Xenophon 430 - 354 BC Greek soldier, general, and historian.
430 – 354 BC
Greek soldier, general, and historian.

Xenophon’s Anabasis would make a great Hollywood movie – equally as enthralling as 300 and way better than the piece of shyte sequel. I read it once, all in one sitting, sitting in the library at Southern Miss in 1992(ish). I must’ve been doing some research around Thucydides for history or a poli-sci class to have bumped into it (or maybe I had seen it mentioned elsewhere and sought it out, can’t remember).

Short aside about the library, I’m just old enough to have had the good misfortune to have had to do research through microfilm and fiche. While doing research, I was thumbing through the file looking for something when I came across Playboy. I remember thinking, “WTF?” So, of course, I pulled an issue along with my regular research. I suppose it was there for social science research or something because – and I know this is cliché – the article really are good. The photos don’t translate very well to silver halide though.

Back to Xenophon. What a fantastic story. Xenophon, who knew Socrates (doesn’t it sometimes seem like every Greek we know of knew Socrates or Aristotle?), joined a group of 10,000 Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus II to overthrow his brother and King of Persia, Artaxerxes II. They get to Persia and win a battlefield victory against the king. Unfortunately, for both the Greek mercenaries and especially Cyrus the Younger, Cyrus is killed in the battle.

After the Greek leaders were betrayed and executed at a “peace conference” (it’s good to be the king to get rid of your enemies), Xenophon was elected as one of three commanders. They marched from central Persia North to the Greek cities on the Black Sea (I think it was). As I write this, I think I’m going to order a copy of it and re-read it. There were some good leadership lessons mixed in with a good military history. When I was skimming Wikipedia earlier, noticed that Alexander the Great (well, crazy nutjob megalomaniac) used it as a handbook in his initial invasion of Persia.

Now. Two. More. Letters.


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