ANTISTHENES (c. 446-366 B.C.)
the son of Antisthenes, was an Athenian. It was said,
however, that he was not of pure Attic blood. Hence his reply to one
who taunted him with this: "The mother of the gods too is a
For his mother was supposed to have
been a Thracian. Hence it was that, when he had distinguished
himself in the battle of Tanagra,3
he gave Socrates
occasion to remark that, if both his parents had been Athenians, he
would not have turned out so brave. He himself showed his contempt
for the airs which the Athenians gave themselves on the strength of
being sprung from the soil by the remark that this did not make them
any better born than snails or wingless locusts.
with, he became a pupil of Gorgias the rhetorician, and hence the
rhetorical style that he introduces in his dialogues, and especially
in his Truth
and in his Exhortations.
According to Hermippus he intended
at the public gathering for the Isthmian games to discourse on the
faults and merits of Athenians, Thebans and Lacedaemonians,
but begged to be excused when he saw throngs arriving
from those cities.
Later on, however, he came into touch with
Socrates, and derived so much benefit from him that he used to
advise his own disciples to become fellow-pupils with him of
Socrates. He lived in the Peiraeus, and every day would tramp the
five miles to Athens in order to hear Socrates. From Socrates he
learned his hardihood, emulating his disregard of feeling, and thus
he inaugurated the Cynic way of life. He demonstrated that pain is a
good thing by instancing the great Heracles and Cyrus, drawing the
one example from the Greek world and the other from the
He was the first to define statement (or
assertion) by saying that a statement is that which sets forth what
a thing was or is. He used repeatedly to say, "I'd rather be mad
than feel pleasure," and "We ought to make love to such women as
will feel a proper gratitude." When a lad from Pontus was about to
attend his lectures, and asked him what he required, the answer was,
"Come with a new book, a new pen, and new tablets, if you have a
mind to" (implying the need of brains as well).4
When someone inquired what sort of wife he ought to marry, he said, "If she's
beautiful, you'll not have her to yourself; if she's ugly, you'll
pay for it dearly." Being told that Plato was abusing him, he
remarked, "It is a royal privilege to do good and be ill spoken
When he was being initiated into the
Orphic mysteries, the priest said that those admitted into these
rites would be partakers of many good things in Hades. "Why then,"
said he, "don't you die ?"
because his parents were not both free-born, "Nor were they both
wrestlers," quoth he, "but yet I am a wrestler." To the question why
he had but few disciples he replied, "Because I use a silver rod to
eject them." When he was asked why he was so bitter in reproving his
pupils he replied, "Physicians are just the same with their
patients." One day upon seeing an adulterer running for his life
he exclaimed, "Poor wretch, what peril you might have escaped at the
price of an obol." He used to say, as we learn from Hecato in his
, that it is better to fall in with
crows than with flatterers; for in the one case you are devoured
when dead, in the other case while alive.
Being asked what
was the height of human bliss, he replied, "To die happy." When a
friend complained to him that he had lost his notes, "You should
have inscribed them," said he, "on your mind instead of on paper."
As iron is eaten away by rust, so, said he, the envious are consumed
by their own passion. Those who would fain be immortal must, he
declared, live piously and justly. States, said he, are doomed when
they are unable to distinguish good men from bad. Once, when he was
applauded by rascals, he remarked, "I am horribly afraid I have done
When brothers agree, no fortress is so
strong as their common life, he said. The right outfit for a voyage,
he said, is such as, even if you are shipwrecked, will go through
the water with you. One day when he was censured for keeping company
with evil men, the reply he made was, "Well, physicians are in
attendance on their patients without getting
fever themselves." "It is strange," said he, "that we weed out the
darnel from the corn and the unfit in war, but do not excuse evil
men from the service of the state." When he was asked what advantage
had accrued to him from philosophy, his answer was, "The ability to
hold converse with myself." Some one having called upon him over
the wine for a song, he replied, "Then you must accompany me on
the pipe." When Diogenes begged a coat of him, he bade him fold his
cloak around him double.
Being asked what learning is the most
necessary, he replied, "How to get rid of having anything to
unlearn." And he advised that when men are slandered, they should
endure it more courageously than if they were pelted with
And he used to taunt Plato with being conceited. At
all events when in a procession he spied a spirited charger he said,
turning to Plato, "It seems to me that you would have made just such
a proud, showy steed." This because Plato was constantly praising
horseflesh. And one day he visited Plato, who was ill, and seeing
the basin into which Plato had vomited, remarked, "The bile I see,
but not the pride."
He used to recommend the Athenians to vote that
asses are horses.6
When they deemed this
absurd, his reply was, "But yet generals are found among you who had
had no training, but were merely elected." "Many men praise you,"
said one. "Why, what wrong have I done?" was his rejoinder. When he
turned the torn part of his cloak so that it came into view,
Socrates no sooner saw this than he said, "I spy your love of fame
peeping through your cloak."7
his work on the Socratics tells us how some one asked him
what he must do to be good and noble, and he replied,
"You must learn from those who know that the faults you have are to
be avoided." When some one extolled luxury his reply was, "May the
sons of your enemies live in luxury."
To the youth who was
posing fantastically as an artist's model he put this question,
"Tell me, if the bronze could speak, on what, think you, would it
pride itself most?" "On its beauty," was the reply. "Then," said he,
"are you not ashamed of delighting in the very same quality as an
inanimate object?" When a young man from Pontus promised to treat
him with great consideration as soon as his boat with its freight of
salt fish should arrive, he took him and an empty wallet to a
flour-dealer's, got it filled, and was going away. When the woman
asked for the money, "The young man will pay," said he, "when his
boatload of salt fish arrives."
Antisthenes is held
responsible for the exile of Anytus and the execution of Meletus.
For he fell in with some youths from Pontus whom the fame of
Socrates had brought to Athens, and he led them off to Anytus, whom
he ironically declared to be wiser than Socrates; whereupon (it is
said) those about him with much indignation drove Anytus out of the
city. If he saw a woman anywhere decked out with ornaments, he would
hasten to her house and bid her husband bring out his horse and
arms, and then, if the man possessed them, let his extravagance
alone, for (he said) the man could with these defend himself; but,
if he had none, he would bid him strip off the finery.
him were the following. He would prove that virtue can be taught;
nobility belongs to none other than the
And he held virtue to be sufficient in itself to ensure
happiness, since it needed nothing else except the strength of a
Socrates. And he maintained that virtue is an affair of deeds and
does not need a store of words or learning; that the wise man is
selfsufficing, for all the goods of others are his; that ill
repute is a good thing and much the same as pain; that the wise man
will be guided in his public acts not by the established laws but by
the law of virtue; that he will also marry in order to have children
from union with the handsomest women; furthermore that he will not
disdain to love, for only the wise man knows who are worthy to be
Diocles records the following sayings of his: To the
wise man nothing is foreign or impracticable. A good man deserves
to be loved. Men of worth are friends. Make allies of men who are at
once brave and just. Virtue is a weapon that cannot be taken away.
It is better to be with a handful of good men fighting against all
the bad, than with hosts of bad men against a handful of good men.
Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover
your mistakes. Esteem an honest man above a kinsman. Virtue is the
same for women as for men. Good actions are fair and evil actions
foul. Count all wickedness foreign and alien.
Wisdom is a
most sure stronghold which never crumbles away nor is betrayed.
Walls of defence must be constructed in our own impregnable reasonings. He used to converse in the gymnasium of Cynosarges (White
hound) at no great distance from the gates, and some think that the
Cynic school derived its name from Cynosarges. Antisthenes
himself too was nicknamed a hound pure and simple. And
he was the first, Diocles tells us, to double his cloak and be
content with that one garment and to take up a staff and a wallet.
Neanthes too asserts that he was the first to double his mantle.
Sosicrates, however, in the third book of his Successions of Philosophers
says this was first
done by Diodorus of Aspendus, who also let his beard grow and used a
staff and a wallet.
Of all the Socratics Antisthenes alone is
praised by Theopompus, who says he had consummate skill and could by
means of agreeable discourse win over whomsoever he pleased. And
this is clear from his writings and from Xenophon's Banquet.
It would seem that the most manly section
of the Stoic School owed its origin to him. Hence Athenaeus the
epigrammatist writes thus of them9
Ye experts in Stoic story, ye who
commit to sacred pages most excellent doctrines--that virtue alone
is the good of the soul: for virtue alone saves man's life and
cities. But that Muse10
that is one of the daughters of Memory approves the
pampering of the flesh, which other men have chosen for their
gave the impulse to the
indifference of Diogenes, the continence of Crates, and the hardihood of Zeno, himself laying the foundations of their state.
