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Exile On Main Street: Citizen Diogenes

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Chapter Summary

It is hard to imagine how one could think about exile-ancient or Modern and not think through Cynicism. The founding fathers of Cynicism, Diogenes of Sinope and Crates of Thebes, were exiles, after all, the former involuntarily, the latter voluntarily. Later in the Roman empire two exiled courtiers, Seneca and Dio Chrysostom, are among the most important writers on Cynic themes. In the first version Diogenes himself plays no role in defacing the currency; in the second he is responsible both for the defacing and for his father's imprisonment and death. It is this hard-earned lesson that made Diogenes and the Cynics a paradigm of real and metaphorical exile and has shaped the perception of subsequent generations of intellectuals from the Stoics to the deracinated intellectuals of the twentieth century.

Keywords: Crates of Thebes; Cynicism; Diogenes; exile; Seneca; Stoics



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