Diogenes

Diogenes of Sinope (in Greek Διογένης or Diogenes or Sinopeus), also called Diogenes the Cynic, was a Greek philosopher belonging to the Cynic school. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian Black Sea colony, around 412 BC. C. and died in Corinth in 323 a. C. he did not bequeath to posterity any writing; the most complete source that is available about his life is the extensive section that Diogenes Laertius devoted to him in his Lives, Opinions, and Sentences of the Most Illustrious Philosophers.

Diogenes was exiled from his hometown and moved to Athens, where he became a disciple of Antisthenes, the oldest pupil of Socrates. Diogenes lived as a vagabond on the streets of Athens, making a virtue of extreme material poverty. It is said that he lived in a jar, instead of a house, and that by day he walked the streets with a lighted lamp saying that he was "looking for (honest) men". His only belongings were: a mantle, a bag, a staff and a bowl (until one day he saw that a child was drinking the water he was collecting with his hands and he got rid of it). He occasionally went to Corinth where he continued the cynical idea of ​​self-sufficiency: a natural life independent of the luxuries of society. According to him, virtue is the sovereign good. Honors and riches are false goods to be despised. The principle of his philosophy is to renounce the conventional everywhere and oppose his nature to it. The sage should tend to free himself from his desires and minimize his needs.

Diogenes was born in the Ionian colony of Sinope, located on the southern coast of the Black Sea, in 412 BC. C. Nothing is known about his childhood except that he was the son of a banker named Hicesias. Both were exiled for having made counterfeit currency. Diogenes gloried in having been an accomplice of his father, and this event prefigured, in a way, his philosophical life. Apparently, these facts have been corroborated by archaeologists. A large number of counterfeit coins (minted with a large chisel) have been discovered in Sinope, dating from the middle of the 4th century BC. C. and other coins of the time that bear the name of Hicesias as the official who minted them. The reasons why the coin was counterfeited are not clear, although Sinope was being disputed between Prosperous and Pro-Greek factions in the 4th century BC. C., and perhaps there were more political than financial interests.

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