Xenophon calls him the most agreeable of men in conversation and the
most temperate in everything else.
His writings are preserved
in ten volumes. The first includes:
on Expression, or Styles of Speaking.
Ajax, or The Speech of
Odysseus, or Concerning Odysseus.
A Defence of
Orestes, or Concerning Forensic Writers.
writing), or Lysias and Isocrates.
A Reply to the Speech of
Isocrates entitled "Without Witnesses."
Vol. 2 includes:
Of the Nature of Animals.
Of Procreation of Children, or
Of Marriage: a discourse on love.
Of the Sophists: a work
On Justice and Courage: a hortative work in
Concerning Theognis, making a fourth and a fifth
In the third volume are treatises:
Of Law, or Of a Commonwealth.
Of Law, or Of Goodness and Justice.
Of Freedom and
Of the Guardian, or On
Of Victory: an economic work.
In the fourth
volume are included:
The Greater Heracles, or
The fifth contains:
Cyrus, or Of
Of Discussion: a handbook of debate.
or Of Contradiction, in three books.
seventh volume contains the following:
On Education, or On
Names, in five books.
On the Use of Names: a controversial
Of Questioning and Answering.
Of Opinion and
Knowledge, in four books.
Of Life and
Of Those in the Underworld.
Of Nature, in two
A Problem concerning Nature, two books.
Opinions, or The Controversialist.
In the eighth volume are:
On Wickedness and
On the Scout.
The ninth volume contains:
Of the Minstrel's Staff.
Athena, or Of
Of Helen and Penelope.
Cyclops, or Of Odysseus.
Of the Use of Wine,
or Of Intoxication, or Of the Cyclops.
Of Odysseus, Penelope and the Dog.
contents of the tenth volume are:
Heracles, or Midas.
Heracles, or Of Wisdom or Strength.
Cyrus, or The
Cyrus, or The Scouts.
Menexenus, or On
Archelaus, or Of Kingship.
This is the list of his writings.
Timon finds fault with
him for writing so much and calls him a prolific trifler. He died of
disease just as Diogenes, who had come in, inquired of him, "Have
you need of a friend?" Once too Diogenes, when he came to him,
brought a dagger. And when Antisthenes cried out, "Who will release
me from these pains?" replied, "This," showing him the dagger. "I
said," quoth the other, "from my pains, not from life."
thought that he showed some weakness in bearing his malady through
love of life. And here are my verses upon him12
Such was your
nature, Antisthenes, that in your lifetime you were a very bulldog
to rend the heart with words, if not with teeth. Yet you died of
consumption. Maybe some one will say, What of that? We must anyhow
have some guide to the world below.
There have been three
other men named Antisthenes: one a follower of Heraclitus, another
native of Ephesus, and the third of Rhodes, a
And whereas we have enumerated the pupils of
Aristippus and of Phaedo, we will now append an account of the
Cynics and Stoics who derive from Antisthenes. And let it be in the
Chapter 2. DIOGENES (404-323
Diogenes was a native of Sinope, son of Hicesius, a
banker. Diocles relates that he went into exile because his father
was entrusted with the money of the state and adulterated the
coinage. But Eubulides in his book on Diogenes says that Diogenes
himself did this and was forced to leave home along with his father.
Moreover Diogenes himself actually confesses in his Pordalus
that he adulterated the coinage. Some say
that having been appointed to superintend the workmen he was
persuaded by them, and that he went to Delphi or to the Delian
oracle in his own city and inquired of Apollo whether he should do
what he was urged to do. When the god gave him permission to alter
the political currency, not understanding what this meant, he
adulterated the state coinage, and when he was detected, according
to some he was banished, while according to others he voluntarily
quitted the city for fear of consequences.
One version is that his
father entrusted him with the money and that he debased it, in
consequence of which the father was imprisoned and died, while the
son fled, came to Delphi, and inquired, not whether he should
falsify the coinage, but what he should do to gain the greatest
reputation ; and that then it was that he received the oracle.
On reaching Athens he fell in with Antisthenes.
Being repulsed by him, because he never welcomed pupils, by sheer
persistence Diogenes wore him out. Once when he stretched out his
staff against him, the pupil offered his head with the words,
"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." From that time
forward he was his pupil, and, exile as he was, set out upon a
Through watching a mouse running about, says
Theophrastus in the Megarian dialogue, not looking for a place to
lie down in, not afraid of the dark, not seeking any of the things
which are considered to be dainties, he discovered the means of
adapting himself to circumstances. He was the first, say some, to
fold his cloak because he was obliged to sleep in it as well, and he
carried a wallet to hold his victuals, and he used any place for any
purpose, for breakfasting, sleeping, or conversing. And then he
would say, pointing to the portico of Zeus and the Hall of
Processions, that the Athenians had provided him with places to live
He did not lean upon a staff until he grew infirm ; but
afterwards he would carry it everywhere, not indeed in the city, but
when walking along the road with it and with his wallet ; so say
magistrate at Athens, Polyeuctus the orator, and Lysanias the son of
Aeschrio. He had written to some one to try and procure a cottage
for him. When this man was a long time about it, he took for his
abode the tub in the Metroön, as he himself explains in his letters.
And in summer he used to roll in it over hot sand,
while in winter he used to embrace statues covered with snow,
using every means of inuring himself to hardship.
great at pouring scorn on his contemporaries. The school of
Euclides he called bilious, and Plato's lectures waste of time, the
performances at the Dionysia great peep-shows for fools, and the
demagogues the mob's lacqueys. He used also to say that when he saw
physicians, philosophers and pilots at their work, he deemed man the
most intelligent of all animals ; but when again he saw interpreters
of dreams and diviners and those who attended to them, or those who
were puffed up with conceit of wealth, he thought no animal more
silly. He would continually say14
that for the conduct of life we need right reason
or a halter.
Observing Plato one day at a costly banquet
taking olives, "How is it," he said,15
"that you the philosopher who sailed to Sicily
for the sake of these dishes, now when they are before you do not
enjoy them ?" "Nay, by the gods, Diogenes," replied Plato, "there
also for the most part I lived upon olives and such like." "Why
then," said Diogenes, "did you need to go to Syracuse ? Was it that
Attica at that time did not grow olives ?" But Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History
attributes this to
Aristippus. Again, another time he was eating dried figs when he
encountered Plato and offered him a share of them. When Plato took
them and ate them, he said, "I said you might share them, not that
you might eat them all up."
And one day when Plato had
invited to his house
friends coming from
Dionysius, Diogenes trampled upon his carpets and said, "I trample
upon Plato's vainglory." Plato's reply was, "How much pride you
expose to view, Diogenes, by seeming not to be proud." Others tell
us that what Diogenes said was, "I trample upon the pride of Plato,"
who retorted, "Yes, Diogenes, with pride of another sort."
however, in his fourth book
makes the Cynic address this remark to Plato himself. Diogenes once
asked him for wine, and after that also for some dried figs ; and
Plato sent him a whole jar full. Then the other said, "If some one
asks you how many two and two are, will you answer, Twenty ? So, it
seems, you neither give as you are asked nor answer as you are
questioned." Thus he scoffed at him as one who talked without
Being asked where in Greece he saw good men, he replied,
"Good men nowhere, but good boys at Lacedaemon." When one day he was
gravely discoursing and nobody attended to him, he began
whistling, and as people clustered about him, he reproached them
with coming in all seriousness to hear nonsense, but slowly and
contemptuously when the theme was serious. He would say that men
strive in digging17
to outdo one another, but no one strives to become a good man and
true. And he would wonder that the grammarians should investigate
the ills of Odysseus, while they were ignorant of their own. Or that
the musicians should tune the strings of the lyre, while leaving the
dispositions of their own souls discordant ;
that the mathematicians
should gaze at the sun
and the moon, but
overlook matters close at hand; that the orators should make a fuss
about justice in their speeches, but never practise it ; or that the
avaricious should cry out against money, while inordinately fond of
it. He used also to condemn those who praised honest men for being
superior to money, while themselves envying the very rich. He was
moved to anger that men should sacrifice to the gods to ensure
health and in the midst of the sacrifice should feast to the
detriment of health. He was astonished that when slaves saw their
masters were gluttons, they did not steal some of the viands.
would praise those who were about to marry and refrained, those who
intending to go a voyage never set sail, those who thinking to
engage in politics do no such thing, those also who purposing to
rear a family do not do so, and those who make ready to live with
potentates, yet never come near them after all. He used to say,
moreover, that we ought to stretch out our hands to our friends with
the fingers open and not closed.18
in his Sale
tells how, when he was captured and put up for
sale, he was asked what he could do. He replied, "Govern men." And
he told the crier to give notice in case anybody wanted to purchase
a master for himself. Having been forbidden to sit down, "It makes
no difference," said he, "for in whatever position fishes lie, they
still find purchasers."
