Xenophon Writes the Anabasis (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: In his landmark memoirs and travelogue, Xenophon recounted a two-year-long retreat by Greek mercenaries after fighting in the failed attempt of Cyrus the Younger to wrest control of the Persian Empire from his brother, King Artaxerxes II.
Summary of Event
While in retirement, the Athenian aristocrat Xenophon wrote his memoirs about a military campaign that made him famous in the world of ancient Greece. The book, which later became known as Kurou anabasis (Anabasis, also known as Expedition of Cyrus and March Up Country, 1623), describes one of the longest, most grueling tactical retreats in all military history. For modern historians, the book reveals a distinct evolution in Golden Age Greek military tactics and politics.
In 401 b.c.e., Xenophon, a student of Socrates, found himself under suspicion in Athens for his earlier support of the rule of the Thirty Tyrants. His home city no longer congenial, he gladly accepted an offer to become a member of a Greek mercenary force hired by the Achaemenid prince Cyrus the Younger. Cyrus was a powerful satrap (regional governor) in the northwestern Persian Empire. Apparently the victim of false accusations of treason by another leading satrap, Tissaphernes, Cyrus had been...
(The entire section is 1532 words.)
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