Dimonax the Cypriot, a Great Cynical Philosopher
It seems that the Cynical philosopher Dimonax the Cypriot was a very special person. He lived and made a career in Athens during the 2nd century AD. According to his student Loukianos, Dimonax was respected by the whole population of Greece and was highly admired by all Athenians. This proves that he was a great personality.
It is testified that Dimonax came from Cyprus but there are no evidence neither for his exact birthplace nor for the years he spent growing up in Cyprus. There is only one anaphora by Loukianos that Dimonax came from a significant Cypriot family and had a pile and privileges before ending up in Athens as a Cynical philosopher.
It is estimated that he was born at the end of the 1st century AD and died at the end of the 2nd century AD. Since he had some privileges before leaving Cyprus, it can be assumed that he left the island in a not so young age. When he decided to become a philosopher he apprenticed having Epiktitos, Timokratis, Agathovoulos and Dimitrios as his teachers. Dimonax had Diogenis Sinopeas (4th century BC) as the ideal philosopher but he also admired and appreciated the earlier philosophers like Socrates and Aristippos Kyrineos. It is believed that Dimonax had a wide education emphasised by alertness and acuteness. As a Cynical philosopher he was characterised by his frankness, mordacity and courage. Because of his frankness and critique he faced the animus and hate of the Athenians before winning their appreciation. He was not attached to one kind of philosophy but he mixed different philosophies. He was familiar with Socrates but in the lifestyle he followed Sinopeas. He was simple with no evidence of arrogance, he involved himself in political matters and he didn't adopt the ironic attitude of Socrates. He was also extremely polite and his interlocutors had never considered him as rude. They even appreciated his reasoning and felt more happy and optimistic about the future. In addition, he was very calm and nobody saw him being angry, frustrated or deranged. He was hard on mistakes but he was forgiving the people who committed those mistakes because he believed that is natural for somebody to make mistakes. He was also trying to bring all the sibling species together. He was trying to promote the peace between couples and make civilians serve their country with modesty. He considered friendship to be the utmost good for people and tried to be a friend with everybody. The only thing that made him sad was the disease or death of a friend.
Dimonax the Cypriot lived in an era where Athens, which was under the Roman rule, was the most significant highbrowed centre not only of Hellenism and but of Western Civilisation, too. The "Golden Century" was already a distant recollection and the bad Roman influences began to intrude. It is mentioned that the Athenians were planning to begin gladiator fights but they were averted from Dimonax. In the meantime, Athens was still living by the warm reflection of its own ancient highbrowed luster, which was transmitted to the West. It was not easy for Dimonax to make a career in a place where the great presence of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Zenon and many others was more than evident. Taking into account the presence of the above philosophers and the fact that Dimonax was a foreigner, he achieved not only to make his presence evident but also to establish himself among the greatest.
A well-known writer and sophist, Loukianos Samosatefs, is the only resource for Dimonax. Loukianos settled in Athens at 165 AD at the age of 45 where he met the well-established and known philosopher Dimonax. Among others, Loukianos wrote a relatively brief text with the title: "Dimonax Life". On the contrary, this is not the biography of the Cypriot philosopher but rather a collection of his anecdotes (jokes) and aphorisms. The whole personality of the Cypriot philosopher, his way of living, his courage against life and death, his frankness and his beliefs emerge from this collection. Loukianos' synthesis presents the persona of Dimonax, one of the major Cynical philosophers of the 1st-2nd century AD, an era where there was a revival of Cynicism and increment of its supporters.
Dimonax was motivated by his love for philosophy and for higher values. He contemned everything that people consider as valuable goods and established himself free and spent his life living in a right, healthy and unexceptionable way. Thus, he was the right example of correct judgement and the truthfulness of his philosophy.