Theagenes of Patras

Philosopher, Deceased Person


Who is Theagenes of Patras?

Theagenes of Patras, was a Cynic philosopher and close friend of Peregrinus Proteus.

He is known principally as a character who appears in Lucian's The Death of Peregrinus, where he is introduced as praising Peregrinus' desire to kill himself by self-immolation:

"Proteus," he cried, "Proteus vain-glorious? Who dares name the word? Earth! Sun! Seas! Rivers! God of our fathers, Heracles! Was it for this that he suffered bondage in Syria? that he forgave his country a debt of a million odd? that he was cast out of Rome, - he whose brilliance exceeds the Sun, fit rival of the Lord of Olympus? 'Tis his good will to depart from life by fire, and they call it vain-glory! What other end had Heracles?"

Theagenes aided Peregrinus' in setting fire to the funeral pyre, which Peregrinus threw himself upon. Theagenes compared Peregrinus' suicide with the similar practices of the Gymnosophists in India. Lucian - who was hostile to Theagenes and his brand of Cynicism - also states that Theagenes had a fortune of fifteen talents, which he obtained by money-lending.

Theagenes is mentioned by Galen, who recalls how he lectured daily to large crowds in Trajan's Forum in Rome. Galen describes how Theagenes died when he was given inappropriate treatment by Statilius Attalus for inflammation of the liver.

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on July 23, 2013


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