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Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius. Bibliography (A-Lea)

English studies (A-Lea)

  1. Barnes, Jonathan. 1986. "Nietzsche and Diogenes Laertius." Nietzsche Studien no. 15:16-40.

    Reprinted in: J. Barnes, Mantissa: Essays in Ancient Philosophy IV, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2015, pp. 584-611.

    "In 1869 and 1870 Nietzsche published three long studies on Diogenes Laertius: de Laertii Diogenis fontibus, analecta Laertiana, and Beiträge Quellenkunde und Kritik des Laertius Diogenes.(1) The Beiträge contains a short index to all three papers, which Nietzsche evidently regarded as parts of a single work; and indeed the second and third studies can properly be treated as a series of appendixes to the first. Even as the studies were in press Nietzsche wrote of his intention to revise and publish them in book form.(2)


    But these plans and projects were never realized, and Nietzsche published nothing on Diogenes after 1870.(6)" (p. 16)

    (1) The studies should be read in KGW II/l (edd. F. Bornmann and M. Carpitella, Berlin, 1982). Nietzsche's Nachlass contains a vast number of notes, essays and preliminary sketches on Diogenes: the texts are printed, with annotations, in BAW and V.

    (2) Letters to Friedrich Ritschl of 16. 10. 69 and 28. 3. 70: KGB [] I/l, p. 66 [no. 35] = BAB II, p. 377 [no. 461], KGB l, p. 110 [no. 68] = BAB, p. 42 [no. 494].

    (6) Not that Nietzsche ever forgot his Diogenes: there are occasional allusions or reminiscences in many of his later writings (see the Index to C. P. Janz, Friedrich Nietzsche: Biographie, Munich/Vienna, 1978/9).


    BAB = Historisch-Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Briefe, Beck, München 1938–

    BAW = Historisch-Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Werke, Beck, München 1933–

    KGB = Briefe: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Berlin/New York, de Gruyter, 1967–

    KGW = Kritische Gesamtausgabe Werk, Berlin/New York, de Gruyter, 1967–

  2. ———. 1992. "Diogenes Laertius IX 61-116: the Philosophy of Pyrrhonism." In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Teil II: Principat. Band 36: Philosophie, Wissenschaften, Technik. 6. Teilband: Philosophie (Doxographica [Forts.]), edited by Haase, Wolfgang, 4241-4301. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    Reprinted in J. Barnes, Mantissa: Essays in Ancient Philosophy IV, edited by Maddalena Bonelli, New York: Oxford University Press 2015, pp. 510–583.

    "Diogenes Laertius includes an account of scepticism in his Life of Pyrrho (IX 61 — 108). An introductory section (IX 61—62) gives a concise description of Pyrrho's life and thought, after which the Life divides into three main parts.

    First, there is a collection of anecdotal material, the purpose of which is to illustrate the peculiar διάθεσις of Pyrrho himself (IX 63-69). Then come various observations on Pyrrho's successors, together with a list of his putative precursors (IX 68 — 73). The third part consists of an extended account of the philosophy of Pyrrhonism (IX 74-108). The brief Life of Timon, which constitutes an appendix to the Life of Pyrrho, is made out of a short biography and a rehearsal of the so-called Pyrrhonian διαδοχή (IX 109- 116).

    This outline encourages two preliminary thoughts. First, the Life of Pyrrho, considered at the most abstract level, has a clear and coherent structure: it is not a farrago, nor a jackdaw's nest; it is a unitary piece of composition. Diogenes is often accused of being a scissors and paste man who snipped sections of the works he happened to read and then contentedly glued them into his own scrap-book. The Life of Pyrrho proves that he had at least a minimal literary competence: he could arrange and organise his snippets.

    Secondly, the philosophical part of the Life is far longer than the biographical. The strictly philosophical section is over four times the size of the strictly biographical section; indeed, the strictly philosophical section is longer than all the rest of the Life, with the Life of Timon thrown in. It is often said that Diogenes' interests were primarily biographical, and that he cited philosophical views primarily in order to illuminate the characters of the men who maintained them. Whether or not this is true of the Lives in general, it is certainly not true of the Life of Pyrrho." (p. 4242, notes omitted)

  3. ———. 1996. "The Catalogue of Chrysippus’ Logical Works." In Polyhistor: Studies in the History and Historiography of Ancient Philosophy. Presented to Jaap Mansfeld on his Sixtieth Birthday,, edited by Algra, Keimpe A., van der Horst, Pieter W. and Runia, David T, 169-184. Leiden: Brill.

    Reprinted in J. Barnes, Mantissa: Essays in Ancient Philosophy IV, edited by Maddalena Bonelli, New York: Oxford University Press 2015, pp. 479–494.

    "At the end of his brief Life of Chrysippus, Diogenes Laertius remarks that

    since his books have a very high reputation, I have decided to record here the list of them arranged by subject. They are these. (VII 189).

    There follows an articulated catalogue of Chrysippus' works.

    Diogenes has a standing interest in the writings of his subjects, an interest which he implicitly avows in his preface (I 16). Almost all the Lives refer to what their subjects wrote; and in the vast majority of them Diogenes presents a book-list. The list of Chrysippus' writings stands out on three diverse counts. First, it is articulated into sections and subsections, and the articulation is based on philosophical principles. Secondly, it is incomplete: the end of Book VII is missing from all surviving manuscripts of Diogenes-and with it half the Chrysippean bibliography.

    Thirdly, it is exciting; for it appears to offer us information about Chrysippus' philosophical activities, and in particular about his logical activities, which we cannot find elsewhere-it parades his terminology; it shows where his interests lay; it indicates the structure which he gave to his philosophical work." (p. 169, notes omitted)

  4. Beall, E. F. 2001. "Diogenes Laertius on Aeschines the Socratic's Works." Hermes:142-144.

    "D.L. [Diogenes Laertius] inform us (II 60-1 = Giannantoni(1) VI A 22) that Menedemus of Eretria slandered A. [Aeschines] in saying he appropriated dialogues by Socrates as his own, and that those called "headless" are poorly written and un-Socratic and not by Aeschines according to Peristratus the Ephesian.


