19 However, in the face of overwhelming numbers in a campaign against the Assyrians, cyrus armed the commoners with similar arms instead of their normal light ranged armament ( Cyropaedia.1.9). Argument ensued as to how the spoils would now be split, and Cyrus enforced a meritocracy. Many homotīmoi found this unfair because their military training was no better than the commoners, only their education, and hand-to-hand combat was less a matter of skill than strength and bravery. As Johnson asserts, this passage decries imperial meritocracy and corruption, for the homotīmoi now had to sychophantize to the emperor for positions and honours; 20 from this point they were referred to as entīmoi, no longer of the "same honours" but having to be "in". On the other hand, the passage seems to be critical of democracy, or at least sympathetic to aristocrats within democracy, for the homotīmoi (aristocracy/oligarchs) are devalued upon the empowerment of the commoners ( demos ). Although empire emerges in this case, this is also a sequence of events associated with democracy. Through his dual critique of empire and democracy, xenophon subtly relates his support of oligarchy. Constitution of the Spartans edit main article: Polity of the lacedaemonians The Spartans wrote nothing about themselves, or if they did it is lost.
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17 Cyrus is idealized greatly in the narrative. Xenophon displays Cyrus as a lofty, temperate man. This is not to say that he was not a good ruler, but he is depicted as surreal and not subject to the foibles of other men. By showing that only someone who is almost beyond human could conduct such an enterprise as empire, xenophon indirectly censures notes imperial design. Thus he also reflects on the state of his own reality in an even more indirect fashion, using the example of the persians to decry the attempts at empire made by Athens and Sparta. 18 Although partially graced with hindsight, having written the cyropaedia after the downfall of Athens in the peloponnesian War, this work criticizes the Greek attempts at empire and "monarchy dooming them to failure. Against democracy edit Another passage that Johnson cites as criticism of monarchy and empire concerns the devaluation of the homotīmoi. The manner in which this occurs seems also to be a subtle jab at democracy. Homotīmoi were highly and thoroughly educated and thus became the core of the soldiery as heavy infantry. As the name homotīmoi equal or "same honours". "peers suggests, their small band (1000 when Cyrus fought the Assyrians ) shared equally in the spoils of war.
He believes that the unstable dichotomy of man and horse found in best a centaur is indicative of the unstable and unnatural alliance of Persian and Mede formulated by cyrus. 15 The persian hardiness and austerity is combined with the luxuriousness of the medes, two qualities that cannot coexist. He cites the regression of the persians directly after the death of Cyrus as a result of this instability, a union made possible only through the impeccable character of Cyrus. 16 In a further analysis of the centaur model, cyrus is likened to a centaur such as Chiron, a noble example from an ignoble race. Thus this entire paradigm seems to be a jab at the persians and an indication of Xenophons general distaste for the persians. Against empire/monarchy edit The strength of Cyrus in holding the empire together is praiseworthy according to xenophon. However, the empire began to decline upon the death of Cyrus. By this example xenophon sought to show that empires lacked stability and could only be maintained by a person of remarkable prowess, such as Cyrus.
14 In section.3 of the cyropaedia cyrus makes clear his desire to institute cavalry. He even goes so far to say that he desires that no persian kalokagathos noble and good man" literally, or simply "noble ever listing be seen on foot but always on a horse, so much so that the persians may actually seem to be centaurs (4.3.2223). Centaurs were often thought of as creatures of ill repute, paper which makes even Cyrus own advisors wary of the label. His minister Chrysantas admires the centaurs for their dual nature, but also warns that the dual nature does not allow centaurs to fully enjoy or act as either one of their aspects in full (4.3.1920). In labelling Persians as centaurs through the mouth of Cyrus, xenophon plays upon the popular post-Persian-war propagandistic paradigm of using mythological imagery to represent the Greco-persian conflict. Examples of this include the wedding of the lapiths, giantomachy, trojan War, and Amazonomachy on the parthenon frieze. Johnson reads even more deeply into the centaur label.
