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Menippus of Gadara | Diogenes Laertius, Book 6 §99-101

99. Menippus, also a Cynic, was by descent a Phoenician – a slave, as Achacus in his treatise on Ethics says. Diocles further informs us that his master was a citizen of Pontus and was named Baton. But as avarice made him very resolute in begging, he succeeded in becoming a Theban.

There is no seriousness in him; but his books overflow with laughter, much the same as those of his contemporary Meleager.

Hermippus says that he lent out money by the day and got a nickname from doing so. For he used to make loans on bottomry and take security, thus accumulating a large fortune. 100. At last, however, he fell a victim to a plot, was robbed of all, and in despair ended his days by hanging himself. I have composed a trifle upon him:

May be, you know Menippus, Phoenician by birth, but a Cretan hound: A money-lender by the day – so he was called – At Thebes when once on a time his house was broken into And he lost his all, not understanding what it is to be a Cynic, He hanged himself.

Some authorities question the genuineness of the books attributed to him, alleging them to be by Dionysius and Zopyrus of Colophon, who, writing them for a joke, made them over to Menippus as a person able to dispose of them advantageously.

101. There have been six men named Menippus: the first the man who wrote a History of the Lydians and abridged Xanthus; the second my present subject; the third a sophist of Stratonicea, a Carian by descent;[62] the fourth a sculptor; the fifth and sixth painters, both mentioned by Apollodorus.

However, the writings of Menippus the Cynic are thirteen in number:

Necromancy. Wills. Epistles artificially composed as if by the gods. Replies to the physicists and mathematicians and grammarians; and A book about the birth of Epicurus; and The School's reverence for the twentieth day.

Besides other works.

menippus_of_gadara/diogenes_laertius_book_6_99-101.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:20 (external edit)