Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
The great King Alexander had conquered the city of Thebes and taken prisoner the beautiful and virtuous Campaspe, whom he promised to treat gently.
In Athens, at that time, was Diogenes, the ill-tempered philosopher. His servant Manes complained to the servants of Plato and Apelles, the painter, that Diogenes was a man of exceedingly frugal habits and that his servant, in consequence, often went hungry.
Also in Athens were Plato, Aristotle, and several other great philosophers whom Alexander had called to his headquarters. The great thinkers disputed the difference between divine and natural causes until Alexander came to them and asked each a difficult question about such things as animals, gods and men, life and death, and the composition of the world. After each philosopher had answered wisely, Alexander departed, satisfied with their sagacity. Then Diogenes entered and berated them for toadying to the king. Upon the entrance of Manes and his fellow servants, after the departure of the philosophers, there ensued a witty exchange between Diogenes and the servants, in which Diogenes abused them all.
During a long dialogue in the market place, Alexander admitted his love for Campaspe, at which Hephestion was horrified. While his loyal general decried love as a weakener of men, Alexander defended the passion and told Hephestion to allow him to love in peace.
Alexander, seeing Diogenes in his tub, went to him and asked if...
(The entire section is 911 words.)
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