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Antisthenes of Athens | Dio Chrysostom, Oration 8.1-4

When Diogenes was exiled from his native Sinope, he came to Athens, looking like the veriest beggar; and there he found a goodly number still of Socrates' companions: to wit, Plato, Aristippus, Aeschylus, Antisthenes, and Eucleides of Megara; but Xenophon was in exile on account of his campaign with Cyrus. Now it was not long before he despised them all save Antisthenes, whom he cultivated, not so much from approval of the man himself as of the words he spoke, which he felt to be alone true and best adapted to whether mankind. For when he contrasted the man Antisthenes with his words, he sometimes made this criticism, that the man himself was much weaker; and so in reproach he would call him a trumpet because he could not hear his own self, no matter how much noise he made. Antisthenes tolerated this banter of his since he greatly admired the man's character; and so, in requital for being called a trumpet, he used to say that Diogenes was like the wasps, the buzz of whose wings is slight but the sting very sharp. Therefore he took delight in the outspokenness of Diogenes, just as horsemen, when they get a horse that is high-strung and yet courageous and willing to work, do not object to the difficult temper of the animal, but dislike and have no use for the lazy and slow. Sometimes, therefore, he used to key Diogenes up, while at other times he tried to relax his tension, just as those who twist strings for musical instruments stretch the strings, taking care, however, not to break them.

After Antisthenes' death he moved to Corinth, since he considered none of the others worth associating with, and there he lived without renting a house or staying with a friend, but camping out in the Craneion.

Source: Dio Chrysostom Volume I-V. Loeb Classical Library. Discourses. Translated by J. W. Cohoon and H. Lamar Crosby. 1940.

antisthenes_of_athens/dio_chrysostom_oration_8.1-4.txt · Last modified: 2014/03/02 14:13 by frank