Xenophon and His World 3515083928, 9783515083928

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Xenophon and His World
 3515083928, 9783515083928

Table of contents :
1.1 C. J. TUPLIN – Xenophon and his World: An Introductory Review
2.1 E. BADIAN – Xenophon the Athenian
2.2 M. DREHER – Der Prozess gegen Xenophon
2.3 M. SORDI – Senofonte e la Sicilia
3.1 R. WATERFIELD – Xenophon’s Socratic Mission
3.2 F. ROSCALLA – Kalokagathia e kaloikagathoi in Senofonte
3.3 C. HINDLEY – Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s Ethical Erotics
4.1 V. AZOULAY – The Medo-Persian Ceremonial: Xenophon, Cyrus and the King’s Body
4.2 T. PETIT – Xénophon et la vassalité achéménide
5.1 S.B. POMEROY – Xenophon’s Spartan Women
5.2 N. HUMBLE – The Author, Date and Purpose of Chapter 14 of the Lakedaimoniôn Politeia
6.1 H. BOWDEN – Xenophon and the Scientific Study of Religion
6.2 R. BROCK – Xenophon’s Political Imagery
6.3 J. DILLERY – Xenophon, the Military Review and Hellenistic Pompai
6.4 R. SEVIERI – The Imperfect Hero: Xenophon’s Hiero as the (Self-)Taming of the Tyrant
7.1 J.W.I. LEE – The Lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis
7.2 V. MANFREDI – The Identification of Mount Thekes in the Itinerary of the Ten Thousand: A New Hypothesis
7.3 L. TRITLE – Xenophon’s Portrait of Clearchus: A Study in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
8.1 T. ROOD – Xenophon and Diodorus: Continuing Thucydides
8.2 J. BUCKLER – The Incident at Mt Parnassus, 395 BC
8.3 E. RUNG – Xenophon, the Oxyrhynchus Historian and the Mission of Timocrates to Greece
8.4 P. FUNKE – Sparta und die Peloponnesische Staatenwelt zu Beginn des 4. Jahrhunderts und der Doikismos von Mantineia
8.5 S. SPRAWSKI – Were Lycophron and Jason Tyrants of Pherae? Xenophon on a History of Thessaly
8.6 N. STERLING – Xenophon’s Hellenica and the Theban Hegemony
8.7 M. JEHNE – Überlegungen zu den Auslassungen in Xenophons Hellenika am Beispiel der Gründung des Zweiten Athenischen Seebunds
General Index
Selective Index of Greek Words
Index locorum

Citation preview

Christopher Tuplin (ed.)

Xenophon and his World Papers from a conference held in Liverpool in July 1999


Historia Einzelschriften - 172

Franz Steiner Verlag

Franz Steiner Verlag

Xenophon andhis World

HISTORIA Zeitschrift

für Alte Geschichte

Revue d’histoire ancienne Journal of Ancient History Rivista di storia antica

EINZELSCHRIFTEN Herausgegeben von Mortimer Chambers/Los Angeles Heinz Heinen/Trier Martin Jehne/Dresden François Paschoud/Geneve Hildegard Temporini/Tübingen

HEFT 172

Christopher Tuplin (ed.)

Xenophon and his World Papers from a conference held in Liverpool in July 1999

With contributions from V.Azoulay, E.Badian, H.Bowden, R.Brock, J.Buckler, J.Dillery, M.Dreher, P.Funke, C.Hindley, N.Humble, M.Jehne, J.W.I.Lee, V.Manfredi, T.Petit, S.B.Pomeroy, T.Rood, E.Rung, F.Roscalla, R.Sevieri, M.Sordi, S.Sprawski, N.Sterling, L.Tritle, C.J.Tuplin, R.Waterfield

Franz Steiner Verlag

DieDeutsche Bibliothek –CIP-Einheitsaufnahme Bibliografische Information derDeutschen Bibliothek DieDeutsche Bibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation inderDeutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sindimInternet über abrufbar. ISBN 3–515–08392–8

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1.1 C. J. TUPLIN Xenophon andhis World: AnIntroductory Review



2.1 E. BADIAN Xenophon theAthenian 2.2 M. DREHER DerProzess gegen Xenophon 2.3 M. SORDI Senofonte e la Sicilia 3


55 71


3.1 R. WATERFIELD Xenophon’s Socratic Mission 3.2 F. ROSCALLA Kalokagathia e kaloikagathoi in Senofonte 3.3 C. HINDLEY Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s Ethical Erotics



4.2 T. PETIT


et la vassalité


115 125




5.1 S.B. POMEROY 5.2



4.1 V. AZOULAY TheMedo-Persian Ceremonial: Xenophon, Cyrus andtheKing’s



Xenophon’s Spartan Women N. HUMBLE TheAuthor, Date andPurpose Lakedaimonion Politeia

201 of Chapter 14 of the






6.1 H. BOWDEN Xenophon andthe Scientific Study of Religion 6.2 R. BROCK Xenophon’s Political Imagery 6.3 J. DILLERY Xenophon, the Military Review andHellenistic Pompai 6.4 R. SEVIERI TheImperfect Hero: Xenophon’s Hiero asthe (Self-)Taming of the Tyrant



259 277


7.1 J.W.I. LEE TheLochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis 7.2 V. MANFREDI TheIdentification of Mount Thekes in theItinerary of theTen Thousand: A NewHypothesis 7.3 L. TRITLE Xenophon’s Portrait of Clearchus: A Study in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder



289 319



8.1 T. ROOD

Xenophon andDiodorus: Continuing Thucydides 8.2 J. BUCKLER TheIncident at MtParnassus, 395 BC 8.3 E. RUNG Xenophon, theOxyrhynchus Historian andtheMission of Timocrates to Greece 8.4 P. FUNKE Sparta unddiePeloponnesische Staatenwelt zuBeginn des 4. Jahrhunderts undderDoikismos vonMantineia 8.5 S. SPRAWSKI Were Lycophron andJason Tyrants of Pherae?


ona History of Thessaly


341 397 413



Xenophon’s Hellenica andtheTheban Hegemony


zudenAuslassungen in Xenophons Hellenika amBeispiel derGründung desZweiten Athenischen Seebunds


8.7 M. JEHNE


Indexes General Index Selective Index Index locorum

of Greek Words

481 481 511 513

PREFACE The background to this volume in the 1999 Liverpool conference onthe World of Xenophon is explained in the introductory chapter. The success of the conference wasin no small measure dueto the contribution of the staff of University of Liverpool Conference Office and of Derby andRathbone Hall, to all of whom I express myheartfelt thanks. A special debt of gratitude is owedto mycolleague Graham Oliver, both forhisimmediate andcontinuing endorsement of myinitially tentative idea of holding a Xenophon conference andfor hispractical assistance andencouragement during thewhole process. It is also a pleasure to thank theHellenic Foundation andthe Classical Association for generous grants towards the costs of the

conference. Completion of thepresent volume hastaken rather a long time andwould have taken even longer without thehelp of Barbara Hird(who produced anindex for the volume) andthe Research Committee of the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology (which provided a grant to make this possible). Even so nearly five years have passed since the conference, andI can only apologize most humbly to the contributors for the delay in bringing it to completion – and thank them most warmly for their forbearance. Christopher Tuplin












APF AnStud


Archäologischer Anzeiger Annual of the British School at Athens J. D. Beazley, Attic Black-Figure Vase-painters (Oxford, 1956) L’ antiquité classique H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg et al. (edd.), Achaemenid History I–VIII (Leiden 1987–1994) Arkhaiologikon Deltion Ancient History Bulletin Annali dell’ Istituto Orientale (Napoli) American Journal of Archaeology American Journal of Ancient History American Journal of Philology Athenische Mitteilungen Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran Ancient Society Ancient World J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton 1974) J. K. Davies, Athenian Propertied Families 600–300 BC (Oxford, 1971) Anatolian Studies Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa


Bulletin de correspondance hellénique Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Bulletin of the John Rylands Library British Museum


Classical Antiquity







Cambridge Ancient History

Classical Journal Classica et Medievalia Classical Philology Copenhagen Polis Centre Classical Quarterly Classical Review Atti del Centro: ricerche e documentazione sull’antichità classica California Studies in Classical Antiquity Classical World



Dialogi di archeologia Dialogues d’histoire ancienne H. Diels andW. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker6 (Berlin 1952).


Echos dumonde classique


F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (Berlin-Leiden, 1923-). Authors from this collection are cited by name, serial number and testimonium orfragment number, e.g. Ephorus 70 F 58





J. D. Denniston, TheGreek Particles (second ed.:


A.W.Gomme, A.Andrewes, K. J. Dover, Historical







Greece andRome

Oxford, 1954)

Greek, Roman, andByzantine Studies

cydides (Oxford 1945, 1956, 1970, 1981) Harvard Studies in Classical Philology



Iranica Antiqua Illinois Classical Studies Inscriptiones Graecae G. Thür and H. Taeuber, Prozeßrechtliche Inschriften der griechischen Poleis: Arkadien (Wien 1994)


Journal of the History of Ideas Journal of Hellenic Studies Journal of Juristic Papyrology Journal of Roman Archaeology Journal of Roman Studies Journal for the Study of the Old Testament


Les études classiques P. M. Fraser andE. Matthews (edd.), Lexicon of Greek Personal Names




Liverpool Classical Monthly

(Oxford 1987-) Lexicon Iconographiae Mythologiae Classicae H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, H. Stuart Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon [ninth edition] (Oxford 1968)


Miscellanea greco-romana Museum Helveticum R. Meiggs andD. Lewis, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the Endof the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford 1969)


Neue Jahrbücher für Philologie undPädagogik


S. Hornblower andA. Spawforth (edd.), Oxford Classical Dictionary (Ox-

ford 1996)


W.Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae (Leipzig, 1903/05)


J. Kirchner, Prosopographia Attica (Berlin 1901 [repr. 1966]) Proceedings of the British Academy Proceedings of the Classical Association Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society Parola delpassato



Quaderni di storia Quaderni urbinati di cultura classica


Revue belge


– Prague 1934) A. Pauly, G. Wissowa, W. Kroll (edd.), Real-Encyclopädie derklassischen




dephilologie et d’histoire C. B. Welles, Royal Correspondence intheHellenistic

Altertumswissenschaft (Stuttgart 1893-) Revue des études anciennes Revue des études grecques Rivista difilologia e di istruzione classica

World (NewHaven





Rheinisches Museum Rendinconti dell’ Istituto lombardo Rivista storica dell’ antichità Scripta Classica Israelitica Studi italiani difilologia classica W.Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum (third edition: Berlin


H. Bengtson, Staatsverträge desAltertums II2 (Munich 1975)



Transactions of theAmerican Philological Association M. N. Tod, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions 2 (Oxford 1948).


Vestnik Drevnej Istorij


Würzburger Jahrbücher für dieAltertumswissenschaft


Yale Classical Studies





Syllecta Classica

für Papyrologie undEpigraphik

of thenames andworks of ancient authors follow usual conventions (cf. e.g. thelists in OCD3or LSJ) and– since few, if any, truly recherché sources are cited – should occasion no

Abbreviations problems.


decades since H.R.Breitenbach’s book-length entry inRealEncyklopädie derklassischen Altertumswissenschaft IXA Xenophontic scholarship hasundergone not only a renaissance but a metamorphosis. The mere quantity of material – including some 40 monographs andcommentaries – reflects an incontestable rebirth of interest.1 Buttheaccompanying transformation of attitude is even more striking. Xenophon has always seemed vulnerable to the charge of being an amateur whopractised many trades andwassecond-rate at all of them – a heinous sinfromthestandpoint ofprofessional academics. (Eratosthenes wasfamously nicknamed beta for coming – a good – second in all the fields he practised; in these terms, Xenophon hastended implicitly to be placed somewhat lower downthe alphabet.) Yet in the last generation a series of scholars – predominantly from an Anglo-American tradition nowparticularly hostile to amateurism – has grappled withXenophon’s oeuvre and, without forswearing theright to criticize, hasconceded that its author should be taken seriously as a distinctive voice on the history, society andthought-world of the later classical (and pre-hellenistic) era. Xenophon has been the beneficiary of several independent trends in scholarship. Growing interest inthepolitical roadfromthePeloponnesian Warto Philip II, improved analysis of the peculiarities of Sparta, an ever-increasing concern with socio-economic structures, social institutions (e.g. the symposium) andissues of gender, theremarkable development inAchaemenid Persian studies andin workon



Monographs. General: Anderson 1974, Dillery 1995, Higgins 1977, Hirsch 1985, Kanellopoulos 1991, Nickel 1979, Proietti 1987, Wilms 1995. Hellenica: Canfora 1970, Gray 1989, Henry 1967, Riedinger 1991, Soulis 1972, Tuplin 1993. Cyropaedia: Due 1989, Gera 1993, MuellerGoldingen 1995, Nadon 2001, Tatum 1989. Anabasis: Briant 1995, Nussbaum 1967. Socratica: Gray 1998, Lowry et al. 1998, Strauss 1970, Strauss 1972, Taragna Novo 1967. Vander Waerdt 1994 also contains much on Xenophon’s Socrates. Commentaries have appeared on Oeconomicus (Gil 1967, Meyer 1976, Pomeroy 1994), Symposium (Huss 1999, Bowen 1998), Apology andMemorabilia (M.D.Macleod 2000), Hellenica 1.1.1–4.2.8 (Krentz 1989, 1995), Anabasis (Lendle 1995, Stronk 1995), Revenues (Bodei Giglioni 1970, Gauthier 1976), Cynegeticus (Phillips andWillcock 1999) andLakedaimonion Politeia (Rebenich 1998; Lipka 2002). One should also note additions to the Budé series (Cynegeticus [1970], Hipparchicus [1973], De Re Equestri [1978] and Cyropaedia [1971–78]). For bibliographies of Xenophon-related material see Morrison 1988, Vela Tejada 1998. – Several participants in the 1999 conference quite rightly drewspecial attention to thegreat importance of Higgins 1977 inthedevelopment of Xenophontic scholarship: it wasa special pleasure that the author, wholeft the academic profession twodecades ago, attended theconference.



the Ancient Novel, greater sensitization of historians and literary scholars to the prevalence andpitfalls of biographical or quasi-biographical discourse in antiquity – all these have given fresh prominence to Hellenica, Anabasis, Cyropaedia, Revenues, Spartan Polity, Oeconomicus, Symposium and the other Socratic writings. Moreover, military history – once marginalized as, at best, a recondite specialism and, at worst, thepreserve of nerds – hasbecome a respectable aspect of the study of ancient society and, in consequence, Xenophon can nowreceive credit for an importance in the area which wasalways grudgingly conceded. Some of these trends have, of course, induced a more serious attitude to other fourth century literary figures as well: Isocrates, Ctesias andthe authors of Middle Comedy areobvious examples. ButXenophon is unique in thediversity of hisoeuvre (all of which survives in direct MS tradition) andof contemporary scholars’ reasons for interest in it. The downside of this diversity is that the extent of the overall transformation inhis status maystill beunderestimated notonly bythegenerality of professional classicists andancient historians but even by those whose engagement with Xenophon is more substantial butlargely confined to a particular part of thecorpus. Moreover work onXenophon is still liable to be conducted with at least anundertone of apology. The time hascome for the whole range of Xenophon-users to decide whether there is anyjustification forthis andif, there is not, to assert the fact on the widest possible stage. In the light of this, an international conference (the first to be devoted entirely to Xenophon) wasconvened in Liverpool in July 1999. Its advertised aims were (a) to offer a forum for newresearch on Xenophon’s life and work and on wider topics for which Xenophon is a major source, (b) to promote direct andfruitful personal contact between as wide a range aspossible of individual students of Xenophon, and(c) todrawXenophon’s importance to the attention of a wider audience through publication of the conference proceedings. The first two aims were (by common consent of all who attended) successfully achieved in 1999. Five years on,thepresent volume represents a fulfilment of thethird. It is, of course, only a partial fulfilment. Because texts were pre-circulated and formal conference sessions could therefore be devoted solely to discussion of material that was(literally) taken asread, it waspossible to accommodate nofewer than 56 papers in the conference programme – andthe number would have been even higher if illness or the pressure of other commitments hadnot prevented several colleagues from participating. This proliferation of material confirms ourauthor’s importance as an object of academic study from California to Kazan but exceeds what can reasonably be comprehended (in more than one sense of the word) in a publication of proceedings: the desire to memorialize theevent hasto be tempered bytheneedto present readers whowere notpresent with a coherent andmanageable discourse (or set of discourses), since in reality theproject is notsimply (in the terms of the advertised aims noted above) to “draw attention” to Xenophon’s importance – a rather bland formulation – butto convince a wider audience that study of Xenophon is both intellectually stimulating andhistorically important. In selecting the 24 papers which follow, I have taken full advantage of advice from the series editor, Mortimer Chambers, andhis anonymous readers. This assistance –

Xenophon andhis World:

AnIntroductory Review


andmygratitude for it – does not, of course, absolve meof final responsibility for theresult.

*** It maybe arguable (at least among devotees of a certain type of literary criticism) whether it is always necessary or desirable to know something about the life of a writer in whomoneis interested. In Xenophon’s case, however, there canhardly be anydispute. Onemajor work explicitly deals with his experiences during a period of rather less than twoyears, andanother is at least in part anindirect reflection of some of those experiences; a whole category of output is informed byyouthful contact with a charismatic teacher (though also by other people’s literary construction

of that teacher); andthe technical works on horsemanship andhunting disclose expertise based onpractice. Ofthis last aspect comparatively little is said in thepages that follow, butmostof papers dodeal atleast implicitly withtheinescapable effect upon his writings of Xenophon’s engagement with, and place within, the world around him– evenhis choice of distinctive imagery is seen partly in these terms by Roger Brock – andthree directly confront problems presented bythereconstruction of his life history. All broadly agree about a traditional crux of Xenophontic studies, the date of the author’s exile, but otherwise go their ownways. Martin Dreher focuses on a somewhat neglected aspect of the story, namely the legal processes which made Xenophon anexile andrestored his citizen status (if, indeed, it ever wasrestored). Theargument serves, among other things, to remind usthat Xenophon really wasa rather prominent figure in the 390s (and indeed later). The high profile he derives from anextensive surviving literary oeuvre (and from the wayhe presents himself in parts of that oeuvre) can easily provoke aninclination to cut himdown to size. Scepticism anddesire for balance are fine academic virtues, but one must guard

against over-compensation. Next, Marta Sordi attempts totrace something of what happened to Xenophon in thefirst years of exile, arguing that hevisited Sicily as a mercenary at time of Third Carthaginian War, perhaps acquired Syracusan citizenship, andwrote Hiero against thebackground of demonstrations against Dionysius at the 388 Olympic Games andthe Sicilian tyrant’s stormy relationship with Plato. These areclearly speculative propositions, butit is in anycase goodto bereminded along the way that the Dexippus who behaves so badly in Anabasis is – surely – identical withtheanti-hero of events inGela, Acragas andSyracuse in406/5, events inwhich (asin400) Dexippus wassimply displaying a self-interested pursuit of the main chance entirely reasonable in a mercenary. Sordi approaches her topic as a wayof casting light on what she (like many others) takes to be a feature of Xenophon’s literary career (anda remarkable one, at that), the initial dissemination of Anabasis under the name of Themistogenes of Syracuse. Ernst Badian apparently rejects this identification ofThemistogenes (since on his dating Hellenica III, whose opening mentions Themistogenes’ work, predates by some years the completion of Anabasis) – perhaps appropriately, since one strand of the argument in his examination of Xenophon’s entire life-history is that,



farfrom masquerading asa Syracusan, healways regarded himself as a loyal Athenian. Another strand is the unreliability of the biographical tradition available to Diogenes Laertius andthe limitations weface when trying to assign items in Diogenes to particular earlier sources: both in antiquity and nowthose in search of Xenophon areapt(indeed have little choice but) toresort tohiswritings as a source for biography rather than an object to be illuminated by it. Nonetheless, Badian contends that careful (and, where appropriate, sceptical) reading of the evidence allows someconclusions tobedrawn both about Xenophon’s personal history – e.g. that hisconnection with Scillus wasnotbroken for ever intheimmediate aftermath of Leuctra – andliterary career – e.g. that thecreation of Hellenica stretched over a long period, notjust because there were two distinct periods of composition, but because thesecond one(embracing Books 3–7) occupied asmuchasa decade anda half. (Tantalizingly, it is not possible to know when, and at what prompting, that decade anda half began.2) Oneconcomitant of Badian’s picture of Xenophon theAthenian is a claim that he is preferentially friendly to the Athenians in Hellenica and, in particular, plays downthe Second Athenian Confederacy because it wasin deeptrouble bythetime he waswriting. Several papers elsewhere in the volume address thepeculiar interplay of highlight, allusion andomission which characterises Hellenica andhassometimes earned it the reputation of being consistently misleading andless reliable than the alternative tradition(s) about the first four decades of the fourth century. Xenophon’s presentation of theThebans is onewhich (as every reader of Hellenica notices) makes them– collectively andthrough theaccount given (orinsome cases not given) of leading individuals – the object of direct andindirect dispraisal. In this they arenotalone, though it maybe true that thecolours are sharper than in some other cases. Even so, as Nicholas Sterling demonstrates, it is an unhelpful (even rather defeatist) expedient to describe this phenomenon simply as a sign of prejudice. Thebes is toohistorically important to be theobject of mere sniping, and there is anactive strategy of persuasion intrain toensure that thereader understands the nature of hercontribution to the state of ἀκρι σία andταραχή in which Greece found herself in the aftermath of Mantinea – andat theendof Hellenica. Turning to a much earlier point in the work, John Buckler andEdouard Rung deal in complementary fashion with events surrounding the outbreak of the Corinthian War in 395. Each reveals ways in which Xenophon’s treatment is variously reconcilable withorsuperior tothat found inHellenica Oxyrhynchia, though differences of emphasis andoutlook doremain: thus, whereas for Rungboth Tithraustes andPharnabazus played a role inTimocrates’ despatch to Greece, forBuckler Xenophon names Tithraustes not (as he should have done) Pharnabazus as source of 2

Muchof III–VII wasin creation during the same eraasAnabasis andCyropaedia, works which wereindifferent senses products of theauthor’s Persian experiences, andIII actually starts with

a reference toa narrative oftheCyreans’ adventures. It is asthough something prompted himin thelater 70s orearly 60s torevisit those experiences andtheHellenic events which followed it. Butidentifying that something would take oneinto therealms of fiction rather thanpersonal or literary history andBadian, whorepeatedly andrightly insists onthelimited extent of whatcan be known orreasonably inferred, understandably chooses notto godownthat path.

Xenophon andhis World:

AnIntroductory Review


goldbecause (as is evident fromhisdescription of the satrap’s meeting with Agesilaus) he admires Pharnabazus anddoes notwish to damage his reputation. Buckler

finds Xenophontic manipulation elsewhere as well: theTheban speech at Athens is unhistorical – a piece of Xenophontic propaganda, putthere tohelpprovide “noble” motives for Athenian participation in the war. Nonetheless, his account of the circumstances in which fighting broke out andescalated is correct. Moreover, topographical investigation – where appropriate, a vital concomitant to, andcheck upon, historiographical performance – canbebrought tobear todetermine (inXenophon’s favour) theidentity of theLocrians involved andto suggest a rather precise location for the area in dispute between them andthe Phocians: thus is a newcomponent inserted into a long-standing (but lately rather static) controversy. Slawomir Sprawski questions ourtendency to speak of certain Thessalian potentates as “tyrants of Pherae”, noting that the accounts of how there (allegedly) came to be a tyranny in Pherae in Lycophron’s time are speculative andthat description of Lycophron andJason as tyrants is limited to Diodorus. If this is correct, then Xenophon comes outshining, since hisprominent treatment of related matters inBook 6, although notmuchconcerned with theinternal affairs of Pherae downto 370, avoids incorrect terminology andindeed offers nogrounds (even accidentally) fortheconventional categorization. It wasonly whenAlexander andhis successors had lost pan-Thessalian power that (almost by default) they could be said to be tyrants of Pherae, though even at this stage Xenophon seems to avoid putting it explicitly in those terms. Here, then, to set alongside themanyXenophontic silences which have long attracted attention andcriticism, is a silence which has been neglected butmaydeserve approval. Challenging silences do,nonetheless, remain. Peter Funke explains theseverity of Sparta’s treatment of Mantinea asdueto fears of thecity’s local territorial ambitions, exemplified bypre-418 alliances – also called arkhe (Thucydides 5.81) – and theMantinea-Helisson sympoliteia (re-dated here before 385). Such considerations doseemlikely toberelevant, butthey donotfigure among thefour explanations of Sparta’s decision to act against Mantinea in Hellenica 5.2.2 – andthis despite the facts that (a) thegeneral ideaofresistance toalliance-systems (especially oneswhere theidea of alliance gets emmeshed withthat of citizenship) is notexactly irrelevant in the years after the King’s Peace and(b) the Mantineans’ punishment was not merely to be denied theopportunity of authoritative political relationships with other states but (as Xenophon makes clear) to have their owncitizenship completely dismantled. Sucha silence, of course, pales bycomparison withXenophon’s general (though not total) neglect of the Second Athenian Confederacy. Badian sees this as something that it was kinder (to Athens) not to go on about by the time Xenophon was writing the relevant bits of Hellenica. Martin Jehne takes a different line: the Confederacy was altogether too big a fact from 378 onwards to be got rid of by the simple expedient of (almost) never mentioning it. Mentioned ornot, it is something which any contemporary reader whom one can imagine to be the sort of reader Xenophon expected or wanted would in fact bring to interpretation of Xenophon’s text. Blatant omissions become, in fact, a positive strategy for drawing an audi-



ence’s attention to thehistorian’s unusual judgment of whatis important, especially (but not exclusively) if the imagined context of “publication” is oneinvolving collective discussion rather thanprivate rumination. Inthepresent case, andin specific reference to events surrounding the Confederacy’s inception, Xenophon is advancing a very un-Thucydidean account of the outbreak of war between Athens and

Sparta in 378, one which concentrates on the Raid of Sphodrias (definitely in the category of aitiai kai diaphorai) at the expense of an alesthestate prophasis such as fear of the growth of Spartan power or a settled Athenian unwillingness to accept second-rank status. Omitting theConfederacy’s foundation allows Athens toemerge as anentirely reactive player in the drama anddraws attention to what Jehne takes tobeXenophon’s speculative explanation of Sphodrias’ actions astheresult ofThebanpersuasion. Onemight addthat, in turn, it also draws attention to the story of Sphodrias’ acquittal (a matter on which Xenophon was unusually well-placed to report?) anda repeated pattern (cf. Phoebidas) of actual or effective Spartan complaisance towards malefactions which are accordingly classified orre-classified as concordant with the interests of the state. A proposition is lurking here about the flexibility of Spartan political morality, one which might even be capable of qualifying as an alethestate prophasis. Xenophon’s treatment puts such questions (or anyother inferences one might wish to draw from the centrality of Sphodrias and the Thebans) at the heart of the debate. But the confederacy is still there in the background – a spectre atthefeast of historiographical explanation andonewhich, precisely because thereader sees it independently, mayyetexert a significant effect onhis orherintepretation. It will be apparent that, in terms of theoverall import of thesecond partof Hellenica (asexplicated inTuplin 1993), Xenophon canafford to be tolerant of this possibility. Oneadvantage of theacknowledgement which some arenowprepared to make that Xenophon thehistorian might be a reputably interesting andinventive intellectual character is that insistence ondissociating himfromtheparadigm Greek historian Thucydides (in order to protect himagainst being simply dismissed as secondrate) can nowbe tempered, andthe intertextual relationship of the twoauthors investigated more seriously. Tim Rood looks at some aspects of this issue as they appear in the opening part of Hellenica. In doing so heinsists that Thucydides was so prominent in the historiographical landscape that a response can be expected (andfound) notonly in Xenophon butalso (either directly or via Xenophon) in the sources of Diodorus. This is buta special case of thewaythat readers of Hellenica have to engage with Diodorus (and with other sources). Hellenica canandmust be readinits ownterms, with a careful attention totheimpact it appears tobemeant to makeonthereader – butitsownterms cannot bewholly dissociated fromourawareness of thesort of material that could endupin alternative accounts, some of which is material Xenophon could have been aware of: thecreation of a historical record in the fourth century was a complex business. The nature of Diodorus’ text does make the pursuit of intertexts a tricky business: subtleties of allusion in Ephorus would be vulnerable to the efforts of the epitomator, though the possibility must be considered that Diodorus hadhis ownliterary aspirations andcomposed with his eye on Thucydides. Be that as it may, Rood makes it plausible that Xenophon behaved in such a fashion when dealing with some of the more prominent features of

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the closing years of the Peloponnesian War(Arginusae, Aegospotami, Alcibiades, Theramenes, the surrender of Athens). Some of the textual observations here are not newor specially difficult to spot, butthe invitation to regard them, not as the sporadic attempts of ourauthor tocreate a wholly spurious Thucydidean colour, but as a genuine intellectual hommage anda challenge to thereader to evaluate events at theendof the warin thelight of earlier episodes, reflects a sea-change in Xenophontic scholarship. Among the many areas of contrast between Thucydides andXenophon which (inanacademic world mostly inthrall totheformer’s intellectual pretensions) have tended to thelatter’s discredit thequestion of religion occupies a special place. For, bycontrast with theSage of Halimus, Xenophon is seen as displaying naive adherence to traditional religious beliefs andvalues anda lamentable inclination to substitute divine will for historical explanation. The two mencertainly present quite different public postures (and mayhave hadquite different interior lives), but– if praise andblame are to be distributed – one should acknowledge that Thucydides seems to have been virtually in denial about religion andconsequently conveys a seriously incomplete andmisleading impression of theworld in which thePeloponnesian Warwasfought (cf. Hornblower 1992). As for Xenophon, the assumption that his religious position was simply commonplace is (though natural) strictly speaking undemonstrable, theimpression of religiosity is at least in part anartefact of his didactic project(s) – if, for example, Anabasis seems replete with allusions to the gods and sacrifices, this is because it is constructing a paradigm of military leadership for a world in which generals simply didmake use of religious rhetoric andpractice – and, whenit comes tohistorical causation, HughBowden argues that Hellenica does not in fact commit any particularly heinous crimes. Passages like 5.4.1 or4.4.2–3, 12 should beviewed inthelight of Gould’s interpretation of “fate” passages in Herodotus or seen as belonging to anessentially descriptive, nottheological discourse, with (at most) an element of moralizing. Divination maybe a central feature of theXenophontic religious environment (andtheGreek oneingeneral – hence, as Robin Waterfield notes, Xenophon’s wish to associate Socrates’ daimonion withordinary divinatory activities), butthegodsremain toohardtoknow about for a historical theory of divine causation to have anypoint. Certain developments maybe such asto permit oneto infer divine involvement, butthat is all. Thus it is that Xenophon’s approach to the causes of the Sparta-Athens warof 378, though non-Thucydidean, is certainly pragmatic; andthe outbreak of the Corinthian War (mentioned above) is a context in which, whatever else is going on, one cannot reasonably accuse Xenophon of seeking the explanation of human events in divine causation. The papers presented here donot focus a great deal on the interplay between values or principles apparent in particular episodes in Hellenica andexploration of similar values andprinciples in other (perhaps) more explicitly didactic parts of the oeuvre. Onepartial exception is that byJohn Dillery, in which theelements of public procession anddisplay implied in the description of the Spartan army’s sojourn atEphesus in 395 (3.4.16– 19) aresetalongside lengthier andmore explicit descriptions of military review in other parts of thecorpus. Theidea hasbeen around for a



generation ormore that elements of theHellenistic Agecanbe traced avant la lettre quite a long wayback into the fourth century. Dillery invites usto see a particular example in Xenophontic prefiguring of Hellenistic attempts to manipulate public sentiment through procession andpageant. Xenophon’s role here is partly as the recorder of paradigm events, partly (inHipparchicus) as someone intent onaltering existing displays to increase their value andimpact – direct evidence, therefore, that, in a world inwhich public processions of various sorts were a long-established fact of life, some deliberate thought wasbeing given to anenhanced exploitation of thephenomenon (andto some readjustment of thebalance between the secular and religious aspect). The resonance of the topic in Cyropaedia (which has sometimes been seen as a precursor text for Hellenistic Kingship) is noted independently by Azoulay, andreminds usboth of another aspect of themodern viewof Vorhellenismus(stress oncontinuities between theHellenistic kingdoms andtheir Achaemenid predecessor) andof another facet of Xenophon’s literary personality – his role as a source onPersians andtheir Empire. Nopart of Xenophon’s oeuvre hasseen such a change in its status as anobject of serious study inthelast generation as Cyropaedia – nodoubt because somanyof thegeneral trends which have drawn attention to Xenophon combine inthis particular text. Those whohave taken the trouble to look have discovered that what was apttobe seen as anover-long andover-bland piece of historical fiction actually has considerable subtleties – asis only tobe expected whena Greek author of evidently didactic turn of mindinvestigates what is a perfectly good Greek question (howto exercise rule over one’s fellow men) through the medium of a Persian story: even before onegets into thetricky issue of howto describe the story’s historicity, there is a paradox here which promises that Cyropaedia will not be altogether straightforward. Unsurprisingly there is no absolute consensus yet – perhaps never will be – about interpretation of theresult. Vincent Azoulay’s paper investigates some of the components of Cyrus’ wayof managing those around him(inparticular those associated with “Persian” and“Median” backgrounds) andargues for a consistency between them, where others have been more inclined to see notjust dissonance but even a deliberately andsignificantly unresolved tension. Emblematic of different possible approaches might be one’s attitude to 8.1.22, where Cyrus is described as µος βλέπων. Twothings are said: (a) the king, pre-eminently adorned with virνό tue, makes subjects goodjust as the written lawmake mengood; (b) the king is a “seeing law”because henotonly gives orders (τά ττειν) butcansee andpunish the ἀτακτοῦ ντα. For Azoulay this is simply equivalent to the description of the wife as λαξ in Oeconomicus 9.14f. – so Cyrus is the enforcer of the written laws. νο µο φύ Theother view would be that thepassage makes a closer – andperhaps more sinister – identification of king andlaw. Whether either view corresponds in anyinterestingly substantive fashion to the wayin which a real Persian Great King might have described things is debatable: weknow (a) that the concept of the king’s law (data) figures both in royal self-representation andin documentary texts and(b) that in the former context it regularly stands next to assertions that the peoples of the empire dowhat the king tells them to do,butit is a nice question whether this situation is assimilating ordistinguishing lawandautocratic instruction. ThatXeno-

Xenophon andhis World:

