which was important to him. This is justified by the fact that the natural-philosophical content of the Timaeus does not fit well into a state-philosophical trilogy. It was only as a result of the change in the original plan that the Timaeus became a treatise on natural philosophy, which in this form would have gone beyond the scope of the trilogy. Another variant of the hypothesis is the assumption that Plato initially worked on both dialogues at the same time and then, after renouncing Critias , changed the concept of Timaeus .
The question of why Critias remained unfinished has often been discussed since antiquity . It is not plausible that the fragment character can be traced back to the condition of the handwritten tradition. Even Plutarch started from the obvious assumption that Plato died while writing Critias . This view has supporters in recent research. Another hypothesis is that the reason for the termination was the insight that the project could not be realized in the planned way. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff said that Plato was unable to invent the plot and tell it epically; therefore he could not get beyond the beginnings. Perhaps Plato saw a problem in the fact that the outcome of the war should be brought about by the gods on the one hand, i.e. that it was fixed from the outset, but on the other hand it should appear as an extraordinary achievement of Ur-Athens and demonstrate the superiority of the Urathenian state order. According to another interpretation, Plato intended from the beginning to leave the writing unfinished. Furthermore, the demolition has also been linked to the death of Plato's friend Dion of Syracuse († 354 BC).
Antiquity, Middle Ages and Early Modern Times
Since Plato did not finish Critias , it is unlikely that the text was available outside of the academy before the philosopher's death. The earliest explicit mention of the work can be found by the philologist Aristophanes of Byzantium , who lived around 200 BC. Directed the library of Alexandria . Nothing is known of an ancient commentary.
In the tetralogical order of the works of Plato, which apparently in the 1st century BC Was introduced, the Critias belongs to the eighth tetralogy. The philosophy historian Diogenes Laertios counted it among the "ethical" writings and gave "About Atlantis" as an alternative title. In doing so, he referred to a now-lost script by the Middle Platonist Thrasyllos . Elsewhere he classified Critias among the “political” dialogues.
In his biography of Solons, Plutarch started from the representation of Plato. According to his report, which follows Critias , Solon brought the story of Atlantis with him from Egypt. He intended to make them known to the Greeks in poetry, but did not complete this project. Plato then took on the task of designing the material, but also did not complete his work. Plutarch gave the Critias high praise: Plato had given the unfinished dialogue a unique introduction to the joy of posterity, as it were a large portal structure, circular walls and courtyards for a planned but not erected huge building.
No ancient text has survived. The oldest surviving medieval Kritias manuscript was made in the 9th century in the Byzantine Empire . Critias was unknown to the Latin-speaking scholars of the West in the Middle Ages.
Dialogue was rediscovered in the age of Renaissance humanism . The humanist Marsilio Ficino created the first Latin translation . He published it in Florence in 1484 in the complete edition of his Plato translations and wrote an introduction to it. The first edition of the Greek text was published in Venice by Aldo Manuzio in September 1513 as part of the complete edition of Plato's works published by Markos Musuros .
Francis Bacon wrote the utopian novel Nova Atlantis , published posthumously in 1627 , in which he took up Plato's Atlantis material and drastically redesigned it. The abrupt end of Nova Atlantis is reminiscent of the fragmentary character of Critias ; whether Bacon intended this is unclear.
From the perspective of the history of philosophy, Critias is classified as the most unproductive of all Plato's dialogues, since he has a purely narrative character and is limited to the description of freely invented, supposedly historical events. It is stated that the philosophical content - insofar as such is discernible at all - in no way extends beyond what can be inferred from other, earlier written dialogues of Plato. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the view was widespread that Critias was irrelevant to the knowledge of Plato's philosophy. Alfred Edward Taylor therefore did not consider the dialogue worthy of any special attention. Thomas G. Rosenmeyer believed it was a parodistic gimmick with no serious philosophical background. This point of view is also asserting itself in recent research. So called Franz von Kutschera the Atlantis story "which occupies some fun on Plato's coloring imaginative details sketch," as mere; there was not a single philosophical thought to be found in it. Hans Herter judges differently ; For him, Critias is philosophically interesting and a "by no means indifferent contribution" to Plato's theory of the state.
Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff wrote in his Plato monograph, published in 1919, that Plato did not “achieve full vividness in everything” in Critias , but that individual things were remarkable. In 1974, Olof Gigon judged that in Kritias Plato's art of narration unfolded “beautifully and relaxed”, and that it was one of the most attractive parts of his later work.
Some scholars see Critias as the first historical novel in literary history; they consider Plato to be the inventor of this genre of literature. Ephraim David believes that Plato, with his emphasis on the alleged historical facticity of the obviously mythical, demythologized myth and thus became the creator of a new genre: utopian literature. Bodo Gatz also praises Kritias as the first utopian state novel in world literature. The treatment of geology is also emphasized as a pioneering achievement: The Kritias is the first work in which the phenomenon of soil erosion is described and the related problems are addressed.
In modern times, the subject of Atlantis has been taken up in novels, poems, operas and films. Pierre Benoit published the novel L'Atlantide in 1919 , which was a great success and was awarded the Grand Prix du Roman of the Académie française . Benoit relocated Plato's Atlantis to the area of the Ahaggar Mountains in the Sahara, in southern Algeria. There, in the realm of Queen Antinea, who descended from the Atlanteans, the complete text of Critias , his "most beautiful dialogue", completed by Plato , is kept as late as the 19th century .
The Atlantis material continues to be used in the fiction and entertainment industry and is usually strongly alienated from the original concept. Often only the name Atlantis and individual elements of Plato's story are taken over.
Editions and translations
- Otto Apelt (translator): Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias . In: Otto Apelt (Ed.): Platon: Complete Dialogues , Vol. 6, Meiner, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-7873-1156-4 (translation with explanations; reprint of the 2nd, reviewed edition, Leipzig 1922)
- Gunther Eigler (Ed.): Plato: Works in Eight Volumes , Volume 7, 4th Edition, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-534-19095-5 , pp. 211-253 (reprint of the critical edition by Albert Rivaud , 4th edition, Paris 1963, with the German translation by Hieronymus Müller , Leipzig 1857)
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath (translator): Plato: Kritias. Translation and commentary . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2006, ISBN 3-525-30431-5 (with introduction and detailed commentary)
- Rudolf Rufener (translator): Plato: Spätdialoge II (= anniversary edition of all works , vol. 6). Artemis, Zurich / Munich 1974, ISBN 3-7608-3640-2 , pp. 307-330 (with an introduction by Olof Gigon S. L-LI)
- Franz Susemihl (translator): Kritias . In: Erich Loewenthal (Ed.): Platon: Complete Works in Three Volumes , Vol. 3, unchanged reprint of the 8th, revised edition, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2004, ISBN 3-534-17918-8 , pp. 193-214
- Michael Erler : Platon ( Outline of the history of philosophy . The philosophy of antiquity , edited by Hellmut Flashar , volume 2/2). Schwabe, Basel 2007, ISBN 978-3-7965-2237-6 , pp. 272-277, 657 f.
- Luc Brisson : De la philosophie politique à l'épopée. Le "Critias" de Plato. In: Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 75, 1970, pp. 402-438
- Hans Herter : Urathen the ideal state . In: Hans Herter: Small writings . Wilhelm Fink, Munich 1975, pp. 279-304
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato and the invention of Atlantis . Saur, Munich / Leipzig 2002, ISBN 3-598-77560-1
- Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Kritias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' . Academia Verlag, Sankt Augustin 1997, ISBN 3-89665-004-1 , pp. 65-81
- Jean-François Pradeau: Le Monde de la Politique. Sur le récit atlante de Platon, Timée (17-27) et Critias . Academia Verlag, Sankt Augustin 1997, ISBN 3-89665-048-3
- Pierre Vidal-Naquet : The Black Hunter. Forms of thought and societies in ancient Greece . Campus, Frankfurt 1989, ISBN 3-593-33965-X , pp. 216-232
- Kritias , Greek text after the edition by John Burnet, 1902
- Kritias , German translation after Franz Susemihl, 1857
- Kritias , German translation after Franz Susemihl, 1857
- Michael W. Haslam: A Note on Plato's Unfinished Dialogues . In: American Journal of Philology 97, 1976, pp. 336-339; Ernst Gegenschatz: Plato's Atlantis , Zurich 1943, p. 8 f .; Warman Welliver: Character, Plot and Thought in Plato's Timaeus-Critias , Leiden 1977, pp. 58-60.
