Monday, 22 September 2008

Diogenes the Cynic by Diogenes Laërtius

Once Alexander the Great came and stood by him, and said, "I am Alexander, the great king." "And I," said he, "am Diogenes the dog [cuôn , Cynic]." And when he was asked to what actions of his it was owing that he was called a dog, he said, "Because I fawn upon those who give me anything, and bark at those who give me nothing, and bite the rogues."

Once, while he was sitting in the sun in the Craneum, Alexander was standing by, and said to him, "Ask any favour you choose of me." And he replied, " Cease to shade me from the sun."


Diogenes Laertius: Lives of the Eminent Philosophers
(1925) translated by R. D. Hicks (Loeb Classical Library); Juvenal and Persius (1940) translated by G. G. Ramsay (Loeb Classical Library); J. W. Waterhouse (2002) by Peter Trippi. [Best source in Internet: Perseus]

Diogenes Laërtius, The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, trans. C.D. Yonge (London: George Bell & Sons, 1895) [Public Domain]. Scanned by: John Coker, University of Southern Alabama , jcoker at usouthal dot edu

Friday, 19 September 2008

Diógenes de Sinope

La figura de Diógenes enseguida pasó a ser una leyenda de provocación y la imagen del sabio cínico por excelencia, de aspecto descuidado, burlón y sarcástico.

Desde sus comienzos en Atenas mostró un carácter apasionado, llegando Platón a decir de él, que era un Sócrates que había enloquecido. Pone en práctica de una manera radical las teorías de su maestro Antístenes. Lleva al extremo la libertad de palabra, su dedicación es criticar y denunciar todo aquello que limita al hombre, en particular las instituciones. Propone una nueva valoración frente a la valoración tradicional y se enfrenta constantemente a las normas sociales. Se considera cosmopolita, es decir, ciudadano del mundo, en cualquier parte se encuentra el cínico como en su casa y reconoce esto mismo en los demás, por tanto en mundo es de todos.

La leyenda cuenta que se deshizo de todo lo que no era indispensable, incluso abandonó su escudilla cuando vio que un muchacho bebía agua en el hueco de las manos.

Su muerte, como no podía ser de otra manera, también es motivo de anécdotas. Según algunos murió por su propia voluntad, suicidándose mediante la "contención del aliento", dueño de su destino y del momento de su muerte. Según otros murió de las mordeduras de un perro, esta vez de los de cuatro patas o de una indigestión por comer pulpo crudo.

Fuente: Cínicos. En las fronteras de la filosofía.

A Socrates Gone Mad - Diogenes, the dog.

The people of ancient Greece knew the philosopher Diogenes by many nick names. Plato called Diogenes "a Socrates gone mad". Most often the Greeks called Diogenes "the dog". The Greek word for dog was "cynic". In fact, Diogenes teacher Antisthenes - pupil of Socrates - founded the Greek school of cynicism, and Diogenes was and is the most notorious cynic.

Diogenes became the pupil of Antisthenes and rapidly surpassed his master both in reputation and in the austerity of his life. Unlike the other citizens of Athens, Diogenes avoided earthly pleasures. His attitude was grounded in his great disdain for what he perceived as the folly, vanity, pretence, self-deception, social climbing, and artificiality of much human conduct.

Diogenes said:

"I am Diogenes the Dog. I nuzzle the kind, bark at the greedy and bite scoundrels."

Source: Scott Hughes, Poverty & Hunger Blog.

