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Phocion the Good

Diogenes Laertius, Book 6 §76

When, thirdly, the father himself arrived, he was just as much attracted to the pursuit of philosophy as his sons and joined the circle – so magical was the spell which the discourses of Diogenes exerted. Amongst his hearers was Phocion surnamed the Honest, and Stilpo the Megarian, and many other men prominent in political life.

Suda, Phi 362

Of Aigina [Myth, Place]. He came to Athens on a sightseeing trip but heard Diogenes [lecturing] and became a philosopher. His father sent his brother out after him, who himself had the same experience; and when their father returned to look for the pair of them, he also became a philosopher. Another associate of his was Phokion the Good. After his death [Diogenes] was buried in Corinth, and there is a dog on his gravestone. And he was honoured in Sinope with a statue and an epigram [which read]: “time makes even gold grow old; but your renown, Diogenes, not all eternity will destroy. For you alone showed mortals the glory of a self-sufficient life and the easiest path of existence.”

Aelian, Varia Historia I.25

CHAP. XXV. Of Alexander's magnificence to Phocion, and his to Alexander. Alexander the son of Philip, (or, if any one likes it better, of Jupiter, for to me it is all one) to Phocion the Athenian Captain onely began his letters with the usual form of salutation, Hail, so much had Phocion won upon the Macedonian. He also sent him a hundred Talents of silver, and named four Cities, of which he might chuse any one to receive the revenues and profits thereof for his own use.
These Cities were Cius, Ebæa, Mylasa, Patara: thus did Alexander liberally and magnificently. But Phocion farre more, who accepted neither the City nor the Silver ; yet that he might not seem to dis-esteem and contemn the offers of Alexander, he expressed his respect to him thus : He requested that they who were kept Prisoners in the Tower of Sardis might be set at liberty ; Echecratides the Sophist, Athenodorus of Himera, Demaratus and Sparto: these two were brethren and Rhodians.

Aelian, Varia Historia II.16

CHAP. XVI. Of Phocion. I esteem this action of Phocion (the son of Phocus) commendable also. Coming before a publick Assembly of Athenians, after he had reproved them for some ingratitude, he said, both wisely and sharply, “I had rather receive ill from you, then doe ill to you.”

Aelian, Varia Historia XII.49

Chap. XLIX. That Phocion forgave Injuries. Phocion, Son of Phocus, who had been often General, was condemned to die ; and being in Prison ready to drink Hemlock, when the Executioner gave him the Cup, his Kinsmen asked him if he would say any thing to his Son. He answered, “I charge him that he bear no ill will to the Athenians for this Cup which I now drink.” He who does not extol and admire the man, is, in my judgement, of little understanding.

Aelian, Varia Historia XIII.41

Chap. XLI. Of Phocion. They who are to die with Phocion making lamentation ; Phocion said, “Then you are not proud, ô Thudippus, of dying with Phocion.”

Aelian, Varia Historia XIV.10

Chap. X. How Phocion retorted upon Demades. The Athenians preferred Demades to be their General before Phocion ; who being thus advanced grew high in his own esteem, and coming to Phocion, “Lend me, said he, that sordid Cloak which you used to wear in your Generalship.” He answered, “You will never want any thing that is sordid, whilest you continue what you are.”5

Dio Chrysostom, Oration 73.7

And take the case of Phocion of a later period, who lived to be more than eighty years of age, and who for most of these years had served as general, had preserved the state in its moments of direst need, and had been dubbed excellent by those very Athenians — this man they were not content merely to put to death, nay, they would not even permit his corpse to rest in Attic soil, but cast it forth beyond their borders.

Marcus Aurelius, Book 11.13

13. Suppose any man shall despise me. Let him look to that himself. But I will look to this, that I be not discovered doing or saying anything deserving of contempt. Shall any man hate me? Let him look to it. But I will be mild and benevolent towards every man, and ready to show even him his mistake, not reproachfully, nor yet as making a display of my endurance, but nobly and honestly, like the great Phocion, unless indeed he only assumed it. For the interior [parts] ought to be such, and a man ought to be seen by the gods neither dissatisfied with anything nor complaining. For what evil is it to thee, if thou art now doing what is agreeable to thy own nature, and art satisfied with that which at this moment is suitable to the nature of the universe, since thou art a human being placed at thy post in order that what is for the common advantage may be done in some way?

cynics/phocion_the_good.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:19 (external edit)