The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.


its own sake, and which enfeebled the mind and body ; but he approved of those healthy pleasures which followed or were consequent upon la­bor. The doctrines of the Cynics then did not reject pleasure; they sought pleasure in their own way. The Physicus of Antisthenes con­tained a. theory of the nature of the gods,1 in which he contended for the unity of the Deity, and that man is unable to know him by any sensible representation, since he is unlike any being on earth. He probably held just views of providence, showing the sufficiency of virtue for happiness by the fact that outward events are regulated by God so as to benefit the wise. Such, at least, was the view of his pupil, Diogenes of Sinope, and seems involved in his own statement, that all which belongs to others is truly the property of the wise man.

Antisthenes, after he had established a school of hi& own, never had many disciples, which annoyed him so much that he drove away those who ,did attend his teaching, except Diogenes, who remained with him till his death. His staff, and wallet, and mean clothing were only proofs of his vanity, which Socrates told him he saw through the holes of his tunic. His philosophy was evidently thought worthless by Plato and Aristotle, to the former of who'm he was personally hostile. His school is classed by Ritter among the imperfect Socraticists. After his death, his disciples wandered farther and farther from all scientific objects, and plunged more deeply into fanatical extravagances. Perhaps some of their exaggerated statements have been attributed to their master.

The fragments which remain of his writings have been collected by Winckelmann, Antisthenis Fragmenta, &c., Zurich, 1842, and this small work, with the account of him by Ritter (Gesch. der Philosophic, vii., 4), will supply all the information that can be de­sired.

II. diogenes (Awry&jjs),8 a celebrated member of the Cynic school, was a native of Sinope, in Pontus, and born about B.C. 412. His father was a banker, named Icesias or Icetas, who was convicted of some swindling transaction, in consequence of which Diogenes quitted Sinope and went to Athens. His youth is said to have been spent in dissolute extrava­gance ; but at Athens his attention was arrested by the character of An-tisth'enes, who at first drove him away. Diogenes, however, could not be prevented from attending him even by blows, but told him that he would find no stick hard enough to keep him away. Antisthenes at last relented, and his pupil soon plunged into the most frantic excesses of austerity and moroseness. In summer he used to roll in the hot sand, and in winter to embrace statues covered with snow ; he wore coarse clothing, lived on the plainest food, slept in porticoes or in the street, and finally, according to the common story, took up his residence in a tub be­longing to the Metroum, or temple of the mother of the gods. The truth of this latter tale, however, has been reasonably disputed.3

In spite of his strange eccentricities, Diogenes appears to have been much respected at Athens, and to have been privileged to rebuke anything of which he disapproved. He seems to have ridiculed and despised all

1 Cic., N. D. 2 Smith, Diet. Biogr., s. v. 3 Consult the authorities quoted by Stahr in -Smith's Diet. Biogr., s. v.

About | Preface | Contents | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.