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phonwasconsciously concerned with a nicety of this sort is certainly notsomething that should rashly be assumed. Institutional features of theAchaemenid empire are sometimes reflected in Cyropaedia, but the phenomenon is not as extensive as it might be andis not the result of any systematic primary agenda on Xenophon’s part. As for the issue of narrative historicity, that is not addressed as such in the present volume andcannot be discussed at length here, buta case canbe made for regarding Cyropaedia not as historical fiction butas fictive historiography – anexercise in which Xenophon makes opportunistic useof available versions of the storyof Cyrus theGreat (rather thanpureimagination) to serve hisdidactic agenda and asa consequence creates something which is more akinto Socratic literature thanto

theGreek novel.3 ForXenophon asa putatively reliable andfairly extensive source ontheactualities of the Achaemenid Empire one should turn, not to Cyropaedia or Hellenica (where theamount of Persian material is pretty modest), but(isolated items in Oeconomicus andelsewhere aside: Tuplin 1994: 129f.) toAnabasis. Thepresent volume contains no general survey of the text from this angle,4 but it does offer intensive andilluminating examination of a single episode. Less than a fortnight before the

decisive battle at Cunaxa, a high-ranking Persian named Orontas tried unsuccessfully to desert therebel Cyrus in favour of King Artaxerxes. Hissubsequent “trial” andliquidation is reported at some length by Xenophon onthe evidence of Clearchus, whowasinvited to be present as a σύ µβου λος. This is oneof those occasions when, even in a work well-known for mentioning interpreters uncommonly often by the standards of classical texts, the problems presented by linguistic reality are notallowed to interfere with dramatic presentation. But it seems they didnotinterfere with accurate reportage either. At anyrate, Thierry Petit seeks to demonstrate that thecomponents inXenophon’s deceptively simple (andincertain respects Hellenized) account turnout– whenseeninthelight of evidence frommediaeval Western Europe – not to be arbitrary or banale but to make sense as part of a formal Achaemenid system of vassal relations. The stress here is on “formal” and“system”. All students of Achaemenid social (or socio-political) institutions arefamiliar with the episode, for such things as the symbolic exchange of handshakes (dexia) or thewaythe members of the “court” signal Orontes’ condemnation by seizing hold of his belt. But Petit goes beyond this to postulate a whole complex of social ritual andformalized power-relations. We always knew that the Persians’ world was a hierarchic one in which (as Greeks liked to say) everyone wasa slave except the Great King but(as weshould add) some “slaves” had“slaves” of their own,butwe arenowbeing offered a newinsight into themechanics of these “slave” relations – andonewhich tends toreinforce doubts about theappropriateness of doulos incontexts where a Persian might have used the term bandaka (an issue to which Brock also alludes inhisdiscussion of Xenophon’s political imagery). There remains room

3 4

See Tuplin 1997a. On Xenophon’s conception of Media in Cyropaedia (and Anabasis) see Tuplin 2003a. For such a survey see Tuplin, forthcoming (a). The (Persian) parasangs of theAnabasis narrative are discussed in Tuplin 1997b: 409– 417. For the King’s upright tiara (discussed by Brock in its metaphorical aspect) cf. Tuplin, forthcoming (b).



for debate about aspects of the argument (how wastheproskynesis expressing homageto a vassal-lord distinguishable from theproskynesis owedby anyPersian to a social superior? doesthereciprocity of exchange ofpista byhandshake quite match theequality characteristic of theputative mediaeval equivalent? whyis therelationship divorced – if Petit is right – from fief-holding? whyis termination of the relationship symbolized byseizure, notrupture, of thebelt?), butit is anargument which mustbe addressed – and(relevantly here) a further question arises: if Petit’s insight is more orless right, howfar wasXenophon conscious that whathewasdescribing constituted more thanjust anisolated event? We are back (in a sense, andfrom a different angle of approach) to the sort of enigma represented by the King’s data, µος βλέπων and/or theruler whoboth issues orders andchastises thewrongtheνό

doer. Persians play a large role in Anabasis but they are by no means omnipresent: only the Greek mercenary army itself can claim that. The characteristics of this armyhave been investigated in manypublications over thelast 35 years. Thetradition stretches from Roy’s classic paper on the identity andorganisation of Cyrus’ mercenaries andNussbaum’s monograph on their operation as a socio-political group (both published in 1967), through Anderson’s treatment of some of their tactical features in Military Theory andPractice in theAge of Xenophon to consideration of their significance in the socio-economic history of their time in Perlman 1976/7 andvan Soesbergen 1982/3 anddiscussion of logistical issues by Dalby (1992) andGabrielli (1995). It is nowcontinued by John Lee’s detailed examination of the lochos. Previous work hastended to focus either onthe army as a whole oronthecomparatively large groups associated with each of thegenerals. Lee asks usto consider a smaller group of around 100 menwhich in his view wasa distinctive feature of theCyrean army(sub-groups within Greek armies – sometimes actually called lochoi – tended to be larger) and, because it was a tactical andsocial unit with a fair degree of durability andtherefore cohesive identity, constituted thecrucial building-block of the entire hoplite structure. Two points deserve comment. First, concern with what it waslike “inside” the army is perhaps anexample of the recent trend in Greek warstudies to envisage more sharply theactual experience of warfare, though atanother level Lee is only engaging inthesort of systems analysis of unfamiliar armies which is a long-established (andnecessary) feature of military history. Second, although it wasonthe face of it distinctive (Lee even suggests an element of Persian influence, though Xenophon’s names for theunit’s subdivisions dohave a Spartan colour to them), theCyrean lochos is notwithout importance for thegeneral study of Greek military practice. Once wehave been invited to contemplate the advantages of the lochos to tactical organisation andmaintenance of morale (through socialisation andthe establishment of a community identity), weare bound to ask whether ordinary Greek armies really got by without such a feature and, if so, how. TheAnabasis narrative presents a very particular military environment, butit is nonetheless a central document for study of the place of warin the society of classical Greece.5 It is also a genuinely compelling narrative (albeit a


Note that thewayCyrean non-hoplites are grouped in mere taxeis – ananodyne term (and one noteven confined to this context inAnabasis) – perhaps symbolizes thecontinuance of a tradi-

Xenophon andhis World:

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narrative over 30% of which consists of direct speech). One of the story’s highlights – a scene re-created in characteristically understated and slightly oblique fashion – is the moment when the returning mercenaries get their first glimpse of the Black Seafrom a mountain-top somewhere south of Trabzon.6 The search for that mountain-top hasbeen a long one, with suggested locations strung outover a considerable stretch ofthePontic Mountains. Valerio Manfredi (author of a modern classic of Anabasis bibliography, La strada dei Diecimila) contributes a brief account of the latest – andquite possibly the final – stage in that search, viz. Mitford’s identification of the spot as Deveboynu tepe. The site lies onwhat waslater theRoman road from Trapezus to Commagene (and a mediaeval andmodern caravan route) andis marked bya stone cairn anda larger, rather moredistinctive stone monument, which Manfredi associates with the Emperor Hadrian (whose use of the road in AD 131 is recalled by the “other Xenophon”, Arrian of Nicomedia). A parallel report (but with different emphases) has been published by Mitford himself (2000), but, if there is anysingle spot onthe face of the mapmore vividly associated with Xenophon by morepeople thananyother, it is thescene of θά λαττα θά λαττα, andit is thus appropriate that our survey of Xenophon andhis World should contain an account of it. Its identification as a bare plateau (not the sort of craggy peak one suspects many readers envisage – though Xenophon’s text gives them no excuse to do so) does nothing to detract from the romance of the episode, andthe agreement of all who have visited the area that, in view of local weather patterns, the mercenaries (and their guide, who had put his life on the line) were actually extraordinarily lucky to have seen the sea at all perhaps positively enhances it. The gods were (literally) shining on them – which makes it even more noteworthy that this is one of the moments at which nothing is said of formal sacrifices orother expressions of thanks to a higher force for their salvation. In fact oneof thethings that contributes to the power andauthenticity of Xenophon’s description is that the soldiers’ reaction is confined to very human displays of emotion (laughter andtears, mutual embraces, lavish rewards fortheguide) andthebuilding of a cairn – anactwhich fulfils a need to acknowledge the numinous but does so on the basis of instinct (Tuplin 1999: 361–4). Some moments, perhaps, are too powerful for ritual response to seem ap-

propriate. Depreciation of Xenophon the historian by comparison with Thucydides has been matched – perhaps evenexceeded – bydepreciation of Xenophon theSocratic by comparison with Plato. Of course the two authors have different projects, but those who accord Xenophon no specially close study (a category which includes


tional pecking order even in a military context where non-hoplite forces are tactically important. Xenophon does not describe seeing the sea but his response to the commotion caused by the shouts of others whohave done so andthe subsequent scenes of celebration. The same measureddescription of momentous situations is found inHell. 2.2.3 (news of Aegospotami reaches Athens) or Anab. 3.1.2f. (the soldiers’ thoughts the night after the arrest of the generals). T.E.Lawrence called the Xenophontic style “pretentiously simple” (BM Add.MSS 45903 [16 March 1927], cited by Meyers 1976/7: 142) – which perhaps sounds harsher than its author meant.



numerous classicists who would not dream of admitting to a comparably disengaged familiarity with Herodotus, Thucydides or Plato) are aptto assume that his project is either ill-defined or vacuous (or both). But it is important to inspect one’s texts without prejudice, andRobin Waterfield’s sympathetic analysis ofXenophon’s Socratic mission reveals anauthor with a clear anddistinctive agenda. Keycharacteristics of this agenda arethat it hasethical aims andinvolves anelement of popularization – and those inclined to be dismissive of the outcome should perhaps be honest enough to admit that this, rather than failings in Xenophon’s intellect, is really what they do not like. They should also try to be even-handed in reacting to manipulations of history. Everyone acknowledges Plato’s construction of a Socratic intellectual persona whose full ramifications exceed thebounds of historical reportage (to put it mildly), andwe all know that individual Platonic dialogues are given wilfully anachronistic putative historical settings. If these phenomena are intellectually respectable (as they aregenerally taken to be), then their equivalents in Xenophon’s Socratic corpus areintellectually respectable aswell. Indeed, a negotiation between historical reference andfictive elaboration is a distinctive andculturally interesting feature of Socratic literature in general (by anyof the authors who engaged in it) andonewhich hasresonance elsewhere in the Xenophontic corpus: selecting frompersonal historical experience of Socrates whatis appropriate toone’s ownethical-educational (Xenophon) or philosophical (Plato) mission is parallel to selecting from available historical traditions about the Elder Cyrus those versions appropriate to one’s political-educational mission – something done at great length in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia (Tuplin 1997a) and(it so happens) very briefly in Plato’s Laws. Readers inantiquity noted this parallel anddrewinferences about Plato’s attitude to Xenophon. Waterfield discusses some other interactions between Xenophon andPlato: the intersections may yield something about the historical Socrates (though it is liable to be of a very general nature) but they certainly illustrate the different missions thetwoauthors arefollowing and(insofar as deliberate intertextuality is involved) themutual awareness of those engaged in preserving andmakinguseof Socrates’ memory. It is thegreatest possible tribute to thehistorical Socrates’ intellectual, moral andpersonal qualities that such different results could be produced with equal sincerity by people whomanifestly agreed in identifying him as anexceptional human being. Alongside this general evocation of theSocratic Xenophon twopapers examine more detailed points. One striking example in Waterfield of the different angles from which Xenophon andPlato approach things is thewaythat Plato’s version of the oracle story is about wisdom whereas Xenophon’s is about moral virtues. The virtues in question are appropriate to the kalos kagathos – a figure whose role in Xenophon, andespecially in the Socratic writings, turns out (in Fabio Roscalla’s view) torepresent another point of contrast between himself andPlato. Theconcept of the kalos kagathos appears to be a mid-fifth century invention – a reaction to alterations in (and expansion of) what counted as the elite in the society of democratic imperial Athens. Given the rough patch democratic imperial Athens went through at the end of the fifth century, the kalos kagathos could hardly be an uncontroversial figure. Plato’s reaction wasto dissociate Socrates fromreal-world ex-

Xenophon andhis World:

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amples, whereas Xenophon’s was to make him one of them – because the kalos kagathos represented a desirable model for life. Roscalla sees Xenophon as having a rather specific (and Athenian) political project – to recover the moderate oligarchic element for the reborn democracy – one also visible in Oeconomicus (in the portrait of Ischomachus, the very paradigm of ἐ γκ ρά τει α and οἰ κ ονοµία) andin Cyropaedia.7 Others may feel it remains more generally ethical (while allowing that in a Greek context the ethical andpolitical cannever be completely dissociated). This mayalso emerge from Roscalla’s citation of a passage from theDēnkart as a parallel for Xenophon’s conception of the kalos kagathos: what this tells us is notthat Xenophon hasbeen influenced by Persian sources (let alone that he has a Persian agenda forethical improvement) butthat theethical environments of Greeks andPersians were notnecessarily that different. Among the matters not explicitly mentioned in Roscalla’s Dēnkart passage is sex (though it maybe implicit in the requirement to be “padrone del suocorpo”), butin all ethical environments it is a topic to which discussion of morality always leads, sooner or later. Clifford Hindley’s paper (building onanearlier examination of Xenophon’s treatment of male love) identifies a divergence inthis area not(just) between Xenophon andPlato butbetween Xenophon andSocrates. That Xenophon neednothave agreed with everything Socrates ever said is obvious, but, thenature of hisproject being what it was, onemight expect disagreements simply to be suppressed. Nodoubt they often are, butHindley argues that in thecase of sexual relations this hasnothappened – that, despite the prominence of the celibatarian view in Socrates’ speech in Symposium 8 (a prominence dueto respect for thehistorical record anda desire to reinforce refutation of the view that Socrates corrupted the young), we can also discern a distinct Xenophontic view that physical pederasty could be consistent with enkrateia – indeed that this is one of the virtues the lover “breathes into” his beloved. Sophron eros (Callias’ feeling for Autolycus) does not have to be sexless eros. Weare all familiar with “Platonic” love (a supposedly noble relationship untainted by sex). It transpires that we should all along have recognized “Xenophontic” love – a state claiming similar nobility butembracing sexual intercourse notjust on grounds of realism but as an integral aspect of morally acceptable behaviour.8 Theideathatphysical sexual acts maybevaluable is of a piece with a psycho-somatic conception of the soul (in contrast to thePlatonic insistence upon the body-soul dichotomy); butmore valuable, perhaps, than anyspin-offs of such a philosophical sort is the discovery in Xenophon of an antidote to the systematic coyness about sexual intercourse that characterizes somuchof whatpassed for “respectable” discourse on the topic. Concordantly it is Xenophon whoalso gives us, at the end of Symposium, an unabashed allusion to heterosexual passion within

7 8

FormoreonXenophon’s relations withAthenian democratic ideology seeSeager 2001, a paper presented at the 1999 conference. (For other papers presented at the conference butpublished elsewhere see Beck 2001, Bradley 2001, Due 1999, Tripodi 2000.) If Xenophon believed in the possibility andvalue of a loving andmorally beneficial sexual relationship between erastes anderomenos, onecansee that perversions of the system such as παν ἀγένειος ὢν that represented by Menon (Anab. 2.6.28: αὐτὸς δὲ παι δικὰ εἶχε Θ α ρύ γε νε ι ῶντα) would be specially offensive.



Athenian marriage in a context which, though playful (paidia is thekeynote of the work), remains humane andrealistic in a waythat, e.g., the premise of Lysistrata does not. Noris this confined either to playful discourse or to Athenian marriage. As Sarah Pomeroy notes in her survey of Xenophon’s Spartan women, it is Xenophon’s assumption in both Spartan Constitution andOeconomicus (8.5, 10.12– 13) that a newly-married couple intheir prime will naturally have a physically passionate relationship. The fact that the strength of the married couple’s mutual desire is linked with the creation of strong offspring (LP 1.5) takes nothing away from the point. It mustbeconceded, of course, that evenXenophon is notalways straightforward about these matters: most modern readers have shared the incredulity Xenophon expects in his original audience about the alleged non-physicality of erasteseromenos relations in Sparta. Incredulity – orimpatience – hasoften characterized modern reaction to Xenophon andSparta on a wider front, but the view of Xenophon as a thoughtless and uncritical admirer of allthings Spartan cannot (orshould not) survive a careful readingof Hellenica (where Spartan narrative focus does notguarantee favourable presentation) orindeed various parts ofAnabasis (where weencounter someless-thanperfect Spartans, andXenophon’s relationship with theSpartan Cheirisophus is enigmatic, to say the least). Three contributions to the present volume bear on this topic in different ways. In Pomeroy’s paper it is Xenophon’s role as a privileged observer of Spartan reality that is tothefore – andhisdisinclination to underestimate therole of women in the social order (a trait also visible in Oeconomicus and, at least to some degree, in Memorabilia) is rightly seen as a case of the privileged observer getting things right. Oneaspect of this which deserves stress is thattheperception of oliganthropia asa central issue forfourth century Sparta (aperception forwhich Aristotle is regularly cited) is one which wasalready (of course) perfectly familiar to Xenophon – as indeed, one would imagine, to any half-way sentient observer: Aristotle was not being that clever – andconnected byhimwith Sparta’s capacity toexercise international power. Xenophon’s angle onthe question in LP (which presents itself as an explanatory investigation of the fact that Sparta τῶν ὀ λι γαν θρ ωπο τά των πόλεων οὖσα δυ ν ατωτά τη ἐν τῇ Ἑ λλά τη τε καὶ ὀνο µαστοτά δι ἐ φά νη) is to suggest that paucity of numbers hasto be set against promotion of quality. For Pomeroy (who regards chapter 14as a later insertion) this suggestion is perhaps tobetaken atfacevalue. But if chapter 14 is regarded as integral and correctly placed, things might look a bit different. Noreen Humble – whoapproaches from this standpoint – certainly argues that elements of LP 1–13 arenotquite as straightforward as they may at first sight appear. If that be conceded (and it will, naturally, strike many as controversial) then, although the inter-relation between Lycurgan provisions andthe particular failings highlighted in chapter 14 is theprimary concern, thereader is at liberty (indeed is being positively, if obliquely, invited) to reconsider all aspects of the Lycurgan system. Reconsideration does not necessarily mean condemnation, butweshould learn toreadthis account of therational (orrationalized) eccentricity of Lycurgan customs as provocative rather than simply encomiastic – which is to say that we should treat it no differently from most other parts of the corpus.

Xenophon andhis World:

AnIntroductory Review


A rather different aspect of Xenophon’s engagement with Sparta comes before usin Larry Tritle’s paper. I have already noted that parts of Anabasis contest unsophisticated views of the laconophile Xenophon – not that it requires exceptional sophistication to appreciate that admiration fortheSpartan state neednotpreclude a varied reaction to individual citizens (especially when encountered in stressful and personally threatening circumstances). Readers ofAnabasis have surely always spottedthat oneof the more individual of these citizens (albeit anexiled one) is Clearchus, butTritle invites usto seehisindividuality in a newlight – indeed to qualify it

somewhat – by suggesting that he displays symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Contemplating this suggestion, onebecomes conscious of howlittle weactually knowabout Clearchus’ detailed personal military history prior to 401 andhow difficult thenature of muchGreek war-narrative makes it to validate such a diagnosis of anyclassical figure. Formal military encounters are aptto be described in a somewhat sanitized or quasi-formulaic fashion (this is onereason whystudents of Greek warfare have hadtobeexhorted inrecent years topayattention to thebloody unpleasantness of thekilling zone inclassical battles) andancient campaign records perhaps tendto under-report thenumber of episodes capable of contributing topsychological damage. In general terms, Xenophon doeshave hiscontribution to make here– anevocation of thenoise of slaughter atCoronea (Agesilaus 2.12);9 theheaps of bodies at Lechaeum (Hellenica 4.4.12); the semi-disembowelled Arcadian Nicharchus (Anabasis 2.5.33); themutilation of enemy dead(3.4.5); thecasual slaughterof Thracian POWs (7.4.6f.) – butnone of it is directly relevant to Clearchus and some of the examples could be said to conceal as much as evoke the enormity of what is being described, since the understated Xenophontic manner does allow the reader the opportunity not to notice things (s)he does not want to notice.10 So diagnosis of Clearchus’ PTSD arrestingly putsthecontinuity between ancient andmodernwarfare under thespotlight, tempts oneto look for symptoms elsewhere11 – and poses a difficult question: wasa Spartan more orless likely than the average Greek to succumb? Pending ananswer, twothings atanyrate seemcertain: Xenophon did notthink all Spartans were like Clearchus (and in a city “slow to go to warunless compelled” weshould perhaps notassume that citizens were characteristically warlovers) anddidnot regard the Spartan Clearchus as a positive paradigm. On the σχοιτ ἄν resonates with Tritle’s stress 9 Φωνὴ δέτις ἦν τοι αύ χη παρά τη οἵ αν ὀργήτε καὶ µά onanger a component in thekilling zone. ᾽ 10 InAnab. 3.4.5 there is even some slanting of thefacts: thesoldiers engage in theactivity αὐτοκέλε υ στοι (a wayof putting it calculated to incorporate the behaviour within a rational paradigm of order andobedience), andtheir stated motive is to frighten the enemy. Since the incidentcame after thearmy’s first military success following themurder of thegenerals, andsince the enemy were troops of the treacherous (cf. 2.5.35, 3.3.2f.) Mithradates, their real motives

were surely more visceral.

11 Does PTSD explain Clearchus’

apparently contented (even amused?) acceptance that his tactics will frighten his ownmen (2.3.9) or his temporary “black-out” at Tigris (2.4.18) or his vulnerability to deception by Tissaphernes (connected, it should be noted, with his suspicions about Menon: 2.5.28)? Andwhat about other individuals? Onethinks of Cheirisophus’ rage at theArmenian guide (4.6.2f.: butperhaps this isjust Spartan behaviour – cf. Hornblower 2000) or the muleteer burying a manalive (5.8.6f.) or Dexippus’ treachery (5.1.15, 6.1.32, 6.6.5f.)



of Anabasis 2.6 inadequacy in leadership involves some fault in theleader’s wayof relating to other people (andhence tohissubordinates). If Proxenus and Menon erred through (respectively) excessive complaisance andcriminal collusion, Clearchus – onemaybe forgiven for thinking – errs in very Spartan ways. Theobituary notices of Clearchus, Proxenus andMeno (and of Cyrus himself) – like those of the Seven in Euripides’ Supplices, often cited as a model for Xenophon – are arguably beneficiaries of a Homeric tradition (thumb-nail sketches of battle victims andthelonger accounts of a hero’s earlier history sometimes encountered before a fight),12 andwehave seen cases of intertexuality in a more technical sense in Hellenica andthe Socratic corpus. Roberta Sevieri’s paper explores what evidence

seems to be an intertextual relationship with a whole genre. In Hiero Xenophon presents a discussion between a tyrant (Hiero) andanepinician poet (Simonides). When these twocategories of individual come together it is usually for the poet to celebrate the deeds of the tyrant, while intruding some element of warning against thedangers of excess: thespecial felicity of thecrown-game victor licenses thepoet to saythings that might otherwise be difficult to utter. But inHiero theroles of the twoprotagonists arereversed (much of time thepoet listens andtyrant discourses) andequalized (this is a dialogue, after all), andtheinterplay between this transgressive version of thepoet-tyrant relationship andthenormal associations of theepinician genre (not to mention the more general ruler-meets-wise-man topos) provides a piquant setting within which to argue that thetyrant canbe turned into thebeneficent ruler if (broadly speaking) he both thinks andacts as a part of the community – i.e. tempers (without wholly abandoning: heis also a sort ofpaterfamilias, animage whose wider Xenophontic resonances arediscussed byBrock) precisely that exceptionality which marks himoutastyrant orvictor. Thework’s strategy canbeencapsulated in thefact that Simonides’ advice in theclosing chapters twice sidelines the Games – the ruler should (a) redirect people’s willingness to compete for paltry prizes towards socially andpolitically useful ends and(b) himself have nothing to dowith chariot-racing, preferring to spend hismoney “for thecommon good” – yet ends with the promise that the communitarian ruler can have happiness without σῃ), the goal of anyhonourable victor. Hiero is envy (εὐ δαι µονῶν γὰρ οὐ φθονη θή one of those Xenophontic works that has neither preface nor envoi, so there is no guidance from the author about what he is upto or whyhis goal is pursued in this particular mode. Sevieri, too, concerned to show what is going on, does not say much more about whythan that Xenophon’s social background makes use of the epinician genre unsurprising. But, whether Xenophon is engaged in a conscious examination of tyranny orprimarily using it asanoblique approach to exposition of general views about leadership, thespecific setting (negligibly realized asit is) does ask for slightly more comment. Perhaps (to go back nearly to the start of this survey) Xenophontic connection with contemporary Sicily (once again the home of tyrants) should be given some weight, especially after theexcitements surrounding Dionysius’ participation at Olympia, less than five kilometres from Xenophon’s home at Scillus. Alternatively (or additionally) the generic intertext is not only a

12 For a broader consideration of Homeric resonances inAnabasis see Tuplin 2003b.

Xenophon andhisWorld:

AnIntroductory Review


literary strategy but a stimulus: perhaps it was the feeling that epinician poetry (a genre which in principle enshrined values which Xenophon endorsed) made dangerous compromises with autocracy that prompted thewhole idea. Theidiosyncratic nature of much of the Xenophontic corpus andthe perception of Xenophon as soldier andamateur writer should notmakeoneunderestimate hisengagement with thewritten environment. The Socratic output hasbeen seen as notonly a reflection of ourauthor’s direct contact with Socrates butalso as a second order reaction to an already created (first order) literary construct. Hiero maybe a much smaller-scale example of a similar phenomenon.

*** The agenda for the 1999 conference wasnon-prescriptive: contributors were invitedtowrite onwhatever topic they wished. This selection of papers therefore lays no claim to be a systematic report onXenophon or Xenophontic studies. Nonetheless the material presented here will give the reader aneffective sense of what careful study of Xenophon’s oeuvre hasto offer. Xenophon’s great problem (compounded by comparisons with the ostentatious pretentions of Thucydides or Plato) has alwaysbeen a perception that anapparently simple style of writing reflected ingenuousness of spirit or incompetence of intellect (or both). A significant number of modern readers (approaching through different parts of the corpus) have come to realize that this perception (or, tobeblunt, prejudice) is profoundly misleading. For such readers Xenophon is coming to be seen as a distinctive voice on the history, society andthought-world of the later classical era, andthebluff Colonel Blimp of old stereotypes is being replaced by a sophisticated, faux-naif manipulator of the written word, a manwith a straight face anda glint in the eye. Encapsulating responses to Xenophon in this fashion over-simplifies the situation, no doubt: the challenge is to persuade a wider public amongst classical philologists andancient historians that the newimage is much closer to the truth, andthe present volume is offered as a contribution to that important objective. BIBLIOGRAPHY Anderson, J. K., 1970, Military Theory andPractice les-London). 1974, Xenophon (London).

in theAge of Xenophon (Berkeley-Los Ange-

---Canfora, L., 1970, Tucidide continuato (Padua).

Beck, H., 2001, T he Laws of theFathers’ versus ‘The Laws of the League’: Xenophon onFederal“‘ 355–375. ism”, CP 96: Bodei Giglioni, G., 1970, De Vectigalibus (Florence). Bowen, A. J., 1998, Xenophon’s Symposium (Warminster). Bradley, P., 2001, “Irony andthe Narrator in Xenophon’s Anabasis”, in E.Tylawsky andC.Weiss (edd.), Essays in Honor of Gordon Williams: Twenty-five Years at Yale (New Haven), 59–84. Breitenbach, H. R., 1967, “Xenophon (6): Xenophon von Athen”, RE IXA: 1567–1928, 1981/2– 2051, 2502. [Note: thepagination intheSonderdruck – issued in 1966 under thetitle Xenophon vonAthen – is subtly different, viz. 1567–1928, 1981/2–2052.]



Briant, P., 1995, Dans les pas des Dix-Mille: peuple et pays du Proche-Orient vus par un grec (Toulouse). Dalby, A., 1992, “Greeks Abroad: Social Organisation andFood among the Ten Thousand”, JHS

112: 16–30. J. M., 1995, Xenophon and the History of His Times (London). Due, B., 1989, The Cyropaedia: Xenophon’s Aims andMethods (Aarhus). 1999, “Narrative Technique inXenophon’s Cyropaedia”, CM50: 213–220.


---Gabrielli, M. (1995), “Transport et logistique militaire dans l’Anabase”, in Briant 1995: 109–124. Gauthier, P., 1976, Uncommentaire historique des Poroi deXénophon (Geneva-Paris). Gera, D., 1993, Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: Style, Genre andLiterary Technique (Oxford). Gil, J., 1967, Jenofonte: Económico (Madrid). Gray, V., 1989, The Character of Xenophon’s Hellenica (London). 1998, The Framing of Socrates (Stuttgart). ---Henry, W. P., 1967, Greek Historical Writing: A Historiographical Essay Based upon Xenophon’s Hellenica (Chicago). Higgins, W. E., 1977, Xenophon theAthenian (Albany). Hirsch, S., 1985, The Friendship of the Barbarians: Xenophon and the Persian Empire (HanoverLondon). Hornblower, S., 1992, “The Religious Dimension to the Peloponnesian War, or, What Thucydides

Does NotTell Us”, HSCP 94: 169–196. 2000, “Sticks, Stones and Spartans: The Sociology of Spartan Violence”, in H. van Wees (ed.), ---- Warand Violence inAncient Greece (London): 57–82. Huss, B., 1999, Xenophons Symposium: ein Kommentar (Stuttgart-Leipzig). Kanellopoulos, A., 1991, Ο Ξ ε ν οφώ ν ὡς δηµο σ ι όγρ αφος (Athens). Krentz, P., 1989, Xenophon: Hellenika I-II.3.10 (Warminster). 1995, Xenophon: Hellenika II.3.11–IV.2.8 (Warminster).

---Lendle, O., 1995, Kommentar zuXenophons Anabasis (Darmstadt). Lipka, M., 2002, Xenophon’s Lakedaimonion Politeia: Introduction, Text and Commentary. Lowry, S.T. et al. (edd.), 1998, Xenophons Oikonomikos: Vademecum zueinem Klassiker derHaushaltökonomie (Düsseldorf). Luppino Manes, E., 1988, Unprogretto di riforma per Sparta: la Politeia di Senofonte (Milan). Macleod, M. D., 2000, Xenophon’s Apology andMemorabilia (Warminster). Manfredi, V., 1986, La strada deiDiecimila (Milan). Meyer, K., 1976, Xenophons Oikonomikos (Westerburg). Meyers, J., 1976/7, “Xenophon andthe Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, CJ 72: 141–3. Mitford, T. B., 2000, “Thalatta, Thalatta: Xenophon’s View of the Black Sea”, AnStud 50: 127– 131. Mueller-Goldingen, C., 1995, Untersuchungen zuXenophons Kyrupädie (Stuttgart-Leipzig). Morrison, D., 1988, Bibliography of Editions, Translations and Commentary onXenopon’s Socratic writings, 1600-present (Pittsburgh 1988).

C., 2001, Xenophon’s Prince: Republic andEmpire in the Cyropaedia (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). Nickel, R., 1979, Xenophon (Darmstadt). Nussbaum, G., 1967, TheTenThousand: A Study in Social Organisation andAction inXenophon’s Anabasis (Leiden).


Perlman, S., 1976/7, “TheTenThousand: A Chapter intheMilitary, Social andEconomic History the Fourth Century”, RSA6/7: 241–284. Phillips, A. A. andWillcock, M. M., 1999, Xenophon andArrian OnHunting (Warminster). Pomeroy, S. B., 1994, Xenophon, Oeconomicus: A Social andHistorical Commentary (Oxford). Proietti, G. P., 1987, Xenophon’s Sparta (Leiden).


Xenophon andhis World:

AnIntroductory Review


Rebenich, S., 1998, Xenophon. Die Verfassung der Spartaner (Darmstadt). Riedinger, J.-C., 1991, Etudes sur les Helléniques deXénophon (Paris). Roy, J., 1967, “The Mercenaries of Cyrus”, Historia 16: 287–323.

Seager, R. J., 2001, “Xenophon andAthenian Democratic Ideology”, CQn.s. 51: 385–397. Soulis, E. M., 1972, Xenophon and Thucydides: A Study on the Historical Methods of Xenophon in the Hellenica with Special Reference to the Influence of Thucydides (Athens). Strauss, L., (1970) Xenophon’s Socrates (Ithaca). 1972, Xenophon’s Socratic Discourse: An Interpretation of the Oeconomicus (Ithaca). Stronk, J. P., 1995, TheTenThousand in Thrace: AnArchaeological andHistorical Commentary on ---Xenophon’s Anabasis, Books VI.iii– VII (Amsterdam). Taragna Novo, S., 1968, Economia ed etica nell’Economico di Senofonte (Turin). Tatum, J., 1989, Xenophon’s Imperial Fiction: Onthe Education of Cyrus (Princeton). Tripodi, B., 2000, “Cacciatori e prede nell’ Anabasi di Senofonte (Cacce d’Arabia)”, ANSP4 5: 149–


Tuplin, C. J., 1993, TheFailings of Empire: A Reading of Xenophon, Hellenica 2.3.11– 7.5.27 (Historia Einzelschriften 76, Stuttgart). 1994, “Xenophon, Sparta and the Cyropaedia”, in A.Powell and S.Hodkinson (edd.), The Shad---- owof Sparta (London): 127–181. 1997a, “Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: Education andFiction”, inA.H.Sommerstein andC.Ather---- ton (edd.), Education in Greek Fiction (Bari): 65– 162. 1997b, “Achaemenid Arithmetic: Numerical Problems in Persian History”, Topoi Supplément

---- 1: 365–421. 1999, Review article: In the Footsteps of the Ten Thousand [P.Briant (ed.), Dans les pas des ---- Dix-Mille], REA 101: 331–366. 2003a, “Xenophon inMedia”, inG.Lanfranchi, M.Roaf andR. Rollinger (edd.), Continuity of ---- Empire: Assyria, Media, Persia [History of the Ancient Near East: Monographs Series] (Padua): 351–389. 2003b, “Heroes in Xenophon’s Anabasis”, in G. Zecchini andC. Bearzot (edd.), Modelli eroici ---- dell’antichità alla cultura europea (Milan): 115–156. f orthcoming (a), “The Persian Empire”, in R. Lane Fox (ed.), The March of the Ten Thousand ---- (NewHaven-London). f orthcoming (b), “Treacherous Hearts andUpright Tiaras”, in L. Llewellyn-Jones andM. Har---- low (edd.), The Clothed Body in Antiquity (Oxford). Vander Waerdt, P., 1994, TheSocratic Movement (Ithaca). van Soesbergen, P. 1982/3, “Colonisation as a Solution to Social-Economic Problems in Fourth Century Greece: AConfrontation of Isocrates withXenophon”, AncSoc 13/14: 131–45. Vela Tejada, J., 1998, Post H.R.Breitenbach: Tres décadas deestudios sobre Jenofonte (1967–1997)


Wilms, H., 1995, Techne undPaideia bei Xenophon und Isokrates (Stuttgart-Leipzig).