- See on this Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 101; Warman Welliver: Character, Plot and Thought in Plato's Timaeus-Critias , Leiden 1977, pp. 22-32.
- Plato, Timaeus 17a – c, 19a – 20d.
- Plato, Timaeus 20c.
- John K. Davies: Athenian Property Families, 600-300 BC , Oxford 1971, pp. 322-326.
- Plato, Timaeus 20d – 21d.
- John Burnet: Greek Philosophy. Thales to Plato , London 1978 (1st edition 1914), p. 275 Note 1. Share Burnet's view a. a. Paul Friedländer : Platon , Vol. 1, 3rd, revised edition, Berlin 1964, p. 214; Laurence Lampert, Christopher Planeaux: Who's Who in Plato's Timaeus-Critias and Why , in: The Review of Metaphysics Vol. 52 No. 1, 1998, pp. 87-125, here: 95-100; Franz von Kutschera: Plato's Philosophy , Vol. 3, Paderborn 2002, p. 40 f. and note 48. Michael Erler expresses himself cautiously in agreement: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 273 f.
- John K. Davies: Athenian Property Families, 600-300 BC , Oxford 1971, p. 326; Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, p. 106 f.
- See the research by Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 43 f. and Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, p. 107 f.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 44 f.
- For the dating see John K. Davies: Athenian Property Families, 600-300 BC , Oxford 1971, p. 323 f.
- For the dating see John K. Davies: Athenian Property Families, 600–300 BC , Oxford 1971, pp. 325–327.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 45 f.
- Plato, Timaeus 21b.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 48.
- Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, p. 107; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 48 f.
- Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, pp. 106 f .; Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 273; Jules Labarbe: Quel Critias dans le 'Timée' et le 'Critias' de Platon? In: Sacris erudiri 31, 1989–1990, pp. 239–255, here: 243.
- Luc Brisson: Plato: Timée, Critias , 3rd, revised edition, Paris 1996, p. 329 f. Note 29.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 49.
- Detlev Fehling : The seven wise men and the early Greek chronology , Bern 1985, pp. 109–113; Thomas G. Rosenmeyer: The Family of Critias . In: American Journal of Philology 70, 1949, pp. 404-410, here: 408; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 47.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 49 f.
- John K. Davies: Athenian Property Families, 600-300 BC , Oxford 1971, pp. 325 f.
- Plato, Critias 108a – b.
- Plato, Timaeus 20a, 27a.
- Walter Marg (Ed.): Timaeus Locrus, De natura mundi et animae , Leiden 1972, p. 83 f.
- Walther Kranz : Studies on ancient literature and its continued work , Heidelberg 1967, p. 343; Maria Timpanaro Cardini : Pitagorici. Testimonianze e frammenti , Vol. 2, Firenze 1962, pp. 202-204; Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, pp. 50, 263; Laurence Lampert, Christopher Planeaux: Who's Who in Plato's Timaeus-Critias and Why , in: The Review of Metaphysics Vol. 52 No. 1, 1998, pp. 87-125, here: 92, 94 f.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath provides a summary of the research discussion: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 41–43.
- To identify the dialogue figure with the historical figure, see Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 50 f .; on the historical Hermokrates Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, p. 161 f .; Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 263; Laurence Lampert, Christopher Planeaux: Who's Who in Plato's Timaeus-Critias and Why , in: The Review of Metaphysics Vol. 52 No. 1, 1998, pp. 87-125, here: 100-104.
- Plato, Critias 108a – c.
- Plato, Timaeus 17c.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 55-57.
- Plato, Timaeus 21a.
