Diagoras of Melos

in Melos, Greece
March 03, 0454

May 08, 0402




Diagoras "the Atheist" of Melos (Greek: Διαγόρας ὁ Μήλιος) was a Greek poet and sophist of the 5th century BCE.

All that's known for certain about him is that Diagoras was one of those philosophers who, like Socrates, certainly gave offence by their views concerning the worship of the national gods.

Cicero gives an example, where Diagoras was on a ship in hard weather, and the crew thought that they had brought it on themselves by taking this ungodly man on board. Diagoras then wondered if the other boats out in the same storm also had a Diagoras on board.

Athenagoras writes about Diagoras:

With reason did the Athenians adjudge Diagoras guilty of atheism, in that he not only divulged the Orphic doctrine, and published the mysteries of Eleusis a

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“A friend of Diagoras pointed out an expensive display of votive gifts and said, 'You think the gods have no care for man? Why, you can see from all these votive pictures here how many people have escaped the fury of storms at sea by praying to the gods who have brought them safe to harbor.'

To which Diagoras replied, 'Yes, indeed, but where are the pictures of all those who suffered shipwreck and perished in the waves?”
Diagoras of Melos