Frankenstein Philosophy: The Trouble in Labeling Dio Chrysostom

“Frankenstein Philosophy: the Trouble in Labeling Dio Chrysostom” will focus on the idea of Dio Chrysostom not as a philosopher, but rather as a speaker who used philosophical ideas in his orations.  Past scholarship has focused almost entirely on the idea of Dio as a philosopher, when in actuality it would be much better to label him as an accomplished orator who understood the importance of different schools of thought, and had the capability to draw from them when making his own arguments.  By reevaluating Dio from this point of view, we can come to see the more utilitarian applications of philosophy that were being used by orators of the early Roman Empire, rather than a pure philosophical approach.  Most of the evidence for this argument will come from Dio’s orations, with a small amount of secondary literature used to bolster the arguments, such as The Roman World of Dio Chrysostom, Dio Chrysostom: Politics, Letters, and Philosophy, and A History of Philosophy: Volume 1.  This work will negate the idea of Dio as a true Sophist put forth by Wilhelm Schmid, or as a true Cynic as Ferdinand Dummler and Ernest Weber so labeled him, or even von Armin’s evolutionary Sophist then Cynic then Stoic model.  Instead, this paper seeks to build on the argument put forth by Giovanni Salmeri when he called Dio a political philosopher, but will take it a step further and more accurately label Dio as a philosophical and political orator.


  • Classics