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Wikiquote:Transwiki/Anecdotes about Diogenes preserved by Cicero

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  • "It was, indeed, a common saying of Diogenes the Cynic that Harpalus,[n 1] who had the reputation in that age of being a successful robber, was a standing witness against the gods, because he lived for so long in that state of good fortune." ---[[Cicero, De Natura Deorum, iii. 34.[1]]]

  • "Diogenes was rougher, though of the same opinion; but in his character of a Cynic he expressed himself in a somewhat harsher manner; he ordered himself to be thrown anywhere without being buried. And when his friends replied, "What! to the birds and beasts?" "By no means," saith he; "place my staff near me, that I may drive them away." "How can you do that," they answer, "for you will not perceive them?" "How am I then injured by being torn by those animals, if I have no sensation?"" ---[[Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, i. 43.[2]]]

  • "But Diogenes took a greater liberty, like a Cynic, when Alexander asked him if he wanted anything: "Just at present," said he, "I wish that you would stand a little out of the line between me and the sun," for Alexander was hindering him from sunning himself. And, indeed, this very man used to maintain how much he surpassed the Persian king in his manner of life and fortune; for that he himself was in want of nothing, while the other never had enough; and that he had no inclination for those pleasures of which the other could never get enough to satisfy himself; and that the other could never obtain his." ---[[Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, v. 32.[3]]]


  1. Often identified with the pirate Scirpalus (Diogenes Laërtius, vi. 74) who captured Diogenes and sold him as a slave. On the other hand, Alexander the Great had a dishonest treasurer called Harpalus, who fled to Athens in 324 BCE, bringing with him an enormous sum to bribe the citizens and obtain the protection of the city. Cf. Plutarch, The Life of Phocion, 21-2; Life of Demosthenes, 25


  1. Brooks 1896
  2. Yonge 1877, p. 55
  3. Yonge 1877, p. 197