Diogenes

Last updated
Diogenes
Waterhouse-Diogenes.jpg
Diogenes (1882)
by John William Waterhouse
Bornc. 412 BC
Died323 BC (aged about 89)
Era Ancient philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Greek philosophy, Cynicism
Main interests
Asceticism, Cynicism
Notable ideas

Diogenes ( /dˈɒɪnz/ dy-OJ-in-eez; Ancient Greek : Διογένης, romanized: Diogénēs [di.oɡénɛ͜ɛs] ), also known as Diogenes the Cynic (Διογένης ὁ Κυνικός, Diogénēs ho Kynikós), was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea, [1] in 412 or 404 BC and died at Corinth in 323 BC. [2]

Cynicism (philosophy) ancient school of philosophy

Cynicism is a school of thought of ancient Greek philosophy as practiced by the Cynics. For the Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.

Sinop, Turkey Municipality in Black Sea, Turkey

Sinop, historically known as Sinope, is a city with a population of 36,734 on the isthmus of İnce Burun, near Cape Sinope which is situated on the most northern edge of the Turkish side of the Black Sea coast, in the ancient region of Paphlagonia, in modern-day northern Turkey. The city serves as the capital of Sinop Province.

Contents

Diogenes was a controversial figure. His father minted coins for a living, and Diogenes was banished from Sinope when he took to debasement of currency. [1] After being exiled, he moved to Athens and criticized many cultural conventions of the city. He modelled himself on the example of Heracles, and believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple lifestyle and behaviour to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt, confused society. He had a reputation for sleeping and eating wherever he chose in a highly non-traditional fashion, and took to toughening himself against nature. He declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world rather than claiming allegiance to just one place. There are many tales about his dogging Antisthenes' footsteps and becoming his "faithful hound". [3]

Athens Capital and largest city of Greece

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence started somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.

Heracles divine hero in Greek mythology, son of Zeus and Alcmene

Heracles, born Alcaeus or Alcides was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon. He was a great-grandson and half-brother of Perseus. He was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae (Ἡρακλεῖδαι), and a champion of the Olympian order against chthonic monsters. In Rome and the modern West, he is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, often identified themselves. The Romans adopted the Greek version of his life and works essentially unchanged, but added anecdotal detail of their own, some of it linking the hero with the geography of the Central Mediterranean. Details of his cult were adapted to Rome as well.

Virtue Positive trait or quality deemed to be morally good

Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. In other words, it is a behavior that shows high moral standards. Doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. The opposite of virtue is vice.

Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. [4] He became notorious for his philosophical stunts, such as carrying a lamp during the day, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates, and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting listeners by bringing food and eating during the discussions. Diogenes was also noted for having mocked Alexander the Great, both in public and to his face when he visited Corinth in 336. [5] [6] [7]

Pithos ancient Greek storage container

Pithos is the Greek name of a large storage container. The term in English is applied to such containers used among the civilizations that bordered the Mediterranean Sea in the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and the succeeding Iron Age. Pithoi had been used for bulk storage, primarily for fluids and grains; they were comparable to the drums, barrels and casks of recent times. The name was different in other languages; for instance, the Hittites used harsi-.

Plato philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece,

Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.

Socrates classical Greek Athenian philosopher

Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the main contemporary author to have written plays mentioning Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, though a fragment of Ion of Chios' Travel Journal provides important information about Socrates' youth.

Diogenes was captured by pirates and sold into slavery, eventually settling in Corinth. There he passed his philosophy of Cynicism to Crates, who taught it to Zeno of Citium, who fashioned it into the school of Stoicism, one of the most enduring schools of Greek philosophy. None of Diogenes' writings has survived, but there are some details of his life from anecdotes ( chreia ), especially from Diogenes Laërtius' book Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers and some other sources. [8]

Slavery in ancient Greece

Slavery was a common practice in ancient Greece, as in other societies of the time. Some Ancient Greek writers considered slavery natural and even necessary. This paradigm was notably questioned in Socratic dialogues; the Stoics produced the first recorded condemnation of slavery.

Corinth Place in Greece

Corinth is an ancient city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, which is located in south-central Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality of Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It is the capital of Corinthia.

Crates of Thebes Cynic philosopher

Crates of Thebes was a Cynic philosopher. Crates gave away his money to live a life of poverty on the streets of Athens. He married Hipparchia of Maroneia who lived in the same manner that he did. Respected by the people of Athens, he is remembered for being the teacher of Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism. Various fragments of Crates' teachings survive, including his description of the ideal Cynic state.

