Xenophon

Xenophon (zĕn´əfən), c.430 BC–c.355 BC, Greek historian, b. Athens. He was one of the well-to-do young disciples of Socrates before leaving Athens to join the Greek force (the Ten Thousand) that was in the service of Cyrus the Younger of Persia. These troops served Cyrus at the disastrous battle of Cunaxa (401 BC). When Cyrus was killed, the Ten Thousand were forced to flee or surrender to the Persians. They retreated by fighting their way through an unknown and hostile land, harried by Tissaphernes. After the Greek generals had been treacherously killed by the Persians, Xenophon was chosen as one of the leaders of the heroic retreat. He tells the story in the most celebrated of his works, the Anabasis (see tr. by W. H. D. Rouse, 1947). After his return Xenophon, a great admirer of the military, disciplined, and aristocratic life of the Spartans, was in the service of Sparta. He accompanied Agesilaus II on the campaign that ended (394 BC) in victory over the Athenians and Thebans at Coronea. The Athenians passed a sentence of banishment on him. Sparta gave him an estate at Scillus in the region of Elis, where he spent years in writing. Among his works other than the Anabasis are the Hellenica, a continuation of the history of Thucydides to 362 BC; works on Socrates (Memorabilia, Oeconomicus, a dialogue between Socrates and Critobulus on managing a household and a farm; the Apology, on the death of Socrates; and the Symposium) presenting a prudent and practical picture of Socrates in contrast to Plato's philosophical portrait; a eulogy of Agesilaus; the Hieron, a dialogue on despotism, named after Hiero I of Syracuse; the Cyropaedia, a romantic and didactic account of the education of Cyrus the Great; and essays on hunting, horsemanship, the ideal cavalry officer, and the constitutional practices of Sparta.

See study by J. K. Anderson (1974).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Xenophon: Selected full-text books and articles

Socrates, Man and Myth: The Two Socratic Apologies of Xenophon By Anton-Hermann Chroust University of Notre Dame, 1957
Greek and Roman Military Writers: Selected Readings By Brian Campbell Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Includes selected readings of Xenophon in multiple chapters
FREE! The Economist of Xenophon By Alexander D. O. Wedderburn Ellis and White, 1876
The March up Country By Xenophon; W. H. D. Rouse University of Michigan Press, 1958
Librarian’s tip: A Translation of Xenophon's Anabasis
Ancient Education and Its Meaning to Us By J. F. Dobson Longmans, Green, 1932
Librarian’s tip: "Xenophon" begins on p. 73
Canons of Style in the Antonine Age: Idea-Theory in Its Literary Context By Ian Rutherford Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Part V "Xenophon: Kanon of Apheleia"
Aspects of Greek History, 750-323 BC: A Source-Based Approach By Terry Buckley Routledge, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Xenophon" begins on p. 28
A History of Greek Political Thought By T. A. Sinclair Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1952
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX Xenophon and Plato
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