Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Long March: Xenophon and the Ten Thousand

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Long March: Xenophon and the Ten Thousand

Article excerpt

The Long March: Xenophon and the Ten Thousand, edited by Robin Lane Fox. Yale, December 2004. $45

Robin Fox has performed an important service in focusing the considerations of a dozen leading scholars (including himself) on a wide range of interesting aspects of Xenophon's famous work. These include the social, political, and geographic run-up to the disaster at Cunaxa, the route and timing of the ensuing "Long March," and the social and political aspects of the Achmaenid Empire and other regions and peoples encountered by the ten thousand. Close consideration is given to the reasons that Xenophon wrote this work. Comparison with the sad remains of other contemporary sources (and their echoes in later works) shows us what he chose to say, what he omitted and what he may have distorted. Particularly interesting chapters consider what can be learned in Xenophon about Greek politics during and after the time of the march, as well as to religion and piety, and Greek ideas concerning gender, sexual appetites and practices. The Ten Thousand receive a careful inspection as a fighting force and as a moving polis. The sociopolitical evolution of Greece and Grecians during this critical epoch, from internecine war to pan-Hellenism, is frequently touched upon. Scarcely any available source has been overlooked, from ancient times to the present, including post Xenophontic travel writers down to modern times, even the novelist Rose Macauley. …

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