And he said he marvelled that before we buy
a jar or dish we try whether it rings true, but if it is a man are
content merely to look
at him. To Xeniades who
purchased him he said, "You must obey me, although I am a slave ;
for, if a physician or a steersman were in slavery, he would be
obeyed." Eubulus in his book entitled The Sale of
tells us that this was how he trained the sons of
Xeniades. After their other studies he taught them to ride, to shoot
with the bow, to sling stones and to hurl javelins. Later, when they
reached the wrestling-school, he would not permit the master to give
them full athletic training, but only so much as to heighten their
colour and keep them in good condition.
The boys used to get
by heart many passages from poets, historians, and the writings of
Diogenes himself ; and he would practise them in every short cut to
a good memory. In the house too he taught them to wait upon
themselves, and to be content with plain fare and water to drink. He
used to make them crop their hair close and to wear it unadorned,
and to go lightly clad, barefoot, silent, and not looking about them
in the streets. He would also take them out hunting. They on their
part had a great regard for Diogenes and made requests of their
parents for him. The same Eubulus relates that he grew old in the
house of Xeniades, and when he died was buried by his sons. There
Xeniades once asked him how he wished to be buried. To which he
replied, "On my face."
"Why ?" inquired the other. "Because," said
he, "after a little time down will be converted into up." This
because the Macedonians had now got the supremacy, that is, had
risen high from a humble position. Some one took him into a
magnificent house and warned him not to expectorate, whereupon
having cleared his throat
he discharged the
phlegm into the man's face, being unable, he said, to find a meaner
receptacle. Others father this upon Aristippus. One day he shouted
out for men, and when people collected, hit out at them with his
stick, saying, "It was men I called for, not scoundrels." This is
told by Hecato in the first book of his Anecdotes.
Alexander is reported to have said, "Had
I not been Alexander, I should have liked to be Diogenes."
The word "disabled" ( ἀναπήρο
), Diogenes held, ought to be applied not to the deaf or
blind, but to those who have no wallet (πήρα
). One day he made his way with head half
shaven into a party of young revellers, as Metrocles relates in his
and was roughly handled by them.
Afterwards he entered on a tablet the names of those who had struck
him and went about with the tablet hung round his neck, till he had
covered them with ridicule and brought universal blame and discredit
upon them. He described himself as a hound of the sort which all men
praise, but no one, he added, of his admirers dared go out hunting
along with him. When some one boasted that at the Pythian games he
had vanquished men, Diogenes replied, "Nay, I defeat men, you defeat
To those who said to him, "You are an old man ; take
a rest," "What ?" he replied, "if I were running in the stadium,
ought I to slacken my pace when approaching the goal ? ought I not
rather to put on speed ?" Having been invited to a dinner, he
declared that he wouldn't go ; for, the last time he went, his host
had not expressed a proper gratitude. He would walk upon snow
barefoot and do the other things mentioned above. Not only so ;
even attempted to eat meat raw, but could not
manage to digest it. He once found Demosthenes the orator lunching
at an inn, and, when he retired within, Diogenes said, "All the more
you will be inside the tavern." When some strangers expressed a wish
to see Demosthenes, he stretched out his middle finger and said,
"There goes the demagogue of Athens."
Some one dropped a loaf of
bread and was ashamed to pick it up ; whereupon Diogenes, wishing to
read him a lesson, tied a rope to the neck of a wine-jar and
proceeded to drag it across the Ceramicus.
He used to say
that he followed the example of the trainers of choruses ; for they
too set the note a little high, to ensure that the rest should hit
the right note. Most people, he would say, are so nearly mad that a
finger makes all the difference. For, if you go along with your
middle finger stretched out, some one will think you mad, but, if
it's the little finger, he will not think so. Very valuable things,
said he, were bartered for things of no value, and vice versa.
At all events a statue fetches three
thousand drachmas, while a quart of barley-flour is sold for two
To Xeniades, who purchased him, he said, "Come,
see that you obey orders." When he quoted the line,
Backward the streams flow to their founts,Eur. Med. 410.
Diogenes asked, "If you had been ill and had purchased a doctor,
would you then, instead of obeying him, have said "`Backward the
streams flow to their founts'" ? Some one wanted to study philosophy
under him. Diogenes gave him a tunny to carry and told him to follow
him. And when for shame the man threw it away and departed,
some time after on meeting him he laughed and said, "The
friendship between you and me was broken by a tunny." The version
given by Diocles, however, is as follows. Some one having said to
him, "Lay your commands upon us, Diogenes," he took him away and
gave him a cheese to carry, which cost half an obol. The other
declined ; whereupon he remarked, "The friendship between you and
me is broken by a little cheese worth half an obol."
observing a child drinking out of his hands, he cast away the cup
from his wallet with the words, "A child has beaten me in plainness
of living." He also threw away his bowl when in like manner he saw a
child who had broken his plate taking up his lentils with the hollow
part of a morsel of bread. He used also to reason thus: "All things
belong to the gods. The wise are friends of the gods, and friends
hold things in common. Therefore all things belong to the wise." One
day he saw a woman kneeling before the gods in an ungraceful
attitude, and wishing to free her of superstition, according to
Zoïlus of Perga, he came forward and said, "Are you not afraid, my
good woman, that a god may be standing behind you ?--for all things
are full of his presence--and you may be put to shame ?"
dedicated to Asclepius a bruiser who, whenever people fell on their
faces, used to run up to them and bruise them.
All the curses
of tragedy, he used to say, had lighted upon him. At all events he
A homeless exile, to his country dead.
who begs his daily bread.21
But he claimed that to fortune he
courage, to convention nature, to
passion reason. When he was sunning himself in the Craneum,
Alexander came and stood over him and said, "Ask of me any boon you
like." To which he replied, "Stand out of my light."22
Some one had been reading aloud for a very long time, and when he
was near the end of the roll pointed to a space with no writing on
it. "Cheer up, my men," cried Diogenes ; "there's land in sight." To
one who by argument had proved conclusively that he had horns, he
said, touching his forehead, "Well, I for my part don't see any."
like manner, when somebody declared that there is no such thing as
motion, he got up and walked about. When some one was discoursing on
celestial phenomena, "How many days," asked Diogenes, "were you in
coming from the sky ?" A eunuch of bad character had inscribed on
his door the words, "Let nothing evil enter." "How then," he asked,
"is the master of the house to get in ?" When he had anointed his
feet with unguent, he declared that from his head the unguent passed
into the air, but from his feet into his nostrils. The Athenians
urged him to become initiated, and told him that in the other world
those who have been initiated enjoy a special privilege. "It would
be ludicrous," quoth he, "if Agesilaus and Epaminondas are to dwell
in the mire, while certain folk of no account will live in the Isles
of the Blest because they have been initiated."
crept on to the table he addressed them thus, "See now even Diogenes
keeps parasites." When Plato styled him a dog, "Quite true," he
said, "for I come back again and again to those who have sold me."
As he was leaving the public
inquired if many men were bathing. He said, No. But to another who
asked if there was a great crowd of bathers, he said, Yes. Plato had
defined Man as an animal, biped and featherless, and was applauded.
Diogenes plucked a fowl and brought it into the lecture-room with
the words, "Here is Plato's man." In consequence of which there was
added to the definition, "having broad nails." To one who asked what
was the proper time for lunch, he said, "If a rich man, when you
will; if a poor man, when you can."
At Megara he saw the
sheep protected by leather jackets, while the children went bare.
