Diogenes was a cynic philosopher from Sinope in Ionia on the Black Sea born in either 404 or 412 BC and he died the same year as Alexander in 323 BC in
. He had settled in that city where he passed his philosophy to Crates of Thebes (365-280 BC), who in turn taught Zeno of Citium in Corinth Cyprus (334-262 BC) who became the founder of . Diogenes’ own writings have not survived and most of his anecdotes have been recorded by Diogenes Laërtius in the third century AD in his “Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers”. Stoic School
Legend has it that Alexander visited Diogenes in
when he was about twenty years old although this cannot be historically confirmed. The story may have been told by Onesicritus, a disciple of Diogenes, who joined Alexander on his eastern campaigns and was retold in an embellished form by Ptolemy from where it could have made its way to the later Alexander Romance. It remains questionable whether there was any ground of truth in the tale. Corinth
The best-known story about Diogenes is that he lived in a large barrel or jar and made a virtue of poverty. In that frame he lived a more than simple life and criticized the fashionable social values and institutions, accusing them of corruption. He was reputed for eating and sleeping whenever he felt like it. He certainly was a highly controversial figure and did not shrink back from embarrassing Plato, sabotaging Socrates’ lectures and even publicly mocking Alexander the Great. Well, this latest statement may not be true and only a legend. But the story goes that when Alexander found Diogenes lying in the sun, he greeted him and asked him what he could do for him. Diogenes answered with his famous words, “Stand out of my sun”. This response made everyone present laugh and Alexander may have picked up the humor, adding “Truly, if I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes”.