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Greek Cynics Books Display

Greek Cynics Books Display

Painting of Alexander the Great and Diogenes

Alexander the Great and Diogenes by Nicolas Andre Monsiau (1754– 1837)

December’s display at the Circulation Desk features books about the famous scoffing, suspicious, mistrusting, incredulous,and doubting Greek Cynics and their lifestyle. Stop by and learn more about ancient Cynicism and what information the library has on this topic.

Access Services student Will Bates writes:

If the President of the United States walked up to any one of us, we would probably have a few choice words to say to this individual. However, when Diogenes was confronted by Alexander the Great, his words were “Please stand out of my sunlight.” 

Cynicism is the ancient Greek philosophy that relies on virtue and living a life in accordance with nature. The three famous cynics: Diogenes of Sinope, Crates of Thebes and Antisthenes were all men who tossed aside their worldly possessions in order to live frugally. 

Being some of the funniest philosophers from history, the cynics were known for being thrown out of towns and spending a bit too much time under the bottle and occasionally urinating on others in search of the answers to life’s biggest questions. Their philosophy is a mixed bag of distaste for excess and an indifference to “normal problems” matched by no one. 

I am a big fan of these guys because they only used what they needed, and never wanted for anything. Diogenes was my personal favorite because he lived his life in a giant pot which he wheeled from place to place. Oh, what it would be to live life from a pot.  

Diogenes, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904)

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