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ANTISTHENES
A Greek philosopher of Athens,born about 440 B.C., but only a half citizen, because his mother was a Thracian. He was in his youth a pupil of Gorgias, and himself taught for a time as a sophist, till, towards middle life, he attached himself to Socrates, and became his bosom friend. After the death of Socrates in B.C. 399 he established a school in the gymnasium Kynosarges, the only one open to persons of half-Athenian descent, whence his followers bore the name of Cynici (Kynikoi). He lived to the age of seventy. Like Socrates, he regarded virtue as necessary, indeed, alone sufficient for happiness, and to be a branch of knowledge that could be taught, and that once acquired could not be lost, its essence consisting in freedom from wants by the avoidance of evil, i.e. of pleasure and desire. Its acquisition needs no dialectic argumentation, only Socratic strength. His pupils, especially the famous Diogenes of Sinope, degraded his doctrine to cynicism by depreciating all knowledge and despising the current morality of the time. His philosophical and rhetorical works are lost, all but two slight declamations on the contest for the arms of Achilles, the Aias and Odysseus; and even their genuineness is disputed.
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