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Diogenes Laertius

Biography of Diogenes Laertius: – Diogenes Laertius lived in the 3rd century AD, with uncertain origins possibly linked to Laerte in Caria or the Roman […]

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Biography of Diogenes Laertius:
– Diogenes Laertius lived in the 3rd century AD, with uncertain origins possibly linked to Laerte in Caria or the Roman family of the Laërtii.
– He may have been associated with Epicureanism or Pyrrhonism and wrote ‘Epigrammata Pammetros.’
– His main work, ‘Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers,’ offers insights into the lives and sayings of Greek philosophers.
– Despite criticisms for being uncritical, the work is valued for its portrayal of Greek sages’ private lives.
– Diogenes categorizes philosophers into Ionian and Italian schools, covering figures from Anaximander to Epicurus.

Manuscripts and Printed Editions:
– Extant manuscripts like B, P, and F date between the 11th and 13th centuries, with later additions of titles in manuscript P.
– Early Latin translations are lost, but Middle Age works show familiarity with Diogenes’ writings.
– Various printed editions exist, starting from the first Greek and Latin edition in 1594 and an Italian edition in 1611.
– Key figures like Miroslav Marcovich and Tiziano Dorandi have edited and translated Diogenes Laertius’ works.
– Printed editions have helped preserve and disseminate Diogenes’ work, contributing to a broader understanding of ancient Greek philosophy.

Reliability and Legacy:
– Diogenes Laertius’ works are generally viewed as unreliable historically, with errors attributed to copyists and possibly Diogenes himself.
– Modern scholars suggest using scholarly assistance due to the unreliability of his biographies.
– Despite criticisms, Diogenes Laertius has influenced scholars and writers throughout history.
– His work has been partially redeemed by placing it in a Hellenistic literary context.
– Diogenes’ legacy continues to impact the study of ancient philosophy, though critical editions have faced extensive criticism.

Translations and Editions:
– Notable translations include Thomas Stanley’s 1656 adaptation and Charles Duke Yonge’s more literal translation in 1853.
– Robert Drew Hicks provided a translation for the Loeb Classical Library in 1925, with more recent translations by Pamela Mensch and Stephen White.
– Printed editions date back to the first Latin translation in 1472, with critical editions by H.S. Long in 1964 and Miroslav Marcovich in 1999–2002.
– Tiziano Dorandi’s 2013 edition published by Cambridge University Press is a significant contribution to Diogenes Laertius’ works.
– Various translations and editions have enriched the understanding of ancient Greek philosophy through Diogenes’ writings.

Philosophical Contributions and Reception:
– Diogenes Laertius’ work is a primary source for understanding ancient Greek philosophy, covering a wide range of philosophical schools and thinkers.
– His detailed accounts have helped modern scholars reconstruct the philosophical landscape of antiquity.
– His writings have influenced later philosophers and scholars, serving as a foundation for the study of ancient philosophy.
– Despite criticisms for inaccuracies, Diogenes’ work remains a valuable resource for studying ancient philosophy and has sparked debates among scholars.
– The reception of his writings has varied over time, with ongoing discussions about their historical accuracy and interpretation of philosophical doctrines.

Diogenes Laertius (Wikipedia)

Diogenes Laërtius (/dˌɒɪnz lˈɜːrʃiəs/ dy-OJ-in-eez lay-UR-shee-əs; Greek: Διογένης Λαέρτιος, Laertios; fl. 3rd century AD) was a biographer of the Greek philosophers. Little is definitively known about his life, but his surviving Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers is a principal source for the history of ancient Greek philosophy. His reputation is controversial among scholars because he often repeats information from his sources without critically evaluating it. He also frequently focuses on trivial or insignificant details of his subjects' lives while ignoring important details of their philosophical teachings and he sometimes fails to distinguish between earlier and later teachings of specific philosophical schools. [citation needed] However, unlike many other ancient secondary sources, Diogenes Laërtius generally reports philosophical teachings without attempting to reinterpret or expand on them, which means his accounts are often closer to the primary sources. Due to the loss of so many of the primary sources on which Diogenes relied, his work has become the foremost surviving source on the history of Greek philosophy.

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