    Finally, D.L. concludes that, in any case (δ oύν), the truly Socratic works by A. are the sevenpieces Miltiades, Callias, Axiochus, Aspasia, Alcibiades, Telauges, and Rhinon.

    It is of course important to know whatever we can about the provenance of A.'s works, in view of his attested close relation to the historical Socrates." (p. 142, some notes omitted)

    (1) Gabriele Giannantoni, ed., Socratis et Socraticorum Reliquiae, 4 vols. (Naples 1990).

  5. Bett, Richard. 2015. "Pyrrhonism in Diogenes Laertius." In Pyrrhonian Skepticism in Diogenes Laertius, edited by Vogt, Katja Maria, 75-104. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

    "This paper has two goals. First, it offers a general overview of Diogenes Laertius’ lives of Pyrrho and Timon, distinguishing as far as possible a) the biographical from the more purely philosophical material in these lives, and b) the parts bearing upon the period of Pyrrho himself and his immediate following from those bearing upon the later tradition started by Aenesidemus and taking Pyrrho as an inspiration. Both these distinctions, however, are less than hard and fast, and this is of interest in itself. Second, focusing on the philosophical material, it investigates in detail the many parallels between the text of Diogenes and passages of the Pyrrhonist Sextus Empiricus, and attempts to extract from these parallels some lessons concerning the development of the Pyrrhonist tradition. Though not a Pyrrhonist himself, Diogenes emerges as an important witness to the character of Pyrrhonism." (p. 75)

  6. Bollansée, Jan. 1999. Hermippos of Smyrna and His Biographical Writings. A Reappraisal. Leuven: Peeters.

    "The present study fits in with the larger project to continue Felix Jacoby's unfinished Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (FGrHist), a project initiated in 1991 by G. Schepens (K.U.Leuven) and G.A. Lehmann (then Universitat zu Koln) and at the moment a truly international enterprise carried out by scholars working in Gottingen, Leuven, Koln, Miinchen and Zurich and at Harvard University." (Preface,p. VII)


    "In sum, there are no indications that Hermippos was panicularly well educated in the various philosophical systems, let alone that he was ever an active member of the Peripatetic school. In fact, ever since the beginning of this century, it is generally assumed by modern scholarship that Hermippos, just like his (younger) contemporary Satyros, was called a 'Peripatetic' simply because he wrote biographical works, the underlying idea being that during the Hellenistic period (already starting from the thirdcentury on, and continuing at least until about 100 B.C.) all authors of studies in literary history and biography connected with Alexandria were called Peripatetics, regardless of whether or not they actually belonged to that school. Two interrelated reasons are given for this new usage of the term. Firstly, the fields of research concerned had been primarily covered by, and were therefore associated with, Aristotle and his pupils, so that even non-school members who were active in those domains were given the name. Secondly, the pinacographical work conducted by Kallimachos in the Museion' s library - in itself wholly in the Peripatetic vein and to alarge extent based on the work of the Aristotelian precursors - led to a refinement of the form of those literary and biographical studies. Consequently, the two 'branches' (Peripatos and Museion) were considered complementary, the older lending its name to the younger." (pp. 10-11, notes omitted)

  7. ———. 2001. "Animadversiones in Diogenem Laertium." Rheinisches Museum für Philologie no. 144:64-106.

    "Over the past two decades, a few studies have unearthed and consolidated the important new insight that Diogenes Laertios was not the mindless and untrustworthy copier he has so long been taken for by nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholarship; thus, it has been demonstrated that the standard ancient technique of excerpting - such as it was adopted, among others, by Varro - also underlies Diogenes' work, and that this author may be thought to have assembled by himself a substantial number of the extracts scattered across the ten books constituting the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers. All the same, this deserved rehabilitation does not alter the fact that present-day scholarship frequently comes away from the long-winded treatise with a feeling of frustration, when trying to move beyond the manifold stories recounted by Diogenes and attempting, for instance, to gather precise information even about the sources to which he refers by name (how did he use them, and what did they actually say?). These problems originate in Diogenes' seemingly carefree method of quoting those sources (in itself wholly in line with standard ancient practice, since there were no strict rules enforcing the exact acknowledgement of name, title and book-number of the sources consulted) and in his manner of editing, rewriting and organizing the material drawn from them. Scattered throughout his work, there are effectively dozens of passages which offer details and/or source-citations in abundance but, at the same time, suffer from poorly thought-out structuring, as borne out by excessive compression or accumulation of information and the resultant confusion and ambiguity." (p. 64, notes omitted)

  8. Bredlow, Luis Andrés. 2007. "Some Notes on Diogenes Laertius." Hermes:370-372.

    "1. Theodorus: doxographer or Stoic moralist?

    2. A textual problem in Platonic cosmogony

    3. Three misunderstood witticisms of Diogenes the Cynic."

  9. ———. 2008. "Diogenes Laertius 20, 22: Metrodorus of Lampsacus or of Athens?" Philologus:145-148.

    "The Epicurean Metrodorus of Lampsacus is a relatively well known character(1), as we are to expect from his reputation as one of the most outstanding representatives of the school. But there is a quite obscure passage concerning him in Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Epicurus (10, 22) which apparently has not yet been sufficiently understood." (pp. 145-146)

    (1) See the collection of fragments and testimonia by A. Körte, Metrodori Epicurei Fragmenta, Jahrb. Klass. Philol. Suppl. 17, 1890, 531–97.

  10. Brent, Allen. 1993. "Diogenes Laertius and the Apostolic Succession." Journal of Ecclesiastical History no. 44:367-389.

    "I will argue that the concept of διάδοχαί, and the historiographic form adopted in that genre of literature of which Diogenes Laertius' The Successions of the Philosophers,(9) is our surviving representative, are far more important for our understanding of the development of the idea of apostolic succession than Ehrhardt [*] admitted. A careful analysis of Diogenes as representative of a whole genre of historiography about philosophers and their schools will reveal certain specific and fundamental connections between such historiography and Justin, Irenaeus, Hegesippus, Hippolytus, and the Clementine literature, which have been overlooked in the discussion dominated, at least in English-speaking quarters, by Ehrhardt's thesis. We will see that Hippolytus' extraneous idea of a specifically sacerdotal succession has been falsely imposed upon the essentially scholastic view of succession in these earlier writers." (p.368)

    (9) I prefer the title Successions to the Byzantine Lives (Βίῶν) employed by R. D. Hicks in his edition, Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Cambridge, Mass. 1925. I show below that, in the Severan age in which he lived (c. AD 205) the genre in which he wrote would have suggested the title διάδοχαί, as is clear from the titles used by his predecessors.

