Diogenes of Babylon

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diogenes of Babylon ( Greek  Διογένης ὁ Βαβυλώνιος ; Latin Diogenes Babylonicus ; * around 240 BC in Seleukeia on the Tigris ; † shortly before 150 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and the most important head of the Stoic school after Chrysippus of Soli . He was called "Diogenes the Babylonian", which meant his origin from the Babylonian landscape . His hometown was Seleukeia on the Tigris (one of the numerous cities with this name), hence he is also called Diogenes of Seleukeia .


Diogenes' life data can only be inferred from approximate information: According to Marcus Tullius Cicero , he was 150 BC. Already dead. According to Lukian, he died at the age of 88 years. To be born in BC.

Diogenes studied with Chrysippus of Soli and Zenon of Tarsus . At an unknown point in time, after Zeno's death, he succeeded him as head of the school. Among his most famous students were Antipater of Tarsos and Panaitios of Rhodes . One of the main exponents of academic skepticism , Carneades of Cyrene , also studied under Diogenes . Diogenes later defended stoic ethics against Karneades' objections.

Both took 155/156 BC. Together with the Peripatetic Kritolaos, he took part in the famous philosopher's mission to Rome . On behalf of the City of Athens, they negotiated with the Senate about a fine of 500 talents to be borne by Athens and succeeded in reducing the penalty to 100 talents. Diogenes' lectures in Rome were the first public presentation of stoic thinking by a school head in the Roman capital, even if the main contents of the Stoa were certainly known there beforehand.

Scriptures and teaching

Diogenes' numerous writings on all subjects of philosophy, but especially on rhetoric and music, are without exception lost, so that we have to rely on fragments and reports (such as Cicero's) for knowledge of his teaching . The treatise On Music by Philodemos of Gadara, which in turn only survives fragmentarily, reports most extensively on Diogenes' doctrines .

Diogenes developed the stoic system of teaching on many individual questions. His statements about the goal of life (Greek: télos ), about ethical principles and practical action as well as about the gods were particularly influential in the Stoa . In the area of dialectics , Diogenes developed the previously roughly laid out stoic theory of meaning on the first semiotics . His treatise on language ( τέχνη περὶ τῆς φωνῆς ) probably became the model for later grammars .

Text output

  • Fragments collected by Hans von Arnim : Stoicorum veterum fragmenta. (SVF). Volume 3, pp. 210-243


Overview representations


  • Annemarie Jeanette Neubecker : The evaluation of music among Stoics and Epicureans. An analysis of Philodem's work 'De Musica' (= German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, Institute for Greco-Roman Antiquity, Working Group for Hellenistic-Roman Philosophy. Publication No. 5, ISSN  0568-417X ). Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1956, (at the same time: Berlin, Humboldt University, dissertation, 1955).
  • Max Pohlenz : The Stoa. History of a Spiritual Movement. Volume 1. 4th edition. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1970/72, pp. 180-190.
  • Maximilian Schäfer: Diogenes as a Middle Stoic. In: Philologus . Vol. 91, 1936, pp. 174-196, doi : 10.1524 / phil.1936.91.14.174 (currently unavailable) .
  • Rudolf T. Schmidt: The grammar of the Stoics (= writings on linguistics. Vol. 12). Introduction, translation and editing by Karlheinz Hülser. With an annotated bibliography on stoic linguistics (dialectics) by Urs Egli . Vieweg, Braunschweig et al. 1979, ISBN 3-528-03711-3 .
  • David Sohlberg: Aelius Aristides and Diogenes of Babylon. On the history of the oratorical ideal. In: Museum Helveticum . Vol. 29, Issue 3, 1972, pp. 177-200 ( doi : 10.5169 / seals-23634 ) and 256-277 ( doi : 10.5169 / seals-23638 ).


  1. ^ Cicero, Cato maior de senectute § 23.
  2. Lukian, Makrobioi § 20.
  3. Pausanias 7:11 ; Cicero, De oratore 2, 155.
  4. See Cicero, De officiis 3, 50-56. 91.