Life

Nothing is known about Diogenes' early life except that his father, Hicesias, was a banker. [9] It seems likely that Diogenes was also enrolled into the banking business aiding his father. At some point (the exact date is unknown), Hicesias and Diogenes became involved in a scandal involving the adulteration or debasement of the currency, [10] and Diogenes was exiled from the city and lost his citizenship and all his material possessions. [11] [12] This aspect of the story seems to be corroborated by archaeology: large numbers of defaced coins (smashed with a large chisel stamp) have been discovered at Sinope dating from the middle of the 4th century BC, and other coins of the time bear the name of Hicesias as the official who minted them. [13] During this time there was much counterfeit money circulating in Sinope. [11] The coins were deliberately defaced in order to render them worthless as legal tender. [11] Sinope was being disputed between pro-Persian and pro-Greek factions in the 4th century, and there may have been political rather than financial motives behind the act.

Achaemenid Empire first Persian Empire founded by Cyrus the Great

The Achaemenid Empire, also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian empire based in Western Asia founded by Cyrus the Great. Ranging at its greatest extent from the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper in the west to the Indus Valley in the east, it was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning 5.5 million square kilometers. Incorporating various peoples of different origins and faiths, it is notable for its successful model of a centralised, bureaucratic administration, for building infrastructure such as road systems and a postal system, the use of an official language across its territories, and the development of civil services and a large professional army. The empire's successes inspired similar systems in later empires.

Classical Greece Period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC

Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years in Greek culture. This Classical period saw the annexation of much of modern-day Greece by the Persian Empire and its subsequent independence. Classical Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and on the foundations of Western civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, scientific thought, theatre, literature and philosophy derives from this period of Greek history. In the context of the art, architecture, and culture of Ancient Greece, the Classical period corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The Classical period in this sense follows the Greek Dark Ages and Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period.

In Athens

Diogenes Sitting in his Tub by Jean-Leon Gerome (1860) Gerome - Diogenes.jpg
Diogenes Sitting in his Tub by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1860)

According to one story, [12] Diogenes went to the Oracle at Delphi to ask for her advice and was told that he should "deface the currency". Following the debacle in Sinope, Diogenes decided that the oracle meant that he should deface the political currency rather than actual coins. He traveled to Athens and made it his life's goal to challenge established customs and values. He argued that instead of being troubled about the true nature of evil, people merely rely on customary interpretations. This distinction between nature ("physis") and custom ("nomos") is a favorite theme of ancient Greek philosophy, and one that Plato takes up in The Republic, in the legend of the Ring of Gyges. [14]

Pythia Priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi

The Pythia was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi who also served as the oracle, commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi.

Physis is a Greek theological, philosophical, and scientific term usually translated into English as "nature".

In ancient Greek religion Nomos is the daemon of laws, statutes, and ordinances. By one account, Nomos' wife is Eusebia (Piety), and their daughter is Dike (Justice).

Diogenes arrived in Athens with a slave named Manes who escaped from him shortly thereafter. With characteristic humor, Diogenes dismissed his ill fortune by saying, "If Manes can live without Diogenes, why not Diogenes without Manes?" [15] Diogenes would mock such a relation of extreme dependency. He found the figure of a master who could do nothing for himself contemptibly helpless. He was attracted by the ascetic teaching of Antisthenes, a student of Socrates. When Diogenes asked Antisthenes to mentor him, Antisthenes ignored him and reportedly "eventually beat him off with his staff". [1] Diogenes responds, "Strike, for you will find no wood hard enough to keep me away from you, so long as I think you've something to say." [1] Diogenes became Antisthenes' pupil, despite the brutality with which he was initially received. [16] Whether the two ever really met is still uncertain, [17] [18] [19] but he surpassed his master in both reputation and the austerity of his life. He considered his avoidance of earthly pleasures a contrast to and commentary on contemporary Athenian behaviors. This attitude was grounded in a disdain for what he regarded as the folly, pretence, vanity, self-deception, and artificiality of human conduct.

Diogenes Searching for an Honest Man, attributed to J. H. W. Tischbein (c. 1780) Diogenes looking for a man - attributed to JHW Tischbein.jpg
Diogenes Searching for an Honest Man, attributed to J. H. W. Tischbein (c. 1780)

The stories told of Diogenes illustrate the logical consistency of his character. He inured himself to the weather by living in a clay wine jar [4] [20] belonging to the temple of Cybele. [21] He destroyed the single wooden bowl he possessed on seeing a peasant boy drink from the hollow of his hands. He then exclaimed: "Fool that I am, to have been carrying superfluous baggage all this time!" [22] [23] It was contrary to Athenian customs to eat within the marketplace, and still he would eat there, for, as he explained when rebuked, it was during the time he was in the marketplace that he felt hungry. He used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp; when asked what he was doing, he would answer, "I am just looking for an honest man." [24] Diogenes looked for a human being but reputedly found nothing but rascals and scoundrels. [25]

