Reader's Encyclopedia

Xenophon (c430 - c355 bc)

Athenian writer. In 401 bc Xenophon joined the force of mercenary Greeks recruited by Cyrus the Younger for the purpose of dethroning his older brother Artaxerxes. Cyrus was killed, and Xenophon led the ten thousand Greeks through Persian territory to the Black Sea. His account of the expedition is known as the Anabasis, in which he portrays himself as the hero of the affair. Xenophon, who had a great love for Sparta, fought with the Spartans against Athenians and Thebans in 394 bc. The Athenians exiled him for this activity, and he subsequently lived in Sparta and Corinth. Among his other works, all of which seem to have survived in full, are the Hellenica, a continuation of Thucydides' history of Greece; the Memorabilia of Socrates, a popular philosophy; and the Cyropedia, a biography of Cyrus modified to suit Xenophon's didactic purpose. A famous part of the Anabasis is Xenophon's record of the Greeks crying "Thalassa, thalassa," as they caught the first glimpse of their beloved sea.

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