Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why a Stoa?

The opposing philosophical school to the Epicureans was the Stoics. Why then did Diogenes decide to expose his great work to public view in that favorite venue of his philosophical opponents?

Martin Ferguson Smith opines that" "the fact that Diogenes, an Epicurean, decided to have his work inscribed in a stoa must have greatly amused his contemporaries. But, although Diogenes, whose work is not without touches of humour, no doubt shared their amusement, he may have had a serious propagandist motive in choosing the stoa; for, although he must have decided upon it primarily because it just happened to contain the wall (or walls) best suited for the carving of the inscription, being spacious and in a public place, it is possible that his choice was influenced partly by a desire to emphasise the anti-Stoic character of his work by having it inscribed in a building of the same kind as that in which Zeno and his successors taught and from which their school derived its name: his verbal attacks on his chief philosophical opponents might seem all the more stinging and effective for being made almost literally on the Stoics' own ground. Moreover, he must have foreseen that news of an Epicurean stoa would spread far and wide, and that many ξενοι would thus be attracted to Oenoanda to see and read his work".

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