), of Athens, the friend and disciple of Socrates, is more celebrated in antiquity for his love and affection for his master, whom he generously supported with his fortune (D. L. 2.20
), than as a philosopher himself. Accordingly, whenever he is introduced in Plato's dialogues, his attachment to Socrates is extolled, and not his philosophical talents.
It was Criton who had made every arrangement for the escape of Socrates from prison, and who tried, in vain, to persuade him to fly, as we see from Plato's dialogue named after him; and it was Criton also who closed the eyes of the dying philosopher. (Plat. Phaedon,
p. 118a.) Criton applied his great riches, which are mentioned by Socrates in a jocose way in the Euthydemus of Plato (p. 304c.), to the noblest purposes. His sons, of whom he possessed four according to Diogenes Laertius (2.121), and two according to Plato (Euthydem.
p. 360, with Heindorf's note), were likewise disciples of Socrates.
The eldest of them was Critobulus. [CRITOBULUS.]
Criton wrote seventeen dialogues on philosophical subjects, the titles of which are given by Diogenes Laertius (l.c.
). Among these there was one " On Poetics" (Περὶ Ποιητικῆς
), which is the only work on this subject mentioned in the history of Greek literature before the work of Aristotle. (The passages in Plato's writings, in which Criton is mentioned, are collected in Groen van Prinsterer, Prosopographia Platonica,
p. 200, &c., Lugd. Bat. 1823; comp. Hermann, Gesch. und System der Platon. Philosophie,
i. p. 633.)