It is the aim of this paper to show that Xenophon, at all time that we can check, regarded himself as, andindeed remained, a loyal Athenian, at least by his own lights.1 Unfortunately the case cannot be usefully argued without discussion of his life andat least references to thecomposition of Anabasis andHellenica. I It is difficult to write about Xenophon’s life andwork after H.R.Breitenbach’ s splendidstudy inRE.Muchthat onemaythink onehasdiscovered haseither been anticipated or refuted in advance. However, as a recent bibliography makes clear, this hasnotdeterred theusual scholarly profusion.2 It is important to realise howlittle reliable information wepossess onhis life. Theonly surviving biography is that byDiogenes Laertius (2.48–59), whoputshim first among the Socratics.3 He wasso impressed by Xenophon that he even wrote (and quotes) two epigrams on him: a very bad one on his life and works and a mediocre one, nominally about his death, which gives anabsurd reason for his “reνειν: he may mean “being buried”) in Corinth. It is clear that Diomaining” (µέ genes hadnoreliable biographical tradition onXenophon’s life. Theonly solid fact he provides (56) is the date of his death, from a Stesicleides, whoput it in 360/59, rightly stating that that wasthe year when Philip II of Macedon rose to power. Stesicleides is described as an Athenian whowrote a treatise on archons (presumably Athenian) andOlympic victors. (The name has been frivolously questioned.4) So

1 2

3 4

This is often denied andPeter Green (1994: 221) deserves credit forhaving noted it. Mytitle is a tribute to an informative book by W.E.Higgins, Xenophon theAthenian (New York 1977), although there is little overlap in ouractual treatment. Breitenbach 1967. (The section ontheOldOligarch, 1928–1982, is byMaxTreu. It will notbe cited here.) Vela Tejada 1998 is anindispensable collection of later work, preceded by a short discussion of ”Problemas y métodos de análisis” of the various works. TheSuda (ed. Adler) hastwoentries, Ξ ε νοφῶν 47 and48, neither of them useful. Theyoung Wilamowitz (1881: 335 n.20) adventurously emended the genitive of the Athenian historian, Στησι κλε ίδου, to Κτησι κλε ίδου, whomhe proceeded to identify with a Ctesicles (!) twice attested (without manuscript variants) in Athenaeus (272C, 445D: his provenance is not given). This involved equating the work cited by Athenaeus asΧ ρ ό in the reνοι orΧ ρ ο νικά



one would think his date reliable. Diogenes provides a large number of facts, obviously of varying degrees of authenticity, butdifficult tojudge, unless wecantrace them to Xenophon himself. One of the most absurd anecdotes is the one (57) telling of howXenophon entrusted half of his money to theeunuch-priest of Ephesian Artemis, to keep until hereturned; if hefailed toreturn, thepriest should usethemoney for a statue to the goddess. (The other half of the fortune he had acquired was, more credibly, to be used on votive offerings at Delphi.) When Xenophon was settled at Scillus, the priest came to visit “the festival” (no doubt the Olympics, butno number is given) andgave Xenophon back hismoney, without even waiting, ashehadbeen charged, until Xenophon returned to Asia. Infact (andthis provides anunusual lesson onthe value of ancient anecdotes) the story comes straight outof Anabasis (5.3.4ff.: told in greater detail anda little closer to making sense). Even in the form in which we find it in Xenophon, however, hadit been told only in anancient biography, scholars would have almost unanimously rejected it, some with improving sermons on thecredulity of anywhocould believe such stuff. Onthe other hand, the one firm date, provided by a professed chronographer andauthenticated bya correct reference to Philip II, turns outto be a delusion. The author hadeither failed toreadHellenica orfailed toreadEphorus. Ephorus clearly correlated Philip II’s first appearance in Thessaly with the death of Alexander of Pherae, as Sordi demonstrated long ago.5 Andat theendof hisThessalian excursus Xenophon tells us (Hellenica 6.4.37) that he waswriting that passage when Tisiphonus, Alexander’s successor, wasstill in power: tojudge bythe wording, hehad beeninpower for sometime. HadStesicleides readboththese passages, that should have sufficed, even if hedidnotfind theexact date of Philip’s appearance in Thessaly, to showhimthat Xenophon wasstill writing after that appearance. Diogenes doesnotcorrect theerror, oreven showdisbelief. Hecertainly knewatleast parts of Ephorus’ work, but, notbeing a chronographer, he will hardly have read himwith the aimof eliciting dates. Whether he hadreadHellenica VI must remain anopen question. Since hetreated Xenophon as a Socratic, it is bynomeans certain that he read all of that author’s (to him) dry and dull historical works, in which he had no professional interest; although he seems to have read the more entertaining portions, like the story of thepriest of Artemis. Thetwoexamples cited will sufficiently demonstrate thenature of ourtradition onXenophon’s life andthe difficulties weface in dealing with it. Diogenes’ main source seems to have been a shorter andmore congenial work, neither history nor


spective quotations with the Register [Ἀνα γρ αφή ] of Archons and Olympic Victors cited by Diogenes as Stesicleides’ title. Jacoby, FGrHist 245, lists oneauthor, as “Stesikleides (Ktesikles)”. In his note (2BD p.812) he claims that this “liegt doch wohl sehr nahe” (!), but in the end admits: “entscheidung erscheint unmöglich”. Such is theadmiration felt for Wilamowitz. Sordi 1958: 348–54, brilliantly combining Justin with fragments of Theopompus andrestoring theMSreading inDiod. 16.14.2 against whatwasthen anaccepted modern Schlimmbesserung (p.349). WhenEllis 1994: 734 n.10, observes “Nointervention [by Philip in Thessaly] at this time is documented”, it is clear that hehadnotreadSordi’s classic discussion oranydiscussion of Thessalian history written since – notevenGriffith 1979: 224ff., whocites andfollows Sordi – notto mention Justin andanapparatus to thetext of Diodorus XVI.

Xenophon the Athenian


biography: Demetrius of Magnesia’s OnHomonymous Authors, often cited in the Xenophon and elsewhere.6 It must be from him that Diogenes got his concluding item, a list of seven writers called Xenophon (59). Theviewthat nosurviving Classical writer ever readtheworks hecites, common inboth German andBritish scholarship for some time, has fortunately been abandoned. Diogenes probably didnot readevery source hecites (perhaps noteven Plutarch did), butwemustbelieve that he read Demetrius. This canbe shown with some probability, even apart from the frequency of references. When mentioning Xenophon’s settling at Scillus (52), which could have come (andpossibly didcome) directly from theAnabasis (see 34 above), he addsthat Xenophon’s sons Gryllus andDiodorus, whowere nicknamed the Dioscuri (no doubt as a tribute either to their father’s standing or to their mother’s beauty), accompanied him. This item is ascribed to a speech by Dinarchus (Against Xenophon ἀποστασίου), which appears in the list of speeches ascribed to Dinarchus by Dionysius of Halicarnassus: an obscure speech, perhaps no longer widely known even in Dionysius’ day, andlost in Diogenes’. (Onthis, see further below.) Demetrius, soDiogenes reports, wrote that Xenophon wasaccompanied by his wife Philesia. He must have found the names of Xenophon’s sons andtheir nickname in Dinarchus and the name of Philesia, not ascribed to the speech, in another source, which he perhaps didnot name. Diogenes, most unlikely to have read the speech himself, surely found both these items (one ascribed to Dinarchus, the other not) in Demetrius.7 Diogenes names several other sources andrefers toothers without naming them. There appears to be little difference in credibility. Thus Istrus (334 F 32) is named as reporting that Xenophon’s exile wasdueto a decree of Eubulus andhis pardon also to a decree of Eubulus. This hasbeen muchdiscussed.8 Starting with thebelief that thedecree of recall should be ascribed to thefamous Eubulus, whocancertainly notalso be responsible (for obvious chronological reasons) for the decree of exile, some have tried to imagine different mennamed Eubulus; others, more ingeniously, have proposed that the decree of exile waspassed, notby a Eubulus, butin the archonship of Eubulides (394/3). This is palaeographically easy if we reconstruct an original that remarked, punningly, that Xenophon was exiled from Eubulides to Eubulus: theformer could easily have been transformed bya scribe or reader into the better-known latter form. It is not so easy if wefollow Istrus’ own wording: a decree by Eubulus could not so readily be transformed into one of

6 7


Demetrius is documented as anauthor of thefirst century BC, a friend of that Roman writer of compact biographies, T.Pomponius Atticus (Cic. Att. 8.11.7, 12.6). Diog.Laert. 2.54. Theclear distinction between thenames furnished byDinarchus and(only, it seems) by Demetrius wasmissed by Wilamowitz 1881, whoassigned all three to Dinarchus. Hadhehadtheopportunity to knowSchaps 1977, hewould have seen (andperhaps have been surprised to see) that Dinarchus wasenough of a gentleman not to name a lady in his opponent’s family. This also hassome bearing onthequestion of whether Xenophon’s wife wasan Athenian in good standing (see further below). HadWilamowitz attended to the distinction in Diogenes, hemight nothavebeen sopositive that she“obviously” wasnot(335f.). Thefact that ναι ον, which might have raised doubts in classical times, is notrelevant Diogenes calls herγύ (see LSJ s.v.). for the Greek of Diogenes’ day, whenit wassimply analternative to γυνή See Tuplin 1987: 67–68, with bibliography andwith anexcellent newsuggestion (see text).



Eubulides’ archonship (ἐπ᾽ Ε ὐ βουλίδου) by a proposer unknown to the original historian. Tuplin, however, has rescued Eubulides by a new suggestion: pointing out (for the first time, in this context) that Eubulides also appears as a political figure in Philochorus (328 F 149a: 387/6),9 he argued that there is no reason why Eubulides should not have been the proposer of Xenophon’s exile, with his name easily corrupted into a better-known one. This (asherightly insisted) would give us a possible date anytime in the 390s (and downto 387/6), whenEubulides himself wasexiled. Aswill be seen, I could readily accept this suggestion, which would not conflict (as a date in Eubulides’ archonship would) with other relevant evidence. However, in the light of what wehave seen regarding the reliability of anecdotes (even plausibly dated ones) in the biography of Xenophon, I aminclined to write the whole story off as an invention, excogitated in order to link Xenophon with another famous man.Weshall see that it would notbe theonly attempt at this kind of thing. Another of Diogenes’ sources is Diocles of Magnesia, certainly a major source for his philosophers’ lives, since Diocles himself wrote Lives of the Philosophers andis frequently cited byDiogenes. InXenophon hecontributed thehighly dubious itemthatXenophon’s twosons wentthrough theSpartan paideia – dubious because Gryllus wasknown forliterary andphilosophical interests (andmusttherefore have at least hadsome other schooling), while Diodorus didnothing to distinguish himself at Mantinea andsurvived the battle (54), not what one would expect of one brought upas a Spartiate. Other items canbe ascribed to Diocles, notably the story of Xenophon’s philosophical behaviour when hearing of Gryllus’ death in battle (54–5) andprobably the “explanation” of his sending his sons to serve in theAthenian army: because the Athenians were marching to the defence of Sparta. Neither story inspires much confidence, but they serve to show that Diocles must have stressed Xenophon’s philolaconism. Diocles maywell be the source for the absurd statement (59) that Xenophon’s akmē, like that of the other Socratics, was in the 89th Olympiad (424–420). Thestatement is followed bythecitation of Istrus onthe exile and recall, both in a “footnote” at the end of the Life: probably as close as Diogenes ever gets to indicating disbelief; he clearly showed his acceptance of the main tradition, putting the akmë in 401–400, in the body of his narrative (55). Ulrich v. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, in an ingenious fantasy attached to his Antigonos vonKarystos (1881: 330–335), suggested that “almost all” of Diogenes’ biography is more or less happily based onXenophon’s ownworks, especially the Anabasis. There is much truth in this, but it is considerably exaggerated. He added that a series of other factual notices that bear the stamp of connectedness andcredibility (a favourite secret mark recognised only by a fewchosen German scholars) canbetraced back toDinarchus’ speech against a Xenophon, grandson of thehistorian and son of his son Diodorus, where the orator would tell the history of the family in anexcursus such as is common in Attic orators. Oneortwoof Diogenes’ facts areindeed ascribed to Dinarchus: as wehave seen, thenames of his sons (and Dinarchus maywell have added thenickname); also thestatement that theSpartans


Thedate (for Tuplin’s accepted 392/1) is mine. I have argued for it in Badian 1991: 26–35.

Xenophon the Athenian


gave Xenophon a house andland(52) – wearenottoldwhere, i.e. whether theplace in which he lived for a while at Sparta or his property at Scillus. One statement ascribed to Dinarchus byWilamowitz is, as wehave noted, notbyhim: that Xenophon’s wife accompanied himto Scillus. Here the young Wilamowitz failed to notice Diogenes’ explicit contrast between the sons (taken from Dinarchus) andthe wife (from Demetrius: see n. 7). Wilamowitz not only attached to Dinarchus such loose items as the gift of some slaves to Xenophon by a Spartan (53) andthe Spartans’ bestowal of a proxeny onhim(51), buthe added thewhole story of his going from Scillus to Elis after his sons hadpreceded himandthen settling at Corinth; he even included the statement that Diodorus didnothing notable at Mantinea. This mix of truth, possibility anderror hasbeen followed by most modern schol-

arsonWilamowitz’s authority, andespecially byBreitenbach. Further speculations areattached to it, above all that Philesia, Xenophon’s wife, “obviously” wasnotan Athenian (335f.: noonewould believe that shewas!), so that the marriage wasnot valid in Athenian law, buthadto be legalised andthe sons legitimised whenXenophon’s exile wasrevoked.10 Oneimportant fact about Dinarchus’ speech, although observed byWilamowitz, wastreated by himrather lightly. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, sorting Dinarchus’ speeches for thefirst time (so he claims) into genuine andfalse ones (Dinarchus 9), largely by chronological analysis (though to some extent by style), puts this speech among theauthentic ones. Hehadnoreal evidence onthedate of Dinarchus’ ρων ina speech birth, butassumed hewasbornin 360/59, since hecalled himself γέ ρων ought to be seventy years old. This can obviously seventy years later anda γέ notbe regarded as precise, butDionysius wasa practised chronologer with a lively interest inXenophon (although henever wrote a monograph onhim) andhecannot possibly have thought that Xenophon the author wasstill alive as late as the 330s, whenDinarchus’ earliest speeches aredated. TheXenophon attacked in the speech does belong to the author’s family (as some references to the author show), buthe can at the most be a descendant. Wilamowitz thought him a son of Diodorus; he could equally well be a grandson (i.e. a son of Diodorus’ son Gryllus: 54).11 The 10 More onthis below. Butif Aeschines, Aspasia, is tobebelieved, Xenophon wasmarried before he left Athens and the couple were given advice by Aspasia. This would at least settle the question of Philesia’s citizenship. However, Aspasia soon became a focus for mythical anecdotes connected with the Socratic circle. The facts can be gathered, with sufficient patience, from the collection of material in Henry 1995. (The author seems to be more interested in her feminist agenda than in historical analysis.) The story seems about as credible as Aspasia’s appearance in Plato’s Menexenus. 11 Diogenes hadno reason to follow the family beyond three generations. Kirchner (PA 11308) suggested this, andit is quite possible if Diogenes didnot give full information. However, he should not be identified with the pupil of Isocrates (Phot. Bibl. 486b36, which, whether or not credible, should betaken asa reference totheauthor). Theentries inLGPN IIareconfusing and apparently confused, although the distinction between the author andthe manmentioned by Dinarchus is, of course, observed. A Xenophon sonof Diodorus (notribe is mentioned, buthe is called an Athenian) washonoured with Ephesian citizenship in a well-known list of such grants (SEG 33.932, 14ff.). He should certainly belong to this family, andthere is no reason whyheshould notbe themanopposed byDinarchus. (The date is said to be “after 306”.) This



slave Aeschylus, onwhose behalf the speech waswritten, certainly hadnothing to dowiththeslaves of theauthor Xenophon oreven (probably) those of hissons; soit is hard to see howthe gift of slaves to the author would be relevant in the speech. Dinarchus does seemtohave given a brief history of thefamily, butthere is nogood reason to make hima source for precise details of the author’s life, such as the gift of slaves or the Spartan proxeny, which would have nobearing on the case.12 We simply donotknowwhere Diogenes gotthese andsomeother details which hedoes notascribe to a specific author. Wilamowitz wascertainly right incalling mostmodern accounts of Xenophon’s life “fabelei”. Wedonotknowthedates of Xenophon’s birth ordeath, howlong he lived, orwhere he died. Demetrius gave the place of death as Corinth, but that is quite likely to be a guess (so Wilamowitz), based onthe facts that he ultimately went from Scillus to Corinth andthat his grave wasnot shown at Athens. (Diogenes’ epigram maybe regarded as non-committal.) There is only one item of positive information about this: Pausanias wastoldbythelocal guides atElis that that city, bowing to a decree by the Olympic Council, later pardoned Xenophon andthat he returned to Scillus andwasburied near the sanctuary, where his grave wasshown (5.6.5f.). Pausanias

is non-committal as to the truth of what he heard andthat is the proper attitude. But

it mustbe stressed that wehave nothing tocontradict it except forDemetrius’ statementthat hedied at Corinth – where, however, despite his fame, there is never any mention of his grave. It is by no means impossible that, as his fame grew, he was given a chance to return to Elean Scillus andhadpart of his property restored (see further below). Hewould certainly have accepted such anoffer if it wasmade. Elis hadnosurfeit of menof comparable literary andphilosophical reputation. Weshall find possible confirmation later in this paper. If this must bejudged uncertain, weare, if anything, worse off as regards the dates of his birth anddeath. As to the latter, Breitenbach rightly makes Poroi the last approximately datable work (in orjust after the Social War) and, again rightly, adds that we cannot know howlong Xenophon lived after this. There is simply nothing to addtothisjudgment. Certainly thestatement inpseudo-Lucian’s Macrobioi 21 that he died aged more than ninety offers no source and, like various other statements inthat essay, canbe neither supported norrefuted; nordoweknowwhat


would both simplify andcomplicate the stemma: the son of Gryllus could disappear andwe could return to Wilamowitz. LGPNassigns thenumber 24 to themanontheEphesian list and thenumber 25 totheplaintiff inDinarchus, making hima sonof Gryllus, sonof Xenophon. See Gryllos 2 andDiodoros 62 for contradictory identifications. Moreover, LGPNdoes notdistinguish between documented fact andmodern conjecture. It mustbeusedwith caution. It is surprising that Wilamowitz, while realising theremoteness of therelationship between the author andthe plaintiff, suggested that Dinarchus would have hadany interest in producing such details about anancestor of his opponent. By thetime of thelawsuit, Sparta hadnotbeen an enemy of Athens for decades andfew, if any, members of thejury would remember that hostility. Theproxeny andtheauthor’s links with Sparta areunlikely tohave aroused thejury’s antagonism. Asfor the gift of Dardanian slaves, I cannot imagine whyWilamowitz attributed that reference to Dinarchus, unless perhaps hethought that Dinarchus’ client wasoneof them, being by then ἐ σχ ατογή ρως. (For thewordsee Diod. 15.76.4.) There is nobasis for this speculation.

Xenophon the Athenian


precise span of ninety years the author hadin mind. Most likely the statement is based onconjectures from Xenophon’s works, e.g. guesses based onthedate of his birth (his akmēaround 400, which, as wesaw, wasthemaintradition andwould put hisbirth around 440) andthefact that Poroi dates from around theSocial War.This mayhave ledthe author of theessay to a span of c.440–350. Ourinformation about the date of birth is based on various deductions from passages inXenophon’s works. Aswehave seen, thegeneral tradition, followed by Diogenes, puthis akme in 401–400 (55). TheSuda, which hastwoentries referring to him, putsit a year later (Ξε ν οφῶν 47 Adler), as does Eusebius. Thedate, varying bya year, is anobvious deduction fromhisparticipation in Cyrus’ expedition, andI think wecantell exactly where it came from. Whensoliciting thesupport of Proxenus’ old lochagoi, clearly for his appointment as commander, he says of himself: ἀκµά ζεινἡγο ῦµαι (Anabasis 3.1.25). That theverb is usedinquite a different sense would not matter to biographers searching for snippets of usable information: it could be interpreted as yielding his akmē. A different deduction from another of his statements puts his akme in the 89th Olympiad, a deduction apparently rejected by Diogenes (see above). It is surely connected with Xenophon’s claim to have participated inthesymposium recounted in the essay of that name (Symposium 1: παραγε νόµε νος), which is dated about 422/1 (Athenaeus 216D). For reasons impenetrable to us, someone (apparently not too credibly) seems to have thought that Xenophon must have been in his akmēto have participated – or at least that this wasa guess as good as any. This mayhave been elaborated (perhaps byAntisthenes, aspart of his Socratic myth: seeAthenaeus 215D–216C) to provide the story of himas anexample of Socrates’ bravery at Delium in 424 (Strabo 9.2.7), a story convincingly shown by Breitenbach (1572f) to be fiction. (He points out that in Diogenes it is a Socrates story [2.22], part of the Socrates myth, anddoes not appear in the Life of Xenophon. For the myth of Socrates’ military prowess see thepassage of Athenaeus just cited.) Wecan see howlittle reliable ancient tradition there wasandhowconjectures regarding Xenophon’s dates are derived, at least ultimately, from his ownworks. Theprocess as such cannot be censured. It is essentially identical with that usedby modern scholars where there is no evidence. But it is important to note that dates and facts derived by this process in antiquity have no greater validity than those similarly derived by modern scholars, which have also proliferated. A favourite hasbeentheguess thathemusthavebeen about thesame ageashis friend Proxenus, whodied aged thirty (Anabasis 2.6.20). This was maintained by Breitenbach among others. However, there is no reason whyxenoi must be of the same age. The list in Herman 1987 will readily furnish counter-examples, e.g. (to mention anobvious one) Alcibiades andPharnabazus (181). Onealso wonders (although the question cannot be answered) when the ξενία between the twowasestablished. Proxenus is called an ἀρχαῖ ος ξέ νος (Anabasis 3.1.4). So the relationshipcannot have dated from after theendof thePeloponnesian War. Butit is surely unlikely that such a relationship could be first established while Athens andThebes werebitter enemies: eventhough ξενίαcould survive during a war, wedonotknow of anyexample where it wasestablished between citizens ofhostile states. ThePeace



of Nicias might have provided anopportunity. But surely Proxenus wastoo young by(say) 414, toenter into anysuchrelationship, evenif Xenophon wasoldenough: he would be barely of ephebic age. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the relationship wasinherited (cf. Herman 1987: 69ff.), even though it is notexplicitly described as such. If so,there is less reason to make deductions about their comparative ages. The passages cited by Breitenbach in support are all inconclusive and cannot be discussed in detail here, especially asthecase hasalready beenrefuted.13 The only clue as to a terminus post quemnonwould be his participation in the symposium hedescribes. Although heobviously neednothavebeenanywhere near his akmē in 422/1, he must at least have been 19 andpast ephebic age, if it was proper for himto participate. However, ashasbeen suggested, theparticipation (as a silent witness, for he is not assigned a speaking part) maybe a literary fiction, serving as a foundation for his “recollection” of the precise words spoken by the participants. Nofirm conclusion canbe drawn as to his actual ageat that time. Wemustadmit that, except within rather wide limits, wedonotknowthedates of Xenophon’s birth anddeath. Theancient process of deduction canalso beobserved, perhaps evenmoreclearly, in the case of the date andcause of his exile. Diogenes shows that a variety of views were already incirculation inhisday.Inhis second epigram (58) heconnects it with Xenophon’s following Cyrus. In thebody of thebiography, he seems to put it later andconnect it with Xenophon’s joining Agesilaus (51: the time is vaguely indicated, παρ᾽ ὃν κ αι ρό ν, butthe connection seems clear). He apparently hadno reliable information. Pausanias, offered the item about Cyrus by the Eleans, not unreasonably connected it with Cyrus’ aid for Sparta andLysander in particular (5.6.5). Breitenbach plausibly suggested that the story wasno more than a deductionfromSocrates’ reported warning toXenophon before hesetout(Anabasis 3.1.5) – another instance of deduction fromtheauthor’s statements inhisworks. Socrates’ warning of potential Athenian displeasure if Xenophon joined Cyrus, whohadaidedthe Spartans, waseasily elaborated into a cause (and even a date) for his exile, whether by the Eleans, by Pausanias himself, or even much earlier. Breitenbach thinks that thecause mayhave been Xenophon’s presence in a battle against Athenian allies at Coronea, although he is properly cautious about accepting Plutarch’s statement that hefought byAgesilaus’ side (Agesilaus 18.2), a statement added to a citation of Xenophon and quite possibly Plutarch’s own expansion. Breitenbach connects this (as others had) with Xenophon’s statement before leaving Asia, that hewasembarking ona dangerous journey (Anabasis 5.3.6 – where theLoeb translator renders the statement that he wasembarking τὴν εἰς τοὺς Β οι ωτοὺς ὁ δό ν, “to take part in the campaign against Boeotia”). This maywell have sufficed to give Plutarch the idea, for which he does not cite any source, just as it seems to have given the same idea (perhaps independently) to the Loeb translator.14

arguing that these same passages (and others notnoted by Breitenbach) arebetter interpreted asatleast showing that Xenophon wasolder thanthemercenary soldiers. (Not that wecanguess their average age.) Asbetween Xenophon andProxenus, they areinconclusive. Onthis, see text for discussion. 14 The deduction is accepted as fact by Herman 1987: 14–15, without discussion.

13 See Falappone 1979, convincingly

Xenophon the Athenian


That Xenophon’s exile wasnotdueto hisjoining Cyrus should have been clear

reader of Anabasis. In his speech to the mercenaries in Thrace he claimed (whether truthfully is irrelevant) thathehadbeenonhiswayhome(οἴ κ αδε) when he turned back in order to help them (7.6.11). The mercenaries must at least have known that he had the option of going back to Athens, and he could hardly have kept his exile secret from them. Even after his dealings with Seuthes, he was notyet anexile (7.7.56). After the distribution of the spoils at Cerasus, Xenophon hada votive offering madeoutof thetithe earmarked forApollo andsetit up,inhisownnameandthat of hisdeadfriend Proxenus, intheTreasury of theAthenians atDelphi (Anabasis 5.3.5). Breitenbach pointed outthat it must have been set upwhen Agesilaus visited Delphiafter thebattle of Coronea (Hellenica 4.3.21), even though Xenophon does not mention that he accompanied the king, perhaps because he simply did not think it worth mentioning. The question arises whether Xenophon could have set up the offering whenhe wasofficially anexile, i.e. not a citizen of the city. To putit in a larger context: could anyone, perhaps even a citizen of a state with which a city was atwar, decide onhisowninitiative to setupanoffering intheTreasury of that city? I amnot aware of any positive evidence on this, but it seems to me (a priori, I confess) nomore likely that anyone could setupanoffering in theAthenian TreasuryatDelphi thanthathecould dosoontheAcropolis inAthens, without obtaining official Athenian permission. It would follow that, shortly after the battle of Coronea, Xenophon was still an Athenian in good standing.15 This terminus is, at least, preferable to ancient conjectures. But weshould probably go down further still. We are told the Spartans voted hima proxeny (Diogenes Laertius 2.51),16 andthere is no goodreason to doubt the report. We are not told when they didso, but Diogenes’ reference to it comes, as Tuplin pointed out, between hisreport of Xenophon’s presence inthe“Theban War” andXenophon’s settling at Scillus. This is in the main body of the biography, which

to any careful

15 SeeTuplin 1987: 64, withbibliography anddiscussion. I donotseeanygoodreason whyXenophon should nothave performed his dedication whenhevisited Delphi with Agesilaus (as he surely did), andnoreason at all to assume anearlier visit (thus Croiset, cited by Tuplin) or to adopt Tuplin’s elaborate scenario (65, suggesting that the thirty Spartiates whowent home in 395 took Apollo’s share andset upthe dedication for him). I would not deny that they (and some other messengers) mayhave taken theproceeds of Apollo’s share to Delphi from Xenophon. But since it wasnot the money that wasdedicated, but an ἀνά θηµα, which would presumably be made by artisans according to Xenophon’s specifications, it is almost necessary to assume that the money the spoils produced was sent ahead (as Tuplin suggests, citing Diog.Laert.2.51 in support) andthat some time hadto pass before the offering wasready for dedication – by Xenophon, when, as he no doubt planned to do, he visited Delphi. Note the µενος atAnab. 5.3.4. aorist middle πο ι η σά 16 Thequibble over a “special sort of Spartan proxeny” which wasnota real one, mentioned (but not endorsed) by Tuplin 1987: 67, is hardly worth discussing in this context. Whatever Hdt. 6.57.2 maymeanbytheterm (for a reasonable interpretation see HowandWells 1912: adloc.), that office wasconferred only bya Spartan king andwasopen only to Spartan citizens; andwe donot know whether it still existed – it is never mentioned – in Agesilaus’ day. We have no reason to doubt that when Diogenes’ sources mentioned a proxeny, they meant what every ordinary speaker of Greek meant by theterm.



is essentially chronological, though not always reliably so. (Thus he mentions the exile, which he describes as dueto Laconism, butfor which he clearly hasnoexact date, after theaccount of Xenophon’s attachment toAgesilaus.) Provided Diogenes found a date fortheproxeny, it wasinfact between Coronea andXenophon’s move to Scillus from Sparta. This would putit after thededication at Delphi, although we cannot tell byhowmuch: 394–3 seems a reasonable guess. In anycase, he must at that time have been known to be a citizen of good standing in his owncity, even if notactually residing there, for theproxeny, at this time, wasnoempty honour.17 I myself think it unlikely that the Athenians exiled Xenophon straight after the conspicuously patriotic act of associating Athens with the march of the TenThousandbyhisdedication of thespoils intheAthenian Treasury. I would suggest that it was only when it became clear that he intended to stay at Sparta, after his going there with Agesilaus, that the Athenians were seriously upset; andthat it wasonly after he hadofficially become an Athenian exile (no longer merely an Athenian staying in the entourage of a Spartan king) that the Spartans removed himto a permanent location at Scillus, perhaps some time in 392, at theearliest. If this is anywhere near correct, it follows that it is by nomeans as obvious as Wilamowitz thought it that Xenophon’s wife cannot have been anAthenian, joined to himin a lawful Athenian marriage (though it would be unwise to use the anecdote of Aspasia advising him andhis wife before he left Athens as serious evidence).18 There is little profit in adopting thecomplicated series of hypotheses, that she wasnot andthat the sons were nothoi andthat the marriage was legitimised after Xenophon’s official restoration – in time for himto be able to send his two sons to serve in theAthenian army sent to aidSparta. Even after thedecree of exile wasrevoked, there wasnogoodreason whyhismarriage to a foreigner should have been legitimised andhis sons made citizens of impeccable birth andstanding. Asa postscript tothis, wemight wonder whyBreitenbach thought it inconceivable that Xenophon ever set foot in Athens again (2501). Fortunately, he is not always believed. The detailed information on conditions in Athens that wefind in Poroi doesnotseemtohavebeen acquired entirely fromtraveller’s reports. I seeno goodreason notto believe that Xenophon didvisit Athens, if only to check onhis estates that hadbeen returned, andthus acquired theinformation usedin that work. That he chose not to stay there, after finding conditions as he describes them, would notbe surprising. All wereally knowis that he didnotchoose to be buried there.

17 See Buckler 1998, especially 198 n.20, for the importance of a proxeny. Breitenbach, convinced by Wilamowitz that the cause of Xenophon’s exile was“selbstverständlich” his presence at Coronea (1575), questions the authenticity of the proxeny for that reason (“fraglich”), for onhis viewit would come after theexile. Hedoes notconsider thealternative. 18 See n.10 above.

Xenophon the Athenian



Weknow even less about the composition of the Hellenica andtheAnabasis: not even whether the writing of his twohistorical works wassuccessive (if so, in what order) or in part overlapping. The only (vague) date implied inAnabasis is in connection withthereturn of hisdeposit bythepriest of Ephesian Artemis. Atthetime, hewrites, hewasanexile andalready (ἤδη) settled at Scillus near Olympia (Anabasis 5.3.7). The incident therefore took place after the Spartans haddecided not to keep himanylonger as a “metic” at Sparta, butto settle himin a territory to which their title wasdubious, to live there as a gentleman. The “already” suggests that he hadstayed atSparta for some time before hismove. If so, theOlympics of 392 may be too early for the priest to have come to visit andmeet Xenophon, but anydate after that, from 388 down to (even) 376, is possible. Each of those later dates would have given Xenophon time to furnish anduse his estate in the way he describes, before theEleans expelled himsoon after Leuctra. But he writes in a waythat suggests that the passage waswritten after his expulsion: he is describing a lifestyle that hehasabandoned.19 However, wecannot tell whether the self-contained anecdote is a later insertion or wasincluded in order to complete the story he hadbeen

hewaswriting his account of Cerasus. Nor(to omit the problems concerning Hellenica I–II) canwetell whenhe beganHellenica III. Thefirst possible indication of a date seems toemerge in5.4.17f.: when, in 379, Cleombrotus’ army wasseverely mauled by a sudden gale while he wasleading it home – it led to many menlosing their shields – some took this as prophesying the future. It has often been seen that this prophecy hadalready been fulfilled when he wrote, andthat it must refer to Leuctra, where the δαι µό νιον led himandSparta to disaster (6.4.3). So Xenophon waswriting this part of Book V at least eight years after the events: weshall see that it mayhave been more. In Book IV it wascertainly more (see below). By the time he came to 6.4 he hadnot caught up. In what is his best-known reference to a time of writing, he states that he finished his Thessalian excursus (6.4.27–37) whenTisiphonus, theeldest of theassassins of Alexander, wasinpower. Alexander, as wesawin connection with Philip II, waskilled in 358, andTisiphonus musthave been deadbythetime of Philip’s negotiations with thetyrants of Pherae in 352, when he is not mentioned. So Xenophon must have concluded his Thessalian excursus by352, probably by353, andcertainly after 358. Theexcursus, so he tells us, took him chronologically well out of his narrative: that had reached only 371, just after Leuctra (6.5.1). Hewasnowwriting between thirteen andeighteenyears after theevents. Andit is clear from 6.5.1 that this wasnolater insertion: that hehadinfact reached Jason of Pherae inhisnarrative andinserted theexcursus before resuming it. Therelative chronology of 5.4 cannot be all that muchdifferent: the middle or late sixties would be a reasonable guess. Onthe other hand, I see no reason to conjecture aneven later date implying that he speeded upproduction between 5.4 and6.4.20

telling, while

19 Onthis see further discussion below. 20 Thepoint is worth making, against whatusedtobe a standard view, that Hellenica andAnaba-



However, it looks as if he wastrying to speed upwhen he came to write Book VII. The book is much shorter, as compared with III–VI, as well as disjointed.21 Much of it concentrates on a few incidents, told at considerable length. Its omissions have often been noted andneed notbe listed. Except for the conferences of Susa and Thebes (7.1.33–40), the brief note on Oropus (7.4.1) is the only section that deals with events outside the Peloponnese, except for various debates andnegotiations (notably 7.1.1– 14, the negotiations resulting in a treaty between Sparta andAthens), most tailpieces to Peloponnesian events (e.g. 7.4.10 and40, or the debate at Thebes regarding Euphron, 7.3.5– 12, concerning anentirely Peloponnesian event discussed in detail). It is quite likely that the twolong “set pieces”, the stories of Phlius andEuphron, which between them take upnearly a quarter of the book, were written earlier andinserted into the sketchy narrative. The note onOropus, the only non-Peloponnesian event referred to for its own sake, is startlingly inadequate, especially considering that it seems to have made Xenophon despair of the value of the Athenian League. The reader wanting to acquire even a basic understanding of the episode must turn to Diodorus 15.76.1, itself short enough butat least offering anintelligible outline. It wasin this way– concentration onPeloponnesian events; shorter treatment thanintheearlier books; and, I suggest, insertion of prepared episodes – that Xenophon succeeded in reaching the battle of Mantinea, which hadprobably been his projected aimever since thebattle itself. That he waswriting his last section some time after the event is implied by his last sentence: “Let this be the endof what I have written. The events that followed these [implying that at least some already had] will perhaps be someone else’s concern”. Perhaps we can conjecturally get a little closer to an actual date of writing. Hellenica ends by commenting on the confusion anddisorder (ταραχή ) in Greece after Mantinea. This is hardly a reasonable comment ontheevents that immediately followed the battle. In fact, there seems to have been a common peace, not lasting longer that other peace treaties, but at least formally concluded, as revealed in a much-discussed document.22 Several years were quiet, bythe standard of whathad preceded, with the sole exception of Thessaly. The wordταραχή is rare in Xenophon. It occurs once or twice in the sense of confusion (e.g. Oeconomicus 8.3), butthere are only twooccasions when it is applied to international affairs. Oneis inthelast section of Hellenica: ἀκρι σία δὲ καὶ

sis could have been written, oratleast given their final editing (of which there is notrace), only after Xenophon’s exile hadbeen revoked. There is no reason whyHellenica could not have been started at Scillus, even if wedo not accept the view in Nitsche 1871, that all of 1.1.1– 5.1.36 waswritten there. Schwartz 1889 rejects Nitsche’s view, buthis ownidea, that Xenophon started to write only whenhe settled at Corinth andcould nolonger live as a gentleman (191–2), is notworth serious consideration: noserious support is advanced for such anextreme view, andhis dismissal of a strong argument against it is unacceptable. See further n.26. 21 I give some page-count figures from the Teubner editio minor, the most reliable edition for such comparisons. Hellenica III–VI, covering about thirty years (401/400–371) takes up 172 pages. Book VII, covering about tenyears, takes up43 pages. Thedisproportion is striking. 22 The“Reply totheSatraps” (SVA292), usually dated c.361. There is nogoodalternative datefor it.


