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Unformatted text preview: A HISTORY OF CYNICISM Downloaded from Downloaded from A HISTORY OF CYNICISM From Diogenes to the 6th Century A.D. by DONALD R. DUDLEY F,llow of St. John's College, Cambrid1e Htmy Fellow at Yale University firl mll METHUEN & CO. LTD. LONDON 36 Essex Street, Strand, W.C.2 Downloaded from First published in 1937 PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN Downloaded from PREFACE THE research of which this book is the outcome was mainly carried out at St. John's College, Cambridge, Yale University, and Edinburgh University. In the help so generously given to my work I have been no less fortunate than in the scenes in which it was pursued. I am much indebted for criticism and advice to Professor M. Rostovtseff and Professor E. R. Goodonough of Yale, to Professor A. E. Taylor of Edinburgh, to Professor F. M. Cornford of Cambridge, to Professor J. L. Stocks of Liverpool, and to Dr. W. H. Semple of Reading. I should also like to thank the electors of the Henry Fund for enabling me to visit the United States, and the College Council of St. John's for electing me to a Research Fellowship. Finally, to• the unfailing interest, advice and encouragement of Mr. M. P. Charlesworth of St. John's I owe an especial debt which I can hardly hope to repay. These acknowledgements do not exhaust the list of my obligations ; but I hope that other kindnesses have been acknowledged either in the text or privately. D.R. D. CAMBRIDGE March, I937 V Downloaded from Downloaded from CONTENTS CHAP, PAOB INTRODUCTION I II lX ANTISTHENES. NO DIRECT CONNEXION WITH CYNICS. HIS ETHICS DIOGENES AND HIS ASSOCIATES I 17 (a) DIOGENES-IN LITERARY TRADITION-LIFETHOUGHT (b) ONESICRATUS 39 (c) MONIMUS (d) CRATES-LIFE-WRITINGS-CRATES AND HIPPARCIIL\ 40 42 III • CYNICISM IN THE THIRD CENTURY B.C. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) IV BION MENIPPUS CERCIDAS TELES CYNIC EDUCATIONAL THEORY, ETC. CYNICISM AND THE PHILOSOPHICAL SCHOOLS IN THE THIRD CENTURY (a) (b) THE MEGARIANS 95 95 96 ZENO (c) ARISTON (d) HEDONISTS (e) EPICUREANS 106 (f) 107 100 l03 TIMON V CYNIC INFLUENCE ON HELLENISTIC LITERATURE I JO VI CYNICISM IN THE SECOND AND FIRST CENTURIES B.C. 117 VII DEMETRIUS. THE ' PHILOSOPHIC THE FIRST CENTURY A.D. OPPOSITION ' vii Downloaded from IN A HISTORY OF CYNICISM viii PAGa CHAP. VIII CYNICISM IN THE SECOND CENTURY A.D. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) IX GENERAL CHARACTER 1 43 DIO CHRYSOSTOM DEMONAX 148 158 OENOMAUS 162 PEREGRINUS 170 (/) MINOR FIGURES 182 CYNICISM AND THE PIIILOSOPHIC SCHOOLS IN THE FIRST AND SECOND CENTURIES A.D. (a) (b) (c) (d) X 1 43 186 PHILO CYNICS AND STOICS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE FAVORINUS MAXIMUS CYNICISM FROM THE THIRD TO THE SIXTH CENTURIES A.D. (a) (b) (c) (d) JULIAN AND THE CYNICS MAX!MUS ASTERIUS SALLUSTIUS EPILOGUE APPENDICES 215 INDEX 223 Downloaded from INTRODUCTION THE Emperor Julian, speaking of the Cynic philosophy, says that ' it has been practised in all ages . . . it does not need any special study, one need only hearken to the god of Delphi when he enjoins the precepts " know thyself" and " alter the currency "'. In claiming the Delphic god as the founder of Cynicism Julian is guilty of an obvious anachronism ; for Cynicism cannot be shown to antedate Diogenes of Sinope. But from the fourth century B.c. Cynicism endured to the last days of the ancient world ; Cynics were common in the days of Augustine ; they may have been known in the Empire of Byzantium. Long life is not of itself a criterion of worth ; and.it cannot be denied that Cynicism survived when much of immeasurably greater intellectual value perished. To the student of ancient philosophy there is in Cynicism scarcely more than a rudimentary and debased version of the ethics of Socrates, which exaggerates his austerity to a fanatic asceticism, hardens his irony to sardonic laughter at the follies of mankind, and affords no parallel to his genuine love of