- See on the dating suggestions Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 57–59; Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, pp. 107, 326; Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, pp. 263, 273; Luc Brisson: Platon: Timée, Critias , 3rd, revised edition, Paris 1996, p. 333 f.
- Plato, Critias 106a – 108c.
- Plato, Kritias 108c-d.
- Plato, Timaeus 20d-24a.
- Plato, Critias 108e – 109a.
- On the role of the two deities in ancient Athens, see Luc Brisson: De la philosophie politique à l'épopée. Le "Critias" de Plato. In: Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 75, 1970, pp. 402-438, here: 406-415.
- Plato, Critias 109b-110b. On the mythical kings see Luc Brisson: De la philosophie politique à l'épopée. Le "Critias" de Plato. In: Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 75, 1970, pp. 402-438, here: 408-415; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 154–158.
- Plato, Critias 110b – d, 112c – e.
- See Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 178-184.
- fact that sufficient water was available appeared to be a paradisiacal state in Plato's time, when there were probably no year-round flowing waters in Attica; see Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 210 f.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 222.
- Plato, Critias 110d-112d.
- Plato, Critias 112e.
- Plato, Critias 112e – 113b.
- Plato, Timaeus 24e, Critias 108e.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato and the invention of Atlantis , Munich 2002, p. 14 f.
- Plato, Critias 113b-114c. Here Plato deviates from the usual and correct etymology; in reality the Atlantic got its name from the mythical titan Atlas . See Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 267.
- Plato, Critias 114c – d.
- See on the identification suggestions Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 287–291.
- Plato, Critias 114d – 116c, 118b, 118d – e.
- Plato, Critias 115c – d, 116c – 117e. On the hippodrome see Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 353.
- Plato, Critias 117d-e. See Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 356–362.
- Plato, Critias 117e – 118e; for topography and length information, see Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 363–381.
- Plato, Critias 118e-119b.
- See on the sacrificial ceremony Hans Herter: The royal ritual of Atlantis . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 109, 1966, pp. 236-259; Slobodan Dušanić: Plato's Atlantis . In: L'Antiquité Classique 51, 1982, pp. 25–52, here: 41 f .; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 400-419.
- Plato, Critias 119c – 120d. For the possible execution of a king, see Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 427 f.
- Plato, Critias 120d – 121c.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 449 f.
- Plato, Timaeus 25c.
- A compilation of possible models of all kinds is offered by Phyllis Young Forsyth: Atlantis. The Making of Myth , Montreal / London 1980.
- Homer, Odyssey 7: 39-132; see Pierre Vidal-Naquet: Der Schwarze Jäger , Frankfurt 1989, p. 220.
- Hesiod, Werke und Tage 109-120.
- Reinhold Bichler : On the historical assessment of the Greek state utopia . In: Grazer Contributions 11, 1984, pp. 179–206, here: 183–185.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato and the invention of Atlantis , Munich 2002, pp. 28–30 and note 65, 66; Paul Friedländer: Platon , Vol. 1, 3rd, revised edition, Berlin 1964, p. 215 f. and Vol. 3, 3rd, revised edition, Berlin 1975, p. 357; Slobodan Dušanić: Plato's Atlantis . In: L'Antiquité Classique 51, 1982, pp. 25-52, here: 27 f., 31.
- Herodotus 1.98 and 1.178-183. See also Jean-François Pradeau: Le Monde de la Politique , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 157–182; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato and the invention of Atlantis , Munich 2002, p. 29 and note 64; Paul Friedländer: Platon , Vol. 1, 3rd, revised edition, Berlin 1964, p. 330 f .; Pierre Vidal-Naquet: The Black Hunter , Frankfurt 1989, p. 220 f.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 381 f.
- Christopher Gill: The Genre of the Atlantis Story . In: Classical Philology 72, 1977, pp. 287-304, here: 295.
- Plato, Timaeus 25c – d; Critias 108e-109a.
- Luc Brisson: Plato: Timée, Critias , 3rd, revised edition, Paris 1996, pp. 315-319.
- Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 275.