Xenophon theAthenian

σθεν ἐν τῇ Ἑ λλά ἐ γένετο ἢ πρό δι . The other is Poroi 11.8: ταραχὴ ἔτι πλείων ν. The two passages ought to refer to the same state of δι ταρ αχ ή διὰ τὴν ἐν Ἑ λλά affairs, the time of troubles that began in 357/6: in Athens the Social War,23 in Greece asa whole theAmphictyonic events of 357, followed bythePhocian seizure of Delphi in 356.24 The two passages were presumably written at the same time, about the middle fifties, say around 355–4. Wecannowreturn toAnabasis 5.3.7ff., thestory of Xenophon’s life andfoundation at Scillus. If wemayregard theThessalian excursus in Hellenica 6.4.27–37 as a parallel, we can at least conjecturally deduce that the excursus is not a later insertion, butthatit waswritten whenXenophon reached thepoint inhisstory where it became relevant andwasconveniently fitted in: in this case, the division of the spoils at Cerasus. Unfortunately, this does nothelp usin arriving at a date of composition. But it appears to have a bearing on Xenophon’s life. Heuses imperfect, present andperfect tenses in hisexcursus. Butthere is animportant difference. The imperfect is used to describe the annual festival he celebrated on the land he had dedicated toArtemis: that phase of hislife wasoverwhenhewrote. Thepresent and perfect, however, areused, apart fromthedescription of thephysical features (clearly unchanging within a short period), for the description of the temple, the cult statue andthe stele prescribing the usufruct-holder’s obligations (5.3.12– 13) andby implication (carrying over the initial ἔ στι) in the description of theflora andfauna on thegoddess’s landandthereference to theannual harvest festival that hehadintroduced (5.3.11), as still going on. Why the change in tense? It can perhaps be argued that Xenophon had full confidence in thereligiosity of both the local people andtheElean government, so that the area andtemple he hadconsecrated to Artemis would not be confiscated andthefestival hehadinstituted would continue tobecelebrated. ButI doubt whether suchnaiveté should be attributed tohim.Elis hadnever recognized Sparta’s claim to the territory or, a fortiori, Xenophon’s: hence any arrangements he hadmade were, in thecity’s eyes, null andvoid andtheland andtemple hadnever been consecrated; or even if the temple was allowed to stand, the rich land attached to it might well be turned to the city’s use.25 We should probably follow the obvious implication of those present andperfect tenses: Xenophon hadbeen back andhad seen that hisconsecration andinstitution of thefestival hadindeed beenrecognized

by Elis. This seems to lend some plausibility to the claim of Pausanias’ informants at Elis that Xenophon hadbeen allowed toreturn andhadindeed diedandbeenburied at Scillus. Noris it difficult to find a time when political conditions would favour 23 This important event seems to have been neglected in recent work. CAHVI2, among other oddities in that volume, does nottreat it at all, yetthere arenumerous references to its effects (see Index). It is generally accepted that themain actions took place in 356 and355. 24 See (best) Buckler 1989: 15ff., 23ff. 25 A parallel in thesame geographical area is provided bytheOlympic Games of 364, “annexed” by the Arcadians andinvaded by the Eleans in the middle of the actual games (Hell. 7.4.28–29). If, asI think, theAnabasis passage waswritten after that date, Xenophon wasunder noillusions

as to Elean action against mies.

sacred sites that they regarded

as unlawfully


by their ene-



Elis’ submission to the Olympic verdict (which presumably could hardly have been decreed without Elis’ acquiescence). Before or after the battle of Mantinea, Elis became anally of Athens (SVA 290: archonship of Molon, 362/1 – more probably after, butit does notmatter here), andthis would be theright time for onewhowas a distinguished Athenian citizen with a panhellenic reputation asa soldier andwriter-philosopher to be allowed to return to the property he hadso successfully administered before hewasexpelled. There is noreason tothink that thesubsequent political convulsions inElis would make anydifference to Xenophon’s status at Scillus. Hepresumably continued to live there, nodoubt less flamboyantly, withoccasional visits to Athens (during the Social War?) andperhaps Sparta (though this is not attested), until hedied andwasburied onhis oldestate. Asfor his writing, wesimplycannot tell whenhebegan either Anabasis orHellenica. Wehave seenthatAnabasis V waswritten after 362/1, but we do not know howlong after. As for Hellenica, all wereally knowis that Book VI waswritten in themiddle years of the 350s (see p. 43) andBook IV before Mantinea (see n. 26). As is known, Books I and II (perhaps not all of it, we shall suggest) are very different in method andmanner from therest of the work. They bear nomark suggesting a time of writing. It has at times been conjectured that they were written late: a deliberate attempt to link Thucydides with the story taken upin Hellenica III. This seems most implausible. There is noreason to assume that Xenophon would have radically changed his style of treatment for such a purpose. Theobvious interpretation seems to be the best: Books I andII (at least as far as 2.3) were his first attempt at historical writing, trying to take the history of Athens down to where he could suppose Thucydides wanted to endand, although he would notimitate Thu-

cydides’ style, writing in Thucydides’ manner. We see a historian trying to establish hisownidentity. There aredebates andlong speeches, inimitation of hismodel (the debate between Critias andTheramenes in Book II is the most obvious example) andthere arenotorious chronological insertions at theendof each year except 404, starting at 1.1.37. Are they, as is usually thought, insertions by an unskilful editor? There is no other trace of such a presumed editor in therest of Hellenica or even in these books. They are best seen as (still) unskilful attempts by the author himself to chronicle some events in the Greek andeven Persian world outside, detailed treatment of which would not have fitted into his general scheme of telling the history of Athens in these two books. We note that there is no such motive between 404 and403, but that two notes similar in style andmanner are inserted near thebeginning of 404 (2.3.4–5) – where scholars have been puzzled whatto do with them, especially since 2.2.24 hasjust marked thebreak between 405 and404. Why should a presumed editor, for no visible reason, have abandoned his so far consistent scheme andchanged to whatwehave here? It mustsurely mark a change of mind by the author himself, whowascoming to doubt the appropriateness of these notices. Notwanting to spoil the coherence of anexciting story between 404 and403 (anidea that would never have occurred totheunskilful editor), yetunwillingto abandon his references to the world outside Athens, he inserted them where the departure of both Agis andLysander marked a natural break. Henever wrote such notes again. 2.4 has no such notes, andno long speeches, let alone debates. Theauthor wasbeginning to fashion a newstyle, a newmanner of treating history.

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There is also a marked difference in political perspective. The original featuring of Theramenes as hero, going so far as to touch uphis questionable behaviour on his peace mission to Sparta andculminating in his glorification in 2.3, is followed, in 2.4, by the emergence of Thrasybulus. Thrasybulus andthe democrats succeed Theramenes andthemoderate oligarchs asadmirable political models. (The extreme oligarchs hadalways been villains andno sympathy for them can be discerned in any part of these books.) The end of the book, praising democracy for observing the amnesty oath “even downto the present” (2.4.43), cannot be pinned downto anytime in particular, for the passage would in anycase be written some years after 403. However, taking all the indications, both of manner of writing and of attitude, together, we must postulate a break between 2.3 and2.4 that is more significant than the break between 2.4 andBook III (which, of course, Xenophon took care to formally link with 2.4 by taking the endof the Athenian stasis as his

starting-point), even though 3.1.4 seems to qualify Athenian goodfaith. Nitsche 1871 thought that Books I–II were written at Scillus. If we limit this to 1–2.3, there is much to be said for it, as against the view that they could only have beenwritten after Xenophon’s rehabilitation, carried toabsurd extremes bySchwartz 1889, who thought the whole work was written without a break in the 350s.26 It is clear, as we saw, that Xenophon was still feeling his wayas a historian, andthat there is a break between 2.3 and2.4, as he reconsidered the manner in which he wanted to write. And it is unlikely that the “epic” of Theramenes could have been written after the author’s rehabilitation by the Athenian democracy, in which such views would notbe popular. 2.4, ontheother hand, could well have been written at anytime after therehabilitation, butmorelikely notlong after 389, whenThrasybulus’ memory needed defending, after thedisastrous endof hisexpedition, whennot λα ... ἀνὴρ ἀγαθό ς (Hellenica 4.8.31) whohadtried to everyone thought hewasµά dowhat wasgoodfor the city (26).27 Xenophon stresses his innocence at Phaselis, where he paid with his life for what some of his soldiers haddone without his authorisation. We simply cannot tell. But we need not suppose, with Schwartz and others, that Xenophon had nothing good to say for any Athenian democrats until they revoked his exile. This is no more likely than the corresponding error that he hadnothing butunqualified praise forSparta andheractions during those decades.28 Norcanwetell whatlength of time passed between 2.3 and2.4, orbetween 2.4 andBook III. We have seen that there mayhave been a considerable interval between Books IV andVI (we cannot accurately date Book V). 4.3 waswritten not later than 362 andquite probably earlier, for the book wassurely presented to the


27 28

Nitsche 1971: 4 hadpointed outthat Xenophon’s description of the battle of Coronea as “the greatest in ourtime” (Hell. 4.3.16) could nothave been written after Mantinea. (Healso thinks it could nothave been written after Leuctra, butLeuctra wasnotanaction ona massive scale, although second to none inimportance). Schwartz 1889: 172 feebly argues against this, since it destroys hiswhole argument. Hehadclearly notyetreached thepinnacle of hisGeschichtswerk des Thukydides. See, e.g., Lysias 28 (esp. 8), Diod. 14.99.4. For this see (perhaps more naive than most) Breitenbach 1967: 1680ff. For the “endgültige Redaktion” after 358, see (without argument or plausibility) 1687. OnXenophon’s wavering attitude to Sparta seebelow.



public asa whole, sothat it musthavebeencompleted bythat date; whereas 6.4 was actually written not before 357. It is unlikely that a book of Hellenica (any book from III to VI) took more than twoyears to write. It seems to have been only Book VII that followed closely uponVI, since Xenophon wanted to ensure that hewould live to finish thework. Wemustremember that 362 is only theterminus post quem nonfor Book IV and357 the terminus ante quemnon(though late 358 isjust possible) for 6.4. The chances are that the interval wasin fact considerably longer, i.e. that IV waswritten inthemiddle sixties. Forwemustin anycase allow forthefact that Xenophon wasconcurrently engaged onmorethan oneof hisworks, especially Cyropaedia,29 much the longest andmost ambitious of his works, about one fifth longer than Hellenica and more than one third longer than Hellenica III–VII. It would certainly notbe easier toplan andwrite outthan whatis essentially narrative history. The only actual date wehave is near the end(8.8.4): the death of therebel satrap Ariobarzanes. This puts the completion of the work after 361, andmakes it impossible to conjecture that it wasall written at Scillus. However, in viewof what wehave seen regarding intervals between books of Hellenica, a reasonable conjecture would make its beginnings go back to the 370s, still at Scillus, andthe actual writing clearly contemporaneous with muchof Hellenica. A puzzling andchallenging work is the Constitution of theLacedaemonians. It is impossible to date with anycertainty, andthere mayeven have been deliberate mystification. Chapter 14, censuring theambitions of Sparta andof individual Spartans, cannot refer to a time after Leuctra, whenSparta could nolonger be aiming at extending herrule andhercitizens could nolonger be dreaming of being harmosts inforeign cities. There is also thereference toGreeks trying tounite inorder to stop a Spartan ἀρχή , contrasted with a time when Sparta protected them against τοὺς δο κ οῦ ντας ἀδι κεῖν, a clear reference to thepropaganda attheoutbreak of thePeloponnesian War. It looks like theonly reference in Xenophon to thefounding of the Athenian League, i.e. it must be written in the 370s. The date should therefore be between 378 and371. Yet it seems inconceivable that Xenophon could have published thework while living under Spartan protection at Scillus. Didhewrite these thoughts down when he started to harbour serious misgivings regarding Spartan policy, with the seizure of the Cadmea, becoming even then convinced that divine retribution wassure to follow (Hellenica 5.4.1)? Histreatment of thetrial of Sphodrias, involving his friend Agesilaus, also shows similar misgivings (5.4.24–33). Being an unusually religious man, he must surely have foreseen such retribution when, asa consequence oftheseizure oftheCadmea, Agesilaus laiddowntheguideline that all that mattered in Spartan political decisions waswhat wasgoodfor the city (5.2.32), thus denying the binding nature of oaths in principle. The seizure of theCadmea wasnotto be regarded as anaberration.30 It is very likely that Xenophon’s last decade at Scillus wasfilled with forebodings, andthat hesawthefoundation of theAthenian League andtheenthusiasm that greeted it in their true light. There is noreason to doubt thegenuineness of chapter 14,evenif wethink it displaced. (It cancertainly nothavebeenintended to separate

29 Cyropaedia takes up336 Teubner pages (ed. minor), Hellenica 248. 30 See Badian 1991: 46, 1995: 90–91.

Xenophon theAthenian


two chapters dealing with the rights of kings, but was presumably written as an epilogue.) The only question is whether the work wasindeed written in the 370s andheldback orwhether it waswritten some time after Leuctra, withthedeliberate purpose of seeming to have been composed in the370s. There is nocertain answer, since it hinges uponwhether webelieve that Xenophon wasgenuinely horrified by Spartan actions in the last decade of his stay as the guest of Sparta or that he later tried to give the impression of having been horrified. It will be clear that I believe the former, in view of Xenophon’s undoubted andwell-attested piety, andthat I think hedidnotexempt hispatron Agesilaus fromblame. That this does notappear inAgesilaus should not surprise. That essay wasanencomium, not even a biography (let alone a history), using history (above all the author’s Hellenica) only as a background for praise. Ashasoften been noted, Xenophon even takes this so far as to repeat his statement that Coronea wasthe greatest battle of his day (Agesilaus 2.9), which he well knew wasfar from true by the 350s, because it serves, not as historical truth (as it did in Hellenica), but as an occasion for praising Agesilaus’ tactical skill andpersonal courage andpiety (2.9– 11,12,13– 15). Even so,censure of hishero’s intervention in Corinth andPhlius is notconcealed: significantly the defence (for he has to be defended) is that he was being loyal to his friends (2.21, cf. 22). In Hellenica, a historical work, as wehave seen, Agesilaus’ actions are truthfully reported (though not, of course, openly blamed, for Xenophon believed in

personal loyalty) even where it is clear Xenophon must have disapproved of them. Hislast decade at Scillus must have been torn bypsychological conflicts, notto be openly admitted. As for his attitude towards Athens, Hellenica contains numerous instances of improving history inAthens’ favour. Unfortunately wecannot tell whether thepassages concerned were written before orafter hisrehabilitation. Wecannot precisely date Book V, in particular, which contains several of these episodes. There is Athens’ attitude to swearing to accept the King’s Peace (Hellenica 5.1.32), which, as I have argued, seems to be contradicted by Philochorus.31 There is, above all, his version of Athens’ actions with regard to the liberation of Thebes (5.4.9ff.): he reports the early apologetic version that the twogenerals who, with their regiments, were waiting at the border for a message summoning them to aid in the liberation andthen rushed to dosowere acting entirely ontheir ownresponsibility and, when the Athenians condemned them to death as soon as the Spartans invaded Boeotia, they were justified in doing so. Xenophon deliberately disguised the fact that the Athenians hadordered aidtotheliberators, butgotcoldfeet whentheSpartan army appeared – a fact we learn from Diodorus, supported by Dinarchus, whoactually sawa relevant decree andmetsurvivors. That account doesnotmention theconvictionof thetwogenerals which waslater best forgotten. Xenophon’s apologia, whenever Book V waspublished (as wesaw, inthemid- orlate 360s), wasobviously the one thought necessary when the fact could not yet be thus forgotten. It is a pity that wecannot precisely date it, for it shows Xenophon’s attitude to Athens more clearly than anyother incident.32

31 Badian 1991: 27–33. 32 See Badian 1995: 87f. Worthington 1992: 195 accepts Xenophon’s version andsuggests that



It would be equally interesting to be able to date Book III. If Book IV was published before Leuctra, as (e.g.) Nitsche argued, it wascertainly written long before the author’s rehabilitation. Unfortunately there is no good reason for holding this opinion (see above). If, as is likely, Book IV waswritten in the middle 360s, Book III mayhave been written, or at least published, after thedate of Xenophon’s rehabilitation – whenever precisely that was;33 butit mayequally well bejust before. We should like to know precisely because of the passage on the mission of Timocrates (3.5.1–2): meninvarious cities arenamed asaccepting thePersian moneyhebrought with himandspeaking ill of the Spartans in consequence, sopreparingtheir cities to start a waragainst Sparta; but, inAthens, wearetold, nobody took themoney (wearenotexplicitly toldwhether it wasoffered, butit is surely implied tohave been): theAthenians were ready for waragainst Sparta because of a reason unfortunately obscured bymanuscript corruption butobviously notvenal. Yet Xenophon is here contradicted notonlybytheOxyrhynchus Historian, butalso byPausanias, clearly from a different source, whoname Epicrates andCephalus as having accepted bribes:34 another of theseveral instances were wefind Xenophon deliberately falsifying history for patriotic reasons. Although wecannot be sure whenthis waswritten andpublished, I aminclined to think that it wasbefore his rehabilitation. We remember that in the same book (3.1.4) he imputes to the Athenians a rather discreditable motive (in view of the amnesty oath) for sending cavalry to Asia to support Thibron – a passage that I think heis notlikely to have written soon after thedemocracy hadrevoked hisexile. Butthat could beregarded asforgivable, while taking Persian money in order to fight other Greeks would notbe.35 But Xenophon’s greatest effort at depicting Athens’ at least transitory glory after the battle of Leuctra is his description of the attempt by the Athenians to take over the Peloponnesian League (Hellenica 6.5.1ff.), certainly written in the 350s. Xenophon is the only source for this congress held in Athens, which produced a series of vacuous resolutions that Athens wasnot strong enough to enforce.36


Dinarchus andDiodorus (independently?) confuse the liberation of Thebes with Athenian action after Sphodrias’ raid: if so, quite long after. A gooddiscussion bySeager (1994: 164–166) seems toocharitable inregarding Xenophon’s account asjust “severely truncated”. SeeStylianou 1998: 230ff., with good discussion, especially of military movements, andwith proper suspicion of Xenophon, butrather unfocused. (Heis unaware of thecomments of Badian andSeager just cited.) All wecansayis that it will have been after thetreaty between Athens andSparta (Hell. 7.1.1–

14: 369).

34 Breitenbach 1967: 1681 argues forhis“later recension”, collecting other supposed evidence for it in this chapter. Hegoes so far as to assign anti-Spartan comments in speeches (notably the Theban speech inAthens, Hell. 3.5.8ff.) to a late date. Eventhough these passages cannot really be dated, this argument is absurd. Xenophon hadhadthe usual upper-class rhetorical training, and, noless than Thucydides, knew howto adapt a speech to the occasion. Sparta’s enemies were saying whatThucydides called τὰ δέοντα. 35 The passages contradicting Xenophon are Hell.Oxy. 10.2 andPaus. 3.9.8. See Bruce 1967: 56ff.

36 See Badian 1995: 93f. (Correct the reference to Hellenica.) Xenophon does noteven mention the vacuous resolution about Amphipolis. Hewasto make his view of the Athenian alliances

Xenophon the Athenian


Wecansumupby saying that Xenophon never portrays theAthenians (except for theThirty) in anunfavourable light. Their commanders, onthe whole, are skilful, patriotic andhonest, andevendemagogues arenotcharged withaccepting bribes. The city itself is absolved of tergiversation under the influence of panic. Most of this waswritten after Xenophon’s rehabilitation, butsome passages (certainly Hellenica I–II and, I think, Hellenica III) before. Andwe must remember that, even after his rehabilitation, Xenophon chose not to live in Athens, yet never wrote an unpatriotic account, even where facts suggesting that such an account would be historical truth were known to him. Wemustnowface themajor problem inHellenica that hasdefied solution: the failure to mention the foundation of the Athenian League in 377, with the negotiations surrounding it. That this is not (as has lightly been claimed) because the League was directed against Sparta should be amply clear. Xenophon does not disguise Sparta’s deteriorating political ethics, noreventhegrave responsibility borne byhis friend Agesilaus; andwehave seen that in Constitution of theLacedaemonians he actually alludes to thefounding of theLeague. The events around 378/7 would have been discussed in Book V, written in the 360s. By then theLeague wasshowing serious signs of strain, largely dueto Athenian behaviour. In 364 Epaminondas, no doubt using funds sent by the King after the mission of Pelopidas to Susa, persuaded theThebans to embark ona major navalventure, with a viewto ultimately challenging Athens at sea. Whenheappeared in the eastern Aegean, he succeeded in winning the support of Rhodes, Chios and Byzantium (Diodorus 15.79.1). In fact, wenowknow that these were notthe only cities successfully visited by the fleet, butthat it even called onplaces onthe coast of Asia: Epaminondas, so a recently published inscription reveals, washonoured with a proxeny at Cnidus.37 The effectiveness of his appearance in the Aegean can be too easily written off. There is noreason to doubt Diodorus’ figure for thefleet, norto make upthefiction that it wasnotreally built.38 Wedonotknowthe size of Laches’ fleet in those waters at thetime, butweknowthat hewasafraid to face the novice Thebans. Whether thecities Epaminondas visited madetreaties withhimwe donotknow. None areonrecord andcertainly none (except possibly Byzantium’ s) hadanyreal effect. Butthis maywell be solely because theThebans atonce proved



clear inhisaccount of Oropus. Here hegoes on,without comment, toreport theconclusion of a realistic treaty between Athens andSparta (see n. 33). See the inscription published byBlümel 1994. It is fully discussed in Buckler 1998 in thecontext of Epaminondas’ Aegean excursions. (Buckler haspartly revised his translation, as hehas informed mein a letter.) Stylianou 1998: 494f. denies that theKinghadsubsidised thefleet, forthesole reason that there is noexplicit evidence (would weexpect Diodorus to add“andit wasreally built” before we could believe it?); that argument would invalidate manyconclusions drawn byhistorians. However, herightly follows Hornblower 1982 in accepting theprobability that Byzantium wasinduced to leave the confederacy anddidnotreturn to it. (Roy 1994: 201f. is toocautious about this, though he knows the facts.) Hedoes, however, recognise the fact that thereason whywe donothear more about naval activity byEpaminondas is that “Epaminondas ... wasovertaken byevents onthemainland”. This reason adequately explains whytheultimate effect of Epaminodas’ expedition wasslight. But that could notbe foreseen at thetime.



unable to follow uptheir first venture. It is clear that several of Athens’ allies were ready to rebel; perhaps Timotheus’ settlement of Athenians on Samos hadbeen more than they could stand. When Epaminondas encouraged them, andseemed to have the power to support them, it is quite likely that he did not return to Thebes empty-handed, buthada bundle of at least provisional treaties to show his fellowThebans. After all, we must ask: when a fleet of a hundred triremes entered the harbour of a small island or coastal city andthe Athenians’ commander hadfled before it; andwhen, after receiving anenthusiastic welcome, thecommander of that fleet, whose distinguished military career would beknown to all, asked for a treaty of alliance – would thecity be likely to refuse? Of course, anytreaties made, andperhaps notfully sworn yet, came to nothing andaretherefore ignored byourtradition, asindeed washis success onthecoast of Asia. Butthat wasnothisfault. Hewasobviously notblamed bytheThebans when theMantinea campaign began. Hadhe survived it, muchwould have been different in theAegean world as in mainland Greece. The Athenian League wasnone too secure by the time Xenophon wrote about events around its founding. Indeed, the first signal that it could notbe relied upon hadappeared in 366, when Oropus was snatched from Athens andher appeal for help to her allies (we do not precisely to whom) was ignored (Hellenica 7.4.1). Xenophon’s wrycomment shows deepdisappointment.39 I suggest that a possible reason for his failure to write of theLeague’s glorious foundation when Spartan rule wasbecoming unbearable (LP 14.6) wasthat, witnessing what washappening to the League at the very time when he waswriting about theperiod of its founding, he could notbring himself to doso.

BIBLIOGRAPHY E. 1991, “The King’s Peace”, in M.Toher andM.Flower (edd.), Georgica [= BICS Supplement 58] (London): 25–48. – 1995, “The Ghost of Empire”, in W.Eder (ed.), Die athenische Demokratie im4. Jahrhundert v.Chr. (Akten eines Symposiums 3.– 7. August 1992, Bellagio) (Stuttgart): 79– 106. Blümel, W., 1994, “TwoInscriptions from theCnidian Peraia”, EA23: 157–158. Breitenbach, H. R., 1967, “Xenophon (6): Xenophon von Athen”, RE IXA: 1567–1928, 1981/2– 2051, 2502. Bruce, I. A. F., 1967, AnHistorical Commentary on the ‘Hellenica Oxyrhynchia’ (Cambridge). Buckler, J., 1980, The Theban Hegemony, 371–362 BC (Cambridge MA). – 1989, Philip II andtheSacred War(Leiden-New York). – 1998, “Epameinondas andthe NewInscription from Knidos”, Mnemosyne s.4, 51: 192–205. Badian,

Ellis, J.R., 1994, ”Macedon andNorth-West Greece”, CAHVI2: 723–759. Falappone,

M., 1979, “Note dibiografia senofontea”, QS5: 283–291.

P., 1994, “Text andContext in the Matter of Xenophon’s Exile”, in I.Worthington (ed.), Ventures into Greek History (Oxford): 215–227. Griffith, G. T., 1979, Chapters V–XIX, in N.G.L.Hammond andG.T. Griffith, AHistory of Macedo-


nia II (Oxford).

39 See p. 44 above.


Xenophon the Athenian

Henry, M., 1995, Prisoner of History: Aspasia of Miletus andher Biographical Tradition (Oxford). Herman, G., 1987, Ritualised Friendship andthe Greek City (Cambridge). Hornblower, S., 1982, Mausolus (Oxford). How, W.W. andWells, J., 1912, A Commentary onHerodotus (Oxford).

Nitsche, W., 1871, “Über die Abfassung vonXenophons Hellenika”, Jahresbericht: Sophien-Gymnasium (Berlin): 1–55.

Roy, J., 1994, “Thebes in the 360s B.C.”, CAHVI2: 187–208. Schaps, D., 1977, “The Woman Least Mentioned”, CQn.s. 27: 323–330. Schwartz, E., 1881, “Quellenuntersuchungen zur griechischen Geschichte II”, RhMn.F.44: 161–


Seager, R.J., 1994, ”TheKing’s Peace andtheSecond Athenian Confederacy”, CAHVI2: 156–186. Sordi, M., 1958, La lega tessala (Rome). Stylianou, P. 1998, A Historical Commentary onDiodorus Siculus Book 15 (Oxford). Tuplin, C.J., 1987, “Xenophon’s Exile Again”, in M.Whitby Essays for John Bramble (Bristol): 59–68.

et al. (edd.), Homo Viator: Classical

Vela Tejada, V., 1998, PostH.R.Breitenbach: Tres décadas deestudios sobre Jenofonte [Monografías

defilología griega 11] (Zaragoza).

Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U. von 1881, Antigonos vonKarystos (Berlin). Worthington, I., 1992, A Historical Commentary onDinarchus (Ann Arbor).



Zeitpunkt, aus welchen Gründen undmöglicherweise Hintergründen Xenophon ausAthen verbannt wurde, beschäftigt die Forschung seit langem. Die dazu vorgetragenen Ansichten sind vor allem deshalb unterschiedlich undunvereinbar, weil die Quellen, nicht zuletzt Xenophon selbst, so wenig über diese Vorgänge berichten, daßsich daraus meist nurindirekte Schlußfolgerungen ziehen lassen. Dieser Voraussetzung sind natürlich auch die folgenden Überlegungen unterworfen. DieBerechtigung, dasProblem nocheinmal anzugehen, sehe ichdarin, daß einwichtiger Teil derThematik bisher kaumberührt wurde, nämlich derCharakter des Prozesses, der gegen Xenophon geführt wurde. Das dürfte daran liegen, daß denHistorikern undbesonders denPhilologen dierechtshistorische Warte imallgemeinen fern liegt, unddaßumgekehrt denRechtshistorikern derGegenstand zuunergiebig erscheinen muß. Da aber denAthenern selbst verfahrensrechtliche Angelegenheiten sehr wichtig waren, nach Meinung vieler sogar wichtiger als dasmaterielle Recht, liegt es nahe, danach zufragen, welches Rechtsverfahren eigentlich zu Xenophons Verurteilung führte. Diese Frage soweit wie möglich zu klären, wäre schon für sich genommen derMühe wert, soll hier aber auch zurweiteren Aufhellung derübrigen Umstände derVerbannung fruchtbar gemacht werden. Schließlich soll noch auf ein Problem eingegangen werden, das mit der Verurteilung Xenophons in engem Zusammenhang steht, aber ebensowenig jemals unter rechtlichen Gesichtpunkten behandelt wurde, nämlich dieFrage, obundgegebenenfalls wiedie Verbannung wieder aufgehoben wurde.

I Der Prozeß DasVerfahren gegen Xenophon, dasin denQuellen nie präzise benannt wird, läßt sich mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit als Eisangelia einstufen. Von vornherein war die Eisangelie das Verfahren, das bei politischen, grundsätzlich gegen den Staat gerichteten Delikten angezeigt war; unddaßXenophon zumindest formal ein solches politisches Delikt vorgeworfen wurde, ist zwar wiederum nicht ausdrücklich bezeugt, aber unumstritten, gleichgültig, obmansich darunter seine Teilnahme am Kyroszug oder sein Engagement aufSeiten Spartas vorstellt. Beide Möglichkeiten, auf die weiter unten einzugehen ist, beziehen sich auf die militärische Tätigkeit Xenophons, undgerade fürdiesen Bereich wardieEisangelieklage einschlägig: Die *

Dieser Beitrag ist mitgeringfügig anderer Schwerpunktsetzung auch enthalten in G. Thür und F.J. Fernández Nieto (Hrsg.), Vorträge zurgriechischen undhellenistischen Rechtsgeschichte (Köln u.a. 2003), 209–227.



bekannten Eisangelieverfahren richteten sich besonders häufig gegen Strategen sowiegegen Personen mitmilitärischem Auftrag, dieimweiteren Sinn auchalsAmtsträger zu verstehen sind.1 Aber auch Privatpersonen wurden mit einer Eisangelie angeklagt, undobwohl es natürlich nurin seltenen Fällen überhaupt dazukommen konnte, daßjemand, wie eben Xenophon, als Privatperson, ohne staatlichen Auftrag, ein gegen den Staat gerichtetes militärisches Vergehen beging, so läßt sich doch auch dafür innerhalb eines eindeutig als Eisangelie belegten Falles eine zumindest mögliche Parallele anführen.2 Das athenische Eisangeliegesetz, dernomos eisangeltikos ist höchstwahrscheinlich innerhalb derReformen desKleisthenes zumSchutz derdemokratischen Staatsordnung erstmals erlassen worden. Die wesentlichen Bestimmungen desGesetzes, dieunsdurch Hypereides unddieLexikographen fürdiezweite Hälfte des4. Jahrhunderts bezeugt sind, müssen in dieser FormimZuge derathenischen Gesetzesrevision nach derWiedererrichtung derDemokratie 411/10 in Geltung getreten sein undwaren deshalb fürdenXenophon-Prozeß dieeinschlägige Grundlage.3 Diedrei grundsätzlichen Tatbestände, die das Gesetz nach demZeugnis des Hypereides (3.7f.) umfaßte, waren erstens Umsturz der Verfassung (κατά µου), λυσις τοῦ δή zweitens Hochverrat (προδοσία) unddrittens Bestechlichkeit eines Redners (χρή µατα λαµβά νε ιν). Militärische Delikte wurden im allgemeinen als Prodosia verfolgt, unddas mußauch der Vorwurf gegen Xenophon gewesen sein.4 Während Hypereides das für seinen Zusammenhang wichtige Vergehen zitiert (ἐὰν δέτις πό λιν τινα προδῷἢ ναῦςἢ πε ζὴνἢ ναυτι κὴν στρ ατι ά ν) deckt die Angabe, die das Lexikon Cantabrigiense (s.v. ε ἰ σ αγγε λία) zusätzlich zu der mit Hypereides fast gleichlautenden Bestimmung macht unddieebenfalls als glaubwürdiger Gesetzestext gelten muß,5 genau Xenophons Verhalten ab: “... oder wennjemand zu den ν Feinden geht, sich bei ihnen niederläßt oder mit ihnen zuFelde zieht ...” (ἢ [ἐά τι ς] εἰς τοὺς πολε µίους ἄνευ τοῦ πε µφθῆναι ἀφι κ νῆται ἢ µε τοικῇ παρ᾽ αὐτοῖςἢ ηται µετ᾽ αὐτῶν). Unter denFeinden könnten sowohl Kyros als auch die στρατε ύ Spartaner verstanden werden.