According to Diogenes Laërtius, when Plato gave the tongue-in-cheek [26] definition of man as "featherless bipeds," Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato's Academy, saying, "Behold! I've brought you a man," and so the Academy added "with broad flat nails" to the definition. [27]

In Corinth

According to a story which seems to have originated with Menippus of Gadara, [28] Diogenes was captured by pirates while on voyage to Aegina and sold as a slave in Crete to a Corinthian named Xeniades. Being asked his trade, he replied that he knew no trade but that of governing men, and that he wished to be sold to a man who needed a master. In fact, this was a pun. In Ancient Greek this would sound both as "Governing men" and "Teaching values to people". [29] Xeniades liked his spirit and hired Diogenes to tutor his children. As tutor to Xeniades's two sons, [30] it is said that he lived in Corinth for the rest of his life, which he devoted to preaching the doctrines of virtuous self-control. There are many stories about what actually happened to him after his time with Xeniades's two sons. There are stories stating he was set free after he became "a cherished member of the household", while one says he was set free almost immediately, and still another states that "he grew old and died at Xeniades's house in Corinth." [31] He is even said to have lectured to large audiences at the Isthmian Games. [32]

Although most of the stories about his living in a jar [4] are located in Athens, there are some accounts of his living in a jar near the Craneum gymnasium in Corinth:

A report that Philip II of Macedon was marching on the town had thrown all Corinth into a bustle; one was furbishing his arms, another wheeling stones, a third patching the wall, a fourth strengthening a battlement, every one making himself useful somehow or other. Diogenes having nothing to do – of course no one thought of giving him a job – was moved by the sight to gather up his philosopher's cloak and begin rolling his tub energetically up and down the Craneum; an acquaintance asked for the reason, and got the explanation: "I do not want to be thought the only idler in such a busy multitude; I am rolling my tub to be like the rest." [33]

Diogenes and Alexander

Alexander the Great Visits Diogenes at Corinth by W. Matthews (1914) Alexander visits Diogenes at Corinth by W. Matthews (1914).jpg
Alexander the Great Visits Diogenes at Corinth by W. Matthews (1914)

It was in Corinth that a meeting between Alexander the Great and Diogenes is supposed to have taken place. [34] These stories may be apocryphal. The accounts of Plutarch and Diogenes Laërtius recount that they exchanged only a few words: while Diogenes was relaxing in the morning sunlight, Alexander, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favour he might do for him. Diogenes replied, "Yes, stand out of my sunlight." Alexander then declared, "If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes." "If I were not Diogenes, I would still wish to be Diogenes," Diogenes replied. [5] [6] [7] In another account of the conversation, Alexander found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, "I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave." [35]

Death

There are conflicting accounts of Diogenes' death. His contemporaries alleged he had held his breath until he expired; although other accounts of his death say he had become ill from eating raw octopus; [36] or to have suffered an infected dog bite. [37] When asked how he wished to be buried, he left instructions to be thrown outside the city wall so wild animals could feast on his body. When asked if he minded this, he said, "Not at all, as long as you provide me with a stick to chase the creatures away!" When asked how he could use the stick since he would lack awareness, he replied "If I lack awareness, then why should I care what happens to me when I am dead?" [38] At the end, Diogenes made fun of people's excessive concern with the "proper" treatment of the dead. The Corinthians erected to his memory a pillar on which rested a dog of Parian marble. [39]

Philosophy

Cynicism

Diogenes (1873) by Jules Bastien-Lepage Bastein-Lepage Diogenes.jpg
Diogenes (1873) by Jules Bastien-Lepage

Along with Antisthenes and Crates of Thebes, Diogenes is considered one of the founders of Cynicism. The ideas of Diogenes, like those of most other Cynics, must be arrived at indirectly. No writings of Diogenes survive even though he is reported to have authored over ten books, a volume of letters and seven tragedies. [40] Cynic ideas are inseparable from Cynic practice; therefore what we know about Diogenes is contained in anecdotes concerning his life and sayings attributed to him in a number of scattered classical sources.

Diogenes maintained that all the artificial growths of society were incompatible with happiness and that morality implies a return to the simplicity of nature. So great was his austerity and simplicity that the Stoics would later claim him to be a wise man or "sophos". In his words, "Humans have complicated every simple gift of the gods." [41] Although Socrates had previously identified himself as belonging to the world, rather than a city, [42] Diogenes is credited with the first known use of the word "cosmopolitan". When he was asked from where he came, he replied, "I am a citizen of the world (cosmopolites)". [43] This was a radical claim in a world where a man's identity was intimately tied to his citizenship of a particular city-state. An exile and an outcast, a man with no social identity, Diogenes made a mark on his contemporaries.