knowledge. Well might Plato have said of the first and greatest Cynic, ' That man is Socrates gone mad.' But to the student of social history, and of ancient thought as distinct from philosophy, there is much of interest in Cynicism. The Cynics are the most characteristically Greek expression of that view of the World as Vanity Fair, and the consequent rejection of all current values, and the desire to revert to a life based on the minimum of demands. It is a phenomenon to be found at several stages of Western civilization ; at different periods the moving causes have been political or economic injustice, religious enthusiasm, or reaction from an over-developed urban civilization. ' Vanity of Vanities, saith the preacher, all is Vanity '-the author of Ecclesiastes was, like the Cynics, a product of the Hellenistic age, a time when old standards had been discarded, and the individual was left to the mercy of capricious but irresistible IX Downloaded from X A HISTORY OF CYNICISM forces. The Cynics were missionaries, and their message wa~i that life could be lived on any terms the age could impose. It is particularly easy for the modern observer to see only the grotesque aspect of Cynicism, and to miss its real significance. This is partly due to the fact that Cynicism is usually presented to us in histories of Greek philosophy, where it forms an interlude of semi-comic relief between Socrates and Plato, or between Plato and the Stoics. But a most important reason is that the Cynics represented a standard with which we are unfamiliar-that of the minimum. Through long exposure to statistics, we can readily grasp any conception that involves a norm-the cost of living, the real wage of the working man, and so on-but in the modern world no one voluntarily lives, as did the Cynics, at subsistence level. Our civilization admittedly has the disadvantage that it may be completely shattered by war : but in other respects we have far greater security than was known to the Hellenistic world. Slavery, in particular, is so remote from us that it is hard to comprehend how real a terror it was to the Greeks of that period. Yet one has only to consider how powe:ful were the pirates in the Mediterranean until their suppression by Pompeius, to see that any traveller by ship was running a real risk of being captured and sold into slavery. Exile has only recently been the lot of thousands of citizens of European States ; in the Hellenistic world it existed not only as a common form of punishment, but also as one of the normal risks attendant on a high position in politics. Again, during this period several cities were completely destroyed, as Thebes by Alexander, Lebedos and Kolophon by Lysimachus, and most notable of all such catastrophes in the Greek world, Corinth by the Romans. Conditions in the Roman Empire bore a sufficiently close resemblance to those of the Hellenistic age that the Cynic mission was again in demand. Exile, slavery, loss of home and possessions, are the frequent burthen of the Cynic diatribe ; if their thought on these subjects seems commonplace, it should not be forgotten that they were dealing with what their audience felt as very real terrors, and that they were performing a valuable service in showing that even these could be surmounted. The present account tells the history of Cynicism from Downloaded from INTRODUCTION xi 'P.e time of Diogenes to the last years of the Roman Empire in the West. No continuous account is available of later date than that of Zeller, since when a good deal of new material has accumulated, both from the discovery of papyri and in the normal course of research. I have tried to embody the lessons of this new material in my narrative ; which, however, claims to be rather more than a cento of the conclusions of other scholars. Its central theme is that the traditional view of Cynicism as a minor Socratic school, founded by Antisthenes, must be abandoned. Antisthenes had no direct contact with the Cynics, who never formed a school of philosophy at all, being