1 2

3 4


Hansen 1975: 58ff. IG ii2 125; Hansen 1975: 23f. undCat. Nr.99. Der vermutliche Hauptangeklagte Hegesileos warzwar Stratege, handelte aber aufeigene Faust, so daßseine Mitangeklagten durchaus Privatleute gewesen sein können. Vgl. zurInterpretation undzurDatierung derInschrift Dreher 1995: 155ff. DerProzeß gegen Xenophon ist nicht inHansens Katalog aufgenommen worden. Daskönnte daran liegen, daßdieQuellenaussagen dafür zudünnsind, obwohl Hansen 1975: 67 Anm.7 ihn nicht unter denBeispielen für diese Kategorie aufführt. Manersieht daraus auch, daßdieser Prozeß indenÜberlegungen derForschung nicht präsent ist. Ichfolge in dieser historischen Einordnung Hansen 1975: 15ff., derfürdasEinführungsdatum 411/10 eintritt. Die nochmalige Reform desGesetzes, dieHansen 1975 gegen 355 datiert, hat andeninhaltlichen Bestimmungen nichts geändert. Daswirdvondenmeisten Forschern anerkannt, zuletzt auch, wiees scheint, vonGreen 1994: 221. 226, derjedoch (224) auchbehauptet, dieBeteiligung amKyroszug, dieseines Erachtens offizielle Anklage, könne darunter nicht subsumiert werden. Allerdings wird diese Anklage vonGreen nicht indendazugehörigen rechtlichen Zusammenhang gestellt. Vgl. Hansen 1975: 13. Zueinigen Problemen derTextwiederherstellung vgl.jetzt auch Stein


DerProzeß gegen Xenophon


Nach den Formulierungen unserer Quellen, einschließlich Xenophons selbst (Anabasis 7.5.57; zu 5.3.7 s.u.), ist der Historiker verbannt worden. Das scheint zunächst imWiderspruch zuunsrem bisherigen Befund eines Eisangelieprozesses zu stehen. Die Eisangelie warzwar mindestens bis zurMitte des4. Jahrhunderts prinzipiell einἀγὼν τι µητό ς, also einVerfahren inwelchem nachdemSchuldspruch sowohl derKläger als auch derAngeklagte jeweils einen Antrag auf dasStrafmaß stellen konnten unddieRichter sich in einer zweiten Abstimmung zwischen beiden Anträgen entscheiden mußten, wie es z. B. aus demSokrates-Prozeß bestens bekannt ist. Aber abgesehen davon, daßdiezweite Abstimmung häufig garnicht mehr stattfand, weil das Strafmaß bereits im Anklagedekret festgelegt undmit dessen Annahme beschlossen war,6 wurde inderPraxis offenbar ausschließlich entweder – wasmeist derFall war– dieTodesstrafe oder aber eine Geldbuße gefordert.7 Es ist daher im Gegensatz zurallgemeinen Meinung anzunehmen, daßauch über Xenophon dasTodesurteil verhängt wurde. Mit demTodesurteil warnormalerweise die Einziehung des Vermögens durch den Staat verbunden.8 Deshalb dürfte auch ein eventuell noch vorhandenes Vermögen Xenophons (vgl. unten) mitseiner Verurteilung andiePolis gefallen sein.9 Bei Todesurteilen in anderen Prozessen wares, wie sich nicht zuletzt ausdenSchilderungen über die Hinrichtung des Sokrates ergibt, anscheinend nicht sehr schwer, sich durch Flucht außer Landes der Exekution zu entziehen unddanndefacto in derVerbannung zuleben, wasSokrates bekanntlich abgelehnt hat. Bei Todesurteilen in Eisangelien jedoch verfuhren die entsprechendenInstitutionen – verantwortlich wardieBehörde derElf –offenbar weniger großzügig, daeine große Anzahl derUrteile tatsächlich vollstreckt wurde. Diese Möglichkeit warbei Xenophon ausgeschlossen, daer sich außer Landes aufhielt undin absentia verurteilt wurde. Ebenso wie die zahlreichen Angeklagten in Eisangelieprozessen, die sich durch Flucht ihrer Festnahme undder drohenden Exekution entzogen,10 lebte also auch derzumTode verurteilte Xenophon defacto in derVerbannung. Durch dieRückkehr nach Athen hätte er sein Leben aufs Spiel gesetzt, da erjederzeit hätte ergriffen undhingerichtet werden können.11 Wenn also die Quellen, so ist dereben konstatierte scheinbare Widerspruch aufzulösen, vonderVerbannung Xenophons sprechen, so ist damit der gesamte Verurteilungsprozeß, der denZeitgenossen präsent war, in seinem letztendlichen Ergebnis zusammengefaßt. 6 Vgl. Harrison 1971: 57f.; Hansen 1975: 33. 35f. 7 Vgl. Hansen 1975: 33. Vonden 144 in Hansens Katalog aufgenommenen Eisangeliai endeten über 100 miteinem Todesurteil, ebd.11. 8 Vgl. Harrison 1971: 178. 9 Rahn 1981: 116 zitiert Xen. Hell. 1.7.22f. als Beleg dafür, daßProdosia mitVerbannung bestraft worden sei. Abererstens setzt dasGesetz, dasvonXenophon zitiert wird, mitdemBestattungsverbot die Todesstrafe, nicht die Verbannung, voraus, undzweitens dürfte das Gesetz nach404/3 indasEisangeliegesetz eingegangen unddamit hinfällig geworden sein, vgl. Harrison 1971: 59. 10 Vgl. die zahlreichen Beispiele in Hansens Katalog. Die vonGreen 1994: 219 mitgeteilte und geteilte Feststellung Roismans, erkenne kein Verbannungsurteil gegen einen Abwesenden, der außerhalb vonAttika einnicht gegen Athener gerichtetes Delikt begangen habe, kannichnicht nachvollziehen, die vonGreen 1994 daraus gezogenen Folgerungen ebensowenig. 11 Vgl. Harrison 1971: 186, Thür 1990: 155.



Das ergibt sich auch aus einer Stelle der Hellenika Xenophons selbst (5.4.19): κ ρίνοντες τὸν µὲν ἀπέκ τε ι ναν, τὸν δ᾽, ἐπεὶ οὐχ ὑπέµε ι νεν, ἐ φυγά δε υ σαν. Die Verurteilung derbeiden Strategen ist mitκ ρίναντες ausgedrückt, dannfolgt, alsErgebnis desUrteils, daßmandeneinen (weil anwesend) hinrichtete, während manden anderen, weil abwesend, zumVerbannten machte.12 Beide waren daher gleichermaßen zumTode verurteilt worden, obwohl dieFormulierung Xenophons – ebenso wir die eben vonThukydides zitierte – für sich genommen ein Verbannungsurteil nahelegt. Bei allen Verfahren hingegen, in denen die Verbannung nicht ausdrücklich als Strafe verhängt wurde, wardasExil nurdie faktische Umgehung der vor oder nach der Flucht verhängten Todesstrafe, deren Vollstreckung prinzipiell immernoch möglich blieb, falls derStaat desTäters habhaft wurde. Wenn daran seitens derPolis einbesonderes Interesse bestand, konnte sogar ein Kopfgeld aufden Exilierten ausgesetzt werden.13 Dieallermeisten derheutigen Interpreten haben sich diese Präzisierung nicht bewußt gemacht, sondern unterliegen


nis, dasdie Quellen nahelegen, undsetzen ein Verbannungsurteil voraus.14

UmdieAnnahme, Xenophon sei in einem Eisangelieprozeß verurteilt worden, weiter abzusichern, mußnoch die Gegenprobe vorgenommen werden: Welche anderen Verfahrensarten wären in Frage gekommen? Wäre Xenophon athenischer Stratege gewesen, hätte derAnkläger eine Reihe weiterer Anklageformen zurVerfügung gehabt,15 so daß die Wahrscheinlichkeit für eine Eisangelie sich entsprechend verringern würde, obwohl diese auch dann daswahrscheinlichste Verfahren bliebe. DaXenophon aberPrivatmann war,unddaerunbestritten wegen eines politischen Delikts, dasunter denTatbestand derProdosia fiel, zurRechenschaft gezogenwurde, warm.E. eine graphê prodosias die einzige Alternative. Diese Klageform wird allerdings nurvon einem Lexikographen erwähnt,16 undwir haben keinen einzigen Fall, in dem sie auch wirklich angewandt worden wäre. Sie dürfte daher nursehr selten zumEinsatz gekommen sein.17 Daswird auch daran gelegen haben, daßdieEisangelie fürdenKläger eingeringeres Risiko bedeutete. Zwarzog anscheinend auch bei einer Eisangelie die vorzeitige Rücknahme der Klage eine Buße von1000 Drachmen nach sich, dochkamdasinderPraxis wohlkaumvor, da eine Klage im allgemeinen aus Furcht vor der härteren Sanktion, der Atimie, zu12

Ἐφυγά δε υσεν mußdeshalb nach Hansen 1975: 90 Cat.Nr.77 genau bedeuten: capital punishmentcommuted toexile. Hansen 1975: 36 (vgl. Cat. Nr.10, Anm.7) interpretiert zuRecht auch Thuk. 4.65.3 (τοὺς µὲν φυγῇ ἐ ζη µίωσαν) in diesem Sinn. Hansens Formulierung “commuted to exile” ist allerdings zumindest mißverständlich, denn dieStrafe wurde formaliter nicht um-


13 Vgl. Harrison 1971: 185f. 14 Vgl. fürpraktisch alle: Rahn 1981: 116, Tuplin 1987: 60, Green 1994: 220f.: “decree of banishment”; 226: “psephisma of exile”. DieTodesstrafe hathingegen Schwartz 1956: 152postuliert, allerdings ohne ausreichende Begründung; ebenso Lendle 1999: 190. Der terminus technicus für Verbannung als eigene Strafe warin klassischer Zeit imübrigen ἀε ι φυγία vgl. z.B. Dem. 21.43; I.Délos 98 B Z.26. 15 InFrage gekommen wären etwaProbole, Apocheirotonia mitEuthynai, Apagoge/Endeixis, vgl. Hansen 1975: 38. 16 Pollux 8.40. 17 Vgl. Hansen 1975: 49.

DerProzeß gegen Xenophon


rückgezogen wurde, die demKläger dann drohte, wenn er weniger als ein Fünftel derRichterstimmen erhielt. Aber gerade vonderAtimiesanktion warderKläger in einer Eisangelie ausgenommen, weil die staatsgefährdenden Vergehen auf jeden Fall zur Anzeige gebracht werden sollten, so daßjeder Kläger schon aus diesem Grund eher zurEisangelie als zueiner Graphe gegriffen haben dürfte.18 Eisangelien im technischen Sinn,19 von denen hier die Rede ist, konnten sowohl andie Bule als auch andie Volksversammlung gerichtet werden.20 Eisangeliai wegen Hochverrats wurden in derüberwiegenden Anzahl vonFällen vor dem Volk erhoben.21 Entscheidend dafür, daßauch Xenophons Prozeß in derEkklesie begann, ist aber das Kriterium, daßsich eine Eisangelie andie Bule immer gegen Amtsträger oder Männer, die einen staatlichen Auftrag ausführten, richtete, währendvordemVolk auchPrivatleute verklagt wurden.22 Eine Eisangelie andasVolk konnte direkt erhoben werden, ohne daßdieBule vorher mitdemFall inBerührung kam.23 Die Volksversammlung hatte dann zu entscheiden, ob sie selbst, in einer eigenen Sitzung, über denFall urteilte, oder ob sie ihn, eventuell über denRat, an ein Dikasterion überwies. Vor etwa 350 v.Chr. wurden die meisten Verfahren an einDikasterion überwiesen, nach diesem Zeitpunkt wardasobligatorisch. Falls die Nachricht des Istros (bei Diogenes Laertios 2.59), Xenophon sei aufgrund eines Volksbeschlusses (Psephisma) verbannt worden, indieser Hinsicht präzise ist, wäre sie ein weiterer Beleg dafür, daßderProzeß in derEkklesia zumindest eingeleitet wurde. Fassen wirdiebisherige Argumentation zusammen, somußes alshöchstwahrscheinlich, wenn auch nicht sicher beweisbar gelten, daß gegen Xenophon unter demVorwurf derProdosia eineEisangelieklage vorderathenischen Volksversammlung erhoben wurde. Bei derVerhandlung vorderVolksversammlung oder voreinemGeschworenengericht wurde er inabsentia zumTodverurteilt, wasihndefacto zumVerbannten machte. Es soll schließlich an dieser Stelle noch auf die verblüffend enge undin der Literatur weitgehend übergangene Parallele hingewiesen werden, die der Prozeß gegen Xenophon zujenem gegen Thukydides aufweist, dessen Geschichtswerk Xenophon bekanntlich fortgesetzt hat. Wie Xenophon spricht auch Thukydides selbst nicht über seinen Prozeß. Ausdenwenigen anderen Quellen entnehmen wir, daß auch er wegen Prodosia, wahrscheinlich durch eine Eisangelie an das Volk, verklagt undin Abwesenheit zumTode verurteilt wurde. DaThukydides aber Stra-

18 Vgl. Harrison 1971: 59. 19 Untechnisch wirddasVerb ε ἰ σ αγγέλλειν fürverschiedene Formen vonAnzeigen verwendet. 20 Diese Unterscheidung, die schon vonLipsius getroffen wurde, ist mitHansen 1975: 21ff. gegenetwaRhodes aufrechtzuhalten. 21 Hansen 1975: 28 zählt 25 Klagen an dasVolk gegenüber zwei an denRat. Verschiedentlich wird in derLiteratur formuliert, die athenische Volksversammlung habe die Verbannung beschlossen, z.B. Delebeque 1957: 121; begründet wirddieAnnahme allerdings nicht. 22 Hansen 1975: 27. 23 Daß Eisangelien in der ekklêsia kuria, der Hauptversammlung in jeder Prytanie, zu erheben waren (Aristot. Ath.pol. 43.4), kannerst ab337/6 gegolten haben, alsdieser Versammlungstyp eingeführt wurde, wieErrington 1994 gezeigt hat. Möglicherweise konnte die Eisangelie vorherinjeder Volksversammlung erhoben werden.



tege war, ist bei ihmdasEisangelieverfahren weniger gewiß als bei Xenophon.24 Beide Historiker sollen nach einer unglaubwürdigen Überlieferung voneinem führenden Politiker angeklagt worden sein (dazu unten), vonbeiden ist nicht ganz sicher, obsie ausdemExil wieder nachAthen zurückgekehrt sind(dazu unten). Trotz derengen Parallelen läßt sich allerdings dernaheliegende Verdacht, daßindenspärlichen Nachrichten derQuellen Verwechslungen oderÜbertragungen zwischen den beiden Prozessen stattgefunden haben könnten, nicht erhärten.

II Grund undZeitpunkt der Verurteilung Xenophons knappe Erwähnungen seiner Verurteilung geben leider keine eindeutigen Hinweise auf deren Zeitpunkt. ObAnabasis 5.3.7 überhaupt auf die Verbannung zu beziehen ist, bleibt unsicher, so daß die Stelle als Zeugnis ausscheiden muß.25 Anabasis 7.7.57 (οὐ γά ρ πω ψ ῆφος αὐτῷ ἐ πῆκτο Ἀ θήνησι περὶ φυ γῆς) bezieht sich auf einen unbestimmten späteren Zeitpunkt undnicht eindeutig auf ein unmittelbar folgendes Ereignis, wiemanchmal angenommen wird.26 WasdenGrund derVerurteilung angeht, soistAnabasis 3.1.5, dieWarnung desSokrates, durch die Begleitung desKyros könne Xenophon gegenüber demStaat Schuld aufsich laden, kein Beweis dafür, daß dies der Hauptanklagepunkt im Xenophon-Prozeß war,27 sondern höchstens einIndiz dafür, daß der Vorgang bei der Verurteilung mitgespielt haben dürfte (s.u.); es wird aber dadurch abgeschwächt, daß die Geschichte vorrangig dieFunktion hat, dieweitsichtige Weisheit desSokrates hervorzuheben. Denspäteren Quellen lag offenbar keine präzise Überlieferung über Zeitpunkt undGrund derVerurteilung vor. Sie haben ihre sehr unbestimmten Angaben wahrscheinlich aus Xenophons Werken abgeleitet. So trugen seine Freundschaft mit Agesilaos, seinEnkomion überdenspartanischen König, seine Schrift überdieVerfassung der Spartaner undnicht zuletzt sein langer Aufenthalt in spartanisch beherrschtem Gebiet Xenophon nicht nurdenRuf eines Spartafreundes ein, sondern dürften auch Diogenes Laertios bzw. dessen Gewährsmann Demetrios vonMagnesia zu der Angabe veranlaßt haben, der Historiker sei wegen Spartafreundschaft28 verbannt worden. DasDelikt desLakonismos jedoch warnie, undschon garnicht Anfang des 4. Jahrhunderts, ein offizieller Straftatbestand in Athen. In ähnlicher Weise hatwohl dasvielleicht verbreitetste undvonDiogenes (2.57) anerster Stelle genannte Buch Xenophons, die Anabasis (insbesondere die oben genannte Stelle 3.1.5), zusammen mitderKyrupädie, andere dazuveranlaßt, inXenophons Beteiligung amKyroszug denGrund fürdenProzeß zusehen.29

24 Vgl. Hansen 1975: 74 Cat. Nr.10. 25 Hierin ist Green 1994: 217 recht zu geben,

obwohl ich zu Rahns (1981: 116) Erklärung der Stelle neige. 26 Treffend Tuplin 1987: 60. 27 Gegen Green 1994: 224. 28 Ἐπὶ Λακ ωνι σµῷ: Diog. Laert. 2.51. 29 So Paus. 5.6.5, Dion Chrys. 8.1 sowie dasvonDiog. 2.58 zitierte Epigramm (Anth. Pal. 7.98). Vgl. Schwartz 1956: 144.

DerProzeß gegen Xenophon


Auchbei denRekonstruktionsversuchen dermodernen Forschung können notwendigerweise die Gründe fürundderZeitpunkt vonXenophons Verurteilung nur inenger Abhängigkeit voneinander gesucht werden. Es sindvorallem dieEckdaten 399 und394/3, vereinzelt auchdazwischenliegende Zeitpunkte, vorgeschlagen worden.30 Als Gründe derVerurteilung werden (1) Xenophons Teilnahme amKyros(2) die Übergabe seiner Söldner an denSpartaner Thibron sowie (3) Xenophons Verflechtung mitoligarchischen Kreisen undseine Verbindung zuSokrates vondenen genannt, die für ein frühes Datum plädieren.32 (4) Xenophons Dienste für Agesilaos undgegebenenfalls (5) seine persönliche Beteiligung an der Schlacht bei Koroneia gelten den Vertretern eines späten Datums als ursächlich für seine Verbannung. Die Entscheidung gegen dasfrühere undfür dasspätere Datum ergibt sich für mich zwingend vorallem ausfolgendem Argument. Alle drei imJahr 399 denkbaren Gründe (1)–(3) hätten Xenophon ein Tun vorgeworfen, dasjeweils ganz den Interessen undderPolitik Spartas entsprochen hätte. DaswarimJahr 399 in Athen ineinem öffentlichen Prozeß ausgeschlossen, denndieAthener waren alsVerlierer desPeloponnesischen Krieges undBundesgenossen Spartas injeder Hinsicht von der griechischen Hegemonialmacht abhängig undkonnten in ebendem Jahr nicht umhin, demspartanischen Feldherrn Thibron dasangeforderte Reiterkontingent nach Kleinasien zuschicken (Hellenika 3.1.4). Dieses Argument ist nicht neu,33 es wird aber noch erheblich verstärkt, wenn wir die Ergebnisse der obigen Überlegungen zumProzeß gegen Xenophon miteinbeziehen. Eine Eisangelie wegen Landesverrats wareinhochpolitischer Prozeß, derindergrößtmöglichen Öffentlichkeit, nämlich derVolksversammlung, eröffnet undentweder dortselbst oder andernfalls vor einem sicherlich großen Dikasterion verhandelt wurde. Die Anklage gegen Xenophon undnoch mehr seine Verurteilung wegen der genannten Delikte, undzwar auch nurwegen eines davon,34 wäre eine fürSparta nicht hinnehmbare Provokation gewesen.


30 ZurLiteratur zuletzt Tuplin 1987: 59 mitdergenauesten Übersicht; Green 1994: 215 mitAnm.2. 31 Vgl. dazudieüberzeugende Erklärung Rahns (1981: 117). 32 Higgins 1977: 23 undGreen 1994 sehen in (1) nurdenoffiziellen Vorwand (πρόφασις), in (3) hingegen denwahren Grund.

33 Es gewann in derjüngeren Forschung dieOberhand: vgl. Breitenbach 1967: 1575, ganzbesondersRahn, sowie Tuplin undLendle 1999: 190. NurGreen 1994 versuchte wieder, es anzugreifen, ohne überzeugen zukönnen. 34 Die Konstruktion vonHiggins 1977 undGreen 1994, daßGrund (3) nurderinoffizielle, aber

wahre Grund derVerurteilung gewesen sei, entgeht daher demArgument nicht. Zusätzlich wäre dagegen noch einzuwenden, daßXenophon viel zuwenig Anteil anderHerrschaft derDreißig hatte – wir wissen auch vonkeinem anderen deswegen gerichtlich verfolgten Hippeus – und daßer auch als Sokratiker eine viel zugeringe Bedeutung besaß – selbst bedeutendere Sokrates-Schüler sind nicht angeklagt worden –, als daßdarin mit Green 1994 die wahren Gründe (αἰ τίαι) seiner Verurteilung zu suchen wären. Der aktuelle Anlaß für denProzeß, denGreen 1994: 224f. konstruiert, dieAthener hätten Xenophon präventiv verbannt, ausFurcht, erkönne seine Söldnertruppe denathenischen Oligarchen inEleusis zuführen, kannnoch weniger ernstgenommen werden. Greens These ist daher in Jehne 1997: 224f. zu Recht als “extrem artifiziell” bezeichnet worden.



Gleichsam als Gegenprobe läßt sich dasgleiche Ergebnis auch voneiner anderen Seite herbegründen. Für 399 ist in Athen ein Interesse, Xenophon wegen der genannten Vergehen zuverfolgen, kaumvorstellbar. DerKyroszug selbst hatte für Athen vonAnfang annureine geringe Bedeutung, hataber nach demToddesKyros bei Kunaxa jegliche Relevanz verloren. Warum sollten die Athener einen großen politischen Prozeß gegen den zunächst gewiß unbekannten Xenophon inszeniert haben, dessen Überleben in derZeit nach Kunaxa an einem seidenen Faden hing? Aber auch nach der Rückführung der Zehntausend, als Xenophon einigen Athenern vielleicht ein Begriff wurde, konnten seine Gegner, wenn es diese gab, darauf hoffen, daßer im Kampf gegen die Perser umkommen würde, wie es viele Demokraten nach demZeugnis Xenophons (Hellenika 3.1.5) dendreihundert Hippeis wünschten, diemanzuThibron schickte unddenen auch niemand denProzeß machte, obwohl sie als demokratiefeindlich galten. Dies alles warabdemSommer 395 ganz anders. Persien hatte dieGriechen zu einer antispartanischen Koalition ermuntert, der sich auch Athen anschloß. Xenophon befand sich imHeer desausKleinasien abgerufenen Königs Agesilaos, dessenHochschätzung er genoß. In dieser Situation, seitdem Agesilaos gegen dasmit Athen verbündete Böotien vorrückte, mußte der erfahrene Heerführer Xenophon, undzwargleichgültig, oberanderSchlacht vonKoroneia persönlich teilnahm oder nicht, denAthenern alsbedrohendes Element vorkommen. Erstjetzt ergab es einen Sinn, ihnalsLandesverräter anzuklagen. Auch dieses Argument derangemessenen historischen Situation ist nicht neu, esläßt sich aber wiederum verstärken, undzwar durch denHinweis aufdieErfahrungen, dieAthen mitdemabtrünnigen Alkibiades gemacht hatte, der aus demspartanischen Exil heraus seiner Heimatstadt im Pe-

loponnesischen Krieg großen Schaden zugefügt hatte.35 Außerdem erfährt dasArgument nocheine wichtige Ergänzung, diesich wieder aus der obigen Analyse des Xenophon-Prozesses ergibt. Denn ob die genannten Umstände wirklich dazu hinreichten, daßein politischer Prozeß gegen Xenophon geführt wurde, erscheint durchaus fraglich. Sie zeigen eher diepassende historische Situation auf undbegründen zudem denüberzeugenden Straftatbestand des Landesverrats. Aber genügt dasalsAnstoß, als movens desProzesses? Wirkennen Xenophons Ankläger nicht. Er kann natürlich persönliche Feinde gehabt haben. Es müßte aber schon großer Haßvorhanden gewesen sein, umeinen Mann, der seit einigen Jahren nicht mehr in Athen warunddessen Rückkehr unter dergegebenen Konstellation nicht zuerwarten war,nochanzuklagen.36 Undwashätte solchen Feindenein Prozeß genützt? Xenophons Ruf in Athen warohnehin ruiniert; direkten Schaden hätte ihmeine Verurteilung nicht zufügen können, daer persönlich nicht greifbar war; sein immobiler Besitz, sofern ihmnoch etwas gehörte, wäre an den Staat gefallen, undangesichts dessicher eher bescheidenen Vermögens, dasXeno-

35 Zu Alkibiades vgl. jetzt Schuller 1999. 36 Eine Anklage durch denathenischen Staat, vonderLendle 1999: 190 spricht, ist in Xenophons Fall auszuschließen. DieinAthen äußerst seltene behördliche Anklage kamzwarbeieiner Eisangelie andie Bule vor, die bei Xenophon keine Anwendung fand (s.o.), aber auch diese mußte zunächst durch einprivates Vorgehen initiiert worden sein.

DerProzeß gegen Xenophon


phon bei seiner Abreise vonAthen gehabt haben mag,37 hätte dasnicht einmal für

die Staatskasse einen großen Gewinn bedeutet. Dervorrangige Zweck desProzesses mußdaher nicht aufprivater, sondern auf politischer Ebene gesucht werden. Gerade das Verfahren der Eisangelia bot aufgrund seines öffentlichen undpolitischen Charakters eine, umes drastisch zu sagen, Propagandabühne, auf der mandie vor kurzem eingeschlagene antispartanische Politik entschlossen vertreten konnte. Indem maneinen MannwieXenophon, derjetzt, wahrscheinlich nicht als einziger Athener, imfeindlichen Heer desAgesilaos stand, gerichtlich als Landesverräter brandmarkte, konnte man die Athener aufdienunmehr geforderte undangesichts derGefährdung ihrer noch nicht wieder

ummauerten Stadt auch nötige aggressive Einstellung gegen Sparta einstimmen, diebeteiligten Dikasten sogar imwörtlichen Sinne einschwören unddieeigene Politik auch dadurch möglichst unumkehrbar machen.38 Wenn diese Überlegung zutrifft undderProzeß wirklich vorrangig einen politischen Zweck verfolgte, dannist es auch gut vorstellbar, daß, wie in vielen anderen Eisangelien,39 tatsächlich ein bekannter athenischer Politiker derAnkläger Xenophons war. Daßes nicht dervon Istros genannte Eubulos gewesen ist, jedenfalls nicht derunsbekannte Politiker, ist schon seit langem communis opinio. Einen anderen Namen dafür einzusetzen, bliebe einpures Ratespiel. Neben demoffiziellen Anklagepunkt, mitdemderStraftatbestand derProdosia erfüllt wurde, nämlich demÜbergang zumLandesfeind, mögen auch im Prozeß gegen Xenophon von denAnklägern durchaus weitere Hintergründe vorgebracht worden sein, die dasspartafreundliche Verhalten Xenophons belegen sollten. Daß erfrüher mitdemSpartanerfreund Kyros gegen denGroßkönig Artaxerxes, dersich danngegen Sparta wandte, gezogen war, unddaßernoch früher – wahrscheinlich – auf der Seite dervonSparta eingesetzten undgestützten dreißig Tyrannen gestandenhatte, konnte sich dieAnklage schwerlich entgehen lassen. Indieser Form, aber nicht als eigentlicher Hauptanklagepunkt, für deneine konkrete Tat nurvorgeschobenworden wäre, wird dasfrühere Verhalten Xenophons in denProzeß eingeflos-

sensein. DerProzeß gegen Xenophon kann aufgrund desGesagten, umnoch einmal auf die Datierung zurückzukommen, erst nach demAbschluß des antispartanischen Bündnisses mit Theben im Sommer 395 stattgefunden haben. Ein etwas späterer terminus post ergibt sich ausderAnnahme, daßXenophon seinWeihegeschenk aus derkleinasiatischen Beute zusammen mitAgesilaos nachderSchlacht bei Koroneia in derzweiten Augusthälfte 394 in Delphi aufgestellt hat.40 Nach eigener Aussage 37 Falls Xenophon vondenDreißig enteignet worden war, wieRahn 1981: 104 vermutet, hätte er immerhin

die Möglichkeit gehabt, seinen Besitz aufgrund des Versöhnungsabkommens von

403/2 wieder zuerhalten.

38 DervonDiogenes angeführte, obenzitierte Lakonismos erweist sich also alssachlich durchaus berechtigt, auch wenner nicht derformale Straftatbestand gewesen sein kann. 39 Vgl. Hansen 1975: 10 mitdenzahlreichen Beispielen in seinem Katalog. 40 Diese naheliegende Annahme hatmanallerdings auch bestritten, vgl. Tuplin 1987: 64 mitfrü-

herer Literatur, undfüreine eigene Reise Xenophons ausKleinasien nach Delphi plädiert. Die Verbundenheit Xenophons mit Agesilaos dürfte allerdings so groß gewesen sein, daßwir am ehesten eine parallele Weihung voraussetzen können.



(Anabasis 5.3.5; vgl. Hellenika 4.3.21) hat er es im Schatzhaus derAthener aufgestellt, unddaswärefüreinen ausAthen Verbannten wohlkaummöglich gewesen.41 Dasobenzitierte Eisangeliegesetz läßt aucheine Anklage gegen denjenigen zu,der sich bei denFeinden niederläßt („... oder wennjemand zudenFeinden geht, sich bei ihnen niederläßt oder mit ihnen zu Felde zieht ...“). Damit könnte auch die Ansiedlung Xenophons in Sparta bzw. in Skillus noch indieAnklage miteingegangen sein.42 Terminus ante ist sicher der Abschluß des Korinthischen Krieges mit demKönigsfrieden von386, aber unter Berücksichtigung seiner eben vertretenen propagandistischen Bedeutung gehört der Prozeß zweifellos in die Anfangsphase (395 bis ca. 393) deroffen antispartanischen Politik.43

III Das Ende der Verbannung DaßXenophon vondenAthenern ausderVerbannung offiziell zurückgerufen wurde, ist eine allgemeine Überzeugung dermodernen Forschung. Zubelegen ist sie allerdings nurschwer. Undwieeine solche Rückberufung konkret vorsich gegangen sein könnte, wird in derLiteratur noch weniger untersucht als dasVerfahren, daszurVerurteilung Xenophons führte. Zunächst einmal ergibt sich ausdenbisherigen Überlegungen, daßwenn, dann die Todesstrafe undnicht die Verbannung aufgehoben werden mußte. Das hätte zwarfürXenophon selbst diegleiche Auswirkung gehabt, daßernämlich ohne Ge-

fährdung seines Lebens wieder nach Athen hätte zurückkehren können, aber rechtlich einen nicht unwesentlichen Unterschied bedeutet. Eine Konsequenz besteht darin, daßXenophon nicht formal in seine bürgerlichen Rechte wiedereingesetzt, also seine Atimie nicht aufgehoben werden mußte,44 weil ein zumTode Verurteilter nicht zusätzlich mitAtimie bestraft werden konnte, daswäre widersinnig. Wie oben bei derVerurteilung, so wäre also auch hier dieFormulierung desIstros bzw. desDiogenes (2.59), Xenophon sei durch ein Psephisma desEubulos ausderVerbannung wieder zurückgekommen, nur auf das Ergebnis des gesamten Vorgangs bezogen. Istros ist die einzige Quelle, die explizit voneiner Rückberufung Xenophons spricht, und da die Stelle nicht gerade als sehr zuverlässig gilt,45 stützt sich

41 SoetwaRahn 1981: 116undjetzt nachdrücklich Badian imvorliegenden Band. Es scheint mir allerdings fraglich, ob Xenophon, wie Badian meint, für die Aufstellung die Erlaubnis einer


43 44 45

athenischen Behörde benötigte. Angesichts derTatsache, daßwirüber dasVerfahren bei solchen Weihungen nichts genaues wissen, liegt m.E. die Vermutung näher, daßdie delphische Amphiktyonie bzw. deren Beauftragte vor Ortüber die Aufstellungen befunden haben. Auch vondieser Seite wäre aber einem verbannten Athener dasSchatzhaus gewiß verschlossen geblieben. Darüber hinaus mußmansich fragen, ob Xenophon selbst nach einem Verbannungsurteil noch dasathenische Schatzhaus alsAufstellungsort gewählt hätte – es sei denn, umdamit erst recht dieZugehörigkeit zuseiner Heimatstadt zudokumentieren. Badian vermutet die Ansiedlung Xenophons in Sparta als Grund für die Verurteilung. Erst als Reaktion aufdasUrteil hätten die Spartaner Xenophon dasGutin Skillus verliehen. Rahn 1981: 116 datiert nach, Tuplin 1987: 68 vordie Schlacht bei Koroneia. Dies postulieren jedoch z.B. Schwartz 1956: 153, Green 1994: 227 mit Anm.36 undLendle 1999: 191. Cawkwell 1963: 63 Anm.89 geht amweitesten undspricht derIstros-Nachricht jede Bedeutung

DerProzeß gegen Xenophon


dieAnnahme dermodernen Forschung mindestens in gleichem Umfang aufsachliche Indizien: (1) Angeführt wirddiepolitische Wiederannäherung zwischen Athen undSparta undinsbesondere das Bündnis der beiden Staaten von 369, bei dessen Abschluß sich die Spartaner für Xenophon verwandt hätten.46 – Das Bündnis wird allgemein undzuRecht als günstige Bedingung für eine Rückberufung angesehen, aber eine zwischenstaatliche Vereinbarung über das Schicksal Xenophons ist mehr als un-

wahrscheinlich. (2) Verwiesen wird darauf,47 daß die Schriften Xenophons, insbesondere die Poroi, sich aufdieathenische Situation bezögen undeine genaue Kenntnis derdortigen Verhältnisse sowie Verbindungen zuanderen Athenern voraussetzten. – Das alles wäre aber auchbei einem Verbleiben Xenophons in Korinth gegeben gewesen undzwingt nicht zurAnnahme seiner Rückkehr.48 (3) Die Tatsache, daßXenophons Söhne Diodoros undGryllos noch vor der Schlacht bei Mantineia inderathenischen Reiterei dienten (Diog. 2.53), hatmanals Beleg für eine vorausgehende Aufhebung des Verbannungsurteils betrachtet oder zumindest beide Vorgänge in engen Zusammenhang gebracht.49 – Dieser Zusammenhang kann zwar gegeben sein, ist aber nicht notwendig. Zwar erwähnt Diogenes die Präsenz derXenophon-Söhne in der athenischen Kavallerie direkt im Anschluß andasBündnis zwischen Athen undSparta, es ist aber klar, daßeingrößerer Zeitabstand vorausgesetzt werden muß, denn Diodoros undGryllos wurden von Xenophon gezielt zur Teilnahme an den Kämpfen bei Mantineia nach Athen geschickt. Es dürfte sich daher nicht umeinen dauerhaften Eintritt in die athenische Reiterei, sondern umeine punktuelle Hilfeleistung gehandelt haben. DasvonDiogenes genannte Motiv Xenophons, dasimallgemeinen übergangen wird, warauch nicht eine ArtvonWiedereingliederung seiner Familie in Athen, sondern ausdrücklich dieHilfe für Sparta!50 DenAthenern ihrerseits waren diebeiden in Sparta ausgebildeten Reiter für denmilitärischen Einsatz sicher willkommen. Für einen solchen temporären Einsatz wares weder erforderlich, anDiodoros undGryllos, sofern sie nicht sowieso Athener waren,51 vorher das athenische Bürgerrecht zu verleihen, noch die Verurteilung Xenophons in irgendeiner Weise zu revidieren; die Todesstrafe gegen denVater hatte keine direkten Auswirkungen aufdie Söhne. Allerdings stellt sich bei dieser Hypothese die Frage, warum Xenophon seine Söhne nicht gleich nach Sparta, zumDienst in derspartanischen Reiterei, schickte.

46 47 48 49

50 51

ab.DieAnnahme einer Rückberufung Xenophons um370 sei ohnejedes Fundament, erfolgreicher könne vielleicht für 387/6 argumentiert werden – wasCawkwell aber unterläßt. Schwartz 1956: 153. Vgl. etwa Whitehead 1977: 125. Badian hält vorübergehende Aufenthalte inAthen fürwahrscheinlich. Z.B. Breitenbach 1967: 1576; Green 1994: 227 mit Anm.36. ZumTod des Gryllos vor der eigentlichen Schlacht bei Mantineia vgl. Bugh 1988: 148. Badian hält diese aufSparta bezogenen Erklärungen derQuellen fürverdächtig. Seit Wilamowitz wirdesfürwahrscheinlich gehalten, daßXenophons FrauPhilesia keine Athenerin war unddie gemeinsamen Kinder daher als Nothoi kein Bürgerrecht besaßen. Badian geißelt diese Annahme als pure Vermutung undhält es durchaus fürmöglich, daßXenophons Söhne vielleicht immer Athener geblieben waren.



