His principles were opposed to those of Aristarchus, the leader of the Alexandrian school. He was the chief representative of the allegorical theory of exegesis, and maintained that Homer intended to express scientific or philosophical truths in the form of poetry.
About 170 BC he visited Rome as ambassador of Attalus II, king of Pergamum; and having broken his leg and been compelled to stay there for some time, he delivered lectures which gave the first impulse to the study of grammar and criticism among the Romans (Suetonius, De grammaticis, 2). His chief work was a critical and exegetical commentary on Homer.
See C Wachsmuth, De Cratete Mallota (1860), containing an account of the life, pupils and writings of Crates; JE Sandys, Hist. of Class. Schol. i. 156 (ed. 2, 1906).