2 Answers

  1. About the same Socrates, it is known that he was in good physical shape. The son of a stonemason/sculptor, he himself had a difficult trade in stone processing, which, of course, should testify in favor of his strength and fortress. It should also be borne in mind that he served in the army and even participated in combat operations: Plutarch (Alcib., 7) tells us that Socrates, who served in the infantry, helped out the young Alcibiades, and the latter, in turn, helped out him. In addition, he respected the art of dancing, noting the benefits that consisted in the exercise of all parts of the body (in Xenophon: Symp., 2, 16). The biography of Socrates by Diogenes Laertius is very informative in this sense: this author notes the strong health of the philosopher and reports that Socrates was able to stand without moving for a long time (Vitae phil., II, 5, 22-23).

    Well, Socrates ' student Plato, for example, was a professional wrestler in his youth, performed according to some news reports at the Isthmian Games and got his name “Plato” for his strong physique (i.e., probably his real name is Aristocles; however, this version is not the only one). The philosopher Lycon, in his native Ilium, competed in wrestling and ball games (Diog. Laert., Vitae phil., V, 4, 67); the philosopher Cleanthes, formerly a pugilist, turned to philosophy and earned his living by hard work: hauling water and baking bread (Ibid., VII, 5, 168). This is true for the Greeks, but physical development was also important for the Romans. The philosopher Seneca, in his Moral Letters, mentions that he likes cold bathing and runs with a progymnaste slave (Epist., 83, 3-5). Thus, philosophers were really strong not only in reasoning.

  2. Many ancient philosophers were also ancient Greeks, for whom physical culture was a civilizational value. The ancient Greek, who did not play any sports, did not enjoy authority in society. Therefore, it is logical that the philosophers who managed to win the attention of their contemporaries did not fall outside the cultural paradigms of that time.

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