...when the trumpet sounded, they advanced arms and charged. And then, as they went on faster and faster, at length with a shout the troops broke into a run of their own accord, in the direction of the camp. As for the barbarians, they were terribly frightened; the Cilician queen took to flight in her carriage, and the people in the market left their wares behind and took to their heels; while the Greeks with a roar of laughter came up to their camp. Now the Cilician queen was filled with admiration at beholding the brilliant appearance and the order of the Greek army (Phalanx); and Cyrus was delighted to see the terror with which the Greeks inspired the barbarians. Xenophon, Anabasis


One day Socrates met a young man in Athens. "Where can bread be found?" asked the philosopher. The young man responded with a nice voice. "And where can wine be found?" asked Socrates. With the same pleasant manner the young man told Socrates where to get wine. "And where can the good and the noble be found?" asked then Socrates. The young man was puzzled and unable to answer. "Follow me and learn," said the philosopher. The young man who was Xenophon obeyed and from that time forward was the pupil and friend of Socrates. Xenophon (Ξενοφών)(c. 431/28 - c. 355/4 BC) son of Gryllos and Diodora, whose name means "strange sound" or "guest voice", was an Athenian knight is known for his writings on Hellenic culture.

He left Athens around 401 BC and returned back around 366/65. While a young man, Xenophon participated in the expedition led by Cyrus the Younger against his older brother, the emperor Artaxerxes II of Persia. Cyrus hoped to depose his brother and gain the throne, but did not tell his mercenaries of this true goal of the expedition. A battle took place at Cunaxa, where the Greeks were victorious but Cyrus was killed, and shortly thereafter their general, Clearchus of Sparta, was captured and executed. The mercenaries found themselves deep in hostile territory, far from the sea, and without leadership. They elected new leaders, including Xenophon himself, who led them north through Armenia and back to Greece. Xenophon's record of this expedition and the journey home was titled Anabasis ("Expedition" or "The March Up Country" which carries in Greek the same connotation it does in English).

Afterwards, Xenophon retired to Athens, but finding the city to be unfriendly, rejoined his comrades and helped the Spartans against Persia. When Athens allied with Persia against Sparta, he was banished, and spent the next few decades at Scillus, where his Anabasis was composed. Later the banishment was revoked, and Xenophon spent his last years at Athens. His date of death is uncertain; it is known only that he survived his patron Agesilaus, for whom he wrote an encomium. He had 2 children Diodoros and Gryllos who died in 362 in the Mantineia battle, Xenophon after the news of the death of his son: “I knew that he was mortal”. The Anabasis maybe was a reason that Alexander considered that it was possible to conquer the Persian Empire.

List of Works


(description mainly from 11th edition, Encyclopedia Britannica)

books (chapters)

The Anabasis , Kurou anabasis

In 401, being invited by his friend Proxenus to join the expedition of the younger Cyrus against his brother, Artaxerxes II. of Persia, he at once accepted the offer. It held out the prospect of riches and honor, while he was little likely to find favor in democratic Athens, where the knights were regarded with suspicion as having supported the Thirty. At the suggestion of Socrates, Xenophon went to Delphi to consult the oracle; but his mind was already made up, and he at once proceeded to Sardis, the place of rendezvous. Of the expedition itself he has given a full and detailed account in his Anabasis, or the "Up-Country March." After the battle of Cunaxa (401), in which Cyrus lost his life, the officers in command of the Greeks were treacherously murdered by the Persian satrap, Tissaphernes, with whom they were negotiating an armistice with a view to a safe return. The army was now in the heart of an unknown country, more than a thousand miles from home and in the presence of a troublesome enemy. It was decided to march northwards up the Tigris valley and make for the shores of the Euxine, on which there were several Greek colonies. Xenophon became the leading spirit of the army; he was elected an officer, and he it was who mainly directed the retreat. Part of the way lay through the wilds of Kurdistan, where they had to encounter the harassing guerrilla attacks of savage mountain tribes, and part through the highlands of Armenia and Georgia. After a five months' march they reached Trapezus [Trebizond on the Euxine (February 400), where a tendency to demoralization began to show itself, and even Xenophon almost lost his control over the soldiery. At Cotyora he aspired to found a new colony; but the idea, not being unanimously accepted, was abandoned, and ultimately Xenophon with his Greeks arrived at Chrysopolis [Scutari] on the Bosporus, opposite Byzantium.


The Hellenica

written at Corinth, after 362, is the only contemporary account of the period covered by it (411-362) that has come down to us. It consists of two distinct parts; books i. and ii., which are intended to form a continuation of the work of Thucydides, and bring the history down to the fall of the Thirty, and books iiivi., the Hellenica proper, which deal with the period from 401 to 362, and give the history of the Spartan and Theban hegemonies, down to the death of Epaminondas. There is, however, no ground for the view that these two parts were written and published as separate works. There is probably no justification for the charge of deliberate falsification. It must be admitted, however, that he had strong political prejudices, and that these prejudices have influenced his narrative.
He was a partisan of the reactionary movement which triumphed after the fall of Athens; Sparta is his ideal, and Agesilaus his hero. At the same time, he was a believer in a divine overruling providence. He is compelled, therefore, to see in the fail of Sparta the punishment inflicted by heaven on the treacherous policy which had prompted the seizure of the Cadmea and the raid of Sphodrias. Hardly less serious defects than his political bias are his omissions, his want of the sense of proportion and his failure to grasp the meaning of historical criticism. The most that can be said in his favor is that as a witness he is at once honest and well- informed. For this period of Greek history he is, at any rate, an indispensable witness.