    [*] A. A. J . Ehrhardt, The Apostolic Succession in the First Two Centuries of the Church, London 1953.

  11. Chroust, Anton-Hermann. 1965. "A Brief Analysis of the Vita Aristotelis of Diogenes Laertius (V, 1-16)." L'Antiquité Classique no. 34:97-129.

    Revised reprint as Chapter III in: A.-H. Chroust, Aristotle. New Light on His Life and on Some of His Lost Works, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973, Vol. I pp. 25-53.

    "Book V, sections 1-16 , o f Diogenes Laertius' The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, also called The Lives of the Philosophers (Photius) or The Lives of the Sophists (Eusthatius), contains a rather important,

    though at times confused (and confusing), account of the life of Aristotle. In his Vita, which to a large extent relies rather heavily on a biography of Aristotle by Hermippus of Smyrna, Diogenes Laertius also employs a number of other divergent sources. Some of these sources are cited by name, others can be determined with a reasonable degree of certainty, while others cannot readily be identified. What is perhaps the most striking characteristic of Diogenes' biography, however, is that he constantly alternates his use of two distinct types of sources or biographical tendencies: the decidedly sympathetic, favorable and even encomiastic tradition; and the clearly unsympathetic, unfavorable and even hostile trend. In this, Diogenes Laertius and his Vita Aristotelis differs from the majority of the extant biographies of Aristotle. The following is a tentative analysis of Diogenes' rather bewildering account in terms of these two types of sources or tendencies." (p. 25 of the reprint, notes omitted)

  12. Copeland, Rita. 2016. "Behind the 'Lives of Philosophers'. Reading Diogenes Laertius in the Western Middle Ages." Interfaces no. 3:245-263.

    Abstract: "The classical learning of medieval readers, especially those fortunate to have access to a good library, could be formidable. But in the Middle Ages knowledge was also a commodity, and there was powerful temptation to satisfy intellectual hunger with compressed, simplified digests and easy fare. One text, De vita et moribus philosophorum, long attributed to Walter Burley, seems to have achieved particular success in satisfying that hunger for an easy version of ancient lore. Its roots reach back to Diogenes Laertius’ Greek Lives of the Philosophers. This essay explores the roads of transmission that led to the making of De vita et moribus philosophorum, which fed a popular fascination with ancient philosophy and the lives of ancient philosophers. Through what channels did the ‘history’ of ancient philosophy find a readership beyond the scholarly academy, and how can we explain the appeal of such classical knowledge?"

  13. Corti, Lorenzo. 2015. "Mind and Language of the Laërtian Pyrrhonist: Diog. Laert. 9.74–77." In Pyrrhonian Skepticism in Diogenes Laertius, edited by Vogt, Katja Maria, 123-145. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

    "The Pyrrhonian sceptic1 makes no judgements and has no beliefs; if so,how could he speak?"


    "The aim of this paper is to contribute towards filling this gap by analysing and elucidating the Laërtian account in the light of the closest Laërtian and Sextan loci similes.

    Diog. Laert. 9.74–7 may be divided into four main parts. Diogenes starts by characterising the sceptics as being devoted to a certain philosophical activity: they overturn all the tenets of the philosophical schools.

    In doing so, they speak – they utter some characteristic phrases. In the rest of our passage, Diogenes reports some remarks indicating how we are supposed to understand these phrases. In the first section (74) he points out that the sceptic does not affirm or determine what he says, but just utters and reports; he then adds that the sceptic’s φωναί – of which he mentions “In no way more”, “We determine nothing” and “Opposed to every account there is an account” – express some affections of his. The second part of the passage (section 75) discusses several uses of the expressions “more/rather” and “in no way more”, and indicates that the sceptics use “in no way more” negatively. The following part (76) discusses the self-applying property of two sceptical expressions in particular: “In no way more” and “Opposed to every account there is an account”. Finally, in the last section of the passage (77), Diogenes hints at a dogmatic reaction to the description of the sceptic’s linguistic behaviour just sketched and puts forward another one of its features, by indicating how the sceptic uses his words and statements.

    In the following pages I will put forward an analysis of each of the four sections and of the major features they ascribe to the sceptical φωναί. I will end by discussing an intriguing difference between the account of the Pyrrhonist we find in Diogenes and the corresponding account we find in Sextus." (pp. 123-124, note omitted)

  14. Dorandi, Tiziano. 2012. "Socrates in the Ancient Biographical Tradition: From the Anonymous PHib. 182 to Diogenes Laertius." In Socrates and the Socratic Dialogue, edited by Stavru, Alessandro and Moore, Christopher, 787-798. Leiden: Brill.

    "The life of Socrates, understood as the continuous narrative of the primary events in his life, from birth until death, received only modest attention from ancient authors.


    Except for Diogenes Laertius (third-century ce) we have no traces of proper “biographies” of Socrates comparable in structure and content to the many “Lives” of Plato and Aristotle." (p. 787)


    "The only complete “biography” of Socrates is that of Diogenes Laertius in his Lives of Eminent Philosophers (2.18–47).6 The Laertian bios of Socrates is shorter than, for example, that of Plato, which occupies the entire third book of the Lives, but is about the same length as that of Aristotle (5.1–35). Giannantoni [*] has proposed a plausible division of the bios into four sections. The first (2.18–26) is biographical (parents, home, teachers, education, character traits, military exploits, and anecdotes). The second (2.27–37) corresponds to what is in other lives the doxography. In it, through a series of anecdotes, Diogenes describes the character and behavior of Socrates and provides material useful for giving a sense of his thought. The third (2.38–44) is devoted to the trial and death sentence and subsequent reaction. In the fourth and last (2.45–47), Diogenes gets back to the chronology of Socrates, cites the epigram he composed for his death, introduces the discussion related to his disciples (Xenophon, Aristippus, Phaedo, Euclides, Stilpo, Crito, Simon, Glaucon, Simmias, Cebes and Menedemus of Eretria: 2.48–144), and finally adds the list of homonyms." (pp. 791-792).