DieAntwort darauf können wirnicht geben, esmögen dabei militärtechnische Überlegungen desFachmannes Xenophon eine Rolle gespielt haben. Jedenfalls kannder Grund nicht darin liegen, daßXenophon mit seiner Familie bereits in Athen lebte. DasGegenteil mußderFall gewesen sein, wennDiogenes sagt, daßXenophon seine Söhne “nach Athen geschickt” habe, umfür Sparta zukämpfen. Die Nachricht, Xenophon sei in Korinth gestorben (Diogenes 2.56), beweist zwar nicht, daß er

dauerhaft dort lebte,52 spricht aber doch eher dafür.53 Umgekehrt deutet die Nachricht (Diogenes 2.52 mit Verweis auf eine Rede des Deinarchos), Xenophon habe einen Prozeß gegen einen Freigelassenen wegen Pflichtvergessenheit geführt (eine dikê apostasiou), eher auf denWohnort Athen, woher unsdiese Klage bekannt ist; sie könnte jedoch auch in Korinth existiert haben, dessen Rechtswesen unsweitgehendunbekannt ist. Wenn dieRede aber wirklich vonDeinarchos stammt, so muß sie mit Badian auf einen gleichnamigen Nachfahren desHistorikers bezogen werden, dasie erst in den30er Jahren verfaßt worden sein kann. Letztlich kannalso weder mitSicherheit entschieden werden, obXenophon tatsächlich wieder nach Athen zurückkehrte, noch, ob ihmdieAthener überhaupt die Möglichkeit dazu geboten haben. Welchen Charakter ein solcher Beschluß hätte haben müssen, dendie Forschung, derAussage desIstros folgend, fast einstimmig voraussetzt, hatmanallerdings niegenauer überlegt. Diegängigen Formulierungen deuten aufdieVorstellung hin, daßdieathenische Volksversammlung denBeschluß gefaßt habe, das– zuUnrecht vorausgesetzte – Verbannungsdekret Xenophons aufzuheben.54 Die dabei implizierte moderne Rechtsvorstellung, nach derein früheres Urteil rückwirkend fürunrechtmäßig erklärt unddiebetroffene Person nachträglich rehabilitiert werden könne, ist demgriechischen Recht imPrinzip fremd.56 Urteile derdemokratischen Volksversammlung selbst oderderVolksgerichte (Dikasterien), gegen diekeine Berufung möglich war, sindauchvonderathenischen Ekklesie, die sich als Souverän desStaates dasRecht dazuhätte nehmen können, nieaufgehoben worden.57 Hingegen kannte dasgriechische Recht dieAmnestie, durch welche früher begangene Delikte nicht mehr verfolgt58 oder früher ergangene Urteile nicht

52 Vgl. Higgins 1977: 128.

53 Die Geschichte desPausanias (5.6.5f.) vonXenophons Rückkehr nach undBestattung in Elis ist schon seit langem als spätere, tourismusfördernde Rekonstruktion erkannt, vgl. etwa Brei-

tenbach 1967: 1575. (Badian aber ist anderer Meinung.) 54 Anderson 1974 192: “repealed”, Higgins 1977: 128: “rescinded”. 55 Z.B. Lendle 1999: 191: “ ...wurde dieVerurteilung Xenophons einschließlich aller Konsequenzen von seiner Heimatstadt zurückgenommen”. Zu Athen im Jahr 403 Harrison 1971: 199 Anm. 1:“alljudgements ... annulled”; imText hingegen: “reprieve”. 56 Vgl. die nebenbei gemachte Bemerkung vonThür 1998: 17: “Es gibt kein Beispiel dafür, daß einGericht seine eigene Entscheidung revidiert hätte”. 57 Nach derTyrannis derDreißig wurde ein Gesetz beschlossen, nach demalle Schiedssprüche

undUrteile ausdemokratischer Zeit Bestand haben sollten; diejenigen ausderHerrschaftszeit derDreißig jedoch wurden fürungültig erklärt, vgl. And. 1.87; Dem.24.56. Dahinter dürfte der Gedanke gestanden haben, daßdie Gerichtsbarkeit in derZeit der30 Tyrannen grundsätzlich illegitim gewesen war.

58 Das Verbot, öffentliche

Vergehen aus der Zeit der Oligarchie gerichtlich zu verfolgen, war auch Bestandteil derathenischen Amnestie von403/2. Dadurch war z.B. auch Xenophon vor

einer Anklage wegen möglicher Vergehen unter der Oligarchenherrschaft geschützt. Vgl. zu

DerProzeß gegen Xenophon


mehr vollstreckt werden durften. Wenn die Athener also Xenophon eine Rückkehr ausdemExil ermöglichen wollten, dannbeschlossen sienicht, seinTodesurteil auf-

zuheben, sondern vielmehr, daß die gegen ihn verhängte Todesstrafe nicht vollstreckt werden durfte.59 Was die Handhabung vonAmnestien betrifft, so kennen wir ausdemklassischen Griechenland meist Regelungen, die für alle Bürger einer Polis oder zumindest für eine Gruppe vonPersonen galten. Eine Amnestie adpersonam, die in der modernen Terminologie als Begnadigung bezeichnet werden muß, findet sich hingegen selten.60 Füreinen zumTode Verurteilten ist mirnurderFall desAlkibiades bekannt, derebenfalls in einer Eisangelie in Abwesenheit zumTodverurteilt wordenwar.61 Vonderauf Samos versammelten Flottenbesatzung, die sich als daseigentliche Volk vonAthen verstand, wurde in einer Ekklesia Rückkehr undStraffreiheit, κ ά θοδον καὶ ἄδει αν (Thukydides 8.81.1), für Alkibiades beschlossen.62 Diese Versammlung fand in einer kriegsbedingten Ausnahmesituation statt und konnte vielleicht nicht alle Verfahrensregeln genau beachten. Aber es gibt auch im Fall Xenophons, dernach den403/2 neukodifizierten Gesetzen zubehandeln war, zuerst einmal nureinen Analogieschluß zurRechtfertigung derAnnahme, eine Abstimmung über seine Straffreiheit habe einQuorum vonmindestens 6000 anwesenden Bürgern undeine geheime Abstimmung erfordert. Diese Verfahrensregel ist zumeinen bezeugt für Gesetze (nomoi) adpersonam. Zumanderen galt sie bei der Wiedereinsetzung vonatimoi inihre bürgerlichen Rechte, bei einem Schuldenerlaß undsogar bei der Gestattung vonTerminzahlungen von Schulden an den Staat.63

59 60




dieser Amnestie Loening 1987, bes. 38ff., 54ff., 99ff., 148f. DerTerminus ἀµνηστία ist allerdings erst später belegt, inklassischer Zeit lautete dieFormulierung: οὐ (bzw. µὴ) µνησι κακεῖ ν. Vgl. zurTerminologie allgemein Waldstein 1964: 15ff., 25ff., zu403/2 Loening 1987: 20f. Terminologisch trifft Green 1994: 227 hier dasRichtige: “reprieve hadbeen granted”. Vgl. Lipsius 1905/1915 963f.; Busolt– Swoboda 1920/26: I237f., II 793, 989. ZumBegriff der Begnadigung Waldstein a.a.O. Eine spezielle Begnadigungsform, bei der das Gerichtsurteil wiederum nicht angetastet wurde, bestand darin, daßdasathenische Volk selbst eine hoheGeldstrafe desVerurteilten übernahm undsie damit erließ. Belege bei Hansen 1975: 76f. Cat. Nr.12. Indirekt legt Xen. Hell. 1.7.35 nahe, daßdie beiden wegen derArginusenschlacht zumTode verurteilten Strategen, dienochnicht hingerichtet wordenwaren, begnadigt wurden. Die Begnadigung vondrei Keern, die voneinem athenfeindlichen keischen Gericht zumTode mitVermögenskonfiskation verurteilt worden waren, durch einen athenischen Volksbeschluß (IG ii2 111, 50f.) gehört zuraußenpolitischen Herrschaftsausübung derAthener, dieeinen eigenen, hier nicht zuuntersuchenden Bereich darstellt. Es folgte ein Beschluß der Volksversammlung in Athen, Alkibiades zurückzurufen (Thuk. 8.97.3, während Plut. Alk. 33 undDiodor 13.69 nurvondieser Versammlung in Athen berichten, wobei nicht alle Details vertrauenerweckend sind). DasBedenken vonMacDowell 1978: 258, diesen Beschluß nicht als reguläres demokratisches Verfahren anzuerkennen, daer unter der Verfassung der 5000 gefallen sei, halte ich für unnötig, dafür unsnichts Auffälliges erkennbar ist. Vgl. zur Rückberufung des Alkibiades auch, weniger genau, Nep. Alk. 4. Xen. Hell. 1.4.12–20 übergeht die Amnestie undberichtet nurvonderWiedereinsetzung desAlkibiades als Strategen. DerzumTode verurteilte Dorieus, dessen Fall MacDowell 1978: 258 als Amnestie anführt, wurde nach seiner Gefangennahme nicht amnestiert, sondern einfach freigelassen (Xen. Hell. 1.5.19; Paus. 6.7.4f.), Vgl. besonders Andok. 1.77ff., 87; Dem. 24.45, 59. Vgl. auch Lipsius 1905/15: 963.



Dawiraber auch erfahren, daßIndemnitätsanträge grundsätzlich verboten waren,64 ist es durchaus wahrscheinlich, daßzurAufhebung derStrafe gegen Xenophon das Quorum erforderlich war.Daßdieathenische Volksversammlung, obmitoderohne

Quorum, einen solchen Beschluß über Xenophon tatsächlich gefaßt hat,65 ist grundsätzlich möglich. Die Rückgabe vonXenophons Vermögen hätte in einem solchen Fall, analog zumVerfahren gegen Alkibiades, eigens beschlossen werden müssen. Für einen Begnadigungsbeschluß spricht aber nur die oben zitierte, jedoch nicht sehr vertrauenswürdige Angabe desIstros; deshalb mußdiese Frage letztlich offen-



J. K., 1974, Xenophon (London).

H. R., 1967, “Xenophon (6): Xenophon von Athen”, RE IXA: 1567–1928, 1981/2– 2051, 2502. Bugh, G. R., 1988, TheHorsemen of Athens (Princeton). Busolt, G. undSwoboda, H., 1920/26, Griechische Staatskunde (München).


Cawkwell, G..L., 1963, “Eubulus”, JHS 83: 47–67.

Delebecque, E., 1957, Essai sur la vie deXénophon (Paris). Dreher, M., 1995, Hegemon undSymmachoi. Untersuchungen zumZweiten Athenischen Seebund (Berlin-New York). Errington,

R. M., 1994, Ἐκκ λησία κυρία in Athens”, Chiron 24: 135–160.

“ Green, P. M., 1994, “Text andContext intheMatter ofXenophon’s Exile”, inI. Worthington (Hrsg.), Ventures into Greek History (Oxford): 215–227. Hansen, M. H., 1975, Eisangelia. The Sovereignty of the People’s Court in Athens in the Fourth Century B.C. andtheImpeachment of Generals andPoliticians (Odense). Harrison, A. R. W., 1971, TheLawof Athens. II: Procedure (Oxford). Higgins, W. E., 1977, Xenophon theAthenian. TheProblem of theIndividual andtheSociety of the Polis (Albany).

Jehne, M., 1997, Rezension: I. Worthington (Hrsg.), Ventures into Greek History (Oxford), Klio 79:


Lendle, O., 1999, “Xenophon”, in K. Brodersen (Hrsg.), Große Gestalten der griechischen Antike (München): 185–193. Lipsius, J. H., 1905/15, Das attische Recht undRechtsverfahren (Leipzig). Loening, T. C., 1987, TheReconciliation Agreement of 403/2 B.C. inAthens. Its Content andApplication (Stuttgart).


D. M., 1978, TheLawin Classical Athens (London).

Rahn, P. J., 1981, “The Date of Xenophon’s Exile”, in G. S. Shrimpton – D. J. McCargar (Hrsg.), Classical Contributions. Studies in Honor of M. F. McGregor (Locust Valley NY): 103–119.

64 Dem. 24.50. 65 Diese Kompetenz derEkklesia ist imübrigen einweiteres, meines Wissens nochnicht beachtetesArgument gegen dievielumstrittene These vonHansen, dasDikasterion undnicht dieVolksversammlung sei diein Wahrheit souveräne Institution imStaate Athen gewesen.

DerProzeß gegen Xenophon


Schuller, W., 1999, “Alkibiades”, in K. Brodersen (Hrsg.), Große Gestalten dergriechischen Antike (München): 337–346. Schwartz, E., 1956, Gesammelte Schriften II (Berlin). Stein, M., 1998, “Anmerkungen zurÜberlieferung desattischen Eisangeliegesetzes”, ZPE 120: 19–


Thür, G., 1990, “Die Todesstrafe imBlutprozess Athens”, JJP 20: 143–156. – 1998, “IPArk 8: ‘Gottesurteil’ oder ‘Amnestiedekret’? (Nochmals zuIG V 2,262)”, Dike 1: 13–

26. C. J., 1987, “Xenophon’s Exile Again”, in M. Whitby – P.Hardy – Mary Whitby (Hrsg.), Homo Viator: Classical Essays for John Bramble (Bristol): 59–68.


W., 1964, Untersuchungen venia (Innsbruck).


zumrömischen Begnadigungsrecht. Abolitio – indulgentia –

Whitehead, D., 1977, TheIdeology of theAthenian Metic (Cambridge).


Quando, probabilmente verso il 385 (Delebecque 1957: 199 sgg.), Senofonte pubblicò a Scillunte la prima parte dell’Anabasi, lo fece usando lo pseudonimo di Temistogene Siracusano (Elleniche 3.1.1). Plutarco (Moralia 345E) spiega la scelta dello pseudonimo conla volontà di Senofonte diessere creduto parlando di se stesso come di unaltro. Maperchè Siracusano? Ateneo (427F–428A) ricorda unsoggiorno diSenofonte, figlio diGrillo, presso Dionigi e riferisce unabattuta daluirivolta direttamente al tiranno (προσαγο ρε ύ σας ρ αννον) dopo che il coppiere aveva cercato dicostringerlo a bere: ὀνο µαστὶ τὸν τύ “Perchè – disse – o Dionigi, anche il cuoco nonci costringe a mangiare anche se nonvogliamo, masi limita a metterci davanti la tavola cortesamente, in silenzio?” Alla luce della conoscenza cheSenofonte rivela nello Ierone, cheio credo scritto nel 388 (Sordi 1980), della corte di Siracusa e della politica dionisiana e della scelta della cittadinanza siracusana per la pubblicazione dell’Anabasi, l’ aneddoto, apparentemente insignificante, riferito daAteneo merita tutta la nostra attenzione. Il contesto in cui esso è inserito dimostra, a mioavviso, cheesso risale a Teofrasto, citato pocoprima daAteneo perla suaopera Sulla Ubriachezza, cheparlava dell’uso nonantico dei “brindisi” alla salute di qualcuno (Ateneo 427A = fr.118 Wimmer), faceva menzione dei versi di Anacreonte e di Pindaro e ricordava le battute rivolte daPittaco a Periandro e, appunto, daSenofonte a Dionigi. Ladipendenza dell’intero passo da Teofrasto (che mi sembra confermata dal motivo della non antichità dell’usodi ubriacarsi – οὐκ ἐ µέθυον οἱ πά λαι [427E] – con cui Ateneo introduce, dopo le citazioni dei poeti, la battuta di Pittaco) contribuisce ad accreditare l’ autenticità dell’ aneddotto e, sopratutto, della permanenza di Senofonte a Siracusa e presso Dionigi, riferita incidentalmente e come cosa sicura. Successore di Aristotele nella direzione del Peripato dopo il 322/1, Teofrasto erabuonconoscitore dell’Occidente (Plinio NH3.57) ederavissuto negli ambienti culturali ateniesi solo unagenerazione dopola morte diSenofonte. Sappiamo d’altra parte che Aristotele, suo maestro, ed Ermippo, proprio nella vita di Teofrasto, si eravano occupati degli encomi scritti per il figlio di Senofonte caduto a Mantinea (Diogene Laerzio 2.55). Se Teofrasto è, come io credo, la fonte di Ateneo per la notizia sul soggiorno siracusano di Senofonte, nonabbiamo alcun motivo permettere in dubbio questa notizia. Credo pertanto certo che Senofonte sia stato in Sicilia alla corte di Dionigi: si tratta ora di stabilire a quale epoca possa essere collocato questo soggiorno. Perdatare il soggiorno di Senofonte in Sicilia bisogna tener conto innanzitutto dei dati relativi al suo esilio. Di questo esilio l’ autore dell’Anabasi parla in due passi.



1.InAnabasi 5.3.4– 13,dopol’ arrivo a Cerasunte, nelmarzo del400, a proposito del voto da lui fatto ad Apollo Delfico e ad Artemide Efesia. Ad Apollo egli mandò la suaofferta, dacollocare, a nome suoe dell’amico defunto, Prosseno, “nel tesoro degli Ateniesi”; perArtemide Efesia egli consegnò l’offerta a Megabizo, neocoro della deain Efeso, quando lasciò l’Asia conAgesilao perla spedizione contro i Beoti, cioè nel 394, con l’incarico, se si fosse salvato, di restituirla a lui, in caso contrario, di provvedere egli stesso; ed aggiunge: “quando Senofonte fu esiliato, mentre abitava ormai a Scillunte, Megabizo venne a Olimpia perassistere alla feste e gli restituì il deposito”. Esso fuimpiegato perl’ acquisto diunpezzo diterra e per la costruzione diunpiccolo tempio e diunastatua. Questo avvenne nel 388. 2. In Anabasi 7.7.57 al tempo del soggiorno di Senofonte e dei Cirei presso Seute, in Tracia, nell’ autunno/inverno del400. A quell’epoca Senofonte “si preparava apertamente a tornare a casa”, cioè adAtene. “Nonera stato infatti votato ancora, adAtene, il suoesilio”. Dalle affermazioni di Senofonte risulta dunque soltanto che, sino alla fine del 400, la condanna all’esilio nonera stata ancora votata. Le altre fonti danno indicazioni apparentemente contrastanti: a parte Istro (ap. Diogene Laerzio 2.59), che si limita a dire cheil decreto diesilio fupresentato daEubulo, chepresentò poianche il decreto peril richiamo, Diogene Laerzio (2.51) dice cheSenofonte fucondannato ἐπὶ Λ ακ ωνι σµῷe perla suaamicizia conAgesilao, quando conlui marciò contro i Tebani (quindi, sembra, nel 394) ed aggiunge che gli Spartani gli concessero la prossenia e gli dettero il podere di Scillunte. Pausania (5.6.5–6), invece, parlando dell’Elide e di Scillunte, ricorda che gli Ateniesi condannarono Senofonte ὡς ἐπὶ βασι λέ α τῶν Πε ρσῶν σφίσι ε ὔνουν ὄντα στρατείας µε τε σχὼν Κύ ρῳ πολε µιωτά τῳτοῦ δήµου. Il Delebecque (1957: 117 sgg.), incontrasto conl’ opinione orapiù diffusa che accetta il 394 perla data dell’esilio (Ferlauto 1983, Lendle 1995: 315), propone il 399, purammettendo che il testo diPausania nonè chiaro e sembra contenere unerrore difatto, visto cheil Re, a quell’epoca, noneraamico degli Ateniesi. Io credo che Pausania nonsbagli, che l’esilio vada collocato proprio nel 394 e che fra le motivazioni ufficiali si debba porre senz’altro, oltre al laconismo (ricordato daDiogene Laerzio) cheaveva indotto Senofonte a combattere a Coronea contro i Tebani e gli stessi Ateniesi loro alleati, anche la suapartecipazione alla spedizione di Ciro contro il Re, il quale, in quel momento, l’ anno di Cnido, era il più prezioso alleato diAtene, che coni soldi delRe ricostruiva il Pireo e le mura. Il 394 è dunque certamente l’ anno dell’esilio di Senofonte: dove andò il nostro dopo Coronea? Il suoamico e protettore Agesilao, a cui egli aveva legato fin dal 396 la sua sorte, scompare – come ha osservato il Delebecque (1957: 172) – per qualche anno dalle Elleniche: ferito gravemente a Coronea, egli fu costretto per parecchio tempo all’ inazione. Il racconto delle Elleniche, che conserva per questi anni il ricordo personale dell’ Autore e si organizza negli anni 396–394 intorno ad Agesilao, torna solo col 390 a rivelare, vicino adAgesilao, la presenza diSenofonte. Agli avvenimenti del 393, 392 e metà 391 Senofonte nonerapresente (Delebecque 1957: 172–173): io credo che sia questo il periodo in cui dobbiamo collocare la partenza diSenofonte perla Sicilia e il suosoggiorno alla corte diDionigi. Tale partenza e tale soggiorno, a questa data, vanno spiegati, certamente, conlafamacheSenofonte aveva raggiunto, noncome scrittore, macome capo, peruncerto periodo, deiCirei.

Senofonte e la Sicilia


A Coronea (Elleniche 4.3.15,17), a metà agosto del394, Senofonte aveva combattuto nella formazione mercenaria al comando di Erippida, che aveva assunto il comando deiCirei (ibid. 3.4.20) perconto di Agesilao già l’ anno prima; egli aveva mantenuto certamente in essa, perla esperienza acquisita, unafunzione importante. Di questa formazione mercenaria dopo Coronea non si parla più ed Erippida fu assegnato poco dopo al comando della navi (ibid. 4.8.11). È questo il periodo della preparazione daparte di Dionigi della terza guerra contro Cartagine, che scoppiò nel 393/2 (Diodoro 14.90, 95),1 e fupreceduta, nell’ inverno del 394 (14.88.2, sotto

il 394/3) da un attacco, peraltro fallito, di Dionigi ai Siculi di Tauromenio. L’ insuccesso riportato inquesta occasione, la defezione delle città greche, la certezza del prossimo intervento cartaginese costrinsero Dionigi adun’intensa preparazione diplomatica e militare: per gli aspetti diplomatici ho cercato di dimostrare come vada collocata in questo periodo, nel 394/3, la decisione di ottenere consensi rafforzando la dinastia con alleanze matrimoniali mediante le duplici nozze con la locrese Doride e conla siracusana Aristomache, che Diodoro colloca erroneamente al tempo della seconda guerra (14.44–45); per gli aspetti militari va certamente collocata in questo periodo la costruzione di più di 200 navi nuove e di 160 arsenali, cheDiodoro data ancora al tempo della seconda guerra (14.42.5), madicui nonc’è traccia nelle operazioni di quella (Sordi 1992: 44 sgg.). In questo contesto va vista anche la richiesta a Sparta, con la quale Dionigi manteneva fedelmente la suaalleanza,2 di mercenari, in base adunpermesso di ξε νολογεῖν tutti quelli che voleva, cheegli aveva giàottenuto altempo della precedente guerra nel400 (14.44.2). Dopo Coronea i Cirei, chegli Spartani avevano visto giàprima, comerisulta dell’Anabasi, con uncerto sospetto, erano “disoccupati” e così pure il loro antico capo, Senofonte. Essi erano dunque disponibili perla Sicilia, come erano stati disponibili perSeute e la Tracia. Se Senofonte, un Senofonte già celebre per l’impresa dei 10,000, fu capo di mercenari al servizio diDionigi I durante la terza guerra cartaginese, si capisce, sia laconfidenza diSenofonte coltiranno, sollecitato ὀνοµαστί, sialaperfetta conoscenzecheegli mostra nello Ierone della politica diincentivi e dipremi usata daltiranno nella preparazione delle guerre cartaginesi assai prima cheFilisto, fonte indiretta di Diodoro,3 ne parlasse delle sue storie. Il confronto fra Ierone 9– 10 e Diodoro 14.18– 45, relativo alla preparazione delle guerre contro Cartagine rivela unapiena concordanza fra i consigli di Simonide a Ierone, destinati a trasformare il tiranno in un ἄρχων amato dai sudditi, e la conclusione diDiodoro suDionigi dopo che ἀπε τίθετο ... τὸ πι κρὸν τῆς τυ ραννίδος (14.45.1). Ierone 1.28, conl’ accenno alla preoccupazione deltiranno sulle nozze




conunadonna straniera e conunadonna cittadina di

Peril duplicato relativo a Magone e dovuto, inDiodoro, all’usocombinato diEforo e diTimeo, v. Sordi 1992: 44 sgg., 55 sgg. (con la cronologia delle guerre diDionigi contro Cartagine). Nella primavera del393 navi diDionigi erano attese inGrecia insoccorso diSparta; gli Ateniesi cercarono unapproccio conDionigi (che allora pensava di sposarsi) e gli offrirono la sorella diEvagora (Lys. 19.20, Tod 108). Se gli aiuti nonfurono inviati ciò avvenne nonperchè Dionigi si fosse lasciato convincere dagli Ateniesi (egli sposò allora Aristomache e Doride diLocri), maperchè si delineò la minaccia della guerra conCartagine. Su Filisto fonte di Diodoro: Sanders 1987: 110 sgg. Su Timeo tramite di Filisto in Diodoro: Sordi 1990; e cfr. Sordi 1992: 28.



condizione a lui inferiore, si rivela unachiara allusione alla nozze diDionigi conla siracusana Aristomache e conla locrese Doride (Diodoro 14.44); Ierone 6.15 e 7.12 si rivelano un’allusione altrettanto chiara alla celebre battuta riferita da Diodoro 14.8.5, secondo cui la tirannide è uncavallo dacui nonsi salta giù se nontirati dai piedi; Ierone 6.11, con l’ angoscioso bisogno di denaro che costringe il tiranno a saccheggiare i templi perpagare i suoi mercenari, riflette unasituazione cheDiodoro ha ben presente (14.65.2, 67.4, 69.2). Alle Olimpiadi del 388,4 alle quali Senofonte, già stabilito a Scillunte alle porte di Olimpia, fu presente (Anabasi 5.3.7) e nelle quali le quadrighe deltiranno uscirono distrada durante gli agoni e l’ attacco di Lisia provocò contro dilui unamanifestazione popolare rendendolo oggetto diriso peri suoi avversari (Diodoro 14.109.2, 15.7.2–3), ci porta sopratutto l’ ultimo capitolo dello lerone in cui Simonide distoglie il tiranno dalla pretesa di cercare la gloria negli agoni gareggiando con deiprivati e gli indica la vera e nobile gara congli altri προ στά ται πόλεων in cui impegnare la suareputazione, quella perla città più felice e gli promette unavittoria piùgloriosa diquella proclamata dall’ araldo olim-


E’ proprio la menzione insistita dell’ araldo che deve proclamare la vittoria del tiranno nel più splendido fra gli agoni, quello per la città piùfelice (Ierone 11.7 – σει νι κῶν– e 11.8 – ὁ ἀνακη ρύττων) che mi permette ora di confermare κη ρυ χ θή la datazione alta dello Ierone e la sua anteriorità rispetto alla Repubblica di Platone, che proprio suquesto punto polemizza apertamente con Senofonte: nel dialogo con Glaucone sulla felicità o l’infelicità del tiranno, Socrate, dopo aver stabilito una gerarchia nella felicità, in cui primo è il governo regio, secondo quello timocratico, terzo quello oligarchico, quarto quello democratico e ultimo quello tirannico, ed aver detto che riguardo alla malvagità l’ ordine va invertito, osserva (Repubblica 580BC): µι σ θωσ ώ µεθα οὖν κή ρυκαe ritiene che sia giusto proclamare ὅτι ... τὸν ἄρι στό ν τε καὶ δι κ αι ότατον ε ὐ δαι µονέστατον, τοῦτον δ᾽ ε ἶ ναι τὸν βασιλικώ τατον... τὸν δὲ κ ά κι στό ν τε καὶ ἀδι κ ώ τατον, τοῦτον δὲ αὖ τυγχἀτατον ἀθλι ώ νειν ὄντα ὃς ἂν τυ ραννι κ ώ τατος ὢν ἑ αυτοῦ τε ὅτι µά λι στα τυ ρ αννῇ καὶ τῆς πό λεως. Ciòcherivela la piena intenzionalità della polemica diPlatone, chefu espulso da Siracusa in seguito al suo urto con Dionigi, proprio per unaconversazione sulla felicità o sulla infelicità deltiranno e sulrapporto fraε ὐ δαι µονίαe ἀρετή , nel 388 (Sordi 1992: 83 sgg.), è che questa è anche la tematica centrale dello Ierone; esso, rifacendosi appunto al dibattito del 388, causa della rottura del tiranno con molti dei suoi amici, conclude affermando che, se il tiranno accetterà i consigli di Simonide, ε ὐ δαι µονῶν ... οὐ φθονή σει (Ier. 11.15) e ricalca puntualmente lo schemadella conversazione che ci è conservata daDiodoro (14.109.6). Insomma, Senofonte si rivela al corrente del dibattito che si eratenuto nel 388 alla corte di Siracusa e a cui erastato presente Platone, maprende nello Ierone una posizione molto diversa da quella assunta allora dal filosofo suo condiscepolo e suggerisce degli accorgimenti seguendo i quali il tiranno puòessere felice; Platone 4

Alle Olimpiadi del 388 (e nonquelle del 384) come data dello lerone fa pensare l’ Olimpico di Lisia, che, mirando a staccare Sparta daDionigi e dal Re di Persia, è collocabile solo prima e nondopola Pace diAntalcida. Al384, invece, vacertamente datato l’esilio definitivo diFilisto (Sanders 1987: 44).


e la Sicilia


mostra diconoscere lo lerone e neriprende polemicamente le parole e le immagini per ribadire nella Repubblica e per bocca di Socrate l’ infelicità senza scampo del tiranno. L’ accenno all’ araldo, evocato enfaticamente da Senofonte, e chiamato in causa ironicamente daPlatone, rivela il contesto olimpico in cui il dibattito era sorto. Larisposta diPlatone è dello stesso tipo diquelle notate dagli antichi e segnalate daGellio (NA16.3.4 sgg.) come rivelatrici dell’ antagonismo esistente fra Platone e Senofonte. Scritto nel 388 o subito dopo a Scillunte, in ambiente olimpico persventare l’attacco olimpico diLisia mirante a staccare Sparta dall’alleato siracusano, lo Ierone, che intendeva minimizzare il significato politico dell’ incidente del 388 e rassicurare Dionigi del fallimento della manovra ateniese guidata daLisia e della lealtà dell’amicizia spartana, è dunque, con ogni probabilità, unadelle piùantiche opere di Senofonte.5 Unico dialogo nonsocratico di Senofonte, fondato su schemi socratici, masenza Socrate, lo Ierone ricalca la struttura, giàpresente nella letteraς) e il tiranno (come ture greca e in Erodoto, dell’incontro fra l’uomo saggio (σο φό quelli fra Creso e Solone, Creso e Ciro)6 e intende, secondo uninteresse che sarà poicostante in Senofonte, individuare i metodi cherendono popolare colui che comanda (lo riveleranno, nelle Elleniche, i modelli di Ermocrate, diTeleutia, di Giasone), manonidentifica ancora, come poinella Ciropedia e nell’Agesilao, l’ ἄρχων ideale conil βασι λεύ ς: ἀνὴρ τύραννοςe ἀνὴρ ἄρχων si alternano indifferentemente come definizioni dell’uomo di governo, in bocca a Simonide come in bocca a Ierone (8.5,10, 9.3, 10.2, 11.1,6) e Senofonte nonsi preoccupa affatto ditrasformaς, madi assicurargli la popolarità. re il tiranno in βασι λεύ Il metodo concui Senofonte ritiene che il tiranno possa raggiungere la popolarità è però quello cheDionigi stesso aveva sperimentato coni suoi φίλοι negli anni della preparazione e della condotta delle grandi guerre cartaginesi, fra il 402 e il 391, conla generosità delle paghe offerte, conl’incentivo deipremi, conla solleci-

i lavoratori, tutti liberi, impegnati nella costruzione delle navi e delle fortificazioni (come rivela il racconto già citato di Diodoro). Senofonte mostra di conoscere molto bene questi espedienti, al pari dei problemi che affliggono Dionigi; la necessità didenaro perpagare i mercenari, che lo costringe a spogliare i templi; il matrimonio conla straniera Doride e la siracusana Aristomache; la consapevolezza che la tirannide nonsi puòabbandonare senza pericolo mortale. La conoscenza puntuale che Senofonte mostra nello Ierone dei problemi siracusani nasce dunque certamente dal suosoggiorno presso la corte di Dionigi negli anni fra il 393 e i 391, al tempo della terza guerra cartaginese; dallo stesso soggiornoebbe origine la scelta dello pseudonimo diTemistogene siracusano perlapubblicazione dell’Anabasi, a cui egli si dedicò subito dopo il suo ritorno in Grecia, nelle terre a lui date da Sparta, che lo aveva fatto suoprosseno, a Scillunte. Reduce da

tudine verso



Diversamente dalDelebecque 1957: 73f., noncredo che i primi duelibri delle Elleniche siano stati pubblicati nel 402, ma più tardi: Sordi 1950/1951; cfr. anche Riedinger 1991: 15 sgg. Potrebbero invece essere anteriore allo lerone la Costituzione degli Spartani, se risale, come sembra, al 394 (Luppino Manes 1988: 22 sgg.) e la Costituzione degli Ateniesi, se questa è, come io credo, senofontea (Sordi 2000). Gray 1986. E’ interessante osservare cheanche inLa Costituzione degli Spartani 1.2 Licurgo è ν, come il Simonide dello lerone. Questo potrebbe suggerire unacerta vicinanza chiamato σ ο φό fra le date di composizione delle dueopere.



Siracusa edormai esule senza speranza daAtene, egli potè, dasiracusano, cittadino di unafedele e prestigiosa alleata di Sparta, difendere contro altri alleati di Sparta, membri della spedizione dei Diecimila,7 l’ operato di Senofonte ateniese, salvatore deiDiecimila, nella loro ritirata. Midomando, tenendo conto della facilità concui i tiranni diSiracusa ingenerale e Dionigi inparticolare davano la cittadinanza ai loro mercenari, sela scelta della cittadinanza siracusana perTemistogene noncorrispondaeffetivamente alla realtà. Il legame con Siracusa, nato negli anni fra il 393 e il 391, si manifestò in unadelle prime opere letterarie di Senofonte, nel dialogo non ancora socratico dello lerone e nella preoccupazione di riconciliare Dionigi con i

suoi amici.