These show no distinction in official rank or status between the persian and Median nobility. Although Olmstead followed the consensus view that Cyrus subjugated the medes, he nevertheless wrote, "Medes were honored equally with Persians; they were employed in high office and were chosen to lead Persian armies." 12 A more extensive list of considerations related to the credibility. Both Herodotus (1.123,214) and Xenophon (1.5.1,2,4,.5.20) present Cyrus as about 40 years old when his forces captured Babylon. In the nabonidus Chronicle, there is mention of the death of the wife of the king (name not given) within a month after the capture of Babylon. 13 It has been conjectured that this was Cyruss first wife, which lends credibility to the cyropaedia s statement (8.5.19) that cyaxares ii gave his daughter in marriage to cyrus soon (but not immediately) after the fall of the city, with the kingdom of Media. When cyaxares died about two years later the median kingdom passed peaceably to cyrus, so that this would be the true beginning of the medo-persian Empire under just one monarch. Persians as centaurs edit The cyropaedia as a whole lavishes a great deal of praise on the first Persian emperor, cyrus the Great, on account of his virtue and leadership quality, and it was through his greatness that the persian Empire held together. Thus this book is normally read as a positive treatise about Cyrus. However, following the lead of leo strauss, david Johnson suggests that there is a subtle but strong layer to the book in which Xenophon conveys criticism of not only the persians but the Spartans and Athenians as well.
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A case in point involves the ancestry of Cyrus." 10 Herodotus contradicts Xenophon at several other points, most notably in the matter of Cyruss relationship with the median Kingdom. Herodotus says that Cyrus led a rebellion against his maternal grandfather, Astyages king of Media, and defeated him, thereafter (improbably) keeping Astyages in his court for the remainder of his life ( Histories.130). The medes were thus "reduced to subjection" (1.130) and became "slaves" (1.129) to the persians 20 years before the capture of Babylon in 539. The cyropaedia relates instead that Astyages died and was succeeded by his son cyaxares ii, the maternal uncle of Cyrus (1.5.2). In the initial campaign against the lydians, babylonians and their allies, the medians were led by cyaxares and the persians by cyrus, who was crown prince of the persians, since his father was still alive (4.5.17). Xenophon relates that at this time the medes were the strongest of the kingdoms that opposed the babylonians (1.5.2). There is an echo of this statement, verifying Xenophon and contradicting Herodotus, in the harran Stele, a document from the court of Nabonidus.
11 In the entry for year 14 or 15 of his reign (542-540 bc nabonidus speaks of his enemies as the kings of Egypt, the medes, and the Arabs. There is no mention of the persians, although according to herodotus and the current consensus the medians had been made "slaves" of the persians several years previously. It does not seem that Nabonidus would be completely misled about who his enemies were, or who was really in control over the medes and Persians just one to three years before his kingdom fell to their armies. Bas-reliefs of Persian soldiers together with Median soldiers are prevalent in Persepolis. The ones with rounded caps are median. Other archaeological evidence supporting Xenophons picture of a confederation of Medes and Persians, rather than a subjugation of the medes by the persians, comes from the bas-reliefs in the stairway at Persepolis.
There may have been contributory causes, such as his support for Socrates, as well as the fact that he had taken service with the persians. 5 The Spartans gave him property at Scillus, near Olympia in Elis, where he likely composed the Anabasis. 6 Because his son Gryllus fought and died for Athens at the battle of Mantinea in 362 bc, while xenophon was still alive, xenophon's banishment may have been revoked. Nevertheless, after the battle of leuctra in 371 and the end of Spartan hegemony, xenophon moved to corinth or Athens where he died, around 355 BC; 7 historians know only that he survived his patron Agesilaus ii, for whom he wrote an encomium which shared. Xenophon's politics edit xenophon has long been associated with the opposition of democracy. 8 Although Xenophon seems to prefer oligarchy, or at least the aristocracy, especially in light of his associations with Sparta, none of his works explicitly attack democracy, unless his account of democratic proceedings in the Anabasis be interpreted as anti-democracy when deliberations are intimidated.
Some scholars 9 go so far as to say his views aligned with those of the democracy in his time. However, certain works of Xenophon, in particular the cyropaedia, seem to show his oligarchic politics. This historical-fiction serves as a forum for Xenophon to subtly display his political inclinations. Cyropaedia edit relations between Medes and Persians in the cyropaedia edit xenophon wrote the cyropaedia to outline his political and moral philosophy. He did this by endowing a fictional version of the cyrus the Great, founder of the first Persian Empire, with the qualities of what Xenophon considered the ideal ruler. Historians have asked whether Xenophon's portrait of Cyrus was accurate or if Xenophon imbued Cyrus with events from Xenophon's own life. The consensus is that Cyruss career is best outlined in the histories of Herodotus. But Steven Hirsch writes, "Yet there are occasions when it can be confirmed from Oriental evidence that Xenophon is correct where herodotus is wrong or lacks information.