    [*] Giannantoni, G. ‘Socrate e i Socratici in Diogene Laerzio’, Elenchos 7 (1986), 183–216.

  15. ———. 2014. "Diogenes Laertius and the Gnomological Tradition: Considerations from an Editor of the Lives of the Philosophers." In Ars Edendi Lectures 3, edited by Odelman, Eva and Searby, Denis M., 71-103. Stockholm: Stockholm University.

    "One of the characteristics of the Lives and Doctrines of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius (third century C.E.) is the preponderance of chreiai (apophthegms) within the narrative.(1) One of the Lives in particular, that of the Cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope (6.20–83), consists almost entirely in a succession of chreiai occupying the central part of the narrative (§ 24–30, 32–69). In other books, and therefore in regard to other philosophers, there are specific groups of sayings or maxims of, first, the Seven Sages (book 1), including Anacharsis (1.103–5); Aristippus of Cyrene (2.65–83), Plato(3.38–40), Bion of Borysthenes (4.48–51), Aristotle (5.17–21), Antisthenes (6.3–10), Zeno of Citium (7.16–24) and Pyrrho of Elis (9.66–8). A separate case, but equally interesting, is that of Epicurus, whose life takes up all of book 10, ending with Diogenes’ presentation of forty principal doctrines or maxims (Κύριαι δόξαι) of the founder of the Garden." (p. 71)

    (1) I follow Marie-Odile Goulet-Cazé, Diogène Laërce. Vies et doctrines des philosophes illustres. Traduction française sous la direction de Marie-Odile Goulet-Cazé (Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 1999), p. 668 in the use of the term chreia: ‘le terme chrie comme terme générique s’appliquant indifféremment aux multiples types de dits et d’anecdotes que l’on trouve assemblés dans les collections gnomologiques.’" (p. 71)

  16. ———. 2016. "Aristotle in the Biographical Tradition." In Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Aristotle in Antiquity, edited by Falcon, Andrea, 277-298. Leiden: Brill.

    "The oldest “Life of Aristotle” of which we have any evidence is by Hermippus of Smyrna, a work in at least two books.(16) It has also been suggested that the Peripatetic Aristo of Ceos wrote a biography of Aristotle, but this remains uncertain. Aristo probably only collected the wills of his Aristotelian predecessors—from Aristotle himself to Lyco of Troas (F 16 Stork, Fortenbaugh, Van Ophuijsen and Dorandi). Various other ancient “lives” have come down to us either entire or in more or less fragmentary states:

    1. Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Aristotle (third century AD) is the most rich in detail (5.1–35). Along with a timeline and a section dedicated to biographical information about the philosopher, it contains his will, a list of the titles of his works, and an doxography, which has proven highly useful in making sense of the reception of Aristotelianism in the late Hellenistic period.)"

    2. The Life of Aristotle attributed to Hesychius of Miletus (sixth century AD).(18) This biography is essentially a long catalog of titles of works of Aristotle. It has a great deal in common with those of Diogenes Laertius and of the Life of Ptolemy.

    These two “lives” go back to a single unknown Hellenistic source, now lost, which was enriched with supplementary material over the centuries. There does not

    seem to be any real support for the hypothesis that the “life” by Hermippus was the main source for the biographies by Diogenes and Hesychius.(19)" (p. 282)

    [The other Lives are: 3. Vita Marciana. 4. Vita Vulgata, 5. Vita Lascaris, 6. Vita Latina and Vita Vulgata]

    (16) Hermippus T 10, F 28–33, 73?, 89?.

    (17) See below 231–235..

    (18) Hesychius’ life has been re-edited in Dorandi 2006.

    (1) Bollansée 1999: 52–69.


    Bollansée, J. 1999. Hermippus of Smyrna and His Biographical Writings: A Reappraisal. Leuven, Leuven University Press.

    Dorandi, T. 2006, revera 2009. La Vita Hesychii d’Aristote. In Studi Classici e Orientali 52: 87–106.

    Felix Jacobi, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker continued: Hermippos of Smyrna, edited by Jan Bollansée, Leiden: Brll 1999.

    Stork, Fortenbaugh, Van Ophuijsen and Dorandi (eds.), Lyco of Troas: The Sources, Text and Translation, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers 2004.

  17. Düring, Ingemar. 1956. "Ariston or Hermippus? A note on the Catalogue of Aristotle's writings." Classica et Mediaevalia no. 17:11-21.

    According to Paul. Moraux the catalogue by Diogenes Laertius is based on the Peripatetic philosopher Aristo of Ceos; according to Ingemar Düring on Hermippus of Smyrna.

  18. Ferrer, Montserrat. 2011. "Diogenes Laertius's lives in the fifteenth-century Italian and Catalan versions of Pseudo-Burley's Vita et moribus." Studi Medievali no. 53:681-696.

    Abstract: "This article identifies the Latin translation of Diogenes Laertius's Lives by Ambrogio Traversari as one of the sources of a fifteenth-century Italian version of Pseudo Burley's Liber de vita et moribus philosophorum. It also presents a Catalan translation made in 1499 of the Italian version of Pseudo Burley's work."

  19. Finkelberg, Aryeh. 1998. "Diogenes Laertius on the Stoic definitions of κόσμος." Scripta Classica Israelica no. 17:21-26.