intolerant of organization and impatient of theory. I have argued that the traditional view has been established by two interested parties--Alexandrian writers of Successions of Philosophers and the Stoics. The former wished to trace all philosophical genealogies back to Socrates wherever possible; the latter, desirous of showing themselves as the true heirs of Socrates, made great play with the connexion of their founder Zeno with the Cynic Crates, and turned Diogenes into•a Stoic saint. The sympathy for Cynicism which always marked the more austere wing of the Stoics was based on genuine affinities, and indeed Cynicism did preserve a recognizable version of the Socratic ethics in action. But the ' succession ' Socrates-Diogenes-Crates-Zeno is a fabrication. Another current view of Cynicism which may be misleading is that which describes it as ' the philosophy of the proletariat '. To the modern reader such a phrase suggests an attempt to replace the existing social order by a new system. But with the exception of Cercidas and the reform party at Megalopolis, and possibly the Cynics of Alexandria in the second century A.D., we shall not find Cynicism involving any kind of political action on behalf of social reform. The Cynic ' anarchy ' never became so practical as to organize the murder of tyrants, and their invective against wealth was as much for the spiritual benefit of the rich as for the material betterment of the poor. Indeed, by preaching that poverty and slavery are no bar to happiness, the Cynics implied that a social revolution would be superfluous. The conclusion of this study is that Cynicism was really a phenomenon which presented itself in three not inseparable aspects-a vagrant ascetic life, an assault on all established Downloaded from Xll A HISTORY OF CYNICISM values, and a body of literary genres particularly well adapttJ.l to satire and popular philosophical propaganda. The third aspect is the one to which scholars have hitherto devoted most attention ; ~nd the researches of Gerhard, Geffcken, Wendland, and others have shown how important and fertile was its influence on Hellenistic and Roman literature. It is here touched on only in passing, for my object has been rather to give an account of individual Cynics, and to show them at work in that role which they variously symbolized as the Scout of God, the Schoolmaster, the Doctor of Mankind. Downloaded from A HISTORY OF CYNICISM Downloaded from Downloaded from CHAPTER I ANTISTHENES. NO DIRECT CONNEXION WITH CYNICS. HIS ETHICS THE orthodox account of Cynicism regards Antisthenes as the founder of the sect. This is due to the influence of Diogenes Laertius, who says that Antisthenes ' learned his hardihood from Socrates, and inaugurated the Cynic way of life '. 1 His pupil was Diogenes of Sinope, Crates was a pupil of Diogenes. Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, was a pupil of Crates. There is thus an apostolic succession from Socrates to the Stoics. But the validity of the tradition which makes Antisthenes the founder of Cynicism has been questioned in both ancient and modern times. 2 This is hardly surprising, for a comparison between Antisthenes and the generally accepted picture of his ' pupil and successor ' Diogenes shows more points of divergence than of similarity. Both were ascetics : both stressed the opposition of n6vo~ and r1bon1 : both used Heracles as an example of :n:6vo~. But the resemblance hardly goes further. We know from the unquestionable authority of Aristotle 3 that Antisthenes and his pupils were deeply interested in the problems of neo-Eleatic logic ; Diogenes designated the Megarians, the inheritors of that logic, as ' bilious '. 4 Antisthenes had a liking for Homeric interpretations ; Diogenes remarked that ' it was surprising that grammarians should investigate the ills of Odysseus, yet be completely ignorant of their own '. 5 Antisthenes wrote treatises on rhetorical subjects ; Diogenes ' despised rhetoricians who made a great fuss about justice in their speeches, but never practised it '. 