C’è unaltro motivo, infine, che potrebbe collegare Senofonte con la Sicilia edè

la figura di unodei suoi più accaniti nemici nell’ ultima fase della spedizione dei 10,000, il Lacone Dexippo. Di Dexippo, Λ άκωνα πε ρίοι κον, perieco della Laconia, Lacedemone e non Spartiata, Senofonte parla a piùriprese nell’Anabasi: a 5.1.15 ricorda come, dopo l’ arrivo dei 10,000 a Trapezunte, quindi nel febbraio del 400, messo a capo di un pentecontere nonsi curò diraccogliere le navi datrasporto sucuii soldati avrebbero dovuto imbarcarsi, e fuggì dal Ponto Eusino. Più tardi – dice ancora Senofonte – ebbe la giusta punizione e fu ucciso presso Seute, in Tracia, dal Lacone Nicandro (probabilmente nell’ ottobre del400). Di Dexippo Senofonte parla ancora a 6.1.32, dopo il suo rifiuto di accettere il comando di tutti i Cirei, per non offendere gli Spartani: Chirisofo gli dice subito che ha fatto bene, perchè ha sentito Dexippo calunniarlo presso Anaxibio, il capo della flotta spartana a Bisanzio. Senofonte – affermava Dexippo – voleva avere il comando dell’esercito di Clearco con Timasione, che era Dardanio, piuttosto che con lui, che era Lacone. A 6.6.5 sgg. Senofonte torna a parlare di Dexippo, che, dopo avere arrestato ingiustamente unodei 10,000, aveva sobillato Cleandro, l’ armosta spartano di Bisanzio, contro tutto l’esercito, e lo aveva indotto a fare unproclama secondo cui nessuna città doveva aprire le porte ai mercenari greci. Il Dexippo dell’Anabasi eraunLacone (non unoSpartiata), che aveva partecipato fin dall’inizio alla spedizione di Clearco, lo spartano esule che aveva fin dal 401 portato rinforzi a Ciro e che aveva avuto il comando di tutti i mercenari greci; Dexippo aveva avuto a Trapezunte il comando di unapentecontere a l’incarico di raccogliere navi datrasporto perl’esercito; aspirava, in quanto Lacone, adavere il comando ditutti i Cirei, chel’ esercito voleva affidare all’ ateniese Senofonte, il quale prudentemente aveva rifiutato, proprio pertimore degli Spartani; aveva trovato ascolto in dueoccasioni presso i rappresentanti ufficiali di Sparta, Anaxibio, che Senofonte nomina anche nel 388 (Elleniche 4.8.32) come amico degli Efori e da loro ascoltato perquestioni riguardanti la stessa zona (Bisanzio e Ponto Eusino) per 7

Quando Senofonte pubblicò l’Anabasi, il resoconto della spedizione era stato già fatto daaltri, cheavevano oscurato il ruolo diSenofonte, come rivela Diod. 14.19–31 (daEforo), capitoli nei quali Senofonte nonè mainominato (cfr. Manfredi 1986: 15). In questo racconto, che si fa per lo piùrisalire attraverso Eforo a Sofeneto Stimfalio (ma v. contro Bux, RE s.v. Sophainetos, col.1012–1013) Senofonte diveniva capo deiCirei solo in Tracia (Diod. 14.37.1–2). Perla divergenza fra Diodoro (Sofeneto?) e Senofonte v. Manfredi 1980: 19 sgg.


e la Sicilia


la quale egli aveva avuto uncomando navale nel400, e Cleandro, armosta diBisanzio. Senofonte accusa Dexippo a piùriprese di essere untraditore (Anabasi 5.1.15, 6.6.5,7,22) e neparla solo perricordarne le malefatte, maè chiaro che si tratta sopratutto di un suo nemico personale e non c’è dubbio che, nella spedizione dei 10,000, Dexippo doveva avere avuto unaposizione importante. Anche Diodoro ricorda, negli anni immediatamente precedenti alla vicenda dei Cirei, uncerto Dexippo, Λακε δαι µό νι ος, operante con i suoi mercenari (1500 uomini) a Gela e adAgrigento durante la guerra cheportò alla caduta diqueste città in mano dei Cartaginesi nel 406/5 (13.85.3, 87.4, 88.7). In quella occasione egli fu

accusato di tradimento e di essersi lasciato corrompere con 15 talenti. A Gela Dionigi, allora stratego deiSiracusani, manonancora αὐ το κ ρ ά τωρ, cercò diconvincerlo adaiutarlo nella conquista del potere, manonci riuscì (13.93.1–4); perquesto, divenuto στρ ατηγὸς αὐ το κ ρ ά τωρ (96.1), Dionigi dette il comando a quelli che gli erano fedeli e rimandò in Grecia Dexippo, che sospettava capace di restituire al momento opportuno la libertà ai Siracusani. Il doppio giudizio diDiodoro suDexippo, traditore e vindice dilibertà contro il tiranno, nondeve stupire néfare sospettare in questo caso l’usodifonti diverse: qui la fonte diDiodoro è Timeo, cheutilizza Filisto e nemodifica il giudizio solo quandoDionigi, l’ odiato tiranno, è chiamato in causa esplicitamente: Dexippo era stato nemico diDionigi in Sicilia e Filisto lo accusava anche deltradimento diAgrigento e diGela; conqueste accuse Dionigi lo rimandò in Grecia. La spiegazione cheegli lo sospettava divoler restituire la “libertà” ai Siracusani è, almeno in questa forma, diTimeo. Ciò che a mepreme quirilevare è che ci troviamo anche quidifronte ad unLacedemone (probabilmente nonunoSpartiata), che combatte contro i Cartaginesi in Sicilia come capo di mercenari assoldati daSiracusa e cheDionigi rimanda in Grecia nel 405 e che sospetta di tradimento: che unpersonaggio simile, rimasto “senza impiego”, abbia approfittato della spedizione di Ciro perricuperare in essa quei guadagni e quel prestigio che gli erano venuti a mancare sembra un’ipotesi degna di attenzione.8 Mase questa ipotesi è corretta, allora Senofonte aveva conDionigi, ancora primadiessere dalui invitato in Sicilia percomandare i mercenari, almeno unnemico in comune: e le vicende di Dexippo, traditore diDionigi, di Gela, di Agrigento e di Senofonte, potrebbero contribuire a spiegare il suoinvito alla corte di Siracusa.

BIBLIOGRAFIA Delebecque, E., 1957, Essai sur la vie de Xénophon (Paris). Ferlauto, F., 1983, “Il secondo proemio di Tucidide

deiLincei): 73–91.


e Senofonte”, Bolletino dei Classici (Accademia

L’ identità frail Dexippo diDiodoro e quello diSenofonte è ammessa come certa dalNiese (RE V.288) a dalPoralla 1913: 44 sgg., edè ritenuta probabile dalLendle 1995: 297, che nontraggono però daquesta identità nessuna conseguenza peri rapporti fra Senofonte e la Sicilia.



Gray, V., 1986, “Xenophon’s Hiero andthe Meeting Literature”, CQn.s.36: 115–123.

of the Wise Man andthe Tyrant in Greek

Lendle, O, 1995, Kommentar zuXenophons Anabasis (Darmstadt). Luppino Manes, E., 1988, Unprogetto di riforma per Sparta (Milano).

V., 1980, Senofonte: Anabasi (Milano). 1986, La strada dei Diecimila (Milano).


---Poralla, P., 1913, Prosopographie der Lakedaimonier (Breslau). Riedinger, J.-C., 1991, Etude sur les Helléniques: Xénophon

et l’histoire (Paris).

Sanders, L. J., 1987, Dionysius of Syracuse andGreek Tyranny (London-New York-Sydney). Sordi, M., 1950/1951, “I caratteri dell’ opera di Senofonte”, Athenaeum 28: 1–55 e 29: 272–284. 1980, “Lolerone diSenofonte, Dionigi e Filisto”, Athenaeum 58: 3–13. ---- 1990, Recensione di Sanders 1987, Klio 72: 300–301. ---- 1992, La dynasteia in Occidente: Studi su Dionigi I (Padova). ---- 2000, “L’ Athenaion Politeia e Senofonte”, Aevum 76: 17–24.



Thepurpose of this paper is to continue thestruggle towards there-establishment of Xenophon asa valid source for Socratic ideas andattitudes, intheface of theinertia which has largely overtaken the academic establishment in this respect in the last eighty orninety years.1 Iwantto argue that Xenophon wasanoriginal thinker, nota Plato manqué, wholearnt from Socrates anddeveloped his ownresponses to his Socratic background. Heis a quieter writer than Plato, if I mayputit that way, and soit is easier tomissthefact that a great deal of thought hasgone into whathesays, that hehasandpursues hisownagenda, andthat muchof that thinking hasarguably been coloured by his conception of Socrates.2 But what is it to be a true follower of any -ism? What is it to be a complete Christian, for instance? It cannot be to be totally like Christ in all respects, because that would be to be Christ, nota Christian. This is perhaps the meaning of the saying that the last Christian died on the cross. Nor – and this is important for the Socratics – is it slavishly to follow the ideas of the master. No, to be a complete Christian is to be a Christian to the best of one’s ability. So when I say that Xenophon wasa true Socratic, I mean that he followed Socrates’ philosophy to thebest of his ability. Now, there is of course a familiar view that Xenophon wasa bit of a plodder, that we find Socratic philosophy displayed once andfor all in Plato’s early 1


Before this time Xenophon’s testimony wasoften taken to be authoritative – indeed, more authoritative than that of Plato. See Vander Waerdt 1993: n.5, Pomeroy 1994: 23–24, andespecially Montuori 1981: chapter 3. In ancient times tooSocrates theStoic sage is moreessentially a figure borrowed from Xenophon than from Plato (see e.g. Long 1988). It is really only with therise of analytic philosophy, to which Plato’s concerns aremore akin, that Plato’s stature in this respect has overtaken that of Xenophon. However, as will emerge in the course of my paper, it is notmypurpose to privilege oneof these twoauthors over theother. There have of course been other studies along these lines, of which the most useful are the following: O’ Connor 1994, Stevens 1994, Cooper 1999, andthree papers by Morrison (1987, 1994, 1995). More philosophical credit is given to Xenophon than is usual by Vander Waerdt 1993. I strongly recommend reading all these papers; I shall not review their arguments or conclusions here, because the points I wish to make are somewhat different andI would in effect only be expressing approval of their theses – which would rapidly become monotonous. On Xenophon the “quiet” philosopher, consider howhe unobtrusively slips in questions of huge importance for day-to-day living. To take just the first couple of examples that come to mind, howimportant would it be really to knowwhoyour friends are(Mem. 2.5)? Howimportant would it be to knowone’s relationship to thedivine (ibid. 1.4)? Orconsider – more subtly andspeculatively – howXenophon balances the demands of anindividual against those of his community.



dialogues, andthat in so far as Xenophon falls short of the brilliance of Plato, he shows that he is really rather stupid. His Socrates lacks the intellectual vigour of Plato’s Socrates, because Xenophon lacked theintellectual vigour of Plato; hisSocrates is a conservative, because Xenophon wasa conservative. Bertrand Russell’s survey of the Socratic problem starts as follows:

Let usbegin with Xenophon, a military man, not very liberally endowed with brains, andonthe whole conventional in his outlook ... There hasbeen a tendency to think that everything Xenophon says mustbe true, because hehadnot the wits to think of anything untrue. This is a very invalid line of argument. A stupid man’s report of what a clever mansays is never accurate, because he unconsciously translates whathehears into something that hecanunderstand. I would rather be reported by mybitterest enemy among philosophers than by a friend innocent of philosophy.3 This is such a common view that when I say that Xenophon wasa Socratic to the best of his ability, readers will undoubtedly take me to be expressing agreement with this disparaging view of Xenophon andhis testimony onSocrates.4 However, this is nota view to which I assent at all. When I saythat Xenophon was a Socratic to the best of his ability, I do mean to imply that Xenophon, like all

the Socratics, viewed Socrates through the lenses of his owncapacities andpredilections, butI also meanthat Xenophon didhis best, andnotin thepejorative, dismissive sense of that phrase. I meanthat hedidall hecould to preserve thememory of Socrates andto keep his philosophy alive, andthat the constraints on this should be seen notsomuchto be Xenophon’s intellectual powers, orthelack of them, but hisparticular mission in writing his Socratic works. Hetook over as muchSocratic philosophy as wasnecessary for this mission.5 I have no desire to deny that when wefind Socrates in Xenophon’s works discussing estate-management, thebenefits of hunting, generalship, horsemanship, andso on, these are Xenophon’s ownconcerns. Moreover, I concede that it is to Plato rather than Xenophon that weshould look for great andstimulating philosophy. But I also insist that all this is beside the point. Thepoint is that Xenophon infused these concerns of his with anunderlying layer of Socratic thought andprinciples – enough for himto portray these conservative activities in a modified Socratic way, enough to enable himto fulfil his mission.


Russell 1946: 102–103. Onecanstill findRussell’sjudgement echoed in, forinstance, Rankin 1983: 186–189. The best general portrait of Xenophon andsurvey of his work is Anderson


It has even recently been argued by Kahn 1996: 30, 87, 393–401 that all Socratic elements of Xenophon’s works arenomorethanflourishes andareall entirely derivative onPlato oronone of the other writers of Sokratikoi logoi. It is commonly stated (e.g. Vlastos 1988: 92 [reprint: 138]) that Xenophon scarcely knewSocrates, while Plato spent years andyears in hiscompany. It is true that Xenophon left Athens in 401 andso missed outonthelast twoyears of Socrates’ life, butthere is really noevidence for theduration of either his or Plato’s acquaintance with him. Statements like that byVlastos are no more than expressions of philosophical prejudice. The fact that Xenophon was about 25 years oldwhen he left Athens (Burnet 1911: xiv-xv) is neither here northere, since Plato was notmucholder whenSocrates died.



Xenophon’s Socratic mission


Xenophon’s Mission

So whatwasXenophon’s mission? Henever tells us, of course, sotheevidence for this part of mypaper is entirely circumstantial. Nevertheless, I find it compelling. Aswell asbeing somewhat prosaic asa thinker, Xenophon wasalso a prose-writer. Every writer, before putting pentopaper (orwhatever), considers whathecancon-

tribute to the field. In surveying the prose writings of his predecessors, Xenophon would have found them falling into four main genres: historiography, technical treatises andhandbooks, oratory, andphilosophy. The only one of these he had no interest in wasoratory or speech-writing, though of course heborrowed some oratorical techniques to spice uphis ownstyle andwrote speeches in his histories.6 The others are all fields in which he made major contributions. In historiography, as well astheHellenica, heinvented the sub-genres of thecampaign commentary (the Anabasis) and semi-fictionalized encomiastic and didactic biography (Agesilaus, Cyropaedia). Inthefield of technical treatises, hewrote a number himself andseems to have invented at least thedomain that later came to be occupied by a number of Oeconomica, of which we know those by pseudo-Aristotle andPhilodemus of Gadara. In philosophy, he wrote his Socratic works andHiero.7 It is scarcely worth mentioning, in response to Bertrand Russell et al., that this considerable andoften innovative output is hardly themark of a manof inferior intellect.8 ButI domention it to forestall anobjection: someone might argue that intalking of Xenophon’s mission I amreally doing nomore than appealing for the usual standards of charity in interpreting Xenophon – that to attribute his portrait of Socrates to some extent to whatI call his“mission” maybe simply a charitable wayof interpreting whatsomeoneelse might call his“lack of acumen”. So it needs reiterating that Xenophon does notlack acumen, either atthegeneral level (aswitnessed byhisliterary output) orat theparticular andphilosophical level (as O’Connor andothers have shown). Clearly, here I amgoing to focus on Xenophon’s work within this last genre, philosophy. The first point to make is so obvious it is easily overlooked. Since it seems right to count the prose works of the Presocratics and Sophists as technical treatises (that they were technical is obvious; they were also invariably short and dogmatic), Xenophon’s predecessors in the field of literary philosophy (with the exception of Democritus, whois an unknown quantity) were only early Plato and the other writers of Sokratikoi logoi; andtheir writing was almost entirely in the field of ethics. There is little trace of metaphysics, logic, epistemology andso on until middle-period Plato; until then philosophical prose-writing meant ethics.9 Xe-

6 7



Fortheeffect of hisborrowing fromestablished rhetorical theory onhisApology, andthence on theSocratic problem ingeneral, seeGray 1989. Forthethorough permeation of rhetorical techniques, especially amplification, in Memorabilia see Gray 1998. It goes without saying that the boundaries between these genres are flexible. As I have intimated, Xenophon’s Oeconomicus owes much to the genre of technical treatise, as well as being a Socratic work; Memorabilia comes close to being encomiastic biography too; andHiero is political philosophy. OnXenophon’s originality also as anadaptor of oldforms, seeespecially Gray 1985 and1992. Onhis originality as a biographer see Momigliano 1993: chapter 3 passim. Andif Havelock 1934: 283f. is right, the dialogue form in particular was“a standard literary



nophon wasof course aware of hispredecessors’ attempts at cosmological speculation, buthe dismisses them ontwogrounds (Memorabilia 1.1.11ff.): first, that it is impossible to know the truth about these matters, andsecond that even if the truth wasattainable it would have no useful application. Andhaving made this succinct dismissal, henever again turns his mindin that direction. It is, I believe, his exclusive focus onethics that gives Xenophon’s Socratic writings their somewhat humdrumappearance: heis notgiven to flights of speculative fancy, andheconsistently portrays Socrates in pretty much the same situation, that is, interacting with his friends andacquaintances, since interpersonal relationships is the field of practical


Atwhatstage of hiswriting career didXenophon turntophilosophical writing? This is animpossible question to answer with anycertainty. At anyrate, the only point I wanttomakeinthis context is that wecanbepretty certain that it wasnotthe first kind of writing he turned to. Delebecque reckons that Apology is the first of Xenophon’s Socratic works, andthat it waspreceded bythefirst twobooks of Hellenica, the Anabasis, Cynegeticus, andLaconian Constitution. Before the bulk of work onthefirst twobooks of Memorabilia, Delebecque also dates therest of Hellenica andDe Re Equestri.10 Mypoint here is this: before turning to philosophical writing, Xenophon wascertainly anexperienced writer. I guess that hewasbynow aware of his strengths andweaknesses.11 His main strength is his ability to write clearly andcomprehensibly, andmynext guess is that this will have gone down well with his audience. I think that Xenophon musthave been animmediate hit, in so far as his works attained a degree of circulation in the difficult years of the first quarter of thefourth century, andespecially given hispresumably delicate situation

in relation to Athens.

In the field of philosophy, which is to say ethics, all that survives from the Sophists andthe other writers of Sokratikoi logoi, apart from a fewfragments, are the early works of Plato. Now, Plato certainly writes clearly andwittily, andmore colloquially than Xenophon, with more drama, scene-setting andcharacterization, buthewasnota popularizer. In order topopularize youhave to meet your audience ontheir ownground, andeither leave them onit or, if youwish to develop a thesis of yourown,movethemslightly off it. Although there areelements of Plato’s work which dothis,12 there is of course a great deal of even early Plato that is difficult and method forexpressing moral philosophy”. Charlton 1991 does a goodjob in a brief compass of arguing thestrengths andweaknesses of Xenophon’s mindandhismore orless exclusive inter-

est in ethics. 10 Delebecque 1957: 506–509.



Xenophon is a notoriously self-effacing author (most notoriously in the device of attributing Anabasis totheSyracusan Themistogenes: Hell. 3.1.2) andI cannot findanydirect evidence for this guess. At the beginning of On Horsemanship he does lay claim to the ability to explain (δηλῶσαι) thesubject tohistarget audience of young men,butthis would bea weakfoundation to build very much on. OnXenophon’s self-effacement see the excellent discussion by Gray 1998 of thethird-person appearance of Xenophon inMem. 1.3 andin general of the“authorial ego”inthat work. AswhenhehasSocrates’ interlocutors come upwith definitions of moral qualities that would have beenrecognizable to aneducated audience, only to have Socrates refute them.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


contentious. Scholars are still arguing over the meaning of the early dialogues, and there is no reason to think that Plato’s immediate audience – whoever they may have been – would have found them anyeasier. Plato deliberately constructed an ironic and opaque Socrates, whom Xenophon just as deliberately eschewed. At Memorabilia 1.4.1 he tells us that for a rounded portrait of Socrates one should consider notonly hiselenctic method, usedonthose whothought they kneweverything, but also the kinds of conversations he held all daywith his companions. In other words, heis choosing notto give usthekindof portrait wefind in Plato, buta more accessible one. Asforthegnomic andsophistic material, this was, asfaraswe can tell, mostly terse andbrief;13 andwe simply do not have enough of the other Sokratikoi logoi to be able to characterize them, although what we dohave does not inspire us with confidence in this respect; they seem to lack both the brilliance of Plato andtheclarity of Xenophon. In other words, in thedomain of philosophy, there wasnoprecedent for someonewhocould write clearly andget the points across to a wider audience. If I am right that Xenophon wasaware of his strengths, then I want to go onto saythat he stepped into this breach. Hisconventionalism will only have helped to push himin that direction. Traditional morality wasunder attack, as weknow, andit is easy to see that Xenophon wasappalled bythis attack. This is clear, at least, from his tone of voice andhiswords inoneof thefewpersonal comments hemakes inthecorpus, at Cynegeticus 13.6–9:14

I amfar from alone in criticizing the Sophists of today – note that I amnot talking about genuine lovers of wisdom – for using their skills on style rather than content ... I have written [mytreatise] the wayI have, however, because mypurpose is to produce a sound treatise, andone which is designed to increase people’s knowledge andvirtue, nottheir Sophistic skills. I want it to be useful, notjust to seemuseful, because then it will never be refuted. The Sophists’ intention in lecturing andwriting is to deceive others for their owngain; they donooneanygood at all. There hasnever been in thepast nordoes there exist nowa knowledgeable Sophist; in fact, they are all perfectly happy to be called Sophists, which to a right-thinking manis a termof reproach. Myadvice, 13 That Xenophon wasaware of the sophists as writers, rather than lecturers, is clear from Cyn. φω andcognates (see also Plat. Phdr. 257D); that 13.1–3, with its repeated useof the verb γ ρά he wasaware of them as moralists is clear from his preservation of Prodicus’ Choice of Heracles atMem. 2.1.21–28. Gray 1998 hasconvincingly shown the influence of gnomic literature onXenophon, andwarns that it maybemore accurate to seeMemorabilia asexpanded chreiai than as curtailed dialogues. ButI think sheover-emphasizes thegnomists; they arenotthesole influence onXenophon, andthe probable effect of Plato’s dialogues hasto be taken into consideration too. Wecould putit this way: if Gray hasshown that theMemorabilia areexpanded chreiai, what is themodel Xenophon followed in expanding them? This is where theinfluence of thePlatonic dialogue becomes relevant. Theequation is “gnomists/sophists + Plato = Xenophon”.

14 I amnotgoing toenter into thedebate about theauthenticity of either Cynegeticus asa whole or thefinal chapter in particular. Like Delebecque 1970: 33 I canfind nothing un-Xenophontic in thetreatise. Notethat all translations inthis paper aremyown,usually lifted intact fromWaterfield 1990 or 1997.



then, is to be wary of the instruction offered by Sophists, but not to disregard the considered opinions of philosophers. For whereas Sophists hunt wealthy young men,philosophers areprepared toassociate witheveryone, andtheyplace neither too muchnortoo little weight onmen’s fortunes.

Inother words, theSophists’ motives aresuspect, andtheir teaching is unsound and notdesigned to inculcate virtue. True philosophers teach true virtue – and,whoever else Xenophon hasinmind, heis implicitly including himself inthebandof philosophers. Hewants histreatise to be useful. In thecontext of Cynegeticus, that means that it has to be a sound enough treatise to teach the basics of hunting, so that the moral andcivic benefits of hunting can be gained. In a broader context, if Xenophon wants his work to be “useful” in this kind of way, it has to combat moral decline andit hastobe clearly written, a work of popularization. Inthis context, it is nosurprise that his other purpose inMemorabilia, once hehasoffered a defence, is to stress how“useful” Socrates wasto his fellow Athenians. Plato’s Socrates haddefended anddeveloped traditional morality – note, by the way, that this is what makes the accusation of Xenophon being conservative silly: Plato’s Socrates is conservative too – but in a difficult way. The ironical stance of Plato’s Socrates puts up an almost impenetrable barrier between himself andhis audience;15 Plato was certainly no popularizer. Socrates’ mission was to defend traditional morality. Plato inherited it, andsodidXenophon. Xenophon’s mission, I suggest, was(while defending Socrates’ memory) to defend traditional morality in aneasily accessible way, the kind of waythat waslikely to have more short-term impact than Plato’s, andto develop it, by taking over as much Socratic thought as he needed to fulfil this task. Note that I donot say that he took over as much Socratic thought as he could understand, but as much as he needed to fulfil his task. Of course, there maybe considerable coincidence between what a person understands andthemission hetakes on,butto claim only that Xenophon wassomewhat stupid is nomorethanprejudice. Onemight usefully compare Plutarch. Plutarch is, essentially, a Platonist. But this is notto say that wefind anydeep discussions of Platonic metaphysics andepistemology in his writings. Instead we find enough Platonism forhimto fulfil hismission of writing elegant anderudite essays andteaching contemporary leaders about the perils, responsibilities andobligations of leadership. Onemight also compare Xenophon to Plutarch in the sense that more philosophy informs some of their works than others. Just as in Plutarch there is more overt philosophy intheMoralia than intheLives, sothere is more inXenophon’s Socratica, obviously, than there is in his other works. But this is not to say that there is noneintheother works: Kanehasshown howsometraditional Greek values inform theHellenica andmuchthe same could be saidfor thetreatises, let alone Cyropaedia. More importantly, Kane hassuggested waysinwhich wecanseethat themotivation behind Xenophon’s selection of events to describe or emphasize is to bring outtheir moral value (and also, where appropriate, to defend Socrates’ memory).16 This is subtle work, typical of what I earlier called the “quiet” waythat Xenophon 15 Onwhich seenowespecially Nehemas 1998. 16 Kane 1990.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


goes about his business. To argue that these traces of traditional Greek values are duetounthinking conventionalism is prejudice, whenthey might just aswell bethe

of Xenophon’s having thought through Socratic puzzles andmoral teaching, andexercised his skill in communicating them to a wide audience. Finally, in this section, I refer to oneof theinterim conclusions in animportant article by D.W. Graham. Following an extended comparison of Socrates to Wittgenstein, he says: “Like theWittgensteinians, the Socratics were working in a new andradically different tradition fromthat which prevailed intheir communities. For their ownphilosophy even to make sense, they hadto give it a tradition ... The audience hasto be educated to understand Socrates’ concerns, methods, andviews ...” 17I quite agree. Socratic philosophy hadto be broken to the world outside the charmed circle of Socratics gradually, andeach Socratic writer undertook this task according to hisownperception of Socratic philosophy, according to hisownabilities, andaccording to his ownnotion of what wasimportant. For Xenophon, that


meant popularizing.

Plato’s Mission

What is more, I want to argue that each of the writers of Sokratikoi logoi had a mission. Theshared mission wasto defend Socrates’ memory, butthere wasalso in each case a more personal mission. Atthevery least they wanted to useSocrates as

a mouthpiece for getting across their ownideas, or their owninterpretation of his principles: it is impossible to imagine that Antisthenes’ Socrates would have been very similar to Plato’s or Xenophon’s. Some of them hadgrander missions, like Xenophon’ s. Plato’s, inparticular, wasvery grand. Andrea Wilson Nightingale has demonstrated that Plato wasinventing orconstructing philosophy asa separate subject in its ownright, delineating its domains and separating them from those of other related domains – the poets, Sophists, etc.18 This, I believe, explains many of thedifferences between Plato andXenophon. Where Plato goes beyond Xenophon it is often explicable as his interest in establishing the methodology andconcerns of philosophy – which is to say, it is explicable as his lack of interest in popularizing, rather than going deeply into abstruse points of philosophy. So, forinstance, Vlastos finds that Xenophon reflects Socratic philosophy, but in an “incomplete” fashion.19 By what standard is Xenophon incomplete? By the standard of Plato, of course. But since they were both writing fiction – whatSocrates might have said, rather thanwhathedidactually ever historically say– andsince they both hadagenda, then Plato’s standard is hardly a secure oneagainst which tojudge completeness. AsCooper hasrecently pointed out,20 this is to compare chalk with cheese. Xenophon is notoffering his Socratic works as an 17 Graham 1992: 148–149 (reprint: 185) 18 Nightingale 1995. I donotagree with every bit of herargument, butshecertainly seems to me to have madethebroad case. 19 Vlastos 1991: 99–106. 20 Cooper 1999: 5



account of Socrates asa philosopher, butasaneducator – someone whose company andconversation didothers good. This maymean that sometimes Xenophon dips into Socratic philosophy, because even the kind of Socratic conversation he is recording must sometimes have depended for its protreptic quality ona philosophical basis; butother thanthis Xenophon hasnoneed, forhispurposes, to present Socrates as a heavy-duty philosopher. Should wethen expect historical accuracy in our terms from either of them? I do not think so. But what we should expect is for them both to do their best to fulfil their missions; andwe should respond to that by considering Xenophon’s work in that light, rather than by invidious comparison with Plato’s philosophical brilliance.

TheSocratic Problem

In the last paragraph I have inevitably stumbled into the notorious “Socratic Problem”. Whole books, let alone a number of fine articles, have been written about this, and I do not intend to add substantially to the amount of ink spent on it.21 I shall simply assert what I see as the current state of play. Of our four witnesses, Aristophanes is ruled out by his obvious unhistoricity.22 As for Aristotle, it has been argued by Vlastos that he can critically help us distinguish the historical Socrates, reflected inPlato’s early dialogues, fromtheSocrates whois merely Plato’s mouthpiece in later dialogues.23 But it has also been argued time andagain, at least since Zeller, that Aristotle is dependent onPlato for everything he says about Socrates.24 Aristotle canhardly be introduced as a reliable objective witness. Vlastos hasmounted thebest attempt to argue that there is a radical difference between the Socrates of early Plato andthe Socrates of later Plato.25 He came up with his famous Ten Theses – ten points at which there are marked differences between the twoSocrateses. Beversluis, however, has completely destroyed Vlastos’s approach, finding it riddled withinconsistencies andarbitrary assumptions; he concludes that Vlastos has given us only a picture of the Socrates of Plato’s early 21 By far the best starting



24 25

point is provided by the articles in Prior 1996a. This important source contains thefollowing essays: Ross 1933, Chroust 1945, deVogel 1962, Nussbaum 1980, Morrison 1987, Vlastos 1988, Kahn 1992, Graham 1992 andBeversluis 1993. Tothese a number of other essays could be added, butperhaps the most important would beNehamas 1992/3. Montuori 1992 is ananthology of short extracts from earlier work onthis issue; see also Montuori 1985. For a fascinating survey of howSocrates hasbeen perceived through the centuries from antiquity to thepresent dayseeFitzPatrick 1992. As I continue to think, despite the attempts of Nussbaum 1980 andVander Waerdt 1994 to reinstate atleast some of theevidence. Havelock 1934 believes that thebasis forthesolution of the Socratic Problem is Plato’s Apology andanything in Clouds that is not contradicted by Apology. See also Havelock 1983. Vlastos 1991: 91–98. Irwin 1995: 10,15 also measures Xenophon against the Aristotelian evidence onSocrates, andfinds himwanting. See especially Kahn 1992: 235 (reprint: 158), Beversluis 1993: 298–301 (reprint: 206–8), Vander Waerdt 1993: n.7. Vlastos 1991: 45– 106 andVlastos 1988.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


dialogues, and has no basis for claiming that this is the historical Socrates too.26 This Socrates is, as Kahntoo insists,27 a fictional character made upbyPlato for his

philosophical purposes. In Xenophon’s case his fictionality is shown, above all, byhis constant asseverations tothecontrary: heconstantly says “I wasthere”– that hewaspresent at some Socratic conversation – when he demonstrably wasnot.28 He says as much at the beginning of Symposium, for instance, when this work purports to record a symposium that took place in 422, when Xenophon would have been about eight years old. Or again, Memorabilia 2.2 records a personal conversation between Socrates andhis son, Lamprocles; it is hardly likely that they waited forXenophon toturn up before starting the conversation. Then there arethe obvious anachronisms, such as thefact thatthemilitary situation presupposed inMemorabilia 3.5 dates fromaround 370. InMemorabilia he often tells usthat he waspresent onthe occasion: 1.3, 1.4, 1.6.11–14, 2.4, 2.5, 4.3. Wedonothave tobelieve himona single occasion. This is a device to reassure his readers of the “veracity” of the account, andso, even more frequently, he tells us: “I know that Socrates hadthe following conversation with so-and-so.” Curiously enough, although it is generally recognized that Plato was writing a species of philosophical fiction, Xenophon is often ticked off forhisanachronisms andlack of historical veracity!29 This isjust another case of prejudice against Xenophon: scholars look for all kinds of ways to discredit his evidence, so that they can ignore it andfocus onPlato. There areonly tworeasonable positions totake. Oneis thatbest summarized by Guthrie:30 “If, then, the accounts of, say, Plato andXenophon seem to present a different type of man, the chances are that each by itself is not so much wrong as incomplete, that it tends to exaggerate certain genuine traits andminimize others equally genuine, andthat to get anidea of the whole manwemust regard them as complementary”. Guthrie is anoptimist: hebelieves that both Xenophon andPlato reveal certain “genuine” traits belonging to Socrates, so that by adding thetwoportraits together wecan still hope to know something of the historical Socrates. The other view is that wereally have nohope of recovering thehistorical Socrates; since both Xenophon andPlato arewriting fiction, andsince they areourbest hope, nothing more, unfortunately, can be said. The historical Socrates is invisible andirrecoverable.31

26 Beversluis 1993. 27 Kahn 1992: 235–240 (reprint 158–162). 28 It is noteworthy that even as able a scholar as Ross accepted the honesty of these claims by Xenophon. Ross usedthetired oldargument, often trotted outinthis orsimilar contexts: “fictitious conversations would not have served his purpose of defending Socrates’ memory, since they could easily have been denounced by those he names as taking part in them” (1933: 11 [reprint 29]). Momigliano 1993: 46 is clearly right to saythat, like all the Socratics, Xenophon occupied a “zonebetween truth andfiction”. Oragain, where theapparently biographical Cyropaedia is concerned, Momigliano says that it “the most accomplished biography we have in classical Greek literature ....[but] it is a paedagogical novel” (1993: 55). 29 E.g. Chroust 1945: 59–60 = Prior 1996a: 43. 30 Guthrie 1969: 326. 31 This thesis was argued especially forcefully by Gigon 1947. See also Chroust 1957.



In this context it is sometimes claimed that Aristotle described the Sokratikoi logoi as a species of mime, andthat whatever else he meant by this, it certainly means that they are fictional. I do not wish to deny that Aristotle thought of the Sokratikoi logoi as fictional, butthis statement is aninaccurate translation of Poetics 1447b1– 3.32 Grube, among others, has got it right: “Nowthe art which imitates bymeans of words only, whether inprose orverse ... is without a nametothis day. Wehave nocommon namewhich wecould apply to themimes of Sophron orXenarchus andthe Socratic dialogues” .33So the Sokratikoi logoi are notbeing said to be a species of mime; they aretheprose equivalents of mime in the sense that both use language unaccompanied by music. Nomore essential link with mimes is intended by Aristotle. However, it is enough that they are imitative, for in Aristotle that means, inter alia, that they are “a fictional representation of the material of human life” .34Grube’s translation is misleading, however, in translating logoi as “dialogues”. Ross suggests that only dialogues areSokratikoi logoi, andsothatXenophon’s Socratica andPlato’s Apology, notbeing dialogues, neednotbe ranked as fiction andtherefore provide uswith a starting-point for solving the Socratic Problem.35 Butthere is nowarrant for this view: a Sokratikos logos is a prose work with Socrates as its protagonist. So it is most likely that all the Socratic works of both Xenophon andPlato are fictions. But that does not mean that wehave to incline too strongly towards the extreme viewof Gigon andChroust that thehistorical Socrates is entirely irrecoverable. This view is irreconcilable with that of Guthrie only if fiction is taken to exclude anypossibility of the slightest veracity. This would be a hard thesis to sustain. Graham quite rightly says:36 “Of course the authors of Socratic dialogues do in some sense invent a literary Socrates. But it does notfollow from this that there is norelation between thehistorical figure andtheliterary image. Andindeed it seems prima facie muchmoreplausible to suppose that theliterary disagreement reflects a different perception of the historical figure andhis mission than that it merely reflects the spontaneous creation of a newgenre byindependent authors with nobiographical inspiration”. Graham’s article seems to offer the best wayof drawing a distinction between the Socrates figure in theearly dialogues, andthe Socrates whois a spokesman for Plato inlater dialogues. Perhaps themost important facet of Graham’s article is that it is entirely non-Vlastosian inapproach, andtherefore avoids Beversluis’s critique. Indeed, Graham toocriticizes Vlastos’s method ascircular.37 Ignoring all therest of Aristotle’s testimony for the time being, he focuses on a single passage in Metaphysics 1.6 where Aristotle declares that Cratylus wasPlato’s first teacher, andthat 32 See the complaint of Guthrie 1969: 329. Hewascomplaining, 111.

