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Chapter 4. DIONYSIUS (c. 330-250 b.c.)

Dionysius, the Renegade,1 declared that pleasure was the end of action ; this under the trying circumstance of an attack of ophthalmia. For so violent was his suffering that he could not bring himself to call pain a thing indifferent.

He was the son of Theophantus and a native of Heraclea. At first, as Diocles relates, he was a pupil of his fellow-townsman, Heraclides, next of Alexinus and Menedemus, and lastly of Zeno.

[167] At the outset of his career he was fond of literature and tried his hand at all kinds of poetry ; afterwards he took Aratus2 for his model, whom he strove to imitate. When he fell away from Zeno, he went over to the Cyrenaics, and used to frequent houses of ill fame and indulge in all other excesses without disguise. After living till he was nearly eighty years of age, he committed suicide by starving himself.

The following works are attributed to him :

Of Apathy, two books

On Training, two books.

Of Pleasure, four books.

Of Wealth, Popularity and Revenge

How to live amongst Men.

Of Prosperity.

Of Ancient Kings.

Of those who are Praised.

Of the Customs of Barbarians.

These three, then, are the heterodox Stoics. The legitimate successor to Zeno, however, was Cleanthes : of whom we have now to speak.

1 Cf. § 37.

2 i.e. the author of the astronomical poem Φαινόμ ενα, not the statesman of that name, the protagonist of the Achaean League, whose Life we have in Plutarch.

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