Doubtless, at the first founding of the school Zeno himself and Zeno's pupils were inspired with this hope; they emulated the Cynics Antisthenes and Diogenes, who never shrank out of modesty from the name and its responsibilities.
Like the Cynics and the Cyrenaics, Euclides started from the Socratic principle that virtue is knowledge.
The extreme nominalism of some of the Cynics also, who denied the possibility of any but identical judgments, must be similarly regarded as a solvent of knowledge.
It is probable that these later Cynics adapted themselves somewhat to the times in which they lived and avoided the crude extravagance of Diogenes and others.
Now, however effective against Plato's contemporary Cynics or Atomists, the reasoning is thrown away upon the Stoics, who take boldly the one horn of this dilemma.
Whichever of these explanations is correct, it is noticeable that the Cynics agreed in taking a dog as their common badge or symbol (see Diogenes).
That Plato was not careful to distinguish the Megarians and the Cynics from the eristical sophists, and that the disputants of the 4th century affected some of the mannerisms of the greatest disputant of the 5th century, he willingly concedes.
The leading earlier Cynics were Antisthenes, Diogenes of Sinope, Crates of Thebes, and Zeno; in the later Roman period, the chief names are Demetrius (the friend of Seneca), Oenomaus and Demonax.
As a disciple of the Cynics he must have started.
The Greek Cynics (see Cynics) played a great part in the history of Asceticism, and they were so much the precursors of the Christian hermits that descriptions of them in profane literature have been mistaken for pictures of early monasticism.