    "Among numerous reports of the Stoic distinctions between several applications of certain terms1 there is one which specifies the three senses of the word κόσμος:

    D.L. vii: (137) λέγουσι [sc. the Stoics] δε κάσμον τριχὡς· αὐτὸν τε τὸν θεὸν τὸν ἐκ τἦς «πάσης ούσἱας ὶδἱως ποιάν, δς δὴ ἀφθαρτὄς ἐστι καὶ ἀγένητος, δημιουργὸς ῶν τἡς διακοσμὴσεως, κατὰ χρὅνων ποιὰς περιάδους ἀναλἱσκων εὶς ἑαυτὸν τὴν απασαν ούσἱαν καὶ πάλιν ἐξ ἑαυτού γεννὡν. (138) καὶ αΰτὴν δὲ τὴν διακάσμησιν τὡν ἀστέρων κάσμον εἷναι λένουσν καὶ τρἱτον τὸ συνεστηκὸς εξ ἀμφοιν ,

    The apparent difficulty of the report is that αμφοιν in the third definition must refer to the two preceding meanings of κόσμος, so that the third sense of the term appears to be τὸ συνεστηκὸς ἐκ τοϋ ἐκ τής απάσης οΰσἱας ἱδΐως ποιοϋ καὶ τής διακοσμὴσεως των άστερων. This is an impossible notion, and Arnim proposed excising των άστἐρων. Yet his solution is difficult." (p. 21)


    "Accordingly, the original text must have looked like this:

    λέγουσι [sc. the Stoics] δὲ κάσμον [τριχὡς· αὐτόν τε] τὸν θεὸν τὸν ἐκ τἦς ἀπάσης ούσἱας ιδἱως ποιόν, δς δῆ ἀφθαρτός ἐστι καὶ ἀνένητος, δημιουργὸς ιυν τἦς διακοσμὴσεως, κατὰ χρόνων ποιὰς περιόδους ἀναλἱσκων εἱς ἑαυτὸν τὴν ἅπασαν ούσἱαν καὶ πάλιν ἐξ εαυτοΰ γεννὡν. [καὶ αὐτὴν] <κατὰ> δε τὴν διακόσμησιν [τῶν ἀστερων <τὡν τὴν νἦν περιφερομενων >] κόσμον εἷναι λέγουσι [καὶ τρἱτον] τὸ συνεστηκὸς ἐξ [ἀμφὄὶν] <αἱθερος καὶ ἀστερων κατὰπεριοχὴν καὶ γἦς καὶ τῶν ἐπ’ αύτἦς ζῴων καὶ φυτῶν >.

    If my line of reasoning is correct, Diogenes’ report is a result of the mechanical addition of the sense of ‘heaven’ of the word κόσμος to an account of the Stoic distinction between κόσμος in the sense of eternal god comprising all substance and κόσμος in the sense of world-arrangement. The way in which this addition was made distorted the original account: the phrase κατα τὴν διακόσμησιν, which explained the conceptual relation between the two senses of κόσμος, was sacrificed, so that these senses came to look unrelated,22 and the original σΰστημα description was mutilated. As a result, the report is misleading: the added sense of ‘heaven’ is neither terminological nor even frequent in the Stoics." (p. 26)

    (1) Two senses of ούσἱα (Η. v. Arnim, Stoicorum veterum fragmenta [Stuttgart, 1905; hereafter SVF], i 25.2; ἰἰ 114.19) and ἀδιάφορον (SVF iii 28.20, 29; 29.17); three senses of στοιχειον (SVF ii 136.26), ποιόν (SVF ii 128.33), πόλις (SVF iii 81.10), ἀρετή (SVF iii 19.23), etc.

    (2) The same report is found in Suda, s.v. κόσμος.

    (3) Arnim, SVF, ii 168.9. Arnim is followed by Α. A. Long and D. Ν. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge, 1987), ii, 268.

  20. ———. 2000. "Diogenes Laertius on the Stoic definitions of κόσμος again." Scripta Classica Israelica no. 19:271-280.

    "I am very pleased that my short and unambitious piece ‘Diogenes Laertius on the Stoic definitions of κὸσμος’, published in the previous issue of Scripta Classica Israelica, should have attracted the critical attention of Dr. Ludlam. As a self-conscious scholar I am well aware of the fallibility of my arguments and highly appreciative of professional criticism as a major help in ihe improvement of my skills and expertise. I am grateful to the Editors of Scripta Classica Israelica for inviting me to respond to Dr. Ludlam’s critical review of my article." (p. 271)


    "It is a pity therefore that this as well as certain other deficiencies of Dr. Ludlam’s article render his rich critical commentary less helpful than it might otherwise have been. But what is regrettable beyond all this is that Dr. Ludlam has chosen to phrase his paper in an unpleasantly dismissive language which does little honour to the profession, and argues in a way which may on occasion strike the less sympathetic reader as simple malice. It is, alas,all too easy to give the uninformed reader the impression that what purports to be detached scientific precision is in reality no more than the expression of personal animus."

  21. Fleischer, Kilian. 2020. "Structuring the History of Philosophy – A Comparison between Philodemus and Diogenes Laertius in the Light of New Evidence." The Classical Quarterly:1-16.

    Considering the fair amount of ancient authors who compiled works on the subject of the ‘History of Philosophy’, it is remarkable—and regrettable—that there is no solid basis for a comparative analysis of their structures.(1) Most ancient histories of philosophy are only preserved in a few fragments or excerpts and hardly allow any meaningful non-trivial comparison of the structure and order of the philosophers and schools discussed. The only more or less entirely preserved ‘History of Philosophy’ is Diogenes Laertius’ famous treatise." (p. 1)


    "The only other ‘History of Philosophy’ which has come down to us from antiquity in significant excerpts—or, to be more precise, in significant original fragments—is Philodemus’ Σύνταξις τῶν φιλοσόφων." (p. 2)


    "In this contribution I present a new reading of the final section of the Index Academicorum which has far-reaching consequences not only for the supposed content of the Index Academicorum itself but also for the supposed structure of the entire syntaxis. A reassessment of the similarities between Philodemus and Diogenes, taking the new evidence into account, suggests that the structure of the two works was different in many respects and that the hypothesis that Philodemus’ arrangement of the material served as model for Diogenes has to be rethought and probably rejected.

    The Index Academicorum (also known as Historia Academicorum or similar) is commonly deemed to represent a book of Philodemus’ Σύνταξις τῶν φιλοσόφων (10)" (p. 3, some notes omitted)

    (1) For the different types of ancient historiography of philosophy and their relation to Diogenes Laertius, see J. Mejer, Diogenes Laertius and His Hellenistic Background (Wiesbaden, 1978), especially 60–95.

    (10) The latest edition was provided by T. Dorandi, Filodemo. Storia dei filosofi. Platone e l’Accademia (PHerc. 1021 e 164). Edizione, traduzione e commento (Naples, 1991).