Plato and Diogenes (17th century) by Mattia Preti Mattia Preti - Platone e Diogene.jpg
Plato and Diogenes (17th century) by Mattia Preti

Diogenes had nothing but disdain for Plato and his abstract philosophy. [44] Diogenes viewed Antisthenes as the true heir to Socrates, and shared his love of virtue and indifference to wealth, [45] together with a disdain for general opinion. [46] Diogenes shared Socrates's belief that he could function as doctor to men's souls and improve them morally, while at the same time holding contempt for their obtuseness. Plato once described Diogenes as "a Socrates gone mad." [47]

Obscenity

Diogenes taught by living example. He tried to demonstrate that wisdom and happiness belong to the man who is independent of society and that civilization is regressive. He scorned not only family and socio-political organization, but also property rights and reputation. He even rejected normal ideas about human decency. Diogenes is said to have eaten in the marketplace, [48] urinated on some people who insulted him, [49] defecated in the theatre, [50] and masturbated in public. When asked about his eating in public he said, "If taking breakfast is nothing out of place, then it is nothing out of place in the marketplace. But taking breakfast is nothing out of place, therefore it is nothing out of place to take breakfast in the marketplace." [51] On the indecency of his masturbating in public he would say, "If only it were as easy to banish hunger by rubbing my belly." [51] [52]

From Life of Diogenes:[ citation needed ] "Someone took him [Diogenes] into a magnificent house and warned him not to spit, whereupon, having cleared his throat, he spat into the man's face, being unable, he said, to find a meaner receptacle."

Diogenes as dogged or dog-like

Many anecdotes of Diogenes refer to his dog-like behavior, and his praise of a dog's virtues. It is not known whether Diogenes was insulted with the epithet "doggish" and made a virtue of it, or whether he first took up the dog theme himself. When asked why he was called a dog he replied, "I fawn on those who give me anything, I yelp at those who refuse, and I set my teeth in rascals." [20] Diogenes believed human beings live artificially and hypocritically and would do well to study the dog. Besides performing natural body functions in public with ease, a dog will eat anything, and make no fuss about where to sleep. Dogs live in the present without anxiety, and have no use for the pretensions of abstract philosophy. In addition to these virtues, dogs are thought to know instinctively who is friend and who is foe. [53] Unlike human beings who either dupe others or are duped, dogs will give an honest bark at the truth. Diogenes stated that "other dogs bite their enemies, I bite my friends to save them." [54]

Statue of Diogenes at Sinop, Turkey Diogenes-statue-Sinop-enhanced.jpg
Statue of Diogenes at Sinop, Turkey

The term "cynic" itself derives from the Greek word κυνικός, kynikos, "dog-like" and that from κύων, kyôn, "dog" (genitive: kynos). [55] One explanation offered in ancient times for why the Cynics were called dogs was that Antisthenes taught in the Cynosarges gymnasium at Athens. [56] The word Cynosarges means the place of the white dog. Later Cynics also sought to turn the word to their advantage, as a later commentator explained:

There are four reasons why the Cynics are so named. First because of the indifference of their way of life, for they make a cult of indifference and, like dogs, eat and make love in public, go barefoot, and sleep in tubs and at crossroads. The second reason is that the dog is a shameless animal, and they make a cult of shamelessness, not as being beneath modesty, but as superior to it. The third reason is that the dog is a good guard, and they guard the tenets of their philosophy. The fourth reason is that the dog is a discriminating animal which can distinguish between its friends and enemies. So do they recognize as friends those who are suited to philosophy, and receive them kindly, while those unfitted they drive away, like dogs, by barking at them. [57]

As noted (see Death), Diogenes' association with dogs was memorialized by the Corinthians, who erected to his memory a pillar on which rested a dog of Parian marble. [39]

Contemporary theory

Diogenes is discussed in a 1983 book by German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk (English language publication in 1987).

