Diogenes Of Sinope

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Sinop, Turkey
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Sinop, Turkey

Diogenes was a great Greek philosopher and one of the founding fathers of Sinope’s Cynic philosophy. He was also known as “Diogenes of Sinope” or “Diogenes.” Antisthenes had only one pupil, and he was the only one. As an alleged pupil of Antisthenes, he upheld his teacher’s austerity and stress on ethics, but he did so with a vitality and sense of humor unmatched in the history of philosophy. He was one of the few guys alive who publicly mocked “Alexander the Great.” At one point, he skilfully embarrassed Plato and viewed Antisthenes as Socrates’ actual beneficiary. Diogenes taught Crates his Cynicism philosophy, which he then passed on to Zeno of Citium, who passed it on to the Stoic school, which was one of the most enduring Greek philosophy schools. He has been surrounded by the controversy his entire life.
Diogenes was expelled from his homeland for tampering with the currency. He then relocated to Athens, where he battled to make ends meet. Despite his poverty and lack of wealth, Diogenes was well-known for his proactive conduct and intellectual antics. He was frequently engaged in a debate with Plato. After was captured by pirates and sold into slavery, he eventually settled in Corinth. Diogenes was a devoted follower of Hercules. Diogenes’ entire life was a zealous quest to undermine the social values and structures of what he saw as a corrupt society. Diogenes believed that virtue was better demonstrated in conduct than in theory. All of his publications have been lost to time, but tales about his life have survived, specifically from Diogenes Lartius’ book “Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers.”

Table of Contents

Childhood and Adolescence of Diogenes

Diogenes was born in the Greek colony of Sinope on the Black Sea’s south coast in 412 BC. There is no information about his early life other than the fact that his father’s name was Hicesias and that he worked as a banker.

Diogenes appears to have been involved in the banking industry with his father. Diogenes and his father were once implicated in a monetary defacement or adulteration controversy, which landed them in hot water.

Diogenes was expelled from the city as a result. This portion of the story is supported by archaeological evidence, which includes many defaced coins dating to the middle of the 4th century BC unearthed at Sinope, as well as other coins from the same time period bearing the name of Hicesias as the official who minted them.

The cause for this deed is still unknown, while Sinope had seen confrontations between pro-Persian and pro-Greek factions in the 4th century, and there could be some political motivations behind it.

Another version of this story claims that Diogenes went to the Oracle at Delphi for counsel and was told to “deface the currency,” but Diogenes realized that the oracle was referring to the political currency rather than the coins themselves.

He then traveled to Athens with the intention of challenging the existing customs and values.
Athens is the capital of Greece.

Diogenes’ motivation after arriving in Athens became to metaphorically abolish the “coinage” of custom. His life’s principal goal became the destruction of established customs and values.

People relied on traditional interpretations rather than worrying about the true nature of evil. In ancient Greece, the contrast between nature and habit remained a popular issue among Greek thinkers.

Diogenes is reported to have arrived at Athens with a slave named ‘Manes,’ who afterward abandoned him. “If Manes can live without Diogenes, why can’t Diogenes live without Manes?” Diogenes said, with a trademark sense of humor.

Diogenes continued to mock such massive dependent relationships. Antisthenes, a student of Socrates, enchanted him with his ascetic teachings. In addition, despite the hostility he encountered at first, Diogenes became Antisthenes’ disciple.

It’s uncertain whether the two ever met, but he quickly eclipsed Antisthenes in terms of renown as well as austerity in life. He saw his escape from worldly pleasures as a contrast to and explanation for current Athenian behavior.

This attitude sprang from his disdain for what he perceived as human behavior’s stupidity, pretense, vanity, self-deception, and artificiality.

According to the accounts told, there is a hint of his character’s logical regularity. By dwelling in a tub held by the temple of Cybele, he was able to adapt to the changes in the weather.

After seeing a peasant youngster drinking from the hollow of his hands, he smashed down his single wooden bowl. It was also against Athenian conventions to eat in the marketplace; but, Diogenes would eat nonetheless, explaining to those who chastised him that he was hungry in the marketplace.

Diogenes also did unusual things like walking around with a lantern in broad daylight. “I am just looking for an honest man,” he used to say when asked what he was doing.

He was continually on the lookout for a human creature, but all he found were rascals and scoundrels.

When Plato proposed Socrates’ definition of man as “featherless bipeds” and was praised for it, Diogenes drew a chicken and carried it into Plato’s Academy, proclaiming, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man!” The definition was updated after Diogenes’ act, and “with broad flat nails” was added to the definition.

Diogenes was on a voyage to Aegina when he was kidnapped by pirates, according to a narrative told in Corinth by Menippus of Gadara. He was later sold into slavery in Crete to a Corinthian named “Xeniades.”

When asked about his trade, Diogenes said he understood nothing about it except that of ruling men and that he wanted to be sold to a guy who needed a master.

Diogenes thereafter spent the rest of his life in Corinth as a tutor to Xeniades’ two boys. He devoted his entire life to promoting the doctrines of moral self-control. Some even claim that he lectured a big group of people during the Isthmian Games.

Alexander and His Relationship

Diogenes encountered Alexander the Great in Corinth itself. Plutarch and Diogenes Lartius’ stories show that they merely exchanged a few words. Diogenes was lying in the sun one morning when he became energized after seeing Alexander, the popular philosopher.

“Yes, step out of my sunlight,” Diogenes said when asked if he needed anything. “If I were not Alexander, I would aspire to be Diogenes,” Alexander declared.

In another narrative, Alexander observed Diogenes concentrating intensely on a mound of human bones. “I’m looking for your father’s bones but can’t tell them apart from those of a slave,” Diogenes explained.


In 323 BC, Diogenes died. Diogenes is said to have died according to a number of sources. He is claimed to have held his breath or become unwell after eating raw octopus or being bitten by an infectious dog, among other things.

When asked how he wanted to be buried, Diogenes said he wanted his body placed outside the city wall so that wild animal may feast on it.

When asked if he didn’t mind, he said, “Not at all, as long as you give me a stick to chase away the monsters!” People were startled and asked how he could use the stick when he didn’t have awareness.

He responded, “If I don’t have awareness, why should I care what happens to me after I die?” Later on, Diogenes mocked people’s overabundance of concern for the “correct” treatment of the deceased.

The Corinthians erected a pillar in his honor, atop which sat a Parian marble dog.

Estimated Net worth

In 2022, Diogenes of Sinope’s net worth is expected to be in the amount of $1000.