- See e.g. B. William KC Guthrie : A History of Greek Philosophy , Vol. 5, Cambridge 1978, p. 249.
- Albert Rivaud (ed.): Plato: Œuvres complètes , Volume 10, 3rd edition, Paris 1956, p. 250.
- Herwig Görgemanns : Truth and Fiction in Plato's Atlantis Story . In: Hermes 128, 2000, pp. 405-419, here: 415-419; John Gwyn Griffiths: Atlantis and Egypt . In: Historia 34, 1985, pp. 3-28, here: 13-15.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato and the invention of Atlantis , Munich 2002, pp. 36–38; Christopher Gill: The Genre of the Atlantis Story . In: Classical Philology 72, 1977, pp. 287-304, here: 295-298; Pierre Vidal-Naquet: The Black Hunter , Frankfurt 1989, p. 230 f.
- Slobodan Dušanić: The Unity of the Timaeus-Critias and the Inter-Greek Wars of the mid 350's . In: Illinois Classical Studies 27–28, 2002–2003, pp. 63–75, here: 67–73; Kathryn A. Morgan: Designer history: Plato's Atlantis story and fourth-century ideology . In: The Journal of Hellenic Studies 118, 1998, pp. 101–118, here: 115–117; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato and the invention of Atlantis , Munich 2002, p. 34 f., 38; Jean-François Pradeau: Le Monde de la Politique , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 224–229.
- Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Critias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 70–77.
- Plato, Nomoi 704d-705b; see the comment by Klaus Schöpsdau : Plato: Nomoi (laws). Book IV – VII , Göttingen 2003, pp. 139–145.
- See also Hans Herter: Urathen der Idealstaat . In: Hans Herter: Kleine Schriften , Munich 1975, pp. 279–304, here: 283–302.
- Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Critias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 74.
- Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Critias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 73.
- Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Critias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 74. On the elephant Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, P. 292 f.
- Pierre Vidal-Naquet: The Black Hunter , Frankfurt 1989, pp. 224-227; Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Kritias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 73.
- Pierre Vidal-Naquet: Der Schwarze Jäger , Frankfurt 1989, pp. 226-228; Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Kritias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 75 f.
- Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Critias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 75 f.
- Plato, Politeia 460a.
- Gwilym EL Owen: The Place of the Timaeus in Plato's Dialogues . In: The Classical Quarterly New Series 3, 1953, pp. 79-95.
- Luc Brisson provides overviews of the research discussion: Platon: Timée, Critias , 3rd, revised edition, Paris 1996, pp. 335–340 and Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 59–62.
- Gerard R. Ledger: Recounting Plato , Oxford 1989, pp. 200-205, 208 f., 225.
- Klaus Schöpsdau: Plato: Nomoi (laws). Book I – III , Göttingen 1994, p. 136 f .; Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 272 f .; Luc Brisson: Platon: Timée, Critias , 3rd, revised edition, Paris 1996, p. 340 f .; Holger Thesleff: Platonic Patterns , Las Vegas 2009, pp. 335-339, 348; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 62 f.
- See the research by Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 66–68.
- Franz von Kutschera: Plato's Philosophy , Vol. 3, Paderborn 2002, p. 88.
- See Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 273 and the research overview by Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, pp. 34–41.
- Plutarch, Solon 32.
- For example, Gerard R. Ledger: Recounting Plato , Oxford 1989, p. 197; see Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 38 f.
- Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff: Platon. His life and his works , 5th edition, Berlin 1959 (1st edition Berlin 1919), p. 473. Cf. Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 39 f.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato and the invention of Atlantis , Munich 2002, p. 40 f. Cf. Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 442.
- Proponents of this hypothesis are Slobodan Dušanić: The Unity of the Timaeus-Critias and the Inter-Greek Wars of the Mid 350’s . In: Illinois Classical Studies 27–28, 2002–2003, pp. 63–75, here: 63 f .; Ephraim David: The Problem of Representing Plato's Ideal State in Action . In: Rivista di filologia e di istruzione classica 112, 1984, pp. 33-53, here: 49-51; Warman Welliver: Character, Plot and Thought in Plato's Timaeus-Critias , Leiden 1977, pp. 33-38; Diskin Clay: The Plan of Plato's Critias . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 49–54, here: 49, 52.