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Return edit The mercenaries, known as the ten Thousand, found themselves without leadership far from the sea, deep in hostile territory near the heart of Mesopotamia. They elected new leaders, including Xenophon himself, and fought their way north along the tigris through hostile persians and Medes to Trapezus on the coast of the Black sea ( plan Anabasis.8.22). They then made their way westward back to Greece via chrysopolis ( Anabasis.3.16). Once there, they helped seuthes ii make himself king of Thrace, before being recruited into the army of the Spartan general Thibron. The Spartans were at war with Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus ii, persian satraps in Anatolia, probably on account of the aforementioned treacherous slaughter of their general Clearchus. Xenophons military activity with these Spartans marks the final episodes of the Anabasis (books 67). Exile and death edit Upon his return to Greece proper, xenophon continued to associate with the Spartans and even fought under plan the Spartan king Agesilaus ii against his native athens in the battle of Coronea in 394. 4 Because of this, xenophon was exiled from Athens.
Under the pretext of fighting Tissaphernes, the persian satrap of Ionia, cyrus assembled a massive army composed of native persian soldiers, but also a large number of Greeks. Prior to waging war against Artaxerxes, cyrus proposed that the enemy was the pisidians, and so the Greeks were unaware that they were to battle against the larger army of King Artaxerxes ii ( Anabasis.1.811). At Tarsus the soldiers became aware of Cyrus's plans to depose the king, and as a result, refused to continue ( Anabasis.3.1). However, Clearchus, a spartan general, convinced banking the Greeks to continue with the expedition. The army of Cyrus met the army of Artaxerxes ii in the battle of Cunaxa. Despite effective fighting by the Greeks, cyrus was killed in the battle ( Anabasis.8.271.9.1). Shortly thereafter, Clearchus was invited to a peace conference, where, alongside four other generals and many captains, he was betrayed and executed ( Anabasis.5.3132).
as a writer, xenophon of Athens was known as the Attic Muse, for the sweetness of his diction (2.6). Contents Early years edit xenophon was born around 430 bc, near the city of Athens, to Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens. His father's family were a wealthy equestrian family. 2 The history of his youth is little attested before 401 bc, when he was convinced by his boeotian friend Proxenus ( Anabasis.1.9) to participate in the military expedition led by cyrus the younger against his elder brother, king Artaxerxes ii of Persia. Anabasis edit main article: Anabasis (Xenophon) Expedition with Cyrus edit Written years after these events, xenophon's book anabasis (Greek: νάβασις, literally "going up 3 is his record of the entire expedition of Cyrus against the persians and the Greek mercenaries journey home. Xenophon writes that he had asked the veteran Socrates for advice on whether to go with Cyrus, and that Socrates referred him to the divinely inspired Pythia. Xenophon's query to the oracle, however, was not whether or not to accept Cyrus' invitation, but "to which of the gods he must pray and do sacrifice, so that he might best accomplish his intended journey and return in safety, with good fortune". The oracle answered his question and told him to which gods to pray and sacrifice. When Xenophon returned to Athens and told Socrates of the oracle's advice, socrates chastised him for asking so disingenuous a question ( Anabasis.1.57).
Thucydides history of the peloponnesian War. As one of the, ten Thousand (Greek mercenaries xenophon also participated. Cyrus the younger 's failed campaign to claim the persian throne from his brother. Artaxerxes ii of Persia and recounted the events in, anabasis, his most notable history. Plato (427347 bc xenophon is an authority on Socrates, about whom he wrote several books of dialogues (the. Memorabilia ) and an, apology of Socrates to the jury, which recounts the philosopher's trial in 399. Despite being born an Athenian citizen, xenophon was also associated with Sparta, the traditional enemy of Athens. His pro-oligarchic politics, military service under Spartan generals, in the persian campaign and elsewhere, and his friendship with King Agesilaus ii endeared Xenophon to the Spartans. Some of his works have a proSpartan bias, especially the royal biography Agesilaus and the constitution of the Spartans.
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This article is about the ancient Greek writer Xenophon. For other people named Xenophon, see. Xenophon of Athens ( /zɛnəfən, -fɒn/ ; Greek : ξενοφν, ancient Greek: ksenopɔn, xenophōn ;. BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, historian, soldier, mercenary, and student of, socrates. 1, as a historian, xenophon is known for recording the history of his time, the late-5th and early-4th centuries bc, in such works as the. Hellenica, which covered about the final seven years and the aftermath of the. Peloponnesian War (431404 bc thus representing a thematic continuation.