Refighting Cunaxa: Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus as a manual on military leadership

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The Education of Cyrus (Cyropaedia) is a pseudo-historical biography of Cyrus II, founder of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, written by Xenophon of Athens in the fourth century BCE. Although Cyrus II was a historical figure and several events in the story are drawn from his life, many elements of the Education of Cyrus are fictional, and aspects of his personality are based on the late-fifth-century Persian prince Cyrus the Younger. This chapter examines the Education of Cyrus as both a manual outlining principles of military leadership and an implicit commentary on the generalship of Cyrus the Younger and Clearchus of Sparta, two commanders under whom Xenophon served in 401. Education of Cyrus’ Cyrus is advised to win followers through superior wisdom and to share in their suffering. The parallels between Clearchus and Education of Cyrus’ Cyrus before and during the Assyrian war are striking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGreek and Roman Military Manuals
Subtitle of host publicationGenre and History
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780429813696
ISBN (Print)9781138335141
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 selection and editorial matter, James T. Chlup and Conor Whately.


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