Teles the Cynic

Teles the Cynic

Teles ( _el. Τέλης) of Megara, was a Cynic philosopher and teacher who lived c. 235 BCE. He wrote various discourses ("diatribes"), seven fragments of which were preserved by Stobaeus. The fragments are:
#Περὶ τοῡ δοϰεῖν ϰαὶ τοῡ εἶναι - "On Seeming and Being"
#Περὶ αὐταρκείας - "On Self-Sufficiency"
#Περὶ φυγῆς - "On Exile"
#Σύγκρασις πενίας καὶ πλούτου - "A Comparison of Poverty and Wealth"
#Περὶ τοῡ μὴ εῖναι τέλος ἡδονὴν - "On Pleasure not being the Goal of Life"
#Περὶ περιστάσεων - "On Circumstances"
#Περὶ ἀπαθείας - "On Freedom from Passion"

These are the earliest Cynic diatribes which survive, although Stobaeus' selections are themselves taken from an earlier epitome of Teles written by one Theodorus. Teles diatribes consist largely of quotations of various other philosophers such as Diogenes, Crates, Xenophon, Socrates and Stilpo. He is one of the main sources of information about his older contemporary Bion of Borysthenes.

His writings show a high regard for Cynic philosophy:

For thus the happy man (eudaimon) will also be the one beyond passion and disturbance. For whoever is in distress and pain and fear, how could he be satisfied with life, or if he is not satisfied how could he be happy? [Teles, fragment. 7, "On Freedom from Passion".]

Further reading

*O'Neil, E., "Teles: The Cynic Teacher". Scholars Press, (1977). ISBN 0-891-30092-9.


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