Xenophon, Cyropaedia, Volume I

LCL 51: vi-vii

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Xenophon, the son of a knightly family of Athens—general, historian, philosopher, essayist—was born probably about 429 b.c. But there is a story, not very well authenticated, that his life was saved by Socrates in the battle of Delium (424 b.c.), and that this marked the beginning of his attachment to his great master. If this story be true, the date of his birth can hardly be placed later than 444 b.c.

Our chief interest in his career centres about his participation in the Expedition of the Younger Cyrus (401 b.c.); the Anabasis, his own account of that brilliant failure, gives him his chief claim to a high place among the great names in historical literature; and his successful conduct of the Retreat of the Ten Thousand gives him his high rank among the world’s great generals and tacticians.

When he arrived once more in a land of Hellenic civilization, he found that his revered master Socrates had been put to death by his purblind countrymen, that the knights, to whose order he belonged, were in great disfavour, that there was no tie left to bind him to his home; and so, with the remnant of the