Anabasis of Cyrus

ISBN-10: 0801489997

ISBN-13: 9780801489990

Edition: 2008

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Description:

One of the foundational works of military and political history, and an inspiration for Alexander the Great, the Anabasis of Cyrus recounts the epic story of the Ten Thousand, a band of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger to overthrow his brother, Artaxerxes, king of Persia and the most powerful man on earth. It shows how Cyrus' army was assembled covertly and led from the coast of Asia Minor all the way to Babylon; how the Greeks held the field against a superior Persian force; how Cyrus was killed, leaving the Greeks stranded deep within enemy territory; and how many of them overcame countless dangers and found their way back to Greece. Their remarkable success was due especially to the wily and decisive leadership of Xenophon himself, a student of Socrates who had joined the Ten Thousand and, after most of the Greek generals had been murdered, rallied the despondent Greeks, won a position of leadership, and guided them wisely through myriad obstacles.In this new translation of the Anabasis of Cyrus, Wayne Ambler achieves a masterful combination of liveliness and a fidelity to the original uncommon in other versions. Accompanying Ambler's translation is a penetrating interpretive essay by Eric Buzzetti, one that shows Xenophon to be an author who wove a philosophic narrative into his dramatic tale. The translation and interpretive essay encourage renewed study of the Anabasis of Cyrus as a work of political philosophy. They also celebrate its high adventure and its hero's adroit decision-making under the most pressing circumstances.
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Book details

List price: $18.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 1/3/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Xenophon's life and personality is better known to us, perhaps, than that of any other Greek who lived before Alexander the Great. Much of his considerable output of historical writing and essays is frankly or implicitly autobiographical. He reveals himself as one of those many Athenians and other Greeks who turned to autocratic political models, including admiration of Persia, after the excesses of the Athenian democracy led to disaster in the Peloponnesian War. He also reveals himself as much more than a literary man and a critic of his times. A gentleman adventurer and something of a professional soldier, he followed in turn the philosopher Socrates, the Persian prince Cyrus the Younger, and the Spartan king Agesilaus, all of whom he wrote about with an air of close personal knowledge. His works include the autobiographical Anabasis, an account of his service with a mercenary Greek army that marched from Mesopotamia to the Black Sea after the defeat and death of the younger Cyrus. It provides the most detailed single perspective on the military practices and military mentality of Xenophon's age. His Hellenica, by contrast, is an impersonal continuation to the end of the Peloponnesian War of the work of Thucydides and a patchy memoir that concentrates on Sparta's fortunes until the definitive end of its power in 362 b.c. Xenophon's other major works are the Cyropaedia and the rambling Socratic dialogues known as the Memorabilia. The Cyropaedia is a fictional idealization of the career of Cyrus the Great, the only great conqueror known to the Greeks before Alexander. Often regarded merely as a novel, it is a species of a priori historical reconstruction. A retrojection of the military science and political values of the day into a largely unknown Persia of the past, it is intended to explain Cyrus's success on rational principles. The Memorabilia and the Socratic Apology that comes down with them contain nothing of philosophical value but are thought by some scholars to offer a possible corrective to Plato's altogether too Platonic Socrates. Xenophon had a conventional and second-rate mind, but he is a valuable resource because of his mediocrity. He enables us to make contact with an ordinary intellect from a world that often seems dominated by geniuses.

Translator's Preface
Introduction: The Political Life and the Socratic Education
Chapters 1-10
Chapters 1-6
Chapters 1-5
Chapters 1-8
Chapters 1-8
Chapters 1-6
Chapters 1-8
Geographical Note
Historical Note
Glossary
Notes
Index
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