A Wholly Tragic Life: Aelian, Varia Historia 3.29

“Diogenes of Sinope was constantly saying of himself that he himself had fulfilled and suffered all of the imprecations of tragedy, for he was ‘A wanderer, homeless, deprived of his country, a beggar in shoddy clothes, living from day to day.’ Yet at the same time he was no less impressed with this condition than Alexander was with the rule of the entire world, when he returned to Babylon after taking India.”

Διογένης ὁ Σινωπεὺς συνεχῶς ἐπέλεγεν ὑπὲρ ἑαυτοῦ ὅτι τὰς ἐκ τῆς τραγῳδίας ἀρὰς αὐτὸς ἐκπληροῖ καὶ ὑπομένει· εἶναι γὰρ

πλάνης ἄοικος πατρίδος ἐστερημένος

πτωχὸς δυσείμων βίον ἔχων ἐφήμερον.

καὶ ὅμως ἐπὶ τούτοις μέγα ἐφρόνει οὐδὲν ἧττον ἢ ᾿Αλέξανδρος ἐπὶ τῇ τῆς οἰκουμένης ἀρχῇ, ὅτε καὶ ᾿Ινδοὺς ἑλὼν ἐς Βαβυλῶνα ὑπέστρεψεν.

Dressing Up or Dressing Down, Vanity Abounds (Aelian, Historical Miscellany 9.35-6)

“When Diogenes went to Olympia and observed some young Rhodians dressed very finely, he laughed and said “That is vanity.” When at the same time he came upon some Spartans in poorly made and filthy coats, he said, “This is a different kind of vanity.”

Διογένης ἐς ᾿Ολυμπίαν ἐλθὼν καὶ θεασάμενος ἐν τῇ πανηγύρει ῾Ροδιακούς τινας νεανίσκους πολυτελῶς ἠσθημένους, γελάσας ‘τῦφος’ ἔφη ‘τοῦτό ἐστιν.’ εἶτα περιτυχὼν Λακεδαιμονίοις ἐν ἐξωμίσι φαύλαις καὶ ῥυπώσαις ‘ἄλλος’ εἶπεν ‘οὗτος τῦφος.’

“When Socrates saw that Antisthenes was always making the ripped section of his cloak obvious, he said “Won’t you stop showing yourself off to us?” “

῾Ο δὲ Σωκράτης ἰδὼν τὸν ᾿Αντισθένη τὸ διερρωγὸς τοῦ ἱματίου μέρος ἀεὶ ποιοῦντα φανερὸν, ‘οὐ παύσῃ’ ἔφη ‘ἐγκαλλωπιζόμενος ἡμῖν;’

It seems that Socrates and Diogenes might have been some  of the first proponents of #normcore. Certainly the former might wonder if the unexamined cloak is worth wearing…

Aelian? Claudius Aelianus was a third-fourth century BCE author who in addition to writing “On the Nature of Animals” made a collection of historical (literary, mythical, etc.) oddities and anecdotes less polished than the Saturnalia of Macrobius or the Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius, but no less fascinating.

Don’t Make Babies When You’re Drunk (Plutarch, On the Education of Children 1D-2A)

“In connection with this it is necessary to cover something which has not be passed over by earlier writers. What is this? The fact that men who come near their wives for the sake of baby-making should do so completely sober or, at the very least, after drinking only moderately. For children who were made by fathers who were drunk at the time of their sowing turn out to be lovers of drink and drunks themselves. This is why, when Diogenes saw a young man who was out-of-his mind drunk, said “Young man, your father sired you when he was drunk.” That’s enough said about my ideas about fathering children…”

᾿Εχόμενον δ’ ἂν εἴη τούτων εἰπεῖν ὅπερ οὐδὲ τοῖς πρὸ ἡμῶν παρεωρᾶτο. τὸ ποῖον; ὅτι τοὺς ἕνεκα παιδοποιίας πλησιάζοντας ταῖς γυναιξὶν ἤτοι τὸ παράπαν ἀοίνους ἢ μετρίως γοῦν οἰνωμένους ποιεῖσθαι προσήκει τὸν συνουσιασμόν. φίλοινοι γὰρ καὶ μεθυστικοὶ γίγνεσθαι φιλοῦσιν ὧν ἂν τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς σπορᾶς οἱ πατέρες ἐν μέθῃ ποιησάμενοι τύχωσιν. ᾗ καὶ Διογένης μειράκιον ἐκστατικὸν ἰδὼν καὶ παραφρονοῦν “νεανίσκε” ἔφησεν, “ὁ πατήρ σε μεθύων ἔσπειρε.” καὶ περὶ μὲν τῆς γενέσεως τοσαῦτ’ εἰρήσθω μοι…