The Cyropaedia

a political and philosophical romance, which describes the boyhood and training of Cyrus, hardly answers to its name, being for the most part an account of the beginnings of the Persian empire and of the victorious career of Cyrus its founder. The Cyropaedia contains in fact the author's own ideas of training and education, as derived conjointly from the teachings of Socrates and his favorite Spartan institutions. It was said to have been written in opposition to the Republic of Plato. A distinct moral purpose, to which literal truth is sacrificed, runs through the work. For instance, Cyrus is represented as dying peacefully in his bed, whereas, according to Herodotus, he fell in a campaign against the Massagetae.


The Memorabilia, “Apomnemoneumata

or " Recollections of Socrates," was written to defend Socrates against the charges of impiety and corrupting the youth, repeated after his death by the sophist Polycrates. The work is not a literary masterpiece; it lacks coherence and unify, and the picture it gives of Socrates fails to do him justice. Still, as far as it goes, it no doubt faithfully describes the philosopher's manner of life and style of conversation. It was the moral and practical side of Socrates's teaching which most interested Xenophon; into his abstruse metaphysical speculations he seems to have made no attempt to enter: for these indeed he had neither taste nor genius. Moving within a limited range of ideas, he doubtless gives us considerably less than the real Socrates, while Plato gives us something more." It is probable that the work in its present form is an abridgment. Xenophon has left several minor works, some of which are very interesting and give an insight into the home life of the Greeks.


The Symposium

or " Banquet," to some extent the complement of the Memorabilia, is a brilliant little dialogue in which Socrates is the prominent figure. He is represented as "improving the occasion," which is that of a lively Athenian supper-party, at which there is much drinking, with flute-playing, and a dancing-girl from Syracuse, who amuses the guests with the feats of a professional conjuror. Socrates's table-talk runs through a variety of topics, and winds up with a philosophical disquisition on the superiority of true heavenly love to its earthly or sensual counterfeit, and with an earnest exhortation to one of the party, who had just won a victory in the public games, to lead a noble life and do his duty to his country.


The Economist

(to some extent a continuation of the Memorabilia, and sometimes regarded as the fifth book of the same) deals with the management of the house and of the farm, and presents a pleasant and amusing picture of the Greek wife and of her home duties. There are some good practical remarks on matrimony and on the respective duties of husband and wife. The treatise, which is in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and a certain Ischomachus, was translated into Latin by Cicero.



On Horsemanship

(Hipparchicus) and hunting (Cynegeticus), Xenophon deals with matters of which he had a thorough practical knowledge. In the first he gives rules how to choose a horse, and then tells how it is to be groomed and ridden and generally managed


The Sportsman

(The Cynegeticus) deals chiefly with the hare, though the author speaks also of boar-hunting and describes the hounds, tells how they are to be bred and trained, and gives specimens of suitable names for them. On all this he writes with the zest of an enthusiastic sportsman, and he observes that those nations whose upper classes have a taste for field-sports will be most likely to be successful in war.


The Cavalry General

explains the duties of a cavalry officer; it is not, according to our ideas, a very scientific treatise, showing that the art of war was but very imperfectly developed and that the military operations of the Greeks were on a somewhat petty scale. He dwells at some length on the moral qualities which go to the making of a good cavalry officer, and hints very plainly that there must be strict attention to religious duties.


The Apology

Socrates's defense before his judges, is rather a feeble production, and in the general opinion of modern critics is not a genuine work of Xenophon, but belongs to a much later period.


On Revenues

(written in 355) Xenophon offers suggestions for making Athens less dependent on tribute received from its allies. Above all, he would have Athens use its influence for the maintenance of peace in the Greek world and for the settlement of questions by diplomacy, the temple at Delphi being for this purpose an independent center and supplying a divine sanction.


The Hiero

The Hiero works out the line of thought indicated in the story of the Sword of Damocles. It is a protest against the notion that the "tyrant" is a man to be envied, as having more abundant means of happiness than a private person. This is one of the most pleasing of his minor works; it is cast into the form of a dialogue between Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, and the lyric poet Simonides.


The Agesilaus

an eulogy of the Spartan king Agesilaus II, who had two special merits in Xenophon's eyes: he was a rigid disciplinarian, and he was particularly attentive to all religious observances. We have a summary of his virtues rather than a good and striking picture of the man himself.


The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians

written with a decided bias in favor of the former, which he praises without attempting to criticize. Sparta seems to have represented to Xenophon the best conceivable mixture of monarchy and aristocracy. The second book is certainly not by Xenophon, but was probably written by a member of the oligarchical party shortly after the beginning of the Peloponnesian War.


Michael Curtis Ford, Ten Thousand: A Novel of Ancient Greece , Thomas Dunne Books; 1st ed edition (July 13, 2001)

Ancient History Sourcebook: Xenophon: Anabasis, or March Up Country (with some comments)

Perseus Lookup Text

  • Agesilaus
  • Anabasis
  • Apology
  • On the Cavalry Commander
  • Constitution of the Lacedaimonians
  • Cyropaedia
  • Economics
  • Hellenica
  • Hiero
  • On the Art of Horsemanship
  • On Hunting
  • Memorabilia
  • Symposium
  • Ways and Means

The retreat of the ten thousand , Carl Witt

Ancient Greeks

Ancient Greeks Portraits


A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M -
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Ancient Greece

Science, Technology , Medicine , Warfare, , Biographies , Life , Cities/Places/Maps , Arts , Literature , Philosophy ,Olympics, Mythology , History , Images

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Science, Technology, Arts, , Warfare , Literature, Biographies, Icons, History

Modern Greece

Cities, Islands, Regions, Fauna/Flora ,Biographies , History , Warfare, Science/Technology, Literature, Music , Arts , Film/Actors , Sport , Fashion



Greek-Library - Scientific Library

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License





Hellenica World