Table of contents:

Who really was Diogenes - a crook or a philosopher and whether he lived in a barrel
Who really was Diogenes - a crook or a philosopher and whether he lived in a barrel
J.L. Jerome. Diogenes

A philosopher who lived in a barrel and was distinguished by a cynical attitude towards others - this is the reputation of Diogenes, which he gladly supported. Shocking or loyalty to the dogmas of their own teaching - what was the nature of this ancient Greek sage striving for?

Swindler or Cynic Philosopher?

Diogenes. Image of the 17th century

In any case, there is no doubt that Diogenes existed in reality; he was born, apparently, in 412 in the city of Sinope, in the family of the money-changer Hykesias. Apparently, Diogenes and his father were involved in some kind of scandal with falsification of coins or other financial fraud. As a result, the future philosopher was expelled from the city. For some time, Diogenes was looking for a vocation in life, until at a certain point he met Antisthenes, a philosopher who would become a teacher and a role model for Diogenes. These two names have gone down in history as the founders of cynism, a teaching based in part on the philosophy of Socrates.

Antisthenes, teacher of Diogenes

Antisthenes, a disciple of Socrates, and after him, Diogenes preached a simplification of life up to asceticism, calling to get rid of everything superfluous and useless. Philosophers not only avoided luxury - they reduced the number of things they owned to just a few: a cloak that they wore in any weather; a staff that could be used while walking and to protect against attack; the bag in which the alms were put. The image of the scientist-philosopher, with a beard, a bag, a staff and a cloak, used in art for many centuries, was originally brought to life by Antisthenes and Diogenes. They are also considered the first cosmopolitan citizens of the world.

J. Bastien-Lepage. Diogenes

In addition to asceticism, the cynics proclaimed a refusal to follow dogmas - including religious and cultural ones, striving for autarky - a completely independent existence.

Antisthenes preached his teachings on the Athenian hill of Kinosarge, perhaps hence the name of this school of philosophy - kinism. According to another version, "cynics" took their name from the Greek "kion" - a dog: the philosophers took the habits of this particular animal as an example of a correct life: one should turn to nature and simplicity, despise conventions, defend oneself and one's way of life.

Marginal or ascetic?

J.W. Waterhouse. Diogenes

Diogenes really arranged his dwelling in a vessel - but not in a barrel in the usual sense of the word, but in a large, human-sized amphora - pithos. Pythos was widely used by the Greeks to store wine, olive oil, grain, and salted fish. Diogenes chose the main square of Athens, the agora, as his place of residence, becoming a kind of landmark of the city. He used to eat in public - which was considered indecent in ancient Greek society, and the philosopher violated other norms of behavior willingly and with pleasure from the effect produced. The deliberate desire for marginal behavior has created a kind of reputation for Diogenes for millennia, and in modern psychiatry, Diogenes syndrome occurs - a disease associated, among other things, with an extremely disdainful attitude towards oneself and a lack of shame.

M. Preti. Plato and Diogenes

Short stories from the life of Diogenes are contained in the books of his namesake, Diogenes Laertius, and this is almost the only source of information about the philosopher. So, according to these stories-anecdotes, the cynic liked to light a candle-lantern in broad daylight and go wandering around the city in search of a Man and, as a rule, did not find him. The description of man given by Plato - "a creature with two legs without feathers" - Diogenes ridiculed, showing a plucked rooster, "a man according to Plato." Plato did not remain in debt, calling Diogenes "Socrates, out of his mind."

J. Jordaens. Diogenes with a lantern

In his striving for minimalism, the philosopher was constantly improving, and, having once seen how a boy was drinking water, scooped up a handful of it, threw his cup out of his bag. And another boy, the one who ate a stew of eaten loaf of bread, prompted Diogenes to get rid of the bowl.

A slave or a free man?

According to the stories that have survived about Diogenes, he happened to be a slave to a certain Xeniad for some time, who, according to various versions, either freed the philosopher immediately, paying for his mentorship in relation to his two sons, or left him to live in his house as a family member.

I.F. Tupylev. Alexander the Great before Diogenes

Obviously, most of Diogenes's life was spent in Athens, but there is evidence of his life in Corinth, where Xenias came from - life in a "barrel", from which Diogenes did not think to give up. When the commander Alexander the Great visited the philosopher, he ordered to move away - "". By the way, according to Laertius, Diogenes and Alexander died on the same day - this was June 10, 323 BC. According to some reports, the philosopher, before his death, ordered to bury him face down.

Monument to Diogenes in his hometown of Sinop

Diogenes in the full sense of the word is the classic incarnation of the cynic. Such a bright personality could not but inspire contemporaries and descendants to create works of art. Even the occasional mention of the name of the Cynic philosopher, such as the club "Diogenes" in Doyle's stories about Sherlock Holmes, gives the narrative an intriguing twist.

Popular by topic