In Sloterdijk's Critique of Cynical Reason , Diogenes is used as an example of Sloterdijk's idea of the "kynical" – in which personal degradation is used for purposes of community comment or censure. Calling the practice of this tactic "kynismos", Sloterdijk theorizes that the kynical actor actually embodies the message he is trying to convey and that the kynical actor's goal is typically a false regression that mocks authority – especially authority that the kynical actor considers corrupt, suspect or unworthy. [58]

There is another discussion of Diogenes and the Cynics in Michel Foucault's book Fearless Speech. Here Foucault discusses Diogenes' antics in relation to the speaking of truth ( parrhesia ) in the ancient world. Foucault expands this reading in his last course at the Collège de France, The Courage of Truth. In this course Foucault tries to establish an alternative conception of militancy and revolution through a reading of Diogenes and Cynicism. [59]

Diogenes syndrome

Diogenes' name has been applied to a behavioural disorder characterised by apparently involuntary self-neglect and hoarding. [60] The disorder afflicts the elderly and is quite inappropriately named, as Diogenes deliberately rejected common standards of material comfort, and was anything but a hoarder. [61]

Depictions

Art

Alexander and Diogenes by Caspar de Crayer (c. 1650) Caspar de Crayer Alexander and Diogenes.jpg
Alexander and Diogenes by Caspar de Crayer (c. 1650)
Statue of Diogenes with Alexander the Great in Corinth Alexander The Great and Diogenes.jpg
Statue of Diogenes with Alexander the Great in Corinth

Both in ancient and in modern times, Diogenes' personality has appealed strongly to sculptors and to painters. Ancient busts exist in the museums of the Vatican, the Louvre, and the Capitol. The interview between Diogenes and Alexander is represented in an ancient marble bas-relief found in the Villa Albani.

Among artists who have painted the famous encounter of Diogenes with Alexander, there are works by de Crayer, de Vos, Assereto, Langetti, Sevin, Sebastiano Ricci, Gandolfi, Johann Christian Thomas Wink  [ de ], Abildgaard, Monsiau, Martin, and Daumier. The famous story of Diogenes searching for an "honest man" has been depicted by Jordaens, van Everdingen, van der Werff, Pannini, Steen and Corinth. Others who have painted him with his famous lantern include de Ribera, Castiglione, Petrini, Gérôme, Bastien-Lepage, and Waterhouse. The scene in which Diogenes discards his cup has been painted by Poussin, Rosa, and Martin; and the story of Diogenes begging from a statue has been depicted by Restout. In Raphael's fresco The School of Athens , a lone reclining figure in the foreground represents Diogenes. [62]

Diogenes has also been the subject of sculptures, with famous bas-relief images by Puget and Pajou.

Comics

In The Adventures of Nero album Het Zeespook (1948) Nero meets a character who claims to be Diogenes. Two scenes in the comic depict famous anecdotes of Diogenes' life, namely the moment when he was looking for a human and the moment when he asked Alexander to get out of his sun. He is also portrayed living in a barrel. [63]

In the Suske en Wiske album De Mottenvanger Suske and Wiske travel back to ancient Greece, where they meet Diogenes. [64]

Literature

A 17th century depiction of Diogenes Diogenes in Thomas Stanley History of Philosophy.jpg
A 17th century depiction of Diogenes

Diogenes is referred to in Anton Chekhov's story "Ward No. 6"; William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell ; François Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel ; Goethe's poem Genialisch Treiben; Denis Diderot's philosophical novella Rameau's Nephew ; as well as in the first sentence of Søren Kierkegaard's novelistic treatise Repetition . The story of Diogenes and the lamp is referenced by the character Foma Fomitch in Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Friend of the Family" as well as "The Idiot". In Cervantes' short story "The Man of Glass" ("El licenciado Vidriera"), part of the Novelas Ejemplares collection, the (anti-)hero unaccountably begins to channel Diogenes in a string of tart chreiai once he becomes convinced that he is made of glass. Diogenes gives his own life and opinions in Christoph Martin Wieland's novel Socrates Mainomenos (1770; English translation Socrates Out of His Senses, 1771). Diogenes is the primary model for the philosopher Didactylos in Terry Pratchett's Small Gods . He is mimicked by a beggar-spy in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Scion and paid tribute to with a costume in a party by the main character in its sequel, Kushiel's Justice . The character Lucy Snowe in Charlotte Brontë's novel Villette is given the nickname Diogenes. Diogenes also features in Part Four of Elizabeth Smart's By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept . He is a figure in Seamus Heaney's The Haw Lantern . In Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal , one of Jesus' apostles is a devotee of Diogenes, complete with his own pack of dogs which he refers to as his own disciples. His story opens the first chapter of Dolly Freed's 1978 book Possum Living . [65] The dog that Paul Dombey befriends in Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son is called Diogenes. Alexander's meeting with Diogenes is portrayed in Valerio Manfredi's (Alexander Trilogy) "The Ends of the Earth" . [66] William S. Burroughs has been described as "Diogenes with a knife and gun." [67]

