Lives of the Eminent Philosophers: By Diogenes Laertius
Everyone wants to live a meaningful life. Long before our own day of self-help books offering twelve-step programs and other guides to attain happiness, the philosophers of ancient Greece explored the riddle of what makes a life worth living, producing a wide variety of ideas and examples to follow. This rich tradition was recast by Diogenes Laertius into an anthology, a miscellany of maxims and anecdotes, that generations of Western readers have consulted for edification as well as entertainment ever since the Lives of the Eminent Philosophers , first compiled in the third century AD, came to prominence in Renaissance Italy. To this day, it remains a crucial source for much of what we know about the origins and practice of philosophy in ancient Greece, covering a longer period of time and a larger number of figures-from Pythagoras and Socrates to Aristotle and Epicurus-than any other ancient source. This new edition of the Lives, in a faithful and eminently readable translation by Pamela Mensch, is the first rendering of the complete text into English in nearly a century. Lavishly illustrated with a vast array of artwork that attests to the profound impact of Diogenes on the Western imagination, this edition also includes detailed notes and a variety of newly commissioned essays by leading scholars that shed light on the work's historical and intellectual contexts as well as its rich legacy. The result is a capacious, fascinating, and charming compendium of ancient inspiration and instruction.