Ivan Jordović

School of Philosophy

University of Novi Sad

Critias and Democracy

Abstract: The majority of Critias’ contemporaries and fellow citizens saw the leader of the most brutal regime in Athenian history as a ruthless oligarch, moreover as a tyrant. Many ancient sources share this view. It is somewhat surprising therefore to see the most famous of his victims, the controversial politician Theramenes, denouncing him as a supporter of democracy. This contradiction has given rise to different, even diametrically opposed, modern interpretations. It is this variety of interpretations and the importance of this question for understanding the political situation in Athens at the end of the fifth century BC, as well as the rise of tyranny in Thessaly, that has prompted us to take yet another look at this controversial issue.

Keywords: Athens, Thessaly, democracy, tyranny, the Thirty, Critias, Theramenes, Lycophron