Wikiquote:Transwiki/Epigrams about Diogenes in the Greek anthology

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Agathias Scholasticus

  • “By what road shall one go to the Land of Love? If you seek him in the streets, you will repent the courtesan's greed for gold and luxury. If you approach a maiden's bed, it must end in lawful wedlock or punishment for seduction. Who would endure to awake reluctant desire for his lawful wife, forced to do a duty? Adulterous intercourse is the worst of all and has no part in love, and unnatural sin should be ranked with it. As for widows, if one of them is ill-conducted, she is anyone's mistress, and knows all the arts of harlotry, while if she is chaste she with difficulty consents, she is pricked by loveless remorse, hates what she has done, and having a remnant of shame shrinks from the union till she is disposed to announce its end. If you associate with your own servant, you must make up your mind to change places and become hers, and if with someone else's, the law which prosecutes for outrage on slaves not one's own will mark you with infamy. All this Diogenes avoided, and with the palm of his hand sang the marriage-hymn, having no need of Lais.[n 1]” — Greek Anthology, v. 302.[1]


  • “O ferryman of the dead, receive the Dog Diogenes, who laid bare the whole pretentiousness[n 2] of life.” — Greek Anthology, vii. 63.[2]

  • “A. "Tell me, dog, who was the man on whose tomb thou standest keeping guard."

B. "The Dog."
A. "But what man was that, the Dog?"
B. "Diogenes."
A. "Of what country?"
B. "Of Sinope."
A. "He who lived in a jar?"
B. "Yes, and now he is dead, the stars are his home."” — Greek Anthology, vii. 64.[2]

  • “Diogenes the Cynic, on his arrival in Hades, after his wise old age was finished, laughed when he saw Croesus. Spreading his cloak on the ground near the king, who once drew great store of gold from the river, he said: "Now, too, I take up more room than you; for all I had I have brought with me, but you, Croesus, have nothing."” — Greek Anthology, ix. 145.[3]


  • “This is the tomb of Diogenes, the wise Dog who of old, with manly spirit, endured a life of self-denial. One wallet he carried with him, one cloak, one staff, the weapons of self-sufficient sobriety. But turn aside from this tomb, all ye fools; for he of Sinope, even in Hades, hates every mean man.” — Greek Anthology, vii. 65.[2]

  • “The wallet laments, and the fine sturdy Heracles club of Sinopian Diogenes and the double coat, foe of the cold clouds, befouled all over with encrusted dirt, lament likewise because they are polluted by thy shoulders. Verily I take Diogenes himself to be the dog of heaven, but thou art the dog that lies in the ashes. Put off, put off the arms that are not thine The work of lions is one thing, and that of bearded goats another.” — Greek Anthology, xi. 158.[4]

Antiphilus of Byzantium


On Diogenes

  • “The wallet and cloak and the barley-dough thickened with water, the staff planted before his feet, and the earthenware cup, are estimated by the wise Dog as sufficient for the needs of life, and even in these there was something superfluous; for, seeing the countryman drinking from the hollow of his hand, he said, "Why, thou earthen cup, did I burden myself with thee to no purpose?"” — Greek Anthology, xvi. 333.[5]

On the Stone

  • “Even bronze is aged by time, but not all the ages, Diogenes, shall destroy thy fame, since thou alone didst show to mortals the rule of self-sufficiency and the easiest path of life.[n 3]” — Greek Anthology, xvi. 334.[5]


  • “O boatman of Hades, conveyor of the dead, delighting in the tears of all, who dost ply the ferry o'er this deep water of Acheron, though thy boat be heavy beneath its load of shades, leave me not behind, Diogenes the Dog. I have with me but a flask, and a staff and a cloak and a wallet, and the obol thy fare. These things that I carry with me now I am dead are all I had when alive, and I left nothing in the daylight.” — Greek Anthology, vii. 68.[2]

Diogenes Laërtius

  • “"Diogenes, tell what fate took you to Hades?"

"A dog's fierce bite."[n 4]” — Greek Anthology, vii. 116.[2]


  • “The staff, and wallet, and thick cloak, were the very light burden of wise Diogenes in life. I bring all to the ferryman, for I left nothing on earth. But you, Cerberus dog, fawn on me, the Dog.” — Greek Anthology, vii. 66.[2]


  • “Mournful minister of Hades, who dost traverse in thy dark boat this water of Acheron, receive me, Diogenes the Dog, even though thy gruesome bark is overloaded with spirits of the dead. My luggage is but a flask, and a wallet, and my old cloak, and the obol that pays the passage of the departed. All that was mine in life I bring with me to Hades, and have left nothing beneath the sun.” — Greek Anthology, vii. 67.[2]


  1. Lais was a famous courtesan. This last line is translated into Latin, not English, in the 1916 Greek Anthology: "Omnia haec effugit Diogenes et palma hymenaeum cantabat, Laide non egens." See Galen, On the Affected Parts, 6, for a fuller version of the story.
  2. Literally "eye-brow" used like the Latin supercilium tor "affectation."
  3. Cf. Diogenes Laërtius, vi. 78
  4. Cf. Diogenes Laërtius, vi. 79


  1. Paton 1916a
  2. a b c d e f g Paton 1916b
  3. Paton 1916c
  4. Paton 1916d
  5. a b Paton 1916e