Een ondeugende Diogenes | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 52, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



In the corpus of apocryphal Cynic letters those attributed to Diogenes stand out: they form the bulk of the letters and they are the most humorous. This corresponds with representations of him as a provocateur elsewhere in imperial Greek literature. This article focuses on the topic of sex in Diogenes’ letters, and answers two main questions: first, whether the sexual humor of the letters is more risqué than what we find in the other sources; second, how this sexual humor contributes to the overall purpose of the apocryphal Diogenes letters. I suggest that even though in the letters euphemistic language persists, they treat the Diogenes anecdotes about sex in greater detail than anywhere else. The provocative, risqué humor contained in these anecdotes would serve to entice and entertain audiences in order to get them engaged in Cynic philosophy.


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