"It's better," said he, "to be a Megarian's ram than his son."23
To one who had brandished a beam
at him and then cried, "Look out," he replied, "What, are you
intending to strike me again?" He used to call the demagogues the
lackeys of the people and the crowns awarded to them the
efflorescence of fame. He lit a lamp in broad daylight and said, as
he went about, "I am looking for a man." One day he got a thorough
drenching where he stood, and, when the bystanders pitied him, Plato
said, if they really pitied him, they should move away, alluding to
his vanity. When some one hit him a blow with his fist, "Heracles,"
said he, "how came I to forget to put on a helmet when I walked
Further, when Meidias assaulted him and went on to say, "There
are 3000 drachmas to your credit," the next day he took a pair of
boxing-gauntlets, gave him a thrashing and said, "There are 3000
blows to your
Lysias the druggist asked him if he believed in the gods, "How can I
help believing in them," said he, "when I see a god-forsaken wretch
like you?" Others give this retort to Theodorus. Seeing some one
perform religious purification, he said, "Unhappy man, don't you
know that you can no more get rid of errors of conduct by
sprinklings than you can of mistakes in grammar?" He would rebuke
men in general with regard to their prayers, declaring that they
asked for those things which seemed to them to be good, not for such
as are truly good.
As for those who were excited over their dreams
he would say that they cared nothing for what they did in their
waking hours, but kept their curiosity for the visions called up in
their sleep. At Olympia, when the herald proclaimed Dioxippus to be
victor over the men, Diogenes protested, "Nay, he is victorious over
slaves, I over men."
Still he was loved by the Athenians. At
all events, when a youngster broke up his tub, they gave the boy a
flogging and presented Diogenes with another. Dionysius the Stoic
says that after Chaeronea he was seized and dragged off to Philip,
and being asked who he was, replied, "A spy upon your insatiable
greed." For this he was admired and set free.
having on one occasion sent a letter to Antipater at Athens by a
certain Athlios, Diogenes, who was present, said:
son of graceless sire to graceless wight by graceless squire.
Perdiccas having threatened to put him to death unless he came to
him, "That's nothing wonderful," quoth he, "for a beetle or a
do the same." Instead of that he
would have expected the threat to be that Perdiccas would be quite
happy to do without his company. He would often insist loudly that
the gods had given to men the means of living easily, but this had
been put out of sight, because we require honeyed cakes, unguents
and the like. Hence to a man whose shoes were being put on by his
servant, he said, "You have not attained to full felicity, unless he
wipes your nose as well; and that will come, when you have lost the
use of your hands."
Once he saw the officials of a temple
leading away some one who had stolen a bowl belonging to the
treasurers, and said, "The great thieves are leading away the little
thief." Noticing a lad one day throwing stones at a cross (gibbet),
"Well done," he said, "you will hit your mark."24
When some boys clustered round him and said, "Take care he doesn't
bite us," he answered, "Never fear, boys, a dog does not eat
beetroot." To one who was proud of wearing a lion's skin his words
were, "Leave off dishonouring the habiliments of courage." When
some one was extolling the good fortune of Callisthenes and saying
what splendour he shared in the suite of Alexander, "Not so," said
Diogenes, "but rather ill fortune; for he breakfasts and dines when
Alexander thinks fit."
Being short of money, he told his
friends that he applied to them not for alms, but for repayment of
his due. When behaving indecently in the marketplace, he wished it
were as easy to relieve hunger by rubbing an empty stomach. Seeing a
youth starting off to dine with satraps, he dragged him off, took
him to his friends and bade them keep
watch over him. When a youth effeminately attired put a question to
him, he declined to answer unless he pulled up his robe and showed
whether he was man or woman. A youth was playing cottabos in the
baths. Diogenes said to him, "The better you play, the worse it is
for you." At a feast certain people kept throwing all the bones to
him as they would have done to a dog.25
played a dog's trick and drenched them.
Rhetoricians and all
who talked for reputation he used to call "thrice human," meaning
thereby "thrice wretched." An ignorant rich man he used to call "the
sheep with the golden fleece." Seeing a notice on the house of a
profligate, "To be sold," he said, "I knew well that after such
surfeiting you would throw up the owner." To a young man who
complained of the number of people who annoyed him by their
attentions he said, "Cease to hang out a sign of invitation." Of a
public bath which was dirty he said, "When people have bathed here,
where are they to go to get clean?" There was a stout musician whom
everybody depreciated and Diogenes alone praised. When asked why, he
said, "Because being so big, he yet sings to his lute and does not
The musician who was always deserted by his
audience he greeted with a "Hail chanticleer," and when asked why he
so addressed him, replied, "Because your song makes every one get
up." A young man was delivering a set speech, when Diogenes, having
filled the front fold of his dress with lupins, began to eat them,
standing right opposite to him. Having thus drawn off the
attention of the assemblage, he said he was greatly surprised
that they should desert the orator to look at
himself. A very superstitious person addressed him thus, "With one
blow I will break your head." "And I," said Diogenes, "by a sneeze
from the left will make you tremble." Hegesias having asked him to
lend him one of his writings, he said, "You are a simpleton,
Hegesias; you do not choose painted figs, but real ones; and yet you
pass over the true training and would apply yourself to written
When some one reproached him with his exile, his
reply was, "Nay, it was through that, you miserable fellow, that I
came to be a philosopher." Again, when some one reminded him that
the people of Sinope had sentenced him to exile, "And I them," said
he, "to home-staying." Once he saw an Olympic victor tending sheep
and thus accosted him: "Too quickly, my good friend, have you left
Olympia for Nemea.26
" Being asked
why athletes are so stupid, his answer was, "Because they are built
up of pork and beef." He once begged alms of a statue, and, when
asked why he did so, replied, "To get practice in being refused." In
asking alms --as he did at first by reason of his poverty-- he used
this form: "If you have already given to anyone else, give to me
also; if not, begin with me."
On being asked by a tyrant what
bronze is best for a statue, he replied, "That of which Harmodius
and Aristogiton were moulded." Asked how Dionysius treated his
friends, "Like purses," he replied; "so long as they are full, he
hangs them up, and, when they are empty, he throws them away." Some
one lately wed had set up on his door the notice:
The son of Zeus, victorious Heracles,
Dwells here; let
nothing evil enter in.
To which Diogenes added "After war,
alliance." The love of money he declared to be mother-city of all
spendthrift eating olives in a tavern, he said, "If you had
breakfasted in this fashion, you would not so be dining."
Good men he called images of the gods, and love the business of
the idle. To the question what is wretched in life he replied, "An
old man destitute." Being asked what creature's bite is the worst,
he said, "Of those that are wild a sycophant's ; of those that are
tame a flatterer's." Upon seeing two centaurs very badly painted, he
asked, "Which of these is Chiron?" (worse man). Ingratiating speech
he compared to honey used to choke you. The stomach he called
Hearing a report that
Didymon the flute-player had been caught in adultery, his comment
was, "His name alone is sufficient to hang him." To the question why
gold is pale, his reply was, "Because it has so many thieves
plotting against it." On seeing a woman carried in a litter, he
remarked that the cage was not in keeping with the quarry.
One day seeing a runaway slave sitting on the brink of a well, he
said, "Take care, my lad, you don't fall in." Seeing a boy taking
clothes at the baths, he asked, "Is it for a little unguent
( ἀλειμμ άτιον
) or is it for a new
cloak (ἄλλ᾽ ἱμάτιο ν
)?" Seeing some
women hanged from an olive-tree, he said, "Would that every tree
bore similar fruit." On seeing a footpad he accosted him thus:
What mak'st thou here, my gallant ?
thou perchance for plunder of the dead?29
Being asked whether
he had any maid or boy to wait on him, he said "No." "If you should
die, then, who will carry you out to burial ?" "Whoever wants the
house," he replied.
Noticing a good-looking youth lying in an
exposed position, he nudged him and cried, "Up, man, up, lest some
foe thrust a dart into thy back!" To one who was feasting lavishly
Short-liv'd thou'lt be, my son, by what
As Plato was
conversing about Ideas and using the nouns "tablehood" and
"cuphood," he said, "Table and cup I see; but your tablehood and
cuphood, Plato, I can nowise see." "That's readily accounted for,"
said Plato, "for you have the eyes to see the visible table and cup
; but not the understanding by which ideal tablehood and cuphood
On being asked by somebody, "What sort of a
man do you consider Diogenes to be?" "A Socrates gone mad," said
Being asked what
was the right time to marry, Diogenes replied, "For a young man not
yet: for an old man never at all." Being asked what he would take to
be soundly cuffed, he replied, "A helmet." Seeing a youth dressing
with elaborate care, he said, "If it's for men, you're a fool; if
for women, a knave." One day he detected a youth blushing.
"Courage," quoth he, "that is the hue
virtue." One day after listening to a couple of lawyers disputing,
he condemned them both, saying that the one had no doubt stolen, but
the other had not lost anything. To the question what wine he found
pleasant to drink, he replied, "That for which other people pay."
When he was told that many people laughed at him, he made answer,
"But I am not laughed down."
When some one declared that life
is an evil, he corrected him: "Not life itself, but living ill."
