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The historian, son of the Athenian Gryllus, born about 431 B.C. He was one of the most trusted disciples of Socrates. On the invitation of his friend, the Theban Gryllus, he betook himself in 401 to Sardis, in order to make the acquaintance of the younger Cyrus, and attached himself without any definite military rank to the Greek mercenaries, who formed the most important part of the force led by that Persian prince against his brother, king Artaxerxes. When Cyrus had fallen in the battle of Cunaxa in Babylonia, and the Greek commanders had soon after been treacherously murdered by the Persians, he undertook, together with the Spartan Chirisophus, the leadership of the despairing forces of the Greeks, and effected the memorable retreat of the Ten Thousand from the heart of Mesopotamia through the high tablelands of Armenia to the coast of the Black Sea, and thence to Byzantium, in a manner as masterly as that in which he has himself described it. After he had helped the Thracian prince Seuthes to recover his paternal kingdom, he led the remainder of the army to join the Spartan commander Thimbron, who was at war with the Persian satraps of Asia Minor. Banished on this account from Athens, he remained in the Spartan service, accompanied king Agesilaus in his campaigns in Asia, then returned with him to Greece, and took part in the war against the Boeotians and Athenians, and in the battle of Coronea in 394. In gratitude for his services, the Spartans, at the conclusion of the war, gave him a country seat near Scillus, on the land which had wrested from the Eleans, not far from Olympia. He employed himself in agriculture, hunting, and the breading of horses, and composed someof his extant writings. When the Eleans, after the battle of Leuctra in 371, again took possession of Scillus, Xenophon was expelled. He then settled at Corinth, where he remained after the repeal of his sentence of banishment form Athens. In the battle of Mantinea in 362 his sons Diodorus and Gryllus fought in the Athenian army, and the former died a heroic death. Xenophon ended his life some time after the year 355, being more than eighty years of age. The principal works of Xenophon are; (1) the Anabasis, in seven books, a description, as already mentioned, of the campaign of Cyrus, and the retreat of the Ten Thousand, composed about twenty years after the events narrated, but founded on memoranda made at the time, as may be inferred from the minuteness and precision of its details. From the fact that Xenophon is always spoken of in the third person, it has been conjectured, without sufficient reason, hat the writer was really the Syracusan Themistogenes, whom Xenophon incidentally mentions as the composer of a history of the Retreat to the Sea, (2) The Hellenica, in seven books. The first two are a continuation of the history of Thucydides from 411 to the end of the Peloponnesian War; and the third is an account of the reign of the Thirty Tyrants, their overthrow, and the restoration by Thrasybulus of the democratic constitution at Athens. These are written in the form of anuals. The remaining books, in which events related to each other are grouped together, give the rest of the history of Greece down to the battle of Mantinea in 362. (3) The Cyropaedia (Gr. Karou paideia), in eight books, containing the story of the education and life of Cyrus, resting on a historical foundation of facts thrown into an idealized form. It is, in fact, a political and philosophical romance, showing how, according to Socratic principles, one who is to be a ruler must be brought up, and how he must act when on the throne. (4) The Apomnemoneumata, generally called by the Latin title, Memorabilia (Memoirs), in four books. These are reminiscences of Socrates, and are a simple and faithful delineation of his work and teaching, composed after 393 B.C. with the object of defending Socrates against the charge of impiety towards the gods, and of corrupting the youth. It seems probable that the work as preserved is an abridgment only. Shorter writings, handed down under the name of Xenophon, but the genuineness of which is partly suspected, are (5) the Agesilaus, a panegyric on Agesilaus II, king of Sparta, written soon after the king's death (361). (6) The Apology of Socrates. (7) The Symposium (banquet), an extremely interesting description of a banquet, at which Socrates sets forth his views on beauty and love. This was the model of similar narratives by later writers, especially of the Symposium of Plato. (8) The OEconomicus (on domestic economy), the most considerable of the smaller works, and a continuation in some measure of the Memorabilia. It is a discourse of Socrates on the management of a household, especially on husbandry. (9) Hieron, a dialogue between the poet Simonides and Hieron, tyrant of Syracuse, on the burden of responsibility that weighs on the possessor of royal power, and on the happiness caused by wisely administering it. (10) De Republica Lacedoemoniorum (On the Spartan Constitution), a glorification of Sparta written soon after the battle of Coronea (394). (11) De Vectigalibus (On the Revenues), composed after the conclusion of the Social War, and therefore, if genuine, in the last years of Xenophon's life, containing suggestions to the Athenians for the improvement of their revenue, without oppressing the allies. (12) Hipparchicus (Directions for an Athenian Commander of Cavalry in War and Peace), apparently written shortly before the battle of Mantinea in 362, (13) De Re Equestri (On the Management of the Horse), written for his youthful friends, with a considerable degree of completeness, and much practical knowledge of the subject. (14) The Cynegeticus (On the Chase); judging by its lively, spirited tone, one of his earliest works. A number of letters are ascribed to him, which are undoubtedly spurious. The same must be said of the De Republica Atheniensium (On the Athenian Constitution), which was apparently composed before B.C. 424 by an Athenian of oligarchical views. His style, like the man himself, is plain and simple, at times even insipid; it was exceedingly admired by the ancients on account of its natural charm. His Greek is certainly not the purest Attic; but, apparently on account of his long sojourn abroad, is frequetly mixed with poetical and dialectical words and forms. The Cyropaedia, the OEconomicus, and the Symposium are the most carefully elaborated of his writings. His practical and unimaginative nature shows itself also in the style of his historical and philosophical books. In the latter he appears throughout as a moralist, with no talent for speculation. The former are entirely destitute of any grand leading idea, or any insight into the underlying connexion of events. They deal for the most part with what has a practical interest only. His preference for the Spartan character, which entirely controls his representation of the contemporary history of Greece in the Hellenica, is also characteristic of the man.
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