Xenophon by Faye Huntington

Xenophon was an Athenian who lived about four hundred and fifty years before Christ. He was a celebrated general, historian and philosopher. He was a learner at the school of Socrates, and counted as one of his most gifted disciples. The life and the teachings of the great philosopher have been given to us by the writings of Xenophon, and his sober and practical style gives a good idea of the original. Quintilian, a Roman orator and critic, says of Xenophon, "The Graces dictated his language, and the Goddess of Persuasion dwelt upon his lips."

His style is pure and sweet, and he seems to have been a man of elegant tastes and amiable disposition, as well as extensive knowledge of the world.

Perhaps his greatest exploit as a general was the leading of the Greek troops across the mountain ranges and the plains of Asia Minor. This was after the battle of Cunaxa, where the younger Cyrus was defeated and slain. Xenophon had joined this expedition against the brother of Cyrus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, with ten thousand Greek troops. After the defeat many of the Greek leaders were treacherously murdered in the Persian camp. The Greeks were almost in despair. They were two thousand miles from home, surrounded by enemies, and the only way of retreat lay across mountain ranges, deep and rapid rivers, and broad deserts. It seemed as if fatigue and starvation and the hostility of those whom they must encounter would effectually prevent their return to their native land, but Xenophon roused them from their despondency, rallied the forces, and they began the march. It was a time of great suffering, for they had literally to fight their way. But when they reached a Grecian city after untold peril, it was found that of the ten thousand led forth, eight thousand and six hundred still remained. During the latter part of his life he lived at Corinth, having been expelled from Athens. Though the decree of banishment was revoked, he never returned. His literary work was mostly performed during these later years. Of all his writings, his Anabasis has been pronounced the most remarkable. It is a work giving an account of the nations in the interior of Asia Minor, and of the Persian Empire and its government.

He died at Corinth, in his ninetieth year.