When he was advised to go in pursuit of his runaway slave, he
replied, "It would be absurd, if Manes can live without Diogenes,
but Diogenes cannot get on without Manes." When breakfasting on
olives amongst which a cake had been inserted, he flung it away and
addressed it thus:
Stranger, betake thee
from the princes' path.Eur. Phoen.
And on another occasion thus :
He lashed an olive.Hom. Il. v. 366, viii. 45. In the Homeric lines,
however, e)la/an is a verb in the
infinitive mood: "he lashed the steeds to make them
Being asked what kind of hound he was, he
replied, "When hungry, a Maltese; when full, a Molossian --two
breeds which most people praise, though for fear of fatigue they do
not venture out hunting with them. So neither can you live with me,
because you are afraid of the discomforts."
Being asked if
the wise eat cakes, "Yes," he said, "cakes of all kinds, just like
other men." Being asked why people give to beggars but not to
philosophers, he said, "Because they think they may one day be lame
or blind, but never expect that they will turn to philosophy." He
was begging of a miserly man who was slow to respond; so he
said, "My friend, it's for food that I'm asking, not for
funeral expenses." Being reproached one day for having falsified the
currency, he said, "That was the time when I was such as you are
now; but such as I am now, you will never be." To another who
reproached him for the same offence he made a more scurrilous
On coming to Myndus and finding the gates large,
though the city itself was very small, he cried, "Men of Myndus, bar
your gates, lest the city should run away." Seeing a man who had
been caught stealing purple, he said:
gripped by purple death and forceful fate.Il. v. 83.
When Craterus wanted
him to come and visit him, "No," he replied, "I would rather live on
a few grains of salt at Athens than enjoy sumptuous fare at
Craterus's table." He went up to Anaximenes the rhetorician, who was
fat, and said, "Let us beggars have something of your paunch ; it
will be a relief to you, and we shall get advantage." And when the
same man was discoursing, Diogenes distracted his audience by
producing some salt fish. This annoyed the lecturer, and Diogenes
said, "An obol's worth of salt fish has broken up Anaximenes'
Being reproached for eating in the
market-place, "Well, it was in the market-place," he said, "that I
felt hungry." Some authors affirm that the following also belongs
to him : that Plato saw him washing lettuces, came up to him and
quietly said to him, "Had you paid court to Dionysius, you wouldn't
now be washing lettuces," and that he with equal calmness made
answer, "If you had washed lettuces,
wouldn't have paid court to Dionysius." When some one said, "Most
people laugh at you," his reply was, "And so very likely do the
asses at them; but as they don't care for the asses, so neither do I
care for them." One day observing a youth studying philosophy, he
said, "Well done, Philosophy, that thou divertest admirers of bodily
charms to the real beauty of the soul."
When some one
expressed astonishment at the votive offerings in Samothrace, his
comment was, "There would have been far more, if those who were not
saved had set up offerings." But others attribute this remark to
Diagoras of Melos. To a handsome youth, who was going out to dinner,
he said, "You will come back a worse man." When he came back and
said next day, "I went and am none the worse for it," Diogenes said,
"Not Worse-man (Chiron), but Lax-man (Eurytion)."35
He was asking alms of a bad-tempered man, who
said, "Yes, if you can persuade me." "If I could have persuaded
you," said Diogenes, "I would have persuaded you to hang yourself."
He was returning from Lacedaemon to Athens; and on some one
asking, "Whither and whence?" he replied, "From the men's apartments to the women's."
He was returning from Olympia, and
when somebody inquired whether there was a great crowd, "Yes," he
said, "a great crowd, but few who could be called men." Libertines
he compared to figtrees growing upon a cliff: whose fruit is not
enjoyed by any man, but is eaten by ravens and vultures. When Phryne
set up a golden statue of Aphrodite in Delphi, Diogenes is said to
have written upon it: "From the licentiousness of Greece."
Alexander once came and stood opposite him and said, "I
am Alexander the great king." "And I," said he, "am Diogenes the
Being asked what he had done to
be called a hound, he said, "I fawn on those who give me anything, I
yelp at those who refuse, and I set my teeth in rascals."
was gathering figs, and was told by the keeper that not long before
a man had hanged himself on that very fig-tree. "Then," said he, "I
will now purge it." Seeing an Olympian victor casting repeated
glances at a courtesan, "See," he said, "yonder ram frenzied for
battle, how he is held fast by the neck fascinated by a common
minx." Handsome courtesans he would compare to a deadly honeyed
potion. He was breakfasting in the marketplace, and the bystanders
gathered round him with cries of "dog." "It is you who are dogs,"
cried he, "when you stand round and watch me at my breakfast." When
two cowards hid away from him, he called out, "Don't be afraid, a
hound is not fond of beetroot."
After seeing a stupid wrestler practising as a doctor he inquired of him, "What does this mean ? Is it
that you may now have your revenge on the rivals who formerly beat
you ?" Seeing the child of a courtesan throw stones at a crowd, he
cried out, "Take care you don't hit your father."
having shown him a dagger that he had received from an admirer,
Diogenes remarked, "A pretty blade with an ugly handle." When some
people commended a person who had given him a gratuity, he broke in
with "You have no praise for me who was worthy to receive it." When
some one asked that he might have back his cloak, "If it was
a gift," replied Diogenes, "I possess it ; while, if it
was a loan, I am using it." A supposititious son having told him
that he had gold in the pocket of his dress, "True," said he, "and
therefore you sleep with it under your pillow."
On being asked what
he had gained from philosophy, he replied, "This at least, if
nothing else--to be prepared for every fortune." Asked where he came
from, he said, "I am a citizen of the world."37
Certain parents were
sacrificing to the gods, that a son might be born to them. "But,"
said he, "do you not sacrifice to ensure what manner of man he shall
turn out to be ?" When asked for a subscription towards a club, he
said to the president :
Despoil the rest ;
off Hector keep thy hands.
There is no such line in
our mss. of Homer ; it is unknown to the Scholiasts and to
Eustathius. Joshua Barnes, in his edition of the Iliad, introduced it as xvi. 82a. Pope rendered it,
about 1718, as follows (Il. xvi. 86):
"Rage uncontrolled through all the hostile crew, But touch not
Hector, Hector is my due."
In Clarke's edition of 1740 it is
expelled from the text and relegated to a footnote. J. H. Voss,
however, making a German translation of the Iliad, probably between 1781 and 1793, still
regarded it as Homeric, but found a fresh place for it, after xvi.
The mistresses of kings he designated
queens ; for, said he, they make the kings do their bidding. When
the Athenians gave Alexander the title of Dionysus, he said, "Me too
you might make Sarapis."39
Some one having reproached him for
going into dirty places, his reply was that the sun too visits
cesspools without being defiled.
When he was dining in a
temple, and in the course of the meal loaves not free from dirt were
put on the table, he took them up and threw them away, declaring
that nothing unclean ought to enter a temple. To the man who said to
him, "You don't know anything, although you are a philosopher," he
replied, "Even if I am but a pretender to wisdom,
that in itself is philosophy." When some one brought a child to
him and declared him to be highly gifted and of excellent character,
"What need then," said he, "has he of me ?" Those who say admirable
things, but fail to do them, he compared to a harp ; for the harp,
like them, he said, has neither hearing nor perception. He was going
into a theatre, meeting face to face those who were coming out, and
being asked why, "This," he said, "is what I practise doing all my
Seeing a young man behaving effeminately, "Are you not
ashamed," he said, "that your own intention about yourself should be
worse than nature's : for nature made you a man, but you are forcing
yourself to play the woman." Observing a fool tuning a psaltery,
"Are you not ashamed," said he, "to give this wood concordant
sounds, while you fail to harmonize your soul with life ?" To one
who protested that he was ill adapted for the study of philosophy,
he said, "Why then do you live, if you do not care to live well ?"
To one who despised his father, "Are you not ashamed," he said, "to
despise him to whom you owe it that you can so pride yourself ?"