Hipparchia (fl. 300 BCE)

Hipparchia is notable for being one of the few women philosophers of Ancient Greece. Drawn to the doctrines and the self-imposed hardships of the Cynic lifestyle, Hipparchia lived in poverty with her husband, Crates the Cynic. While no existing writings are directly attributed to Hipparchia, recorded anecdotal accounts emphasize both her direct, Cynic rhetoric and her nonconformity to traditional gendered roles. Entering into marriage is a traditional social role that Cynics would normally reject; yet with her marriage to Crates, Hipparchia raised Greek cultural expectations regarding the role of women in marriage, as well as the Cynic doctrine itself. With her husband, Hipparchia publicly embodied fundamental Cynic principles, specifically that the path toward virtue was the result of rational actors living in accordance with a natural law that eschewed conventional materialism and embraced both self-sufficiency and mental asperity. Written accounts of Hipparchia's life reference in particular both her belief in human shamelessness or anaideia, and her rhetorical acuity at Greek symposiums traditionally attended only by men. Along with Crates, Hipparchia is considered a direct influence on the later school of Stoicism. Source: [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Diogenes, the dog

Diogenes, in Η Φιλοσοφική Σχολή της Αθήνας του Ραφαήλ Σάντσιο ( 5.77 m * 8.14 m ), painted by the 27 year old Raffaelo Sanzio , 1508 - 1511

And I," said he, "am Diogenes the dog." And when he was asked to what actions of his it was owing that he was called a dog, he said, "Because I fawn upon those who give me anything, and bark at those who give me nothing, and bite the rogues." Diogenes Laertios, Life of Diogenes

Diogenes of Sinope (412-323 BC), a cynic philosopher, a student of Antisthenes, who lived in Corinth. His father Icesias was a banker. With his “beggar” cup, lying deep in thought on the steps; this is a finely conceived figure which deserves high praise for its beauty and the appropriate negligence of its clothing. Diogenes is seen alone, set apart: [...] a cynic in his expression, in his bearing, in his attitude. What is he reading? Diogenes, a philosopher, lived in a big barrel, instead of the traditional house. He spent his nights wandering from house to house with a lantern, knocking on peoples' doors to find out if there was "an honest human inside." With his audacious intrusion in peoples' private affairs, he meant to show them that no honest person could be found anywhere in his city. When Alexander the Great went to meet him, he found him sitting in front of his barrel, facing the sun. As a great admirer of Diogenes, Alexander then asked him if there is anything he could give him, which today might be equivalent to being asked whether you would like to win the lottery. Diogenes thought for a while, and then asked politely if the Great King could simply... step aside, because by standing over him with his horse, he was hiding the sun from his face. This answer so impressed Alexander, that he exclaimed that if he were not Alexander, he would have liked to be Diogenes.

Source: Michael Lahanas, The School of Athens.

Cynic Philosophers - Διογένης ὁ Σινωπεύς (Diogenes of Sinope)

Diogenes sculpture, H: 54.6 cm., Roman copy of a Hellenistic original. Villa Albani, Rome.

Diogenes the Cynic, Greek philosopher, was born in Sinope (modern day Sinop, Turkey) about 412 BC (according to other sources 404 BC), and died in 323 BC, at Corinth. Details of his life come in the form of anecdotes (chreia), especially from Diogenes Laërtius, in his book Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers.

Diogenes of Sinope was exiled from his native city and moved to Athens, where he is said to have become a disciple of Antisthenes, the former pupil of Socrates. Diogenes, a beggar who made his home in the streets of Athens, made a virtue of extreme poverty. He is said to have lived in a large tub, rather than a house, and to have walked through the streets carrying a lantern in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man, but unable to find one. He eventually settled in Corinth where he continued to pursue the Cynic ideal of self-sufficiency: a life which was natural and not dependent upon the luxuries of civilization. Believing that virtue was better revealed in action and not theory, his life was a relentless campaign to debunk the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt society.

Source: Wikipedia - Category: Cynic Philosophers

Plato, Symposium (Greek, 1923) - Diotima : Eros´conception.

