Ancient Greek philosopher, famous for his characteristic life position, the founder of the school of Cynics.
Childhood and early years
Diogenes was born in 412 BC. e. in the Greek colony Sinop on the southern coast of the Black Sea. Information about his early years did not reach us. For certain it is only known that his father, Gitsesius, was a trapezite. Apparently, Diogenes helped his father in banking. In the story, a case is described when a father and son bring trouble upon themselves, being caught in falsifications, or by forging coins. Due to this, Diogenes is expelled from the city. This history is confirmed by archaeological evidence in the form of several counterfeit coins with chased marks found in Sinope and dated to the 4th century. BC. e. There are also other coins of the same period, engraved on them by the name of Gitsesia as a person who put them into circulation. The causes of this incident remain unclear to this day, that in the IV century in Sinope there were clashes between pro-Persian and progressive groups, this action could have political motives. There is another version of this event, according to which Diogenes goes for advice to the oracle of Delph, receiving a prophecy about the “break in the course”, and Diogenes understands that this is not a course of coins, but a change in the political direction. And then he goes to Athens, ready to challenge the existing values and way of life.
According to rumors, the life around him, this is the enviable constancy of his character. Diogenes safely adapts to any weather changes, living in a tub at the Tsibela’s temple. Seeing once a peasant boy who drank from folded hands, the philosopher breaks his one wooden bowl. In Athens, at the time, it was not accepted to eat on market squares, but Diogenes ate persistently, proving that every time he wanted to eat on the market. Another oddity of his behavior was that, in the white day, he always walked with a lighted lamp. When he was asked why he needed a lamp, he answered: “I’m looking for an honest man.” He searched for humanity in people all the time, but more often he came across only scammers and rogues. When Plato, echoing Socrates, called man “an unbearled two-legged animal,” for which all around lavished praise on him, Diogenes brought him a chicken and said: “Look, I brought you a man.” After this incident, Plato revised the definition and added to it the characteristic “with wide flat nails.”
If we believe the testimony of Menippus from Gadara, Diogenes once went on a voyage to the shores of Aegina, during which time he was captured by pirates who sold the philosopher to Corinthian slavery from Crete called Xeniad. When Diogenes was asked about his craft, he replied that he knew no other craft than to instruct people on the true path, and that he wanted to be sold to the one who needed the master himself. The philosopher will spend his entire subsequent life in Corinth, becoming the tutor of the two sons of Xeniaad. He devotes his life entirely to preaching the doctrines of chaste self-control. There is a version according to which he delivered his views to a wide audience, speaking to the public at the Isthmian Games.
Relations with Alexander
Already in Corinth, Diogenes meets with Alexander the Great. According to Plutarch and Diogenes Laertsky, the two exchanged only a few words. One morning, when Diogenes rested, basking in the sun, he was disturbed to introduce the famous philosopher Alexander. When asked if he was so honored, Diogenes replied: “Yes, only you are blocking the sun,” to which Alexander said: “If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes.” There is another story, according to which Alexander found Diogenes contemplating a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained his occupation in this way: “I’m looking for your father’s bones, but I just can not distinguish them from slavish.”
Diogenes died in 323 BC. e. Versions of his death were named many. Someone believes that he died while practicing a delay in breathing, someone believes that he was poisoned by a raw octopus, and some hold the opinion that he died from a bite of a sick dog. When the philosopher was asked how he wanted to be buried, he always replied that he would be thrown behind a city wall so that wild animals feasted over his body. In response, then, whether he himself would be scared of this, he replied: “Not at all if you provide me with a stick.” To all the astonished remarks about how he can use a stick when he has no consciousness, Diogenes said: “Why should I then worry when I still have no consciousness?” Already in a later period of his life Diogenes will laugh at the excessive interest, manifested by people to “proper” treatment of the dead. In memory of him Corinthians erected a column of Paros marble, on which, curled up, a dog sleeps.