Noticing a handsome youth chattering in unseemly fashion, "Are you
not ashamed," he said, "to draw a dagger of lead from an ivory
Being reproached with drinking in a tavern,
"Well," said he, "I also get my hair cut in a barber's shop." Being
reproached with accepting a cloak from Antipater, he replied :
The gods' choice gifts are nowise to be
When some one first shook a beam at him and
then shouted "Look out," Diogenes struck the man with
his staff and added "Look out." To a man who was
urgently pressing his suit to a courtesan he said, "Why, hapless
man, are you at such pains to gain your suit, when it would be
better for you to lose it ?" To one with perfumed hair he said,
"Beware lest the sweet scent on your head cause an ill odour in your
life." He said that bad men obey their lusts as servants obey their
The question being asked why footmen are so called,
he replied, "Because they have the feet of men, but souls such as
you, my questioner, have." He asked a spendthrift for a mina. The
man inquired why it was that he asked others for an obol but him
for a mina. "Because," said Diogenes, "I expect to receive from
others again, but whether I shall ever get anything from you again
lies on the knees of the gods." Being reproached with begging when
Plato did not beg, "Oh yes," says he, "he does, but when he does
He holds his head down close, that
none may hear."Od. i. 157, iv.
Seeing a bad archer, he sat down beside the
target with the words "in order not to get hit." Lovers, he
declared, derive their pleasures from their misfortune.
asked whether death was an evil thing, he replied, "How can it be
evil, when in its presence we are not aware of it ?" When Alexander
stood opposite him and asked, "Are you not afraid of me ?" "Why,
what are you ?" said he, "a good thing or a bad ?" Upon Alexander
replying "A good thing," "Who then," said Diogenes, "is afraid of
the good ?" Education, according to him, is a controlling grace to
the young, consolation to the
old, wealth to the
poor, and ornament to the rich. When Didymon, who was a rake, was
once treating a girl's eye, "Beware," says Diogenes, "lest the
oculist instead of curing the eye should ruin the pupil." On
somebody declaring that his own friends were plotting against him,
Diogenes exclaimed, "What is to be done then, if you have to treat
friends and enemies alike ?"
Being asked what was the most
beautiful thing in the world, he replied, "Freedom of speech." On
entering a boys' school, he found there many statues of the Muses,
but few pupils. "By the help of the gods," said he, "schoolmaster,
you have plenty of pupils." It was his habit to do everything in
public, the works of Demeter and of Aphrodite alike. He used to draw
out the following arguments. "If to breakfast be not absurd, neither
is it absurd in the market-place ; but to breakfast is not absurd,
therefore it is not absurd to breakfast in the marketplace."
Behaving indecently in public, he wished "it were as easy to banish
hunger by rubbing the belly." Many other sayings are attributed to
him, which it would take long to enumerate.42
He used to affirm that
training was of two kinds, mental and bodily : the latter being that
whereby, with constant exercise, perceptions are formed such as
secure freedom of movement for virtuous deeds ; and the one half of
this training is incomplete without the other, good health and
strength being just as much included among the essential things,
whether for body or soul. And he would adduce indisputable evidence
to show how easily from
gymnastic training we
arrive at virtue. For in the manual crafts and other arts it can be
seen that the craftsmen develop extraordinary manual skill through
practice. Again, take the case of flute-players and of athletes :
what surpassing skill they acquire by their own incessant toil ;
and, if they had transferred their efforts to the training of the
mind, how certainly their labours would not have been unprofitable
Nothing in life, however, he maintained, has
any chance of succeeding without strenuous practice ; and this is
capable of overcoming anything. Accordingly, instead of useless
toils men should choose such as nature recommends, whereby they
might have lived happily. Yet such is their madness that they choose
to be miserable. For even the despising of pleasure is itself most
pleasurable, when we are habituated to it ; and just as those
accustomed to a life of pleasure feel disgust when they pass over to
the opposite experience, so those whose training has been of the
opposite kind derive more pleasure from despising pleasure than from
the pleasures themselves. This was the gist of his conversation ;
and it was plain that he acted accordingly, adulterating currency in
very truth, allowing convention no such authority as he allowed to
natural right, and asserting that the manner of life he lived was
the same as that of Heracles when he preferred liberty to
He maintained that all things are the property of
the wise, and employed such arguments as those cited above. All
things belong to the gods. The gods are friends to the wise, and
friends share all property in common ; therefore all things are the
property of the wise. Again as to law : that it is
impossible for society to exist without law ; for without a city
no benefit can be derived from that which is civilized. But the city
is civilized, and there is no advantage in law without a city ;
therefore law is something civilized. He would ridicule good birth
and fame and all such distinctions, calling them showy ornaments of
vice. The only true commonwealth was, he said, that which is as wide
as the universe. He advocated community of wives, recognizing no
other marriage than a union of the man who persuades with the woman
who consents. And for this reason he thought sons too should be held
And he saw no impropriety either in stealing anything from a temple or in eating the flesh of any animal ; nor even
anything impious in touching human flesh, this, he said, being clear
from the custom of some foreign nations. Moreover, according to
right reason, as he put it, all elements are contained in all things
and pervade everything : since not only is meat a constituent of
bread, but bread of vegetables ; and all other bodies also, by means
of certain invisible passages and particles, find their way in and
unite with all substances in the form of vapour. This he makes plain
in the Thyestes
, if the tragedies are really
his and not the work of his friend Philiscus of Aegina or of
Pasiphon, the son of Lucian,43
who according to Favorinus in his Miscellaneous History
wrote them after the death of
Diogenes. He held that we should neglect music, geometry, astronomy,
and the like studies, as useless and unnecessary.
He became very ready also at repartee in verbal debates, as is
evident from what has been said above.
Further, when he was
sold as a slave, he endured it most nobly. For on a voyage to Aegina
he was captured by pirates under the command of Scirpalus,44
conveyed to Crete and exposed for sale. When the
auctioneer asked in what he was proficient, he replied, "In ruling
men." Thereupon he pointed to a certain Corinthian with a fine
purple border to his robe, the man named Xeniades above-mentioned,
and said, "Sell me to this man ; he needs a master." Thus Xeniades
came to buy him, and took him to Corinth and set him over his own
children and entrusted his whole household to him. And he
administered it in all respects in such a manner that Xeniades used
to go about saying, "A good genius has entered my house."
Cleomenes in his work entitled Concerning Pedagogues
says that the friends of Diogenes wanted to ransom him,
whereupon he called them simpletons ; for, said he, lions are not
the slaves of those who feed them, but rather those who feed them
are at the mercy of the lions : for fear is the mark of the slave,
whereas wild beasts make men afraid of them. The man had in fact a
wonderful gift of persuasion, so that he could easily vanquish
anyone he liked in argument. At all events a certain Onesicritus of
Aegina is said to have sent to Athens the one of his two sons named
Androsthenes, and he having become a pupil of Diogenes stayed there
; the father then sent the other also, the aforesaid Philiscus, who
was the elder, in search of him ; but Philiscus also was detained in
the same way.
When, thirdly, the father himself arrived, he was just
as much attracted to the
pursuit of philosophy
as his sons and joined the circle--so magical was the spell which
the discourses of Diogenes exerted. Amongst his hearers was Phocion
surnamed the Honest, and Stilpo the Megarian, and many other men
prominent in political life.
Diogenes is said to have been
nearly ninety years old when he died. Regarding his death there are
several different accounts. One is that he was seized with colic
after eating an octopus raw and so met his end. Another is that he
died voluntarily by holding his breath. This account was followed by
Cercidas of Megalopolis (or of Crete), who in his meliambics writes
Not so he who aforetime was a citizen of Sinope,
That famous one who carried a staff, doubled his cloak, and lived
in the open air.
But he soared aloft with his lip tightly
pressed against his teeth
And holding his breath withal. For
in truth he was rightly named
Diogenes, a true-born son of
Zeus, a hound of heaven.
Another version is that, while
trying to divide an octopus amongst the dogs, he was so severely
bitten on the sinew of the foot that it caused his death. His
friends, however, according to Antisthenes in his Successions of Philosophers
, conjectured that it
was due to the retention of his breath. For he happened to be living
in the Craneum, the gymnasium in front of Corinth. When his friends
came according to custom and found him wrapped up in his cloak, they
thought that he must be asleep, although he was by no means of a
drowsy or somnolent habit. They therefore drew aside his cloak and
he was dead. This they supposed to
have been his deliberate act in order to escape thenceforward from
Hence, it is said, arose a quarrel among his disciples as to who should bury him : nay, they even came to blows ;
but, when their fathers and men of influence arrived, under their
direction he was buried beside the gate leading to the Isthmus. Over
his grave they set up a pillar and a dog in Parian marble upon it.
Subsequently his fellow-citizens honoured him with bronze statues,
on which these verses were inscribed :
Time makes even bronze
grow old : but thy glory, Diogenes, all eternity will never destroy.
