Ancient Greece People


The sweetest of all sounds is praise.
Xenophon, Greek historian
Xenophon, Greek historian

Xenophon was born an Athenian, the son of Gryllus. Although his birth is not recorded it is agreed by many scholars that he was born in 431 B.C1. Xenophon came from the deme of Erchia of Athens. In his early years he was a pupil of Socrates.

As a young man he participated in the military expedition by Cyrus against Artaxerxes in 401 B.C1. Xenophon recorded the details of the expedition in a book called the Anabasis which means "The Expedition" or "The march up country". In the book, Xenophon recounts how Cyrus recruited ten thousand Greek mercenaries to help his campaign. Although they won against Artaxerxes in the battle of Cunaxa, Cyrus was killed, which meant that they were leaderless. Anabasis records how they appointed new leaders, one of whom was Xenophon. It also tells of the hardships they faced trying to return home confronted by enemy armies, dealing with adverse weather and a lack of food and supplies. The Anabasis was also the first insight for the Athenians of Persian rituals, customs and culture.

Xenophon returned to Athens, although some years later he was exiled from the city. Although there is no certainty as to the cause of this exile, contributing factors would include his participation in battle against Athens at Coronea, fighting for the Spartan King Agesilaus II. The date of his death is not known.


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