The Hellenica is Xenophon’s history of his own times. Beginning in the autumn of 411 b.c., when the author was probably about twenty years of age, it covers the events of the following fifty years, down to 362 b.c.
The Peloponnesian War, which was primarily a struggle for supremacy between Athens and Sparta but which involved the entire Greek world, began in 431 and ended in 404 b.c. The historian of this war was Thucydides, himself at one time a general on the Athenian side. Thucydides died, however, without completing his task, and it is at the point where his history breaks off that Xenophon begins. The first part of the Hellenica accordingly brings the story of the Peloponnesian War to a conclusion (411–404 b.c.); Xenophon then goes on to describe the internal disorders which ensued in Athens (404–401 b.c.); the war undertaken by the Spartans, now the undisputed “leaders of all Hellas,” against the Persian Empire (399–387 b.c.); the indecisive contest known as the Corinthian War (394–387 b.c.), in which various Greek states united in an attempt