  22. Fletcher, Richard. 2016. "Imagination dead imagine: Diogenes Laertius’ work of mourning." In Creative Lives in Classical Antiquity: Poets, Artists and Biography, edited by Fletcher, Richard and Hanink, Johanna, 219-240. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "Diogenes Laertius’ Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers shares something vital with both Roland Barthes’ mourning diary and Jacques Derrida’s work of mourning.


    It is precisely this conception of the work of mourning that I want to explore in my reading of the ill-fated poetic output of Diogenes Laertius, which consists in the selections from his collection (or collections) called Epigrammata or Pammetros (‘Epigrams or In Various Metres’), interspersed throughout his monumental Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers.(3)

    It has been well-documented that Diogenes’ work emphasizes the deaths, as much as the lives, of Greek philosophers.(4)

    Central to any discussion of Diogenes and death is the role played by his poetic works scattered throughout his biographical narratives, works which I will dub his biographical death-poems." (p 219-220)

    (3) 1.39. On Diogenes’ poetry in general, see Mejer (1978) 47-50; Gigante (1986) 34-44; Bollansée (1999) 227-32.

    (4) Mejer (1978) 32, n. 67; Bollansée (1999) 228.


    Bollansée, J. (1999) Hermippus of Smyrna and his Biographical Writings:A Reappraisal. Leuven.

    Gigante, M. (1986) ‘Biografia e dossografia in Diogene Laerzio’ Elenchos 7: 7 102.

    Mejer, J. (1978) Diogenes Laertius and his Hellenistic Background. Wiesbaden.

  23. Gaines, Robert N. 2010. "Sophists in Diogenes Laertius." Papers on Rhetoric no. 10:113-125.

  24. Grau, Sergi. 2013. "Diogenes Laertius between tradition and innovation: philosophers and θεῖοι ἄνδρες." In The Theodosian Age (A.D. 379 - 455): Power, place, belief and learning at the end of the Western Empire, edited by García-Gasco, Rosa, González Sánchez, Sergio and Hernández de la Fuente, David A., 183-190. Oxford: Archaeopress.

    Abstract: "It has become commonplace for scholars to point out the similarities, as well as the vast differences —despite both works belonging to the literary genre of philosophical biography— between Diogenes Laertius’ The Lives of Eminent Philosophers and Eunapius of Sardis’ Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists, which were in all likelihood written in the space of less than a century. It is particularly salient that, although this phenomenon is often backed up by archaeological evidence, the heroisation or even deification of some ancient Greek philosophers in Laertius’ Lives tends only to be dealt with in the epigrams dedicated to them by the author – the place where Laertius usually expresses his own personal stance and his judgement on the lives and deaths of the philosophers in question. There are scarce few references to this typically Greek religious process in the body of Laertius’ narrative, except, tellingly, where this is to condemn it as fraud. As such, this short article looks to explore the somewhat ambiguous mentality, which can be seen to

    undergo a transformation of sorts, which emerges in Laertius’ Lives regarding the cult of the philosophers and their divine character. This is presented against a particularly significant historical backdrop immediately preceding the popularisation of the figure of the θεῖος ἀνήρ and Christian hagiography, a viewpoint which brings into focus a number of changes and continuities."

  25. ———. 2022. "Conversion to Philosophy in Diogenes Laertius: Forms and Functions." In Religious and Philosophical Conversion in the Ancient Mediterranean Traditions, edited by Despotis, Athanasios and Löhr, Hermut, 219-237. Leiden: Brill.

    "The well-established theme of the conversion to philosophy by the ancient Greek thinkers has long been identified in various studies.(2) This conversion to philosophy, the usual Greek term for which is ἐπιστροφή,(3 often leads, in effect, to a true initiation process, when the new philosopher abandons his previous life of luxury, excess and superstition, or a life which simply has no connection with philosophy, to embrace a new disciplined life, based on asceticism, σωφροσύνη and, naturally, the practice of philosophy. The philosopher has usually already been called to the vocation of philosophy, often demonstrated by extraordinary skills that have been apparent since childhood and considerable intellectual precocity, but a concrete ‘call’ is necessary which formalises it in an educational context, always by a master’s side, given that the transmission of philosophical activity is unthinkable outside of a school or at least outside of the relationship between master and disciple." (p. 219, some notes omitted)


    This is why it is useful to classify and analyse the various models of conversion and initiation in philosophy as presented in the ancient biographies, in particular, of course, in Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, the only surviving complete work in this genre. We must clarify that a study of this kind cannot be considered rigorously historical: the ancient biographies, as is well known, can rarely be used in this way. Rather, this seeks to classify and analyse the sense, when possible, of the various biographical themes related to philosophical conversion and initiation that appear in these narratives, in order to understand, at least, how the ancient Greeks viewed philosophers and philosophy." (pp. 220-221)

    (2) (...) For Diogenes Laertius in particular, see Hope (1930, 102–103) and Grau (2008).

    (3 Cf. Plato, The Republic 518d: conversion is presented there as the goal of philosophical education. (...)


    Grau, Sergi. 2008. “Modelos de conversión e iniciación a la filosofía: análisis de un tópico biográfico”. Noua Tellus. Anuario del centro de estudios clásicos 26: 67–102.

    Hope, Richard. 1930. The Book of Diogenes Laertius: Its Spirit and Its Method. New York: Columbia University Press.

  26. Haake, Matthias. 2004. "Documentary Evidence, Literary Forgery, or Manipulation of Historical Documents? Diogenes Laertius and an Athenian Honorary Decree for Zeno of Citium." The Classical Quarterly no. 54:470-483.

    "The Athenian decree honouring the philosopher Zeno of Citium is generally considered to be one of the most important sources for the social status of philosophers and their public acceptance in Hellenistic Athens. A remarkable aspect of this source, which also constitutes the reason for the present investigation, is that the text has not come to us as an inscription engraved on stone, but is quoted by Diogenes Laertius in his Life of Zeno:(1)" (p. 470)


    "My discussion of this text will focus on the motivation clause and the details for the publication. But rather than assume that the decree is genuine and draw consequences from that assumption, I will consider these two parts of the text against the background of the epigraphic habit of Athenian honorary decrees dating to the third century. To anticipate my conclusions, both the motivation clause and the provisions for the publication of the decree show a fairly consistent pattern of concepts and ideasthat are very common in the literary biographies of Hellenistic philosophers, but are exceptional in public inscriptions for philosophers and in Athenian honorary inscriptions in general. (p. 474)

    (1) Diog. Laert. 7.10-12. (...)