6 Poor and ascetic Antisthenes certainly was ; but it was in the manner of a companion of Socrates. He possessed a house and small piece of property, 7 used a bed 2 See Chap. 2, App. A. vi. 2. a Top., 104, B. 21 ; Met., 1024b, 32, and 1043b, 24. 'D.L., vi. 24. 6 id., ib. 27. 0 id., ib. 28. 7 Xen., Symp. 38. 1 2 I Downloaded from A HISTORY OF CYNICISM 2 and furniture, would accompany Socrates to the banquets clf the wealthiest men in Athens. Diogenes lived in the open air, or in his tub ; the staples of his diet were dried figs and water. Antisthenes frequented the lectures of the Sophists, and derived his living from teaching ; Diogenes ' poured scorn on all his contemporaries ', 1 and lived the life of a beggar. Again, Alcibiades was reproved by Antisthenes for the crime of incest ; the d.vau5eia of Diogenes abolished all such barriers. These are striking differences and are recognized as such by ancient upholders of the ' Cynic succession ' from Antisthenes to Diogenes. To minimize them, they adduce stories which try to show that Diogenes reproved Antisthenes for not practising what he preached; thus he is made to ' liken Antisthenes to a brazen trumpet, which gave forth a gre3!: noise but was unable to hear itself '. 2 So in modern times Gomperz, though accepting the ' succession ', regards Diogene:\ as 'the founder of a practical Cynicism'. But a priori .the traditional view seems unlikely, and one is not dispo~ed to accept it unless well supported by early evidence. \ Such ev1Jence, however, is significantly lacking. Aristotle refers to th'.e pupils of Antisthenes as 'AvnaOevewt, not as xvvtx6t, anc;ii h~ further. implies that they were mai?ly interested iiy logical studies. The only fragments which we possess of- Cynic writers contemporary with Diogenes are those of/ Crates and Onesicratus of Astypalaea. None of these rnentions Antisthenes. Crates claimed Llwybov; elvat noJ..f-r'Y/~,: 3 Onesicratus, asked by the Indian Gymnosophist wheth1cr any of the Greeks had led an ascetic life, replied, ' Yes,, Pythagoras and Socrates and Diogenes, and I was a pUTpil of his.' 4 Middle Comedy has no reference to Antisthenes ; for examples of notorious poverty and asceticism it makes use of a sect of Pythagoreans. In point of fact it is most unlikely that Diogenes and Antisthenes can have been contemporaries at Athens. The researches of Seltman 5 on the coinage of Sinope suggest that Diogenes in all probability D.L., vi. 24. Dio Chrys., viii, p. 275 ; Stobaeus, Flor., xiii. 19. 3 D.L., vi. 93. 4 Apud Strabo., xvi. 83-4. 6 A fuller account of Mr. Seltman's researches is given below in connexion with the chronology of Diogenes. 1 8 Downloaded from ANTISTHENES 3 came to Athens later than 340 B.c., Antisthenes died soon after 366. 1 A story which probably derives from Theophrastus,2 and hence may represent a contemporary account, shows Diogenes himself claiming to have been converted to philosophy, not by the teachings of Antisthenes, but by the practical example of a mouse ; and which further suggests that when he arrived at Athens he was already a devotee of the ascetic life. It is only in the later writers, Epictetus, Dio Chrysostom, Aelian, Stobaeus, Diogenes Laertius, and Suidas, that we hear of a connexion between Antisthenes and Diogenes ; and it is significant that they do not name any other pupils of Antisthenes apart from Diogenes, and that their stories about the relations between the two emphasize Antisthenes' surliness to pupils and Diogenes' dissatisfaction with his practical example. The tradition of a connexion seems to have arisen some time between Onesicratus and Epictetus ; the problem is to suggest among whom, and when, it may have made its appearance. Ancient literary fabrications are usually most readily discovered by the formula cui bona ? ; so hhe, who would stand to gain if Diogenes were portrayed as the pupil of Antisthenes ? The answer is partly suggested by an anecdote which appears in Diogenes Laertius' life of Zeno. 3 Coming to Athens after his shipwreck, says this account, Zeno one day sat down in a bookseller's shop. Now the bookseller was reading aloud the second book of Xenophon's Memorabilia, which so delighted Zeno that he asked where such men as Socrates might be found. Very opportunely, Crates passed by, and the bookseller said, ' Follow that man.' From that day on, Zeno became Crates' pupil. . . . The Stoics recognized the merits of Cynicism, ' the wise man will play the Cynic, for Cynicism is a short cut to virtue, as Apollodorus says in his Ethics '. 