XENOPHON Biography - Writers


Biography » writers » xenophon


Xenophon (431- c. 354 BC), whose name means “strange sound", was an Athenian citizen, an associate of Socrates, a Philodorian and is known for his writings on Hellenic history and culture.


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).


At some point, Xenophon was exiled from Athens, because of either his collaboration with the Thirty Tyrants, or his allegiance to Cyrus, or his later association with the Spartan general Agesilaus. The Spartans gave him property at Scillus, near Olympia, where his Anabasis was composed. Later the banishment was revoked, and Xenophon spent his last years at Athens, where his son Gryllus was memorialized for his valiant death at Mantinea. Xenophon is said to have died at Corinth, though he may have died in Athens, and his date of death is uncertain; it is known only that he survived his patron Agesilaus, for whom he wrote an encomium.


Xenophon is often cited as being the original Horse Whisperer, having been an advocate of sympathetic horsemanship, and the author of works on horsemanship.
List of Works


Xenophon’s writings, especially the Anabasis, are often read by beginning Greek language students. His Hellenica is the chief source for events in Greece from 411 to 362, and his Socratic writings, preserved entire, are the only surviving representatives of the genre of Sokratikoi logoi other than the dialogues of Plato.


Historical and Biographical works


Socratic works and dialogues


Short treatises
On Horsemanship
The Cavalry General
De Vectigalibus
Respublica Lacedaemoniorum
Project Gutenberg e-texts
Project Gutenberg e-texts of some of Xenophon’s works:
The Apology
The Cavalry General
The Economist
The Memorabilia
On Horsemanship
On Revenues
The Polity of the Athenians and the Lacedaemonians
The Sportsman
The Symposium