Story 93: Alexander And Diogenes

Alexander, the Macedonian king, was chosen as a commander-in-chief of Greece to lead the army against Iran; people from all walks of society came to congratulate him. But Diogenes, the famous wise man of Greece, who was living in Corinth, did not pay the least attention towards him.

Alexander went personally to see him. Counted as one of the Greek wise man, whose slogan was the sobriety, magnanimity, independence and moderation in life, Diogenes was lying on the ground under the bright day sunshine.

Finding out that a numerous group of people were coming towards him, he rose a little and fixed his eyes on Alexander who was advancing with ostentation. He did not differentiate him from an ordinary person coming to see him while respecting the mottos and principles of magnanimity and freedom. Alexander saluted him and asked if he had any type of request.

Diogenes replied: "I have only one request from you, that is, I was benefiting the bright sunlight, and you came and prevented me from the same, so please move a little bit on the other side!"

These words seemed very silly and insignificant in the eyes of Alexander's accompanists. They thought how foolish the man was for not having benefited from such a big chance!

But Alexander, who felt in contempt before the magnanimity of temper and loftiness of nature of Diogenes, was immersed in thought.

After making his way, he said to his accompanists who were mocking the philosopher: "As a matter of fact, if I were not Alexander, I would have desired to be Diogenes."1

  • 1. “History of Science” Author: George Sarten. Translated by Ahmad Aram, p. 525.