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Xenophon's Biography

 
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Xenophon was born in Attica around 435 BC, the son of Gryllus, an Athenian knight. As a young man, Xenophon made the acquaintance of, and admired, Socrates.

Xenophon was a skilled soldier who saw action in several campaigns including the 401BC expedition under Cyrus against his brother Artaxerxes II, King of Persia. 10,000 Greeks had been involved in Cyrus's campaign. It proved disastrous and Xenophon proved resourceful and brave in organising a safe retreat.

Xenophon's exploits are related in his most famous book, Anabasis, which includes the famous cry 'thalassa, thalassa' when the soldiers finally saw the sea from Mount Theches.

In 396 BC Xenophon accepted service with the Spartan king, Agesilaus against the Persian Pharnabazus. Agesialus was recalled to Greece and Xenophon accompanied him at the Battle of Coronea.

It was decreed that Xenophon be exiled from Athens and his property confiscated and the Spartans provided him with an estate in Scillus near Olympia with his wife Philesia and his two sons. He spent his time writing books and engaged in country pursuits. Xenophon wrote on a variety of subjects including: military, historical, political, philosophical, and equestrian.

However Xenophon was driven our of Scilla by the break-up of the Spartan ascendancy after the Battle of Leuctra when the Eleans took over Scillus.

Some sources suggest he moved to Corinth. Xenophon died about 355 BC.



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