[203β] μακρότερον μέν, ἔφη, διηγήσασθαι: ὅμως δέ σοι ἐρῶ. ὅτε γὰρ ἐγένετο ἡ Ἀφροδίτη, ἡστιῶντο οἱ θεοὶ οἵ τε ἄλλοι καὶ ὁ τῆς Μήτιδος ὑὸς Πόρος. ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἐδείπνησαν, προσαιτήσουσα οἷον δὴ εὐωχίας οὔσης ἀφίκετο ἡ Πενία, καὶ ἦν περὶ τὰς θύρας. ὁ οὖν Πόρος μεθυσθεὶς τοῦ νέκταρος— οἶνος γὰρ οὔπω ἦν—εἰς τὸν τοῦ Διὸς κῆπον εἰσελθὼν βεβαρημένος ηὗδεν. ἡ οὖν Πενία ἐπιβουλεύουσα διὰ τὴν αὑτῆς ἀπορίαν παιδίον ποιήσασθαι ἐκ τοῦ Πόρου, κατακλίνεταί [203ξ] τε παρ᾽ αὐτῷ καὶ ἐκύησε τὸν ἔρωτα. διὸ δὴ καὶ τῆς Ἀφροδίτης ἀκόλουθος καὶ θεράπων γέγονεν ὁ Ἔρως, γεννηθεὶς ἐν τοῖς ἐκείνης γενεθλίοις, καὶ ἅμα φύσει ἐραστὴς ὢν περὶ τὸ καλὸν καὶ τῆς Ἀφροδίτης καλῆς οὔσης. ἅτε οὖν Πόρου καὶ Πενίας ὑὸς ὢν ὁ Ἔρως ἐν τοιαύτῃ τύχῃ καθέστηκεν. πρῶτον μὲν πένης ἀεί ἐστι, καὶ πολλοῦ δεῖ ἁπαλός τε καὶ καλός, οἷον οἱ πολλοὶ οἴονται, ἀλλὰ σκληρὸς [203δ] καὶ αὐχμηρὸς καὶ ἀνυπόδητος καὶ ἄοικος, χαμαιπετὴς ἀεὶ ὢν καὶ ἄστρωτος, ἐπὶ θύραις καὶ ἐν ὁδοῖς ὑπαίθριος κοιμώμενος, τὴν τῆς μητρὸς φύσιν ἔχων, ἀεὶ ἐνδείᾳ σύνοικος. κατὰ δὲ αὖ τὸν πατέρα ἐπίβουλός ἐστι τοῖς καλοῖς καὶ τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς, ἀνδρεῖος ὢν καὶ ἴτης καὶ σύντονος, θηρευτὴς δεινός, ἀεί τινας πλέκων μηχανάς, καὶ φρονήσεως ἐπιθυμητὴς καὶ πόριμος, φιλοσοφῶν διὰ παντὸς τοῦ βίου, δεινὸς γόης καὶ φαρμακεὺς καὶ σοφιστής: καὶ οὔτε ὡς [203ε] ἀθάνατος πέφυκεν οὔτε ὡς θνητός, ἀλλὰ τοτὲ μὲν τῆς αὐτῆς ἡμέρας θάλλει τε καὶ ζῇ, ὅταν εὐπορήσῃ, τοτὲ δὲ ἀποθνῄσκει, πάλιν δὲ ἀναβιώσκεται διὰ τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς φύσιν, τὸ δὲ ποριζόμενον ἀεὶ ὑπεκρεῖ, ὥστε οὔτε ἀπορεῖ Ἔρως ποτὲ οὔτε πλουτεῖ, σοφίας τε αὖ καὶ ἀμαθίας ἐν μέσῳ ἐστίν.

Plato. Platonis Opera, ed. John Burnet. Oxford University Press. 1903.


Cuando nació Afrodita, los dioses celebraron un banquete y, entre otros, estaba también Poros, el hijo de Metis. Después que terminaron de comer, vino a mendigar Penía, como era de esperar en una ocasión festiva, y estaba cerca de la puerta. Mientras, Poros, embriagado de néctar —pues aún no había vino—, entró en el jardín de Zeus y, entorpecido por la embriaguez, se durmió. Entonces Penía, maquinando, impulsada por su carencia de recursos, hacerse un hijo de Poros, se acuesta a su lado y concibe a Eros. Por esta razón, precisamente, es Eros también acompañante y escudero de Afrodita, al ser engendrado en la fiesta del nacimiento de la diosa y al ser, a la vez, por naturaleza un amante de lo bello, dado que también Afrodita es bella. Siendo hijo, pues, de Poros y Penía, Eros es siempre pobre, y lejos de ser delicado y bello, como cree la mayoría, es, más bien, duro y seco, descalzo y sin casa, duerme siempre en el suelo y descubierto, se acuesta a la intemperie en las puertas y al borde de los caminos, compañero siempre inseparable de la indigencia por tener la naturaleza de su madre. Pero, por otra parte, de acuerdo con la naturaleza de su padre, está al acecho de lo bello y de lo bueno; es valiente, audaz y activo, hábil cazador, siempre urdiendo alguna trama, ávido de sabiduría y rico en recursos, un amante del conocimiento a lo largo de toda su vida, un formidable mago y hechicero ...

