Xenophon.
Saturday, March 22, 2008


Xenophon—Anabasis

There is not much philosophical content in the Anabasis, or as its translated in the Penguin edition, The Persian Expedition, so my comment will be pretty short.

Xenophon takes part in an expedition that has its aim replacing Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, with his brother Cyrus. The two forces meet at Cunaxa, and the Greeks, and Cyrus win the battle, but since Cyrus is killed, lose the war. The Greeks wind up marching from Cunaxa, which is in present day Iraq, to the sea, and then westward from the sea back to Greece.

The Greeks have accumulated some extra baggage, including camp followers, pretty boys and some girls, and have to safeguard them as well. In order to travel light some of the baggage, including some of the camp followers, are left behind. The army at this point is in the same situation that Sherman’s army was at the start of a later march to the sea. They are light on provisions, and they are lightly armed. They are able to buy provisions from some towns along the way, but they are also set free to forage for food. Foraging means, in this instance, that they liberated sheep, grain, and supplies from the surrounding countryside.

Xenophon does not bog down in detail like Livy, and he is swift moving.

Next up is Aristotle, De Anima. I may also include some commentary on the Season 3 DVD of Battlestar Galactica.

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