The many allusions to dogs in Shakespeare's Timon of Athens are references to the school of Cynicism that could be interpreted as suggesting a parallel between the misanthropic hermit, Timon, and Diogenes; but Shakespeare would have had access to Michel de Montaigne's essay, "Of Democritus and Heraclitus", which emphasised their differences: Timon actively wishes men ill and shuns them as dangerous, whereas Diogenes esteems them so little that contact with them could not disturb him. [68] "Timonism" is in fact often contrasted with "Cynicism": "Cynics saw what people could be and were angered by what they had become; Timonists felt humans were hopelessly stupid & uncaring by nature and so saw no hope for change." [69]

The philosopher's name was adopted by the fictional Diogenes Club, an organization that Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft Holmes belongs to in the story "The Greek Interpreter" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is called such as its members are educated, yet untalkative and have a dislike of socialising, much like the philosopher himself[ citation needed ]. The group is the focus of a number of Holmes pastiches by Kim Newman. In the Rodgers and Hart musical The Boys From Syracuse (1938), the song Oh Diogenes!—which extols the philosopher's virtues—contains the lyrics "there was an old zany/ who lived in a tub;/ he had so many flea-bites / he didn't know where to rub."

Related Research Articles

Antisthenes Greek philosopher

Antisthenes was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes first learned rhetoric under Gorgias before becoming an ardent disciple of Socrates. He adopted and developed the ethical side of Socrates' teachings, advocating an ascetic life lived in accordance with virtue. Later writers regarded him as the founder of Cynic philosophy.

Zeno of Elea Ancient Greek philosopher best known for his paradoxes

Zeno of Elea was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of Magna Graecia and a member of the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides. Aristotle called him the inventor of the dialectic. He is best known for his paradoxes, which Bertrand Russell has described as "immeasurably subtle and profound".

Menippus ancient Greek philosopher and satirist

Menippus of Gadara was a Cynic satirist. His works, all of which are lost, were an important influence on Varro and Lucian. The Menippean satire genre is named after him.

Aristippus 4th-century BC Greek philosopher

Aristippus of Cyrene was the founder of the Cyrenaic school of Philosophy. He was a pupil of Socrates, but adopted a very different philosophical outlook, teaching that the goal of life was to seek pleasure by circumstances to oneself and by maintaining proper control over both adversity and prosperity. His outlook came to be called "ethical hedonism." Among his pupils was his daughter Arete.

Metrocles was a Cynic philosopher from Maroneia. He studied in Aristotle’s Lyceum under Theophrastus, and eventually became a follower of Crates of Thebes who married Metrocles’ sister Hipparchia. Very little survives of his writings, but he is important as one of the first Cynics to adopt the practice of writing moral anecdotes (chreiai) about Diogenes and other Cynics.

Stilpo Greek philosopher of the Megarian school

Stilpo was a Greek philosopher of the Megarian school. He was a contemporary of Theophrastus, Diodorus Cronus, and Crates of Thebes. None of his writings survive, he was interested in logic and dialectic, and he argued that the universal is fundamentally separated from the individual and concrete. His ethical teachings approached that of the Cynics and Stoics. His most important followers were Pyrrho, the founder of Pyrrhonism, and Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism.

Onesicritus Greek historian and admiral

Onesicritus, a Greek historical writer, who accompanied Alexander the Great on his campaigns in Asia. He claimed to have been the commander of Alexander's fleet but was actually only a helmsman; Arrian and Nearchus often criticize him for this. When he returned home, he wrote a history of Alexander's campaigns. He is frequently cited by later authors, who also criticize him for his inaccuracies.

Simon the Shoemaker was an associate of Socrates, and a 'working-philosopher'. He is known mostly from the account given in Diogenes Laërtius' Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. He is also mentioned in passing by Plutarch and Synesius; a pupil of Socrates, Phaedo of Elis, is known to have written a dialogue called Simon.

Archelaus was an Ancient Greek philosopher, a pupil of Anaxagoras, and may have been a teacher of Socrates. He asserted that the principle of motion was the separation of hot from cold, from which he endeavoured to explain the formation of the Earth and the creation of animals and humans.

Simmias of Thebes was an ancient Greek philosopher, disciple of Socrates, and a friend of Cebes. In his Memorabilia, Xenophon includes him in the inner circle of Socrates' followers. He appears in Plato's Phaedo as a main discussion partner of Socrates alongside Cebes, as well as Crito, Phaedrus, and EpistleXIII.

Cynosarges was a public gymnasium located just outside the walls of Ancient Athens on the southern bank of the Ilissos river. The modern suburb of Kynosargous is named after it.

Apollodorus of Seleucia, or Apollodorus Ephillus, was a Stoic philosopher, and a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon.

