CERP: Day 28 – Diogenes Ep. 32


XXXII. To Aristippus, greetings (p. 137)
So here, Ps-Diogenes is responding to several criticisms about the lifestyle of his school of philosophy.  The most striking rebuke is that the things which Greeks and Romans praise in Socrates are scorned in Diogenes.  Granted, Diogenes turned them up to eleven, but the point still stands.

I’m not sure what social role the plant chicory had in Rome or Greece at the time.  I know of it as a way to stretch coffee when you’ve run out.  I guess maybe that’s indicative of being a poor person’s food?

The word in the text is σέρεις, but the form I was able to look up is σέρις and is defined by Liddell and Scott as a kind of endive or chicory.  Endives and the chicory I know are two pretty different plans, so I’m not sure which one is referenced here.

Or, it could be a language issue.  For instance, in Serbo-Croation, garlic and onions are basically the same plant, you distinguish between the two by saying “black onion” for onion, and “white onion” for garlic.  Maybe it’s something similar?  I don’t know, it’s instances like this that made me wish I knew more about the language and the cultures.

Tangents aside, the issue here is how one can disdain the philosophers when they praise Socrates, and when they critics live such morally bankrupt lives themselves.  “Unholy men” is a pretty strong phrase, but I’m sure the Ps-Diogenes means it.

This is part of the Cynic Epistles Reading Plan.

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