Since thou alone didst point out to mortals the lesson of
self-sufficingness and the easiest path of life.45
We too have
written on him in the proceleusmatic metre :
come tell me what fate took you to the world below ?
dog's savage tooth.46
But some say that when dying he left instructions
that they should throw him out unburied, that every wild beast might
feed on him, or thrust him into a ditch and sprinkle a little dust
over him. But according to others his instructions were that they
should throw him into the Ilissus, in order that he might be useful
to his brethren.
Demetrius in his work On Men
of the Same Name
asserts that on the same day on which
Alexander died in Babylon Diogenes died in Corinth. He was an old
man in the 113th Olympiad.47
following writings are attributed to him. Dialogues :
The Athenian Demos.
Seven Tragedies :
Sosicrates in the first book of his Successions
, and Satyrus in the fourth book of his
, allege that Diogenes left nothing in
writing, and Satyrus adds that the sorry tragedies are by his friend
Philiscus, the Aeginetan. Sotion in his seventh book declares that
only the following are genuine works of Diogenes : On Virtue, On
Good, On Love, A Mendicant, Tolmaeus, Pordalus, Casandrus, Cephalion, Philiscus, Aristarchus, Sisyphus, Ganymedes, Anecdotes,
There have been five men who were named Diogenes.
The first, of Apollonia, a natural philo-
sopher. The beginning of his treatise runs thus : "At the outset
of every discourse, methinks, one should see to it that the basis
laid down is unquestionable." The second--of Sicyon--who wrote an
"Account of Peloponnesus." The third, our present subject. The
fourth, a Stoic born at Seleucia, who is also called the Babylonian,
because Seleucia is near Babylon. The fifth, of Tarsus, author of a
work on poetical problems, which he attempts to solve.
the philosopher is said by Athenodorus in the eighth book of his Walks
to have always had a sleek appearance owing
to his use of unguents.48
Chapter 3. MONIMUS (fourth
Monimus of Syracuse was a pupil of Diogenes
; and, according to Sosicrates, he was in the service of a certain
Corinthian banker, to whom Xeniades, the purchaser of Diogenes, made
frequent visits, and by the account which he gave of his goodness in
word and deed, excited in Monimus a passionate admiration of
Diogenes. For he forthwith pretended to be mad and proceeded to
fling away the small change and all the money on the banker's table,
until at length his master dismissed him ; and he then straightway
devoted himself to Diogenes. He often followed Crates the Cynic as
well, and embraced the like pursuits ; whereupon his master, seeing
him do this, was all the more persuaded that he was mad.
came to be a distinguished man ; so much so that he is even
mentioned by the comic poet Menander. At any rate in one of his
plays, The Groom
, his words are :
One Monimus there was, a wise man, Philo,
so very famous.
a. He, you mean,
Who carried the scrip
b. Nay, not one scrip, but three.
Yet never a word,
so help me Zeus, spake he
To match the saying, Know thyself,
Famed watchwords. Far beyond all these he went,
Your dusty mendicant, pronouncing wholly vain
Monimus indeed showed himself a very grave
moralist, so that he ever despised mere opinion and sought only
He has left us, besides some trifles blended with
covert earnestness, two books, On Impulses
an Exhortation to Philosophy.
Chapter 4. ONESICRITUS (flor. 330 B.C.)
Onesicritus some report to have been an Aeginetan, but Demetrius
of Magnesia says that he was a native of Astypalaea. He too was one
of the distinguished pupils of Diogenes. His career seems to have
resembled that of Xenophon ; for Xenophon joined the expedition of
Cyrus, Onesicritus that of Alexander ; and the former wrote the Cyropaedia, or Education of Cyrus
, while the latter
has described how Alexander was educated : the one a laudation of
Cyrus, the other of Alexander. And in their diction they are not
unlike : except that Onesicritus, as is to be expected in an
imitator, falls short of his model.
Amongst other pupils of
Diogenes were Menander, who was nicknamed Drymus or "Oakwood," a
admirer of Homer ; Hegesias of Sinope,
nicknamed "Dog-collar" ; and Philiscus of Aegina mentioned
Chapter 5. CRATES (of Thebes, flor.
Crates, son of Ascondas, was a Theban. He too
was amongst the Cynic's famous pupils. Hippobotus, however, alleges
that he was a pupil not of Diogenes, but of Bryson49
the Achaean. The following playful lines are attributed
There is a city Pera in the midst of wine-dark vapour,
Fair, fruitful, passing squalid, owning nought,
sails nor fool nor parasite
Nor glutton, slave of sensual
But thyme it bears, garlic, and figs and
For which things' sake men fight not each with
Nor stand to arms for money or for fame.
is also his widely circulated day-book, which runs as follows :
Set down for the chef ten minas, for the doctor
drachma, for a flatterer talents five,
For counsel smoke, for
A talent, for a philosopher three obols.
He was known as the "Door-opener"--the caller to whom all doors
fly open--from his habit of entering every house and admonishing
those within. Here is another specimen of his composition51
much I have which I have learnt and thought,
lessons taught me by the Muses :
But wealth amassed is prey
And again he says that what he has
gained from philosophy is
A quart of lupins and to care for
This too is quoted as his52
love, or, if not hunger, Time,
Or, failing both these means
of help,--a halter.
He flourished in the 113th Olympiad.53
According to Antisthenes in his Successions
, the first impulse to the Cynic
philosophy was given to him when he saw Telephus in a certain
tragedy carrying a little basket and altogether in a wretched
plight. So he turned his property into money,--for he belonged to a
distinguished family,--and having thus collected about 200 talents,
distributed that sum among his fellow-citizens. And (it is added) so
sturdy a philosopher did he become that he is mentioned by the
comic poet Philemon. At all events the latter says :
summer-time a thick cloak he would wear
To be like Crates,
and in winter rags.
Diocles relates how Diogenes persuaded
Crates to give up his fields to sheep pasture, and throw into the
sea any money he had.
In the home of Crates Alexander is said
to have lodged, as Philip once lived in Hipparchia's. Often, too,
certain of his kinsmen would come to visit him and try to divert him
from his purpose. These he would drive from him with his stick, and
his resolution was unshaken. Demetrius of Magnesia tells a story
that he entrusted a banker with a sum of money on condition that, if
his sons proved ordinary men he was to pay it to them, but, if they
philosophers, then to distribute it among
the people : for his sons would need nothing, if they took to
philosophy. Eratosthenes tells us that by Hipparchia, of whom we
shall presently speak, he had a son born to him named Pasicles, and
after he had ceased to be a cadet on service, Crates took him to a
brothel and told him that was how his father had married.
marriage of intrigue and adultery, he said, belonged to tragedy,
having exile or assassination as its rewards ; while the weddings
of those who take up with courtesans are material for comedy, for as
a result of extravagance and drunkenness they bring about
This man had a brother named Pasicles, who was a
disciple of Euclides.
Favorinus, in the second book of his
, tells a pleasant story of Crates.
For he relates how, when making some request of the master of the
gymnasium, he laid hold on his hips ; and when he demurred, said,
"What, are not these hip-joints yours as much as your knees ?" It
was, he used to say, impossible to find anybody wholly free from
flaws ; but, just as in a pomegranate, one of the seeds is always
going bad. Having exasperated the musician Nicodromus, he was
struck by him on the face. So he stuck a plaster on his forehead
with these words on it, "Nicodromus's handiwork."
He carried on a
regular campaign of invective against the courtesans, habituating
himself to meet their abuse.
When Demetrius of Phalerum sent
him loaves of bread and some wine, he reproached him, saying, "Oh
that the springs yielded bread as well as water!" It is clear, then,
that he was a water-drinker. When
police-inspectors found fault with him for wearing muslin, his
answer was, "I'll show you that Theophrastus also wears muslin."
This they would not believe : so he led them to a barber's shop and
showed them Theophrastus being shaved. At Thebes he was flogged by
the master of the gymnasium--another version being that it was by
Euthycrates and at Corinth ; and being dragged by the heels, he
called out, as if it did not affect him54
Seized by the foot and
dragged o'er heaven's high threshold :
Diocles, however, says
that it was by Menedemus of Eretria that he was thus dragged. For he
being handsome and being thought to be intimate with Asclepiades the
Phliasian, Crates slapped him on the side with a brutal taunt;
whereupon Menedemus, full of indignation, dragged him along, and he
declaimed as above.
Zeno of Citium in his Anecdotes
relates that in a fit of heedlessness he
sewed a sheepskin to his cloak. He was ugly to look at, and when
performing his gymnastic exercises used to be laughed at. He was
accustomed to say, raising his hands, "Take heart, Crates, for it is
for the good of your eyes and of the rest of your body.