  27. Hägg, Thomas. 2012. The Art of Biography in Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter 7.4: The philosophical gallery: Diogenes Laertius, pp. 305-317.

    "(...) I shall be content to give a general description of contents and disposition, and then to offer a few examples of different kinds of philosophical Lives provided by Diogenes. His close reliance on earlier Lives and collections makes rather futile any attempt at defining a typical Laertian Life, as is possible (to a certain extent) with the Plutarchan form. The best one can do is to show what kinds of ingredients tend to occur and how they are combined in particular cases, and to ask what the author may have wanted to achieve, from a literary point of view, with his voluminous specimen of collective biography." (p. 306, note omitted)


    "What literary ambitions can we detect in Diogenes’ collection? It is true that biography, in a sense, dominates over doxography in the work as a whole. This is one reason why modern users of the work, who mostly consult it to get philosophical information, tend to return disappointed: the author seems to be more interested in ‘silly’ anecdotes about the philosophers’ lives than in what they really thought and taught. But it is difficult to see that he was interested in writing readable and attractive biography either; the aesthetic aspirations that earlier in life moved him to publish the collection of epigrams in different metres seem to be absent in his vast work in prose. He makes no effort to fill in missing parts of the Lives using his own creative imagination, as most ancient biographers do, but is content to reproduce what the tradition offers, leaving the gaps wide open. A uniform literary tone is hardly to be overheard; what unity there is resides in the philological pedantry." (p. 317)

  28. Hahm, David E. 1992. "Diogenes Laertius VII: On the Stoics." In Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt. Teil II: Principat. Band 36: Philosophie, Wissenschaften, Technik. 6. Teilband: Philosophie (Doxographica [Forts.]), edited by Haase, Wolfgang, 4076-4182. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    Indices pp. 4404-4411.

    "Diogenes Laertius' 'Lives of the Stoics', Book 7 is a literary enigma. In a series of so-called biographies of the Stoics of the third century B. C. Diogenes Laertius presents his readers with a kaleidoscopic array of colorful anecdotes, witty sayings, dates and bits of biographical data, bibliographies, and a long synopsis of Stoic philosophical doctrines. Moreover, he presents many of these items as quotations from a bewildering number of Stoic philosophers and other authors of the first three centuries B. C. The thorough going fragmentation of subject matter and authority creates an almost irresistible temptation for the reader to ignore the author's literary pretentions, simply to enjoy the parade of images and ideas, ostensibly emanating from a chorus of ancient authorities. The nature of Diogenes Laertius' literary method,

    combined with the fact that most of the surviving biographical information about the early Stoics and the most comprehensive survey of early Stoic teaching are found in this book have quite understandably led modern readers to focus their attention on the historical information that Diogenes preserves rather than on Diogenes' own literary, historical, or philosophical aims and accomplishments.3 Yet there can be little question that Diogenes' literary and historiographical aims have had a profound influence upon the nature and quality of his historical information, and that an understanding of his method of composition is crucial both for evaluating his own literary and philosophical achievement and for critically interpreting the historical information contained in his work." (p. 4077, notes omitted)

    "In this study I propose to reexamine Diogenes' composition of the seventh book of his 'Lives' in the light of what is now known about ancient methods of composition of informational works. By carefully picking through the text for evidence on its construction I hope to clarify the nature and identity of most of the sources that he used in this book. This analysis will also bring into clearer focus his historiographical and literary objectives to the extent that they are manifested in this book. It is my hope that these results will, in combination with studies of other parts of his work, also advance our understanding and appreciation of Diogenes as an author and historian of philosophy in the early third century A. D." (p. 4078)

  29. Hope, Richard. 1930. The Book of Diogenes Laërtius: Its Spirit and Its Method. New York: Columbia University Press.

  30. Kindstrand, Jan Frederik. 1986. "Diogenes Laertius and the Chreia tradition." Elenchos.Rivista di Studi sul Pensiero Antico no. 7:217-243.

    "In Diogenes Laertius’ work on Greek philosophers pointed sayings and anecdotes play an important role. These collections are prominent especially for the Seven Sages and many members of the Socratic schools, and certainly belong to the most entertaining parts. In some biographies they dominate absolutely, and if they were to be removed, little would be left in the form of biography for characters such as Anacharsis, Aristippus, Antisthenes and above all the Cynic Diogenes." (p. 219)

  31. Kölligan, Daniel. 2012. "Dying in Diogenes: the use of τελευτάω in Diogenes Laertius and beyond." In Hyperboreans: Essays in Greek and Latin Poetry, Philosophy, Rhetoric and Linguistics, edited by da Cunha Corrêa, Paula, Martinho, Marcos, Macedo, José Marcos and Pinheiro Hasegawa, Alexandre, 395-428. São Paulo: Humanitas.


    The IMPF [imperfect] of τελεντάω in Diogenes Laertius and Plato either opens up a framework for further elaboration on the topic it introduces into the discourse or refers back to a topic already under discussion at some previous point. While the corresponding AOR [aorist] form is sufficient to make a self-contained statement about a fact in the past, the IMPF is not. The imperfective aspectual value it is usually seen to have can either be exploited on the clausal and sentential level by referring to an event without taking into accoynt its temporal delimitation, which gives us the well-known progressive, conative, iterative, habitual, etc., readings, or on the discourse level by creating a setting into which further information may be couched or by referring back to previous information.