Theodorus the Atheist, of Cyrene, was a philosopher of the Cyrenaic school. He lived in both Greece and Alexandria, before ending his days in his native city of Cyrene. As a Cyrenaic philosopher, he taught that the goal of life was to obtain joy and avoid grief, and that the former resulted from knowledge, and the latter from ignorance. But his principal claim to fame was his alleged atheism. He was usually designated by ancient writers ho atheos, "the atheist."

Monimus

Monimus of Syracuse, was a Cynic philosopher who endorsed philosophical skepticism, denying that there was a criterion of truth.

Diogenes and Alexander

The meeting of Diogenes of Sinope and Alexander the Great is one of the most well-discussed anecdotes from philosophical history. Many versions of it exist. The most popular relate it as evidence of Diogenes' disregard for honor, wealth, and respect.

The Republic was a work written by Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoic philosophy at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Although it has not survived, it was his most famous work, and various quotes and paraphrases were preserved by later writers. The purpose of the work was to outline the ideal society based on Stoic principles, where virtuous men and women would live a life of simple asceticism in an equal society.

Xeniades was the name of two people from Corinth who lived in the time of Ancient Greece:

  1. A Greek philosopher from Corinth who lived in the time of Democritus, c. 400 BC. The little that is known of him is derived from Sextus Empiricus, who represents him as holding the most ultrasceptical opinions, and maintaining that all notions are false, and that there is absolutely nothing true in the universe. What Sextus knew of him seems to have been derived from Democritus. He more than once couples him with Xenophanes.
  2. A Corinthian who lived c. 350 BC, and who became the purchaser of Diogenes the Cynic, when he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave. Two separate fictionalised accounts are used by Diogenes Laërtius in his account of Diogenes, one by Menippus, and one by an otherwise unknown Eubulus, both of whom wrote in the 3rd century BCE. It is told that Diogenes said to Xeniades, "You must obey me, although I am a slave, for a physician or a steersman would find men to obey them even though they might be slaves." Eubulus recounts that Diogenes educated Xeniades's sons, eventually growing old in Xeniades' house. Xeniades is supposed to have remarked "A good spirit has entered my house." It is impossible to say whether any of this is accurate or even whether Xeniades actually existed, but another Cynic, Cleomenes, also made use of the theme of Diogenes being sold into slavery, and Xeniades was supposed to have been the man who persuaded Monimus to become a follower of Diogenes.

