Of Gadara (Syria), influential Cynic writer, probably of first half of 3rd cent. bc. An untrustworthy Life (Diog. Laert. 6. 99–101) makes him a pupil of Metrocles and associates him with Boeotian Thebes. Twice referred to as spoudogeloios or satirist (Strabo 16. 2. 29; Steph. Byz., entry under ‘Gadara’), a term he might have applied to himself, he seems to have specialized in humorous moralizing; it is tempting, but perhaps dangerous, to assume that his works closely resembled those of Lucian in which he is a character. Very little is known of his work except titles, among which are: Diathekai or ‘Wills’ (parodying the wills of philosophers?); Letters Artificially Composed as if by the Gods (? cf. Lucian, Saturnalia); Nekyia or ‘Necromancy’ (presumably in the parodistic tradition of Crates and Timon, and possibly influential on Horace, Sat. 2. 5, Seneca the Younger, Apocol., and various works of Lucian; a trace of this work may survive at Diog. Laert. 6. 102); Symposium (cf. Ath. 14. 629 f); Arcesilaus (presumably Arcesilaus the head of the Academy); Diogenous prasis (‘Sale of Diogenes’) (Diog. Laert. 6. 29–30; cf. Lucian, Sale of the Philosophers). Menippus is said to have used omnigenum carmen in his works (‘Probus’ on Verg. Ecl. 6. 31, discussing Varro's Menippean Satires), and there is no reason to doubt that, in keeping with the general Cynic tradition, both quotation and parody had a prominent role; the influence of Semitic and Arabic ‘prosimetrum’ has been suggested (cf. LUCIAN). It must be stressed that ancient theory did not use ‘Menippean satire’ to denote all prosimetric forms in the loose fashion still too common in modern scholarship.
Richard L. Hunter
Subjects: Classical Studies.