- See Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Platon: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 64.
- Diogenes Laertios 3.61.
- Diogenes Laertios 3: 57-60.
- Diogenes Laertios 3.50. For the contradicting classification of Critias in Diogenes Laertios see Harold Tarrant: Thrasyllan Platonism , Ithaca 1993, pp. 23-25.
- Plutarch, Solon 26 and 31 f.
- Proklos, In Platonis Timaeum I 199 f.
- Parisinus Graecus 1807; see on this manuscript and its date Henri Dominique Saffrey: Retour sur le Parisinus graecus 1807, le manuscrit A de Platon . In: Cristina D'Ancona (Ed.): The Libraries of the Neoplatonists , Leiden 2007, pp. 3–28. For the entire handwritten tradition, see Gijsbert Jonkers: The Manuscript Tradition of Plato's Timaeus and Critias , Amsterdam 1989.
- See on this edition James Hankins: Plato in the Italian Renaissance , 3rd edition, Leiden 1994, pp. 309, 740 f. An English translation of the introduction is provided by Arthur Farndell: Gardens of Philosophy. Ficino on Plato , London 2006, pp. 143-148.
- Warman Welliver: Character, Plot and Thought in Plato's Timaeus-Critias , Leiden 1977, pp. 61-63; Laurence Lampert, Christopher Planeaux: Who's Who in Plato's Timaeus-Critias and Why , in: The Review of Metaphysics Vol. 52 No. 1, 1998, pp. 87–125, here: 122 f.
- See also Isabel-Dorothea Otto: The Critias against the background of Menexenus . In: Tomás Calvo, Luc Brisson (eds.): Interpreting the 'Timaeus-Critias' , Sankt Augustin 1997, pp. 65–81, here: 65.
- Alfred E. Taylor: Plato. The Man and his Work , 5th edition, London 1948, p. 461.
- Thomas G. Rosenmeyer: The Numbers in Plato's Critias: A Reply . In: Classical Philology 44, 1949, pp. 117-120, here: 118 f.
- Franz von Kutschera: Plato's Philosophy , Vol. 3, Paderborn 2002, p. 90.
- Hans Herter: Plato's natural history . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 121, 1978, pp. 103-131, here: 104.
- Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff: Platon. His life and his works , 5th edition, Berlin 1959 (1st edition Berlin 1919), p. 470 f.
- Olof Gigon: Introduction . In: Rudolf Rufener (translator): Plato: Spätdialoge II (= anniversary edition of all works , vol. 6), Zurich / Munich 1974, pp. V – LI, here: LI.
- Herwig Görgemanns: Truth and Fiction in Plato's Atlantis Story . In: Hermes 128, 2000, pp. 405-419, here: 408-410; Luc Brisson: Critias . In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques , Vol. 5, Part 1, Paris 2012, p. 820; Christopher Gill: Plato's Atlantis Story and the Birth of Fiction . In: Philosophy and Literature 3, 1979, pp. 64-78.
- Ephraim David: The Problem of Representing Plato's Ideal State in Action . In: Rivista di filologia e di istruzione classica 112, 1984, pp. 33-53, here: 53.
- Bodo Gatz: Weltalter, goldene Zeit und synonymous ideas , Hildesheim 1967, p. 199. Cf. Reinhold Bichler: Athens defeated Atlantis. A study of the origin of the state utopia . In: Conceptus Vol. 20 No. 51, 1986, pp. 71-88, here: 84 f.
- Heinz-Günther Nesselrath: Plato: Kritias , Göttingen 2006, p. 188 f.
- A compilation is offered by Jane Davidson Reid: The Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300–1990s , Vol. 1, New York / Oxford 1993, pp. 253 f. See Alessandro Scafi: Atlantis . In: Anthony Grafton et al. a. (Ed.): The Classical Tradition , Cambridge (Massachusetts) 2010, pp. 100–102, here: 101.