Posted on 24th December 2020
Xenophon was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary and student of Socrates. He was known for writing about the history of his own lifetime; in fact, all we know about him is from his own writings.
He was born around 430BC, near Athens to a wealthy equestrian family. Little is known about him until 401BC, when he joined the army of the Persian Prince, Cyrus the Younger in his failed campaign to take the Persian throne from his older brother King Artaxerxes II.
Xenophon’s work, Anabasis, is the record of the entire expedition while with Cyrus’ army.
Cyrus was killed at the Battle of Cunaxa and following this, at a peace conference, 5 generals were betrayed and executed; this left the mercenaries without leadership.
Xenophon was elected to be one of the new leaders, and he led the remaining mercenaries, known as the Ten Thousand, back to Greece.
Xenophon was then recruited into the Spartan army under General Thibron; this service in the army related to the final episode of the Anabasis.
In later life, in Greece, Xenophon fought under Spartan King Agesilaus II at the Battle of Coronea in 394BC. Fighting for the Spartans against his homeland caused him to be banished from Athens. This may or may not have been revoked following his son’s death while fighting for Athens at the Battle of Mantinea.
Xenophon continued to have a close association with the Spartans for the remainder of his life and he was given property by them in the small village of Scillus near Olympia.
He died around 354BC either in Athens or Corinth.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Greece
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