Xenophon was a Greek historian and philosopher who lived in the ancient world. He was a fourth-century B.C. Greek author who wrote about life in ancient Greece. He was a contemporary of Socrates, the great philosopher whom he admired greatly. He is credited with preserving Socratic dialogues and biographies of his life, despite the fact that Socrates never preserved anything. As a young man, Xenophon served in the army of Cyrus the Younger and chronicled his experiences in his ‘Anabasis,’ which is still read today. He was a free-spirited and adventurous individual who lacked allegiance to any particular nation. He later joined the Spartan army, much to the chagrin of the Athenians, for which he was exiled from Athens. He settled in Scillus and created a large body of work, the majority of which has survived to the present day. He was a free thinker, and his works are notable for their originality. He was one of the first philosophers to propose that a god or gods created the world. Additionally, his works are renowned for their non-technical and autobiographical nature. Due to the sweetness of his diction, Xenophon was dubbed the ‘Attic Muse.’ He had a great deal of compassion for animals and advocated for the humane treatment of horses.
Childhood & Adolescence
Xenophon was born in Athens to Gryllus. Although the precise date of his birth is unknown, it is generally accepted that he was born around 430 BC.
He was born into an upper-class family and benefited from certain privileges reserved for aristocrats in his era.
Later Decades of Xenophon
In 401 BC, he joined Cyrus the Younger’s expedition against his elder brother, Persia’s King Artaxerxes II. The two armies clashed in what became known as the Battle of Cunaxa, which resulted in Cyrus’ death.
He was chosen as one of the generals who would lead Cyrus’s army following his death. Xenophon and the other generals fought their way back to Greece through the Persians and Medes during the retreat along the Tigris.
Xenophon and his troops aided in the ascension of Seuthes II to the throne of Thrace. He was invited to join the Spartan general Thibron’s army during the Lacedaemonians’ war with Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus.
He led an expedition into the Caicus with his troops, plundering the home of a Persian named Asidates. Xenophon’s troops seized all moveable property, women, and children, as well as the Persian.
He joined the Spartans and was closely associated with senior Spartans, particularly during King Agesilaus II’s reign.
He fought alongside the Spartans in their battle against the Athenians at Coronea. As a result, he was exiled from Athens.
He later settled at Scillus in Elis, near Olympia, in his later years. He wrote the majority of his works in his later years.
His work ‘Anabasis,’ literally ‘going up,’ details Cyrus the Younger’s expedition and subsequent retreat. Seven books comprised the ‘Anabasis.’
In the early fourth century BC, he authored a biography of Cyrus the Great titled ‘Cyropaedia.’ Given that Xenophon was not a contemporary of Cyrus the Great, it is believed that he drew his information from pre-existing sources.
He wrote the ‘Hellenica,’ a collection of seven books that covered the final years of the Peloponnesian War. This work is regarded as a personal endeavor intended for distribution among his friends.
In the collection ‘Memorabilia,’ he recorded a series of Socrates dialogues. The work is primarily an apologia for Socrates, in which he defends himself.
He is the author of the ‘Oeconomicus,’ a Socratic dialogue about household management and agriculture. The book established itself as a significant source of information on ancient Athens’ household economics.
In his ‘Symposium,’ he dramatized a discussion between Socrates and his companions at a dinner hosted by Callias. It is an amusing and witty exchange between Socrates and Callias.
Along with these works, he wrote a variety of brief treatises such as ‘On Horsemanship,’ ‘The Cavalry General,’ and ‘Hunting with Dogs.’
Significant Works of Xenophon
His best-known work, ‘Anabasis,’ immortalized the great historian. Students of classical Greek have traditionally studied the work in its entirety.
His work ‘Cyropaedia’ is regarded as a political romance in which he chronicles the education of a capable ruler. During ancient times, the book was extremely popular and was a favorite of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.
‘Memorabilia’ is his most extensive and well-known collection of Socratic dialogues. It is divided into four books and contains 39 chapters. Apart from Plato, Xenophon, as a contemporary of Socrates, is a major source of information about Socrates.
Personal History and Legacies
He married Philesia and together they had children who were educated at Sparta. He had a son named Gryllus in honor of his father, who fought and died in the Battle of Mantinea for Athens. His exact date of death is unknown, but it is assumed that he died between 357 and 354 B.C.
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth is $100billion.