), the most distinguished of those who attempted to revive the cynical doctrines in the second century of the Christian aera.
He probably lived in the time of Hadrian, though the exact date of his birth and death is unknown. We owe our knowledge of his character to Lucian, who has painted it in the most glowing colours, representing him as almost perfectly wise and good.
He adds that he has written an account of Demonax, " in order that the young who wish to apply to the study of philosophy may not be obliged to confine themselves to examples from antiquity, but may derive from his life also a model for their imitation." Of his friends the best known to us was Epictetus, who appears to have exercised considerable influence in the direction of his mind.
By birth a Cyprian, he removed to Athens, and there joined the Cynical school, chiefly from respect to the memory of Diogenes, whom he considered the most faithful representative of the life and virtues of Socrates.
He appears, however, to have been free from the austerity and moroseness of the sect, though he valued their indifference to external things; but we do not find that he contributed anything more to the cause of science than the original Cynics. His popularity at Athens was so great, that people vied with each other for the honour of offering him bread, and even boys shewed their respect by large donations of apples.
He contracted some odium by the freedom with which he rebuked vice, and he was accused of neglecting sacrifice and the Eleusinian mysteries. To these charges he returned for answer, that " he did not sacrifice to Athena, because she could not want his offerings," and that " if the mysteries were bad, no one ought to be initiated; if good, they should be divulged to everybody,"--the first of which replies is symptomatic of that vague kind of Deism which used so generally to conceal itself under an affectation of reverence for the popular gods.
He never married, though Epictetus begged him to do so, but was met by the request that his wife might be one of Epictetus's daughters, whose own bachelor life was not very consistent with his urging the duty of giving birth to and educating children.
This and other anecdotes of Demonax recorded by Lucian, shew him to have been an amiable, good-humoured man, leading probably a happy life, beloved and respected by those about him, and no doubt contrasting favourably with others who in those times called themselves votaries of those ancient systems which, as practical guides of life, were no longer necessary in a world to which a perfect revelation had now been given. [CRESCENS.] Demonax died when nearly a hundred years old, and was buried with great magnificence, though he had declared it a matter of perfect indifference to him if his body were thrown to the dogs. (Lucian, Demonax;
Brucker, Hist. Crit. Phil.
per. ii. pars 1. 2. 6.)