Theombrotus was an ancient Greek philosopher of the Cynic school who is said to have thrown himself to his death from a high wall after reading Plato's work on the immortality of the soul and concluding that he would be better off in the next life.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Diogenes of Sinope "The Zen of Disengagement: Diogene of Sinope". Voice in the Wilderness. Archived from the original on 2015-10-17.
  2. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:79, Plutarch, Moralia, 717c. says that he died on the same day as Alexander the Great, which puts his death at 323 BC. Diogenes Laërtius's statement that Diogenes died "nearly 90" would put his year of birth at 412 BC. But Censorinus (De die natali, 15.2) says that he died at age 81, which puts his year of birth at 404 BC. The Suda puts his birth at the time of the Thirty Tyrants, which also gives 404 BC.
  3. Diogenes Laërtius, vi. 6, 18, 21; Dio Chrysostom, Orations, viii. 1–4; Aelian, x. 16; Stobaeus, Florilegium, 13.19
  4. 1 2 3 The original Greek word describing Diogenes' "jar" is pithos , a large jar for storing wine, grain, or olive oil. Modern variations include barrel, tub, vat, wine-vat, and kennel. Desmond, William (2008). Cynics. University of California Press. p. 21. ISBN   9780520258358.
  5. 1 2 Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:32; Plutarch, Alexander, 14, On Exile, 15.
  6. 1 2 Plutarch, Alexander 14
  7. 1 2 John M. Dillon (2004). Morality and Custom in Ancient Greece. Indiana University Press. pp. 187–88. ISBN   978-0-253-34526-4.
  8. Diogenes of Sinope "The Basics of Philosophy". Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  9. ( Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:20). A trapezites was a banker/money-changer who could exchange currency, arrange loans, and was sometimes entrusted with the minting of currency.
  10. Navia, Diogenes the Cynic, p. 226: "The word paracharaxis can be understood in various ways such as the defacement of currency or the counterfeiting of coins or the adulteration of money."
  11. 1 2 3 Examined Lives from Socrates to Nietzsche by James Miller p. 76
  12. 1 2 Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:20–21
  13. C. T. Seltman, Diogenes of Sinope, Son of the Banker Hikesias, in Transactions of the International Numismatic Congress 1936 (London 1938).
  14. Plato, Republic, 2.359–2.360.
  15. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:55; Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi, 8.7.; Aelian, Varia Historia, 13.28.
  16. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:21; Aelian, Varia Historia, 10.16.; Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum, 2.14.
  17. Long 1996 , p. 45
  18. Dudley 1937 , p. 2
  19. Prince 2005 , p. 77
  20. 1 2 Examined Lives from Socrates to Nietzsche by James Miller p. 78
  21. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:23 ; Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum, 2.14.
  22. Examined lives from Socrates to Nietzsche by James Miller
  23. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:37; Seneca, Epistles, 90.14.; Jerome, Adversus Jovinianum, 2.14.
  24. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:41. Modern sources often say that Diogenes was looking for an "honest man", but in ancient sources he is simply looking for a "human" (anthrôpos). The unreasoning behavior of the people around him means that they do not qualify as human.
  25. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:32
  26. Desmond, William (1995). Being and the Between: Political Theory in the American Academy. SUNY Press. p. 106. ISBN   9780791422717.
  27. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:40
  28. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:29
  29. Συνάντηση Διογένη Κυνικού μετά Μακεδόνος Βασιλέως Αλεξάνδρου
  30. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:30–31
  31. "Diogenes of Sinope". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006-04-26. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  32. Dio Chrysostom, Or. 8.10
  33. Lucian, Historia, 3.
  34. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:38; Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, 5.32.; Plutarch, Alexander, 14, On Exile, 15; Dio Chrysostom, Or. 4.14
  35. There is a similar anecdote in one of the dialogues of Lucian (Menippus, 15) but that story concerns Menippus in the underworld.
  36. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:76; Athenaeus, 8.341.
  37. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:77
  38. Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, 1.43.
  39. 1 2 Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:78; Greek Anthology, 1.285.; Pausanias, 2.2.4.
  40. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:80
  41. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:44
  42. Cicero, Tusculanae Quaestiones, 5.37.; Plutarch, On Exile, 5.; Epictetus, Discourses, i.9.1.
  43. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:63. Compare: Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:72, Dio Chrysostom, Or. 4.13, Epictetus, Discourses, iii.24.66.
  44. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:24
  45. Plato, Apology, 41e.
  46. Xenophon, Apology, 1.
  47. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:54 ; Aelian, Varia Historia, 14.33.
  48. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:58, 69. Eating in public places was considered bad manners.
  49. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:46
  50. Dio Chrysostom, Or. 8.36; Julian, Orations, 6.202c.
  51. 1 2 Examined Lives from Socrates to Nietzsche by James Miller p. 80
  52. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:34–35; Epictetus, Discourses, iii.2.11. Pointing with one's middle finger was considered insulting; with the finger pointing up instead of to another person, the finger gesture is considered obscene in modern times.
  53. Cf. Plato, Republic Book II
  54. Diogenes of Sinope, quoted by Stobaeus, Florilegium, iii. 13. 44.
  55. "No document found". www.perseus.tufts.edu.
  56. Laërtius & Hicks 1925 , Ⅵ:13. Cf. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature , 2nd edition, p. 165.
  57. Scholium on Aristotle's Rhetoric, quoted in Dudley 1937 , p. 5
  58. Sloterdijk, Peter (1983). Critique of Cynical Reason. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 1–600. ISBN   978-0816615865.
  59. See the 7 March lecture Michel Foucault, The Courage of the Truth Lectures at the Collège de France (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)
  60. Hanon C, Pinquier C, Gaddour N, Saïd S, Mathis D, Pellerin J (2004). "[Diogenes syndrome: a transnosographic approach]". Encephale (in French). 30 (4): 315–22. doi:10.1016/S0013-7006(04)95443-7. PMID   15538307
  61. Navia, Diogenes the Cynic, p. 31
  62. Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, by Ross King
  63. "60 Jaar Nero". www.stripspeciaalzaak.be.
  64. "Stripspeciaalzaak.be > De Honderd Hoogtepunten van Willy Vandersteen". www.stripspeciaalzaak.be.
  65. Possum Living by Dolly Freed Archived January 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  66. Manfredi, Valerio (2001). Alexander: The Ends of the Earth by Valerio Manfredi. ISBN   9780743434386 . Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  67. Richard Seaver, "Rebel, Rebel," Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug 1997 online
  68. Hugh Grady, "A Companion to Shakespeare's Works", Dutton. R & Howard J., Blakewell Publishing, 2003, ISBN   0-631-22632-X, pp. 443–44.
  69. Paul Ollswang, "Cynicism: A Series of Cartoons on a Philosophical Theme", January 1988, page B at official site; repr. in The Best Comics of the Decade 1980-1990 Vol. 1, Seattle, 1990, ISBN   1-56097-035-9, p. 23.

Sources

Further reading