BIONBorysthenes, 3rd century B.C.
Diogenes Laertius gives us details about his life. As the same Bion told King Antigonus, he came from the region that stretched along the river Borysthenes. His father was a free trachopolis (salted fish merchant) and was sold as a slave along with his entire family for violating customs regulations. The buyer was an orator, who took such a liking to Bion that he made him heir to his fortune.
After the death of his master, Bion sold the inheritance and settled in Athens. Originally a listener of the philosopher Crates, of the Platonic Academy, he joined the school of the Cynics and took the emblems of the Cynic philosopher, the tribone and pera. A little later he left the Cynics and became a listener of Theodorus Atheos, of the Cyrenaic school. But he left him too and became a listener of Theophrastus. According to Diogenes Laertius, Bion taught Philosophy for a time in Rhodes. But usually he passed through various cities giving lectures that were impressive.
He was never a systematic philosopher: he mocked Philosophy, Music and Geometry. He liked to satirize everything with his witticisms, and in this respect he is considered a precursor of Lucian. Combining the ideas he gained from studying the Cynics and the Cyrenaics, he presented a kind of Cynic-hedonistic philosophy. According to the doctrine of moral behavior that he taught, man should enjoy all kinds of pleasure, when the circumstances of life allow him, but also deal with the needs of life with diligence and austerity. Because he used a flowery and varied style, Eratosthenes said of him that he was the first to clothe Philosophy in a flowery dress. With Bion, a new philological genre was cultivated, the Dissertation, composition of rhetoric and dialogue, which he taught through indulgence.