    This behaviour of τελεντάω sets it off from its semantic near-synonym αποθνήσκω which is much less frequently used in the IMPF, the reason for which may originally have been the fact that the former is an accomplishment, and the latter an achievement verb. The standard readings of the imperfective forms of the latter - iterative, distributive - may have made it less suitable for the discourse related uses described in this paper." (p. 426)

  32. Lacalle, Jacinto Martínez. 1976. "Three Stoic Propositions in Diogenes Laertius VII 69-80." Phronesis:115-119.

    "The present paper aims at suggesting the emendation of the texts of three Stoic propositions appearing in Diogenes Laertius' Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers at the places indicated by the abbreviations 'DL VII 69', 'DL VII 78', and 'DL VII 80'" (p. 115, a note omitted)


    "Ideally, editors of texts of Stoic logic should learn and understand it. In this paper I offer corrected versions of the three incorrect texts quoted. My aim is but to help future editors to establish a better Greek edition of Diogenes Laertius." (p. 119, a note omitted)

  33. Laks, André. 2013. "The Pythagorean Hypomnemata Reported by Alexander Polyhistor in Diogenes Laertius (8.25–33): A Proposal for Reading,." In On Pythagoreanism, edited by Cornelli, Gabriele, McKirahan, Richard and Macris, Constantinos, 371-384. Berlin: De Gruyter.

    "One can wonder whether the main responsibility for Pythagoras’ Platonization – which is much older, and also easier to understand, given Plato’s own clear if indirectly expressed Pythagorean inclinations, than his Aristotelization – belongs to Plato’s immediate disciples Speusippus and Xenocrates, as is commonly held, or rather to Aristotle himself, as L. Zhmud interestingly argues in the present volume.(5) In any case, with respect to the line of development that stretches from Pythagoras to the Neopythagoreans through the Ancient Pythagoreans, the Platonic Academy, and Aristotle, the Pythagorean Hypomnemata (or Pythagorean Notes, as I shall call them)(6) which Diogenes Laertius read in Alexander Polyhistor’s Successions and which he reproduced in Book 8 of his Lives (§§25–33), occupy an interesting position.(7) Although the date of redaction of this text is impossible to settle exactly, there is scholarly agreement that it is both post-Academic and pre-Neopythagorean, which means that it must have been written between the late 4th and the 1st century BC.(8)" (pp. 371-372)

    (5) See supra, p. 323 ff. [Pythagorean Number Doctrine in the Academy, pp. 323-344]

    (6) The title Hypomnemata is difficult to translate. Memoirs, Commentaries, Notebooks,which one finds in various authors, do not strike the right note. Notes might be the least confusing. (...)

    (7) Alexander of Miletus, surnamed Polyhistor because of his vast learning, lived in Rome under Sulla at the beginning of the 1st century (for further information, see Schwartz 1894). On doxographical excerpts in Successions-literature, see Mejer 1978, p. 64f. (cf. Zhmud 2012, p. 59). Alexander may have abbreviated the original text, and Diogenes the text he found in Alexander (the kalei in § 29 or phesi in §32 are clear traces of report and hence intervention, but it is impossible to be more specific). Rewriting might account for some of the text’s not infrequent obscurities and oddities.

    (8) Alexander Polyhistor, who worked in Rome after 82 – c. 35 provides, of course, a terminus ante quem.


    Mejer, J. (1978), Diogenes Laertius and his Hellenistic Background. Wiesbaden.

    Schwartz, E. (1894), “Alexandros von Milet”, RE 1. 2, cols. 1449–1452.

    Zhmud, L. (2012), Pythagoras and the Early Pythagoreans. Oxford

  34. ———. 2014. "Diogenes Laertius’ Life of Pythagoras." In A History of Pythagoreanism, edited by Huffman, Carl A., 360-380. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "The Life [of Pythagoras] itself is an odd book, a product of late erudite Hellenistic scholarship, extremely heterogeneous, full of quotations (explicit or not), and often lacking visible, or for that matter any kind of organization. This explains why reading Diogenes may mean – and has in fact often meant – reading him for the sources he quotes and uses, especially since he frequently happens to be the only author to preserve them. This natural tendency to exploit Diogenes’ work rather than read it “for itself” has been enhanced on the one hand by a disciplinary orientation towards Quellenforschung (“inquiry about sources”) and, on the other hand, by a strongly depreciative judgment on Diogenes’ own capacities and achievement. Progressive awareness of the fact that part at least of the strangeness of Diogenes’ book may come from our own expectations as to what historiography should be has led some scholars at least (mostly in recent times) to minimize Diogenes’ shortcomings and to try to understand better his procedures and intentions.

    Given the nature of his work, it is in any case difficult to talk about Diogenes without talking about his sources. I shall do this (section 3) after having reviewed the content of Book 8 and explained its place within Diogenes’ work (section 2). I shall then comment about some specific features of Diogenes Laertius’ picture of Pythagoras (section 4), give an analysis of the extended report about his (alleged) doctrines which, as I read it, plays a central function in the overall construction of the book (section 5) and eventually raise the problem of Diogenes’ attitude towards Pythagoras (section 6)." (pp. 371-372, notes omitted)

  35. Lapini, Walter. 2015. "Diogenes Laertius on Epicurus (Diog. Laert., 10, 29)." Philosophia no. 45:277-283.

  36. Leão, Delfim Ferreira. 2019. "Can we trust Diogenes Laertius? The Book I of the Lives of Eminent Philosophers as source for the poems and the laws of Solon." In Dike. Essays on Greek Law in Honor of Alberto Maffi, edited by Gagliardi, Lorenzo and Pepe, Laura, 227-242. Milano: Giuffrè Francis Lefebvre.


    In what regards the transmission of Solon’s poems — and even taking into account that Diogenes provides sometimes doubtful information (such as the number of verses that the statesman would have composed) —, the doxographer turns out to be a very useful source for the recuperation of the poetic work of the statesman, to the point of preserving verses that no other sources have documented. As for the legislative work, the value of Diogenes is more ambivalent. On the whole, it refers to a still relatively high number of norms, but, unlike with the poems, he chooses not to quote the laws literally, thus giving preference to brief allusive summaries, not always exact in their wording and in their ascription to Solon. Even so, one can find in his testimony also some useful interpretive suggestions which do not appear in other sources. Still, if one compares the thin information provided about laws with the attention he dedicates to the alleged letters that Solon exchanged with other personalities such as Peisistratus, Periander, Epimenides, and Croesus (1.52-4; 64-7), it is clear that the doxographer (and most probably his readers) would be far more interested in the ethical potentialities of this type of apocryphal material than in critically reconstituting Solon’s legislative work. Awareness of this fact requires caution in analyzing the information that Diogenes conveys, but does not obliterate his value and relevance as a source." (pp. 240-241)