- The Greek philosopher Diogenes (c 400-325 B.C.) is best remembered for his idiosyncratic behavior. It was he who walked the streets of Athens during daylight hours with a lighted lantern searching for an honest man, an odd act designed to show his contempt for society. He is remembered as the man who lived in a tub, which he trundled about with him so that he would always have a place in which to sleep; hence the name of Diogenes crab, a crab that lives in another crab's empty shell. He surrendered one of his few worldly possessions to the trash heap, a wooden bowl, upon seeing a child drinking from cupped hands. Hence the Diogenes cup, cupped hands used as a drinking vessel.Diogenes was one of the most famous members of the Cynic sect, which was founded by Antisthenes, a pupil of Socrates. The Cynics subscribed to the belief that virtue was the highest good and that a virtuous life was a simple life. All excessive pleasure was to be dismissed, and selfcontrol must govern behavior. Diogenes' followers positioned themselves as the watchdogs of morality.Alexander the Great was a great admirer of Diogenes, so much so that he once said, "If I were not Alexander I would wish to be Diogenes." Diogenes, who was sunbathing at the moment, did not return the compliment. When Alexander inquired, "Is there any way I can serve you?" Diogenes replied, "Yes, you can, Sire, you can step out of my sunlight."
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.