You will see
these men, who are laughing at you, tortured before long by disease,
counting you happy, and reproaching themselves for their
sluggishness." He used to say that we should study philosophy to the
point of seeing in generals nothing but donkey-drivers. Those who
live with flatterers he declared to be as defenceless as calves in
the midst of wolves ; for neither these nor those have any to
protect them, but only such as plot against them. Perceiving that he
dying, he would chant over himself this
charm, "You are going, dear hunchback, you are off to the house of
Hades,--bent crooked by old age." For his years had bowed him
When Alexander inquired whether he would like his
native city to be rebuilt, his answer was, "Why should it be ?
Perhaps another Alexander will destroy it again." Ignominy and
Poverty he declared to be his country, which Fortune could never
take captive. He was, he said, a fellow-citizen of Diogenes, who
defied all the plots of envy. Menander alludes to him in the Twin Sisters
in the following lines :
Wearing a cloak you'll go about with me,
As once with
Cynic Crates went his wife :
His daughter too, as he himself
He gave in marriage for a month on trial.
come now to his pupils.
Chapter 6. METROCLES
(c. 300 B.C.)
Metrocles of Maroneia was the brother of
Hipparchia. He had been formerly a pupil of Theophrastus the
Peripatetic, and had been so far corrupted by weakness that, when
he made a breach of good manners in the course of rehearsing a
speech, it drove him to despair, and he shut himself up at home,
intending to starve himself to death. On learning this Crates came
to visit him as he had been asked to do, and after advisedly making
a meal of lupins, he tried to persuade him by argument as well that
he had committed no crime, for a prodigy would have happened if he
had not taken the natural means of relieving
himself. At last by reproducing the action he succeeded in
lifting him from his dejection, using for his consolation the
likeness of the occurrences. From that time forward Metrocles was
his pupil, and became proficient in philosophy.
Hecato in the
first book of his Anecdotes
tells us he burned
his compositions with the words55
Phantoms are these of
dreams o' the world below.
Others say that when he set fire
to his notes of Theophrastus's lectures, he added the line :
Come hither, Hephaestus, Thetis now needeth
He divided things into such as are procurable for
money, like a house, and such as can be procured by time and
trouble, like education. Wealth, he said, is harmful, unless we put
it to a worthy use.
He died of old age, having choked
His disciples were Theombrotus and Cleomenes :
Theombrotus had for his pupil Demetrius of Alexandria, while
Cleomenes instructed Timarchus of Alexandria and Echecles of
Ephesus. Not but what Echecles also heard Theombrotus, whose
lectures were attended by Menedemus, of whom we shall speak
presently. Menippus of Sinope also became renowned amongst
Chapter 7. HIPPARCHIA (c. 300
Hipparchia too, sister of Metrocles, was captured by
their doctrines. Both of them were born at Maroneia.
in love with the discourses and the life of Crates, and would not
pay attention to any of her
wealth, their high birth or their beauty. But to her Crates was
everything. She used even to threaten her parents she would make
away with herself, unless she were given in marriage to him. Crates
therefore was implored by her parents to dissuade the girl, and did
all he could, and at last, failing to persuade her, got up, took off
his clothes before her face and said, "This is the bridegroom, here
are his possessions ; make your choice accordingly ; for you will
be no helpmeet of mine, unless you share my pursuits."
girl chose and, adopting the same dress, went about with her husband
and lived with him in public and went out to dinners with him.
Accordingly she appeared at the banquet given by Lysimachus, and
there put down Theodorus, known as the atheist, by means of the
following sophism. Any action which would not be called wrong if
done by Theodorus, would not be called wrong if done by Hipparchia.
Now Theodorus does no wrong when he strikes himself : therefore
neither does Hipparchia do wrong when she strikes Theodorus. He had
no reply wherewith to meet the argument, but tried to strip her of
her cloak. But Hipparchia showed no sign of alarm or of the
perturbation natural in a woman.
And when he said to her :
"Is this she
Who quitting woof and warp and comb and
she replied, "It is I, Theodorus,--but do you suppose that I
have been ill advised about myself, if instead of wasting further
time upon the loom I spent it in education ?" These tales and
countless others are told of the female philosopher.
current a work of Crates entitled Epistles
containing excellent philosophy in a style which
sometimes resembles that of Plato. He has also written tragedies,
stamped with a very lofty kind of philosophy ; as, for example, the
tower hath my country nor one roof,
But wide as the whole
earth its citadel
And home prepared for us to dwell
He died in old age, and was buried in
Chapter 8. MENIPPUS
also a Cynic, was by descent a Phoenician--a slave, as
Achaïcus in his treatise on Ethics
further informs us that his master was a citizen of Pontus and was
named Baton. But as avarice made him very resolute in begging, he
succeeded in becoming a Theban.
There is no seriousness59
in him ; but his
books overflow with laughter, much the same as those of his
Hermippus says that he lent out money by the day and got a
nickname from doing so. For he used to make loans on bottomry and
take security, thus accumulating a large fortune.
At last, however, he fell a victim to a plot, was robbed of all, and in despair
ended his days by hanging himself. I have composed a trifle upon
May be, you know Menippus,
birth, but a Cretan hound :
A money-lender by the day--so he
At Thebes when once on a time his house was
And he lost his all, not understanding what it is
to be a Cynic,
He hanged himself.
question the genuineness of the books attributed to him, alleging
them to be by Dionysius and Zopyrus of Colophon, who, writing them
for a joke, made them over to Menippus as a person able to dispose
of them advantageously.
There have been six men named
Menippus : the first the man who wrote a History of the Lydians and
abridged Xanthus ; the second my present subject ; the third a
sophist of Stratonicea, a Carian by descent62
; the fourth a sculptor;
the fifth and sixth painters, both mentioned by Apollodorus.
However, the writings of Menippus the Cynic are thirteen in
artificially composed as if by the gods.
Replies to the
physicists and mathematicians and grammarians ; and
about the birth of Epicurus ; and
The School's reverence for
the twentieth day.
Besides other works.
Chapter 9. MENEDEMUS
Menedemus was a pupil of
Colotes of Lampsacus. According to Hippobotus he had attained such
degree of audacity in wonder-working that he
went about in the guise of a Fury, saying that he had come from
Hades to take cognisance of sins committed, and was going to
return and report them to the powers down below. This was his attire
: a grey tunic reaching to the feet, about it a crimson girdle ; an
Arcadian hat on his head with the twelve signs of the zodiac
inwrought in it ; buskins of tragedy ; and he wore a very long beard
and carried an ashen staff in his hand.
Such are the lives of
the several Cynics. But we will go on to append the doctrines which
they held in common--if, that is, we decide that Cynicism is really
a philosophy, and not, as some maintain, just a way of life. They
are content then, like Ariston of Chios, to do away with the
subjects of Logic and Physics and to devote their whole attention to
Ethics. And what some assert of Socrates, Diocles records of
Diogenes, representing him as saying : "We must inquire into
Whate'er of good or ill within our halls is
wrought."Hom. Od. iv.
They also dispense with the ordinary
subjects of instruction. At least Antisthenes used to say that
those who had attained discretion had better not study literature,
lest they should be perverted by alien influences.
So they get rid
of geometry and music and all such studies. Anyhow, when somebody
showed Diogenes a clock, he pronounced it a serviceable instrument
to save one from being late for dinner. Again, to a man who gave a
musical recital before him he said64
By men's minds states are ordered well, and
Not by the lyre's twanged strings or flute's
They hold further that "Life
according to Virtue" is the End to be sought, as Antisthenes says in
: exactly like the Stoics. For
indeed there is a certain close relationship between the two
schools. Hence it has been said that Cynicism is a short cut to
virtue ; and after the same pattern did Zeno of Citium live his
They also hold that we should live frugally, eating
food for nourishment only and wearing a single garment. Wealth and
fame and high birth they despise. Some at all events are vegetarians
and drink cold water only and are content with any kind of shelter
or tubs, like Diogenes, who used to say that it was the privilege of
the gods to need nothing and of god-like men to want but little.
They hold, further, that virtue can be taught, as Antisthenes
maintains in his Heracles
, and when once
acquired cannot be lost ; and that the wise man is worthy to be
loved, impeccable, and a friend to his like ; and that we should
entrust nothing to fortune. Whatever is intermediate between Virtue
and Vice they, in agreement with Ariston of Chios, account
So much, then, for the Cynics. We must now pass
on to the Stoics, whose founder was Zeno, a disciple of