4 They 1 The birth of Antisthenes is usually placed c. 443, to fit the tradition that he fought at 'Tanagra' (? Delium, 423). Xenophon's Symposium, the dramatic date of which is 421, shows him as a youngish man, but already an intimate companion of Socrates. But there is guarantee of Xenophon's chronological good faith on the point. Diodorus Siculus (xv. 76) speaks of Antisthenes as being alive in 366, and Plutarch (Lye., 30) quotes a remark of his on the battle of Leuctra. We know that Diogenes was well known in Athens, c. 330. 3 id., vii. 2. 2 D.L., vi. 22. ' id., ib. 121. Downloaded from A HISTORY OF CYNICISM 4 probably regarded Cynicism as representing in its purest form the ethical tradition of Socrates, and would be particularly anxious to show that they themselves were the direct inheritors of that tradition. Hence was constructed the ' succession ' Socrates-Antisthenes-Diogenes-Crates-Zeno: and hence Epictetus can use Socrates, Antisthenes, and Diogenes as good divinity for Stoic moral beliefs. 1 The Stoics would be aided and abetted by another body of interested persons, the Alexandrian writers of Successions of the Philosophers. 2 Their schemata treated Socrates as of great importance, indeed as the virtual turning point of Greek philosophy. Any sect that professed <piJ..oao<pta must trace back its pedigree to Socrates ; how pedigrees came to be invented is clearly seen when we consider how Hedonists of the third century were linked up to Socrates via Aristippus. From the diagram in Appendix C we see how in the ' successions ' adopted by Diogenes Laertius he is the nodal point of the ' Ionian ' philosophy. The succession from Socrates via the Cynics to the Stoics seems to have been established by Sotion of Alexandria (c. 200-170 n.c.), the most voluminous and influential of these writers. He was probably followed in this by Heracleides of Lembos, and Antisthenes and Sosicrates of Rhodes. This succession had become orthodoxy by the end of the Alexandrian period, and was apparently followed by such first-century and later authors as Diodes, Pamphila, and Favorinus. True there were dissenters (e.g. Hippobotus did not regard the Cynics as one of the ' ten ethical schools ') ; but in Diogenes Laertius we have preserved the Schemata of the Alexandrian writers of omooxai (Successions). He prefers, he says, to regard Cynicism as a school of philosophy. It is a IJ.igeau;, on a par with Stoicism, with which it has uoivwvia. 3 Antisthenes learnt uag-rcgta (endurance) from Socrates, and 'was the first founder of Cynicism '. 4 He it was who gave the impulse to the indifference of Diogenes, the continence of Crates, and the hardihood of Zeno, himself laying the foundations of their code '. 5 Both Cynics and Stoics are thus an' 'Avua0ivov~, though this is elsewhere amended to ' the more manly sect of Stoics ' (11 avogwoea-ra-r17 E-rwixfJ). 6 1 :i ~ So Epict., i. xvii. 12, also iii. xxiv. 51. Cf. Hicks, Diog. Laert. (Loeb series), Introd., p. xxiv. 0 id., ib. 14. 5 id., ib. 15. D.L., vi. 104. 'id., ib. 2. Downloaded from ANTISTHENES 5 ' Some persons think that the Cynic school derives its name from the Cynosarges, and Antisthenes was himself called 'AnAoxvwv' 1 (or 'Avwxvwv). But Diogenes Laertius fails to give any anecdote or apophthegm in which Antisthenes figures as a xvwv ; and we recall that Aristotle refers to his pupils as 'Avna0evbot. The supposed ' hostile ' references in Plato and...
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