The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Xenophon

701

XENOPHON.

Elea; and fragments of the Silloi, or satires in which he attacked the opposing views of poets and philosophers.

X§n5phon. (1) The historian, son of the Athenian Gryllus, bora about 431 b.c. He was one of the most trusted disciples of Socrates. On the invitation of his friend, the Theban Gryllus, he betook himself in 401 to Sardis, in order to make the acquain­tance of the younger Cyrus, and attached himself without any definite military rank to the Greek mercenaries, who formed the most important part of the force led by that Persian prince against his brother, king Artaxerxes. When Cyrus had fallen in the battle of Cunaxa in Babylonia, and the Greek commanders had soon after been treacherously murdered by the Persians, he undertook, together with the Spartan Chirisophus, the leadership of the despair­ing forces of the Greeks, and effected the memorable retreat of the Ten Thousand from the heart of Mesopotamia through the high tablelands of Armenia to the coast of the Black Sea, and thence to Byzantium, in a manner as masterly as that in which he has himself described it. After he had helped the Thracian prince Seuthes to recover his paternal kingdom, he led the remainder of the army to join the Spartan commander Thimbron, who was at war with the Persian satraps of Asia Minor. Banished on this account from Athens, he remained in the Spartan service, accompanied king Agesi-laus in his campaigns in Asia, then returned with him to Greece, and took part in the war against the Boeotians and Athenians, and in the battle of Cfironea in 394.

In gratitude for his services, the Spartans, at the conclusion of the war, gave him a country seat near Scillus, on the land which they had wrested from the Eleans, not far from Olympia. He employed himself in agriculture, hunting, and the breeding of horses, and composed, some of his extant writings. When the Eleans, after the battle of Leuctra in 371, again took pos­session of Scillus, Xenophon was expelled. He then settled at Corinth, where he re­mained after the repeal of his sentence of banishment from Athens. In the battle of Mantmea in 362 his sons DiSdorus and Gryllus fought in the Athenian army, and the former died a heroic death. Xenophon ended his life some time after the year 355, being more than eighty years of age.

The principal works of Xenophon are; (1) the Anabasis, in seven books, a descrip­tion, as already mentioned, of the campaign

of Cyrus, and the retreat of the Ten Thou­sand, composed about twenty years after the events narrated, but founded on memo­randa made at the time, as may be inferred from the minuteness and precision of its details. From the fact that Xenophon is always spoken of in the third person, it has been conjectured, without sufficient reason, that the writer was really the Syracusan ThemistSgenes, whom Xenophon inciden­tally mentions as the composer of a history I of the Eetreat to the Sea. (2) The Helle-nica, in seven books. The first two are a continuation of the history of Thucydides from 411 to the end of the Peloponnesiau War; and the third is an account of the reign of the Thirty Tyrants, their overthrow, and the restoration by Thrasybulus of the demo­cratic constitution at Athens. These are written in the form of annals. The remain­ing books, in which events related to each other are grouped together, give the rest of the history of Greece down to the battle of Mantinea in 362. (3) The Cyropcedla (Gr. Kurou paideia), in eight books, containing the story of the education and life of Cyrus, resting on a historical foundation of facts thrown into an idealized form. It is, in fact, a political and philosophical romance, showing how, according to Socratic prin­ciples, one who is to be a ruler must be brought up, and how he must act when on the throne. (4) The ApOmnemOneumata, generally called by the Latin title, Memo­rabilia (Memoirs), in four books. These are reminiscences of Socrates, and are a simple and faithful delineation of his work and teaching, composed after 393 b.c. with the object of defending Socrates against the charge of impiety towards the gods, and of corrupting the youth. It seems probable that the work as preserved is an abridg­ment only. Shorter writings, handed down under the name of Xenophon, but the genuineness of_ which is partly suspected, are (5) the Ac/esllaus, a panegyric on Agesilaus II, king of Sparta, written soon after the king's death (361). (6) The Apology of Socrates. (7) The Symposium (banquet), an extremely interesting descrip­tion of a banquet, at which Socrates sets forth his views on beauty and love. This was the model of similar narratives by later writers, especially of the Symposium of Plato. (8) The (EcOndmicus (on domestic economy), the most considerable of the smaller works, and a continuation in some measure of the Memorabilia. It is a dis­course of Socrates on the management of a

Pages
About | First | Index

700

701

702
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.