Platón, Symposium, 203b - 203e


[203b] When Aphrodite was born, the gods made a great feast, and among the company was Resource the son of Cunning. And when they had banqueted there came Poverty abegging, as well she might in an hour of good cheer, and hung about the door. Now Resource, grown tipsy with nectar—for wine as yet there was none—went into the garden of Zeus, and there, overcome with heaviness, slept. Then Poverty, being of herself so resourceless, devised the scheme of having a child by Resource [203c] and lying down by his side she conceived Love. Hence it is that Love from the beginning has been attendant and minister to Aphrodite, since he was begotten on the day of her birth, and is, moreover, by nature a lover bent on beauty since Aphrodite is beautiful. Now, as the son of Resource and Poverty, Love is in a peculiar case. First, he is ever poor, and far from tender or beautiful as most suppose him: [203d] rather is he hard and parched, shoeless and homeless; on the bare ground always he lies with no bedding, and takes his rest on doorsteps and waysides in the open air; true to his mother's nature, he ever dwells with want. But he takes after his father in scheming for all that is beautiful and good; for he is brave, strenuous and high-strung, a famous hunter, always weaving some stratagem; desirous and competent of wisdom, throughout life ensuing the truth; a master of jugglery, witchcraft, [203e] and artful speech. By birth neither immortal nor mortal, in the selfsame day he is flourishing and alive at the hour when he is abounding in resource; at another he is dying, and then reviving again by force of his father's nature: yet the resources that he gets will ever be ebbing away; so that Love is at no time either resourceless or wealthy, and furthermore, he stands midway betwixt wisdom and ignorance. The position is this: no gods ensue wisdom or desire to be made wise;

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 9 translated by Harold N. Fowler. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1925.

Ἱππαρχία - Hipparchia, the Cynic

Hipparchia was born c. 350 BC in Maroneia, Thrace. Her family came to Athens, where Hipparchia's brother - Metrocles - became a pupil of the Cynic philosopher Crates of Thebes.Hipparchia fell in love with Crates, and developed such a passion for him, that she told her parents that if they refused to allow her to marry him, she would kill herself. They begged Crates to dissuade her, and he stood before her, removed his clothes, and said, "Here is the bridegroom, and this is his property." Hipparchia was quite happy with this; she adopted the Cynic life assuming the same clothes that he wore, and appearing with him in public everywhere. Crates called their marriage "dog-coupling" (cynogamy). We are told that they lived in the stoas and porticoes of Athens, and Apuleius and later Christian writers wrote salacious accounts of them having sex, publicly, in broad daylight.Although this would have been consistent with Cynic shamelessness, (anaideia), the mere fact that Hipparchia adopted male clothes and lived on equal terms with her husband would have been enough to shock Athenian society. Hipparchia had at least two children, a daughter, and a son named Pasicles. It is not known how or when she died. There is an epigram ascribed to Antipater of Sidon, as the sort of thing which may have been written on her tomb:

I, Hipparchia chose not the tasks of rich-robed woman, but the manly life of the Cynic. Brooch-clasped tunics, well-clad shoes, and perfumed headscarves pleased me not; But with wallet and fellow staff, together with coarse cloak and bed of hard ground, My name shall be greater than Atalanta: for wisdom is better than mountain running.

Source: Wikipedia - Article: Hipparchia the Cynic