33 Grube 1958: 4. 34 Halliwell 1986: 21–22. 35 Ross 1933: 14f. (reprint: 31). 36 Graham 1992: 142f. (reprint: 180). 37 Graham 1992: 152 (reprint: 187).

perhaps, about Luccioni 1953:

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


fromhimPlato absorbed a Heraclitean mistrust of theworld of perception.38 Aristotle specifically distinguishes this metaphysical andepistemological viewfrom Socrates’ tight focus on ethical matters (Metaphysics 987a29– b7). Now, if Plato early in his life – i.e. before writing the Socratic dialogues – wasinfluenced byHeracliteanism, thenhehadtowithhold admitting tothat Heracliteanism while heportrayed the views of Socrates.39 For, Graham claims, there are a number of irreconcilable differences between a Heraclitean position andthat of Socrates in the early dialogues. Mostimportantly, intheearly dialogues Socrates’ reliance ontheCraft Analogy shows that he felt that more certainty was attainable in the material world than a Heraclitean could ever have credited. Moreover, as Graham points out, the por-

trait of Socrates intheearly dialogues is anything butidealized: “Heatleast appears unscrupulous in argument andsometimes insincere inhismoral posture; hewillingly puts himself in embarrassing social situations, occasionally playing thebuffoon; andheenters indiscriminately into conversations withall classes, ages, andtypes of people, treating all alike withdeference”. Plato, however, believed that “There is no sense in taking philosophy to the masses”, andwould wince at unscrupulous argument. Socrates, then, “is not a projection of Plato’s values, social prejudices, or lifestyle”. In that case, he mayjust possibly in some respects be the historical Socra-


However, there are difficulties with Graham’s view. It depends oninterpreting middle-period Plato as holding a radical two-world theory, with which not all scholarswould agree,40 such that this represents a true difference between middle-period Plato andthe Plato of the early dialogues. The Socrates of Plato’s early period too could be described as a Heraclitean intheappropriate respects. Several passages of Hippias Major, for instance, make it clear that, while the things of this world are relatively fine, fineness itself is not liable to this kind of qualification. Secondly, the fact that in the early dialogues Socrates is portrayed in a waythat could be seen as less than ideal is notenough onits ownto suggest that in these earlier dialogues we meet with anapproximation to thehistorical figure of Socrates. Graham is confusingtheoutside with theinside. Alcibiades in Symposium claims that ontheoutside Socrates wasgruff anduncompromising, butontheinside wasfilled with marvels. SoPlato could haveportrayed Socrates asgruff anduncompromising, without compromising his ownfascination with andadherence to his mentor. It does seemtome,then, that wearedealing witha literary tradition. Ofcourse, this is notto saythat there arenotrespects in which anyof theportraits of Socrates approximated to historical truth, butit is extremely hard, if notimpossible, for usto uncover what they are. What wecando,however, is look at theinteraction of Plato andXenophon (andother Socratics, if there is sufficient evidence to allow usto do

38 39


Graham 1992: 156–163 (reprint: 191–197). Earlier Lacey 1971: 45 haddrawn attention to this passage in a similar respect. It wasperhaps for this reason that Diogenes Laertius (3.6) andOlympiodorus (Life of Plato 2.49 Westermann) place Plato’s association with Cratylus later, after Socrates’ death. They wantSocrates tobethefirst and,byimplication, chief influence onPlato. Butthere is noreason to prefer the testimony of such late authors over that of Aristotle. See e.g. Fine 1984, 1986, Annas 1981.



so). Wecanchoose to call someof theresults wecome upwithhistorical, if wefeel soinclined, butit maybe safer notto, andtotalk merely of “intertextuality” andthe like. However, forthesake of convenience, I will continue totalk of “Socrates” asif hewere a historical figure, otherwise wegetinto someawful circumlocutions; andI will continue to insist that wecancall Xenophon andPlato “true Socratics”, in that they reflect Socratic work, even if wecannot pinpoint exactly what Socrates’ own views were.

HowFar Can WeGo in Reconstructing Socrates’ Thought?

In the past two promising methods have been suggested for reconstructing the thought of the historical Socrates. One of these can be called the viapositiva andthe other the via negativa. Themain one, the viapositiva, hasbeen the examination of detailed links between Plato andXenophon, andthe assumption that where their testimony coincides wecanexpect to find thehistorical Socrates. Even that apparently straightforward study is fraught with difficulty, though, for we suspect that often, where Xenophon’s testimony coincides with that of Plato, he is simply imitating Plato. However, leaving details aside for the moment, the combination of both Plato andXenophon immediately affords usa richer, more rounded picture of Socrates, at the general level. Socrates surely didnot spend his whole life interrogating artisans, politicians, poets, andso on, using his elenctic method to puncture their conceit of knowledge andtotrytoreach thetruth. Equally certainly, hedidnot spend his whole life delivering homilies à la Xenophon.41 Hecertainly didboth. In philosophical discussion he would incline more towards the former method, while with friends he might onoccasion incline more towards the latter method, in order just to give themplain goodadvice. Whatcharacterized hiswords ineither case was a passionate concern for truth, anda devotion to principle. The second method hasbeen anattempt to triangulate back from thetestimony of the Socratics.42 I call this the via negativa because it attempts to discover an emptier layer of Socratic thought underlying that of his followers. How is it that Xenophon andPlato (and Aeschines, Antisthenes, etc.) could come upwith such different portraits of their master, andevenputsuch different views into hismouth, andyet still claim to be true Socratics? Here, for instance, are twocases where we canbe certain that several Socratics, notjust Plato andXenophon, differed over a single issue. We are fortunate to have not only Plato’s andXenophon’s accounts of what Socrates said on luck, but also that of Aeschines of Sphettus. Plato’s occurs at Euthydemus 279C–280A, Xenophon’s at Memorabilia 3.9.14– 15, andAeschines’ in 41 42

Although in other respects his paper is somewhat untrustworthy, Wellman 1976 does well to remind usthat these generalizations – Plato’s Socrates is merely elenctic, while Xenophon’s is merely homiletic – canonly be maintained at some distance from the actual texts. I first proposed this method in Waterfield 1990: 22–26. Since then, however, I have come to regard it as being as unproductive as anyother as a wayof reaching historical truth about Socrates.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


8a. There is little

apparent unanimity. Plato’s Socrates denies


the exist-

ence of luck altogether: “In every walk of life, then,” he says, “wisdom causes ‘luck’ ”. Xenophon’s Socrates conventionally describes luck as totally random. Aeschines’ Socrates says that luck comes from thegods, butis notrandom: it is oneof thegods’ ways of rewarding goodmen. Wealso have a pretty good idea of what several Socratics said about pleasure. In Protagoras 351B–357E Plato describes Socrates as a hedonist. Wherever the word “good” is used with human reference, “pleasant” could be substituted, and wherever “bad” is used, “distressful” could be substituted. Still, the kind of hedon-

isminvolved is notindiscriminate. Socrates canretain hisemphasis onmorality and what Vlastos has called the Principle of the Sovereignty of Virtue;43 but Socrates believes that a thinking manwill always find that his true long-term pleasure (as opposed to the short-term satisfaction of desire favoured by Callicles in Gorgias)44 coincides with thepractice andperformance of virtue. This view of Socrates’ position inProtagoras coincides withhowXenophon presents Socrates at, forexample, Memorabilia 1.3.5–7, 1.6.4–10, 2.1.21–33, and4.5. Xenophon’s Socrates too is a moral hedonist. Somepleasures aregood, others bad.ForXenophon’s Socrates good pleasures arethose which arise from moral, self-disciplined activity, andbadpleasures arethe opposite. It is more difficult to recover the views of other Socratics on pleasure, butwecanbe fairly sure of thefollowing. Antisthenes wasviolently antihedonistic; he comes close to Xenophon’s Socrates when he says in Xenophon’s Symposium 4.39 that his asceticism affords himgreater pleasure than indulgence, buthe adds a rider that he could wish that this were notso, since so muchpleasure cannot be good for one. Later sources report Antisthenes as claiming that the only worthwhile pleasures are those derived from hard work, or even that he would rathergomadthanfeel pleasure.45 Atanyrate, it is clear that notonly doesAntisthenes nottake pleasure to be the goal of life, butit is noteven a yardstick of the goal of life. Asfor Aristippus, it is difficult to separate his views onpleasure fromthose of 43 Vlastos 1991: 208ff. The principle is summarized at 210–211: “Whenever we must choose between exclusive andexhaustive alternatives which wehave to perceive as, respectively, just andunjust or, more generally, as virtuous andvicious, this very perception of them should decide ourchoice. Further deliberation would be useless, for none of the non-moral goods we might hope to gain, taken singly orin combination, could compensate usfor theloss of a moral good. Virtue being the sovereign good in our domain of value, its claim upon us is always final”. 44 Forthekinds of distinction adumbrated here seeespecially Rudebusch 1992 andBerman 1991. Thechief difficulty withthis viewis thatit means that Socrates believes thatsomepleasures are good, while others are bad– when this is exactly the position Protagoras tries to take in the dialogue, only to be argued downby Socrates. However, I believe thereasons for this lie more in Socrates’ dialectical relationship with Protagoras. This would not be the only time in the dialogue when Socrates allowed himself a pretty dubious manoeuvre in order to defeat – or appear to defeat – Protagoras. 45 This particular saying of Antisthenes became so famous that it is preserved in a number of sources, such asDiog. Laert. 6.3, Sext. Empr. M. 11.73–4. They areall collected asGiannantoni 1990: VA.122. ForAntisthenes’ claim that so far from being good, pleasure is actually badsee ibid. VA. 117ff. For Antisthenes’ opposition to luxury see VA.114. Xenophon’s evidence is collected as follows: Symp. 3.8 (VA.81), 4.33–44 (VA.82), 4.2–5 (VA.83).



later hedonists who claimed his authority. It is probable that he did not go as far as saying that a life of indulgent luxury wasbest, butthat the views attributed to him byXenophon atMemorabilia 2.1 arecloser: that avoidance of trouble of anykindis pleasant andis the goal of life.46 Now, it is clear that anyreconciliation of these disparate views onluck andon pleasure canonly occur at a higher, more abstract level. Onthevia negativa, if we wantto discover what Socrates said about luck orpleasure, suchthat all hisfollowers could claim to be true Socratics andyet come upwith such different positions, wehave to triangulate from their evidence back to the level of Socratic principle.47 So, for instance, where pleasure is concerned, there is little doubt that it wasa Socratic principle that the goal of life, whatever it maybe, must be beneficial to oneself as a human being. This is common to all eudaemonist theories, andtheGreeks were all eudaemonists. Butit raises a number of questions, such aswhatit is tobe a human being, andwhat is beneficial for such a being. Nowsuppose, as regards the latter, that Socrates hadproposed that pleasure andits lack arenatural orgod-given guidelines as to what is beneficial for a person. This principle, or something like it, I believe, is whatwearelooking for. It is opento interpretation whether pleasure is understood asitself thegoal of life, orrather asa concomitant of thegoal of life; it is open to interpretation whether all or only some pleasures are worth pursuing; it is even possible to interpret theprinciple as denying that the goal of life is accompaniedbypleasure at all. Now, it should be clear that neither the via negativa nor the via positiva can really hope to claim that they are uncovering the historical Socrates, rather than uncovering moves in the literary game the Socratics were playing. Nevertheless, it does seemlikely that, atthemostgeneral level, something of thehistorical Socrates can be glimpsed. This general level consists of the kinds of principles that the via negativa might hope to uncover, andin the kind of conclusions that are evident in the works of both Plato andXenophon, the conclusions that are openly stated or steer Socrates’ arguments. These arepropositions such as “It is never right to commitwrong”, “Virtue is goodfor thevirtuous agent”. Atthesame time he agreed, or agreed provisionally, with a great deal of traditional morality: this is the endoxic aspect of his thought that has recently been well brought out by Bolton.48 There was, I suggest, a strong streak of Socrates’ thought that remained at this general level, the level of principle. If it is asked why this should be so, I would frame a reply bypointing both to Socrates’ disavowal of knowledge andto theimpression one gets (from Plato, at least) that he liked to keep things open-ended,

46 ForAristippus asa moderate hedonist seeGiannantoni 1990: IVA.76, 172, withtheXenophontic evidence at IVA.163, 165 (resp. Mem. 2.1.1– 17, 3.8.1–7). Other sources, however, depict himas anout-and-out hedonist; in fact, hebecame a byword for truphê. 47 Aninteresting historical parallel is the case of Darwinism. There are manykinds of “Darwinists”, all claiming descent from themaster: seeMayr 1991, especially chapter 7, “What is Darwinism?”. Forinstance, Darwin espoused a theory of natural selection insomewhat broad terms: because of this broadness his followers have been able to spell it outin a number of different, even conflicting, ways.

48 Bolton 1993. Ontherelation between tenfeld 1996.

Aristotle’s remarks andSocrates’ practice see also Os-

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


presumably in thebelief that thequest wasas important as thegoal, if notmore so. In this sense Socrates wasalways the midwife. AsLacey said, in addressing much the same problem that hasoccupied this section of mypaper, “The children of one midwife canhave a far richer diversity among themselves than the children of one mother” .49 However, it is also clear that thehistorical Socrates cannot have spent hiswhole life operating atthis level of principle; themajority of his ideas andarguments, and much of the advice he gave his friends, musthave been precise anddetailed. But it is precisely atthis detailed level that I cannot seehowwecanhope to say, with any degree of security, that we are faced with more than the conventions of a literary genre. I amfairly confident that at the general level wecan glimpse something of

Socrates, but that unfortunately does not take us very far. Where the details are concerned, although some maybe truly Socratic, wecan never know which ones. So when weread Plato, we should accept the fact that all weare doing is reading Plato, not a recording of Socrates’ voice, andlikewise when we read Xenophon. Norshould Xenophon becompared pejoratively withPlato, because both areequally fictional. At the general level, Xenophon has as much to offer as Plato; at the detailed level, he has a different portrait to offer, but not a lesser one. I have already suggested that the differences between these portraits are attributable to the different missions the twowriters took on. Andwhere the twowriters interact, they are interacting as literature, notas purveyors of historical truth. Where Xenophon borrows from Plato, he is not trying to correct Plato with regard to the historicity of whathe says about Socrates. Thepoint of all this is to start with a clean slate. Xenophon canbe looked at independently, notas a Plato manqué.

A Delightful Case of Intertextuality

It is time to test myhypothesis that some of thedifferences between Xenophon and Plato canbe attributed to their different missions. Andhere wefirst come across a delightful case of intertextuality, which goes as far as anything towards showing howsubtle a writer Xenophon canbe, if he is approached without prejudice.50 49 Lacey 1971: 40. 50 Note that throughout I shall be assuming that Xenophon waswriting after andin response to Plato, rather than the other wayround. Actually, of course, to some extent they are both responding to historical facts about Socrates, but since, as I have already explained, none but a fewpersonalia are recoverable with anycertainty, wehave to leave this on one side. Even if Xenophon doesfollow Plato, weshould notthink thathedoessoslavishly: forinstance, Vander Waerdt 1993 has successfully argued that in hisApology Xenophon wasconcerned to correct certain features of Plato’s Apology. I hardly need to argue that Xenophon wasresponding to Plato, since it is what the vast majority of scholars assume (see e.g. Mitscherling 1982). However, they tend to usethe assumption to disparage Xenophon’s testimony in the context of the Socratic Problem. By contrast, I shall use it to show howXenophon responded to Plato in a philosophical fashion. On the priority of Plato’s Apology to Xenophon’s see most recently Vander Waerdt 1993. Onthe priority of Plato’s Symposium to Xenophon’s see Dover 1965. Thesleff’s view (1978) is eccentric andcomplex: hebelieves anearlier version of Xenophon’s Symposium influenced Plato’s Symposium, andthen a later version wasin turn influenced by



If I amright in whatI said above about Plato’s mission, then weshould expect his Socrates to be the vehicle for his mission. If Socrates, in Plato’s works, has a mission, it is to convey Plato’s mission. Now, asis well known, there is a section of Plato’s Apology (20Eff.) where Socrates claims that his philosophical mission (i.e. Plato’s philosophical mission) was triggered by the response the Delphic oracle gave to his friend Chaerephon. Chaerephon hadasked whether there wasanyone wiser than Socrates; the oracle said that there was not; puzzled by this Socrates began to interrogate those with a reputation for wisdom, andfound that they really didnotknowwhat they were talking about. Heconcludes that the oracle wasright in the sense that he is the only one whois aware of his ownignorance, whereas everyone else has a conceit of knowledge. In this sense, and only in this sense, Socrates acknowledges that hehaswisdom. Now, this story is certainly a Platonic fiction.51 It is riddled with inconsistencies, nottheleast of which is that there would have been noreason for Chaerephon to have approached the oracle with his question in the first place if Socrates were notalready famous as a philosopher. There is noevidence that he wasfamous as a natural scientist or anyother kind of philosopher, though hewasprobably interested in such matters in his younger days;52 in other words, he was famous as the person inAthens whowent around questioning people andfinding outif they could define themoral concepts they claimed to understand. Butthis is precisely thekind of questioning that wassupposed tohavebeentriggered bytheoracle, notthebackground to the oracle. Plato gives the truth away when at Laches 187D–188A he implies that Socrates began his examination of others’ lives in early adulthood.53 Another mainreason for supposing theoracle a fiction is that there is noother reference to it, apart from the derivative mention in Xenophon’s Apology. Stokes concludes: “Was it really the best-kept secret of a lifetime? Andthat with no obvious reason for keeping it? It seems to me improbable” .54Andto many other scholars too, I should add. This story of Socrates’ mission is, of course, perfect grist for Nightingale’s mill. What Socrates does, in effect, is puncture the conceit to knowledge of other contenders to wisdom. Their beliefs andtherefore their claims to teach or show the right wayto live are incoherent. The field is left to philosophy – that is, philosophy as practised by Plato’s Socrates. Thus Socrates’ mission is precisely to establish Plato’s mission (which again strongly suggests thefictitiousness of the story in the first place). Socrates’ wisdom is his awareness of ignorance; this awareness of igPlato’s work. The posteriority of Memorabilia to themass of Plato’s early dialogues is complicated by the probability that Books 3 and4 were written some time after Books 1–2, andit is chiefly in Books 3 and4 that wefindborrowings from thePlatonic dialogues. A notable recent exception to theorthodox view of Plato’s priority is Pomeroy 1994: 26. 51 Seeespecially Montuori 1981. Goodexaminations of therelationship between theoracle’s pronouncement andSocrates’ mission include Reeve 1989: 21–29 andStokes 1992. Thehistoricity of the oracle is, however, roundly asserted by de Strycker 1975. 52 See especially Plat. Phd. 95E–99D. Further corroborative evidence canbe gleaned fromjudicious use of Plat. Ap. 19B-D andXen. Mem. 4.7 53 See Stokes 1992: 53. 54 Stokes 1992: 55.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


norance leads himin a quest for moral truths; this quest for moral truths is at once philosophical theory andmethod, andaninvitation to themoral life. Now, since Xenophon knew Socrates, andsince Plato’s Socrates is fictional, it follows that Xenophon knew that Plato’s Socrates wasfictional. Hewastherefore in a position to recognize that Plato’s description of Socrates’ mission wasactually a brilliant wayof outlining his ownmission. As Stokes says, “Suppose that XenophonreadPlato’s Apology notas faithful reportage from which to differ wasto lie, butrather as a piece of creative writing. That would mean, in Greek literary terms, that it wasthere to be drawn upon, imitated, over-trumped, just like anyother piece of literary fiction” .55 I suggest that Xenophon did just that, more precisely than Stokes or anyone hasimagined. Just as Plato used the story of the oracle to outline hisownmission, soXenophon, recognizing that Plato haddone this, usedthe same story for the same purpose, adapting it to suit his ownmission. Thechief difference between theoracle story in Plato andtheversion in Xenophon (Apology 14) is that whereas Plato’s Chaerephon hadpresumably asked, “Is there anyone wiser than Socrates?” andreceived a negative answer, the oracular response in Xenophon is that there is no one more free, upright andprudent than Socrates. If the oracle normally gave yes-or-no answers to stark, two-item alternatives, wecannot even begin to guess whatthequestion might have been that would have ledto theresponse weare given by Xenophon. But that is by the by. What is important is thattheoracle inXenophon credits Socrates witha familiar list of Greek virtues, making Socrates out to be a Xenophontic kaloskagathos (to whose main features I will return). Andjust as important as what Xenophon does is what he avoids doing. He avoids mention of wisdom, andits consequence, Socratic ignorance, because that would not sit easily with his andhis Socrates’ mission to teach others. Xenophon’s mission is to give anaccessible philosophical defence of Greek morality; for establishing this mission the oracle’s response is perfect.56 Xenophon also responds to Plato’s text further. Plato appended to theoracle story examples of Socrates’ responses totheoracular pronouncement – howhequestioned politicians, poets andartisans. The upshot of all this is to establish Socrates’ wisdom. Xenophontoofollows uptheoracle story with examples, theupshot of which is to establish Socrates’ freedom, justice andself-restraint. Neither Plato norXenophon leaves usguessing whatwisdom, intheonecase, andfreedom, justice andself-restraint, in theother, involve; they both spell outthequalities involved with examples.

55 Stokes 1992: 57. 56 This interpretation of the oracle story in Xenophon does notexclude the interesting onegiven in Vander Waerdt 1993: 41–42. Heargues that Xenophon omitted to mention sophia because, although he holds in some sense to the doctrine of the unity of virtues, he does not want to reduce all virtues to sophia, as Plato does. The emphasis onsophia in Plato is therefore notto Xenophon’s taste. Obviously, then, I donotatall agree withvonArnim, whowassoworried by the absence of mention of sophia by Xenophon that he suggested that it might have dropped out of the text: 1923: 87. It is true that at Ap.16 Socrates also lays claim to sophia, but this is in a passage where he is laying claim to all the virtues; sophia is derivative from his first rank of virtues, notonethat is highlighted byXenophon.



The Kaloskagathos

I take it that this instance of intertextuality is fairly straightforward. If Xenophon candoit once, whyshould henotdoit again? Butbefore looking for further cases, weneedtofill inthebackground somewhat more. Xenophon’s mission, I have said, is to provide a Socrates whois anexemplar of Greek moral values. However, he is also exceptional, not a boring paradigm whomerely copies what previous generations have done. Above all, he is exceptional in that he is perfectly consistent in living according tohiscode, which is a rare, if notunique, attainment. Butheis also exceptional in that he slightly alters the traditional code. Xenophon takes over the traditional termkaloskagathos andtweaks it until it fits Socrates rather thananAthenian gentleman estate-owner. Whereas in the past it hadapplied to external values andcharacteristics, Xenophon adds a requirement that the kaloskagathos has certain internal conditions. This is a true measure of Xenophon’s Socratic legacy. He maybe anupholder of traditional morality, butit is notunthinking morality. Hehas thought things through andcome to the conclusion that external activity requires certain internal conditions if it is to be genuine morality, rather than merely imitative action.

Ischomachus in Oeconomicus is a model of a kaloskagathos in some respects, butthe wordalso occurs a number of times in Memorabilia, so that wecanhave a good idea of what qualities Xenophon attaches to it. The relevant passages of Me-

morabilia are: 1.1.16, 1.2.2, 1.2.7, 1.2.23, 1.2.29, 1.2.48, 1.3.11, 1.5.1, 1.5.14, 1.6.13,

1.6.14, 2.1.20, 2.3.16, 2.6.16–28, 2.9.8, 3.5.15, 3.9.4, 3.9.5, 4.2.23, 4.7.1, 4.8.11. A

survey of these passages intheir contexts reveals that a kaloskagathos such as Socrates has the following qualities: 1. Freedom (as opposed to slavishness) as a result of self-discipline. 2. Certain knowledge anda certain degree of education. 3. Theability to make goodfriends andgetonwith people. 4. The ability to do good to friends (and harm to enemies). 5. Theability to manage one’s estate and, if necessary, one’s country. 6. The ability to dogoodto one’s country. 7. Thetraditional virtues, such as wisdom, justice, self-control andpiety. 8. The ability to teach andmake others kaloikagathoi (this last item is restricted to Socrates alone, andis nota necessary feature of kalokagathia in general). The most important of these qualities is the first, freedom or self-sufficiency.57 In many contexts, freedom is all but equivalent to kalokagathia as a whole. So, for instance, knowledge of certain truly good things is a mark of kalokagathia (the second item on the list), but ignorance of them is equated with slavishness (e.g. 1.1.16). Moreover, all theitems numbered 3–6 onthelist arecontrasted at 2.18–20 with lack of self-discipline, which is itself often described as slavishness (e.g. 1.5, 2.6, 4.2.22, 4.5; Oeconomicus 1.16–23). Andsince all the traditional virtues are knowledge (Memorabilia 3.9.5), andignorance is slavish, then a free person is a virtuous person, anda virtuous person is free. Freedom depends on self-discipline,

57 O’Connor 1994 calls it “self-sufficiency” andgives itjust asmuchprominence inhisarticle as it deserves.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


and it is a refrain throughout Memorabilia that Socrates was the most self-disciof men. He wasruled neither by his instinctive appetites nor his emotions, but he ruled them. Self-discipline is the foundation of kalokagathia. plined

Throughout Xenophon’s works, the emphasis is practical, prudential andresult-oriented. Thus self-discipline is important notjust for itself, butbecause it enables a person notto be distracted byhis appetites from doing his duty. Education is desirable provided it stops short of useless theoretical studies andidle speculation. Youdogood to your friends so that they stick by you, defend youfrom your enemies, andotherwise repay you. The purposes of estate-management are to create wealth andto train a manto administer his country, andthe purpose of benefiting one’s country is partly to gain recognition. However, these external andprudential aims should not distract us from the internal emphasis that underlies them. Self-discipline, torepeat, is thefoundation of kalokagathia: onecannot achieve anyof theitems inthelist without it. Youcannot manage your estate, let alone your country, if you cannot manage yourself; you cannot do good to your friends unless youcan restrain your appetites; andso on. Some scholars have claimed that this emphasis on self-discipline in Xenophon is derived fromAntisthenes, butwhether ornotthis is thecase, hecertainly madeit all his own. It comes as no surprise when at Memorabilia 1.5.4 he declares self-sufficiency to be thefoundation of all virtue. In Xenophon, the emphasis on self-discipline andfreedom goes hand in hand witha subtle doctrine which wemaycall “adaptive eudaemonism”. All Greeks were eudaemonists: they believed that thegoodcould be expressed as myowneudaimonia orhappiness. They differed over what constitutes or causes happiness. Is it virtue, andif so is virtue both necessary andsufficient for happiness, or one andnot the other, or identical with happiness, or merely an instrumental means to happiness? Oris it pleasure that causes happiness? Andsoon.T. Irwin hasargued, onthe basis of scant evidence inPlato, that Socrates heldanadaptive conception of happiness, such that I ammore likely to be happy if I adapt myneeds until they aremore easy to satisfy.58 There is farmoreevidence forthis inXenophon. If wereturn tothe passage of Apology where Xenophon’s Socrates explains whythe oracle wasright to call himfree, upright andself-disciplined (Apology 16), weread: “Doyouknow of anyone whois less of a slave to bodily desires than I am?Doyouknow anyone more free, since I accept nogratuities orpayment from anyone? Could youplausiblyregard anyone asmore upright than themanwhois soin tune with his immediate circumstances that hehasnoneed of anything extraneous?” Oragain, at Oeconomicus 2.1–8 Socrates argues that he is better off than Critobulus, for all the latter’s great wealth, because Socrates is content with whathehas. See also Memorabilia 1.3.5–7, 1.6.1– 10 and4.2.38, and, in Antisthenes’ mouth, Symposium 4.37. It seems tomethat oneof thedifficulties withappreciating adaptive eudaemonismis that, once stated, it is blindingly obvious. Of course wewould all be happier if wedidnot succumb to illusory desires, didnot want more than wecould have. This obviousness disguises thefact that it is incredibly difficult to putinto practice,

58 This is a recurrent Irwin 1986.


in Irwin’s works on the early

Platonic dialogues, but see especially



andindeed lies attheheart of lifelong practices such asBuddhism. Bearing inmind, then, howhardit is to putinto practice, consider what kind of person Xenophon is portraying Socrates asbeing. Heis someone whocanconsistently live in this adaptive fashion, free from temptation, andin full control of his desires, wishes and expectations. It is nowonder thatit wasXenophon’s Socrates whobecame themodel sage for the Stoics. Now, suppose for a moment that Xenophon wasdoing no more than superficially putting his weight behind the traditional Greek virtues. If so, there was no need for himto stress self-discipline andself-sufficiency to this extent; it didnot occupy this central a place in the life of a traditional kaloskagathos, who, if asked whether he wasfree, would assume that the question referred to his social status rather than to anyinternal state. This is whatI meanwhenI saythat Xenophon has tweaked thetraditional conception of kalokagathia. There is plenty more that could be said about the Xenophontic emphasis on self-discipline, freedom andself-sufficiency asit recurs inhisworks. However, all I amtrying to achieve atpresent aretwothings: first, to deepen ourunderstanding of Xenophon’s apparently traditional morality; secondly, to suggest, since theideal of kalokagathia underlies all Xenophon’s work, that more thought underlies that work than Xenophon is usually given credit for.59 Thequestion whether Xenophon failed to understand Socrates nolonger really arises, since wehave decided that wedonotknowwhatthehistorical Socrates said orbelieved – that wehave noparadigm against which wecanmeasure Xenophon’s success orfailure in understanding. By thesame token, wecannot judge a writer as more orless of a Socratic, depending onhownear orfarhiswork approximates to a paradigm (i.e. Plato). What it is to be a Socratic, a writer of Sokratikoi logoi, is to have taken ona Socratic philosophical mission, andto pursue it as a philosopher – that is, withcoherence, thoughtfulness anddepth. Xenophon does seemtofulfil this criterion in his ownway. In this sense, Xenophon is a true Socratic: he gives us a Socrates whois a true philosopher, albeit notquite in thePlatonic mould. Further Xenophontic Responses to Plato

Nowthat there is less danger of regarding Xenophon as a Plato manqué, we can directly compare parallel passages or motifs within the two writers, to see what conclusions it is reasonable to draw. Of course, there are plenty of such parallel passages – nooneclaims that Xenophon’s Socrates is completely different fromthe figure in Plato60 – andthey have hadplenty of attention drawn to them in the past. Here I pick on a few passages where Xenophon seems notjust to be paralleling something in Plato, butactually to be responding to something in Plato. 59 Forfurther discussion of Xenophon’s useof kaloskagathos seeRoscalla (this volume). 60 So deVogel 1962: 148–153 = Prior 1996a: 61–65 usefully draws upa list of six mainfeatures of Socrates’ thought, those features which make us recognize Socrates as Socrates (e.g. the prohibition onwrongdoing andhisbelief in a goodandrational god) – andit is noteworthy that these features areto be found inboth Plato andXenophon.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


A. We can start with Vlastos’s famous Ten Theses, because we are not using them as a wayof trying to reach any historical Socrates, but simply as a wayof delineating themainfeatures of the Socrates of theearly dialogues. In fact, Vlastos himself often reduces his ten theses to the first four: 1. Socrates is exclusively a moral philosopher – andsohe is in Xenophon too. 2. Socrates hasnointerest in metaphysics – nordoes he in Xenophon. 3. Socrates seeks knowledge elenctically, while avowing that he has no knowledge himself – here is a major difference between Plato’s Socrates andthat of Xenophon.

4. Socrates hasa unitary andintellectualist

conception of themindor soul, which allows him to deny the possibility of akrasia. Now, both Vlastos and Irwin61 have claimed that Xenophon’s Socrates fails to understand thetrue position on akrasia. AtMemorabilia 4.5 Xenophon hasSocrates inveigh against akrasia as a bad thing, when he should have denied that there is any such thing at all. Actually, however, akrasia for Xenophon here is synonymous with akolasia, lack of self-restraint, andit is that which Xenophon is inveighing against. And elsewhere he outlines with perfect clarity the theory of voluntary action which leads totheparadoxical denial of akrasia: “Everyone acts bychoosing fromthe courses open to himthe onewhich he supposes to be the most expedient” (3.9.4). This is a clearer expression of Socratic intellectualism than we find even in Plato. Then again, at4.6.6 he says, “Doyouknowof anypeople whodothings other than what they think they ought?” There arenogrounds, then, for claimingthat Xenophon does notreflect thedenial of akrasia, or didnotunderstand


As far as these four theses are concerned, then, it is only on the third that Xenophon’s Socrates differs substantially from thefigure in Plato’s early dialogues. Not that Xenophon’s Socrates is incapable of arguing elenctically (Memorabilia 4.2 is anextended example of Xenophon’s handling of elenchus), butXenophon’s Socrates constantly has positive doctrine to affirm, rather than denying that he has any knowledge. It is worth reminding ourselves, to begin with, that Socrates’ denial of knowledge is immensely problematic. Above all, it hascommonly beentaken to be insincere, or at least as “complex irony”, as Vlastos calls it.62 The main ground for this charge of insincerity is the constant impression one gets that even in Plato’s dialogues Socrates is steering the discussion. Then again, there is also the endoxic aspect of his thought: he is content to accept quite a wide range of moral theses, even though ultimately he might claim that in some sense his grasp on them falls short of perfect knowledge. Intheendweareleft almost wondering howPlato could have the cheek to give us a Socrates who disavows knowledge. Nevertheless, he does, andXenophon does not, andweshould tryto see whyin either case.

61 Irwin 1974. 62 For Vlastos on “complex

irony” see Vlastos 1991: chapter 1. For criticism of his view see Gottlieb 1992, Roochnik 1995, Gordon 1996 andespecially Nehamas 1998. OnSocrates’ disavowal of knowledge see especially Vlastos 1994: chapter 2.



It is easy enough to see whyXenophon chose not to imitate Plato in this. It would only have distracted attention. A dissembling Socrates is immediately a complex, devious, inquisitive character, andnone of these features would have helped Xenophon fulfil his straightforward mission.63 It is less easy to explain whyPlato should have chosen to give such prominence to this characteristic. Partly, I believe, theanswer lies inPlato’s artistry. Every writer of fiction wants hischaracters, especially his protagonists, to come alive, andthis is achieved above all by giving these characters their ownspecial voice. By giving Socrates this unique voice, Plato created a character which has survived andremains vivid andinfluential even today. ButI canalso construct ananswer interms of Plato’s mission. Inhisdesire toestablish philosophy as the sole true occupier of the educational andmoral terrain, a major part of Plato’s purpose wasnegative – to puncture theclaims other practices hadto that terrain. Socrates’ elenctic method, themethod he uses to puncture such claims, goes handin handwith his disavowal of knowledge, because it is precisely this disavowal that leaves himfree to question others, as if hehada genuine desire to hear the gems of wisdom his questions would elicit from them. B. Another interesting test-case is the reflections of either author on Socrates’ daimonion.64 For most commentators65 there is a considerable difference between thetwo.Xenophon differs fromPlato inthat (a)thedaimonion notonlywarns against certain actions, butpositively endorses certain actions; (b) thedaimonion canhelp Socrates’ friends, notjust Socrates himself; and(c) thedaimonion is assimilated to other Greek divinatory techniques, rather than being, as far as weknow, unique to Socrates. For all that these differences have become enshrined in scholarly tradition, a little thought reveals that they are not as striking as they may appear. (a) It is true that Plato stresses inApology 31DandTheages 128D that thedaimonion never turns Socrates towards anything, andI agree that this in Plato is howthe sign always manifests, but a warning notto perform a certain action is very often anencouragement to do its opposite. At Euthydemus 272E, for instance, Socrates was about to leave theLyceum, “butwhenI gotup,myregular daimonion occurred, so I sat downagain”. In this case, does thedaimonion prevent Socrates from leaving, 63 See also Gray 1998: 181: “Socratic irony wasclearly a major obstacle to establishing his [Socrates’] helpfulness. Wisdom literature could hardly tolerate a wise manwhoregularly refused to state his ownopinion, yet so aggressively attacked others for their ignorance”. I prefer this explanation to thesneer of deVogel 1962: 151= Prior 1996a: 63 that “thegoodXenophon was nota manto appreciate irony”. However, it is true that Socratic irony in Plato is a deeply puzzling literary andphilosophical device. 64 The relevant references are: Ap. 12–13, Mem. 1.1.2–5, 4.3.12– 13, 4.8.1, 4.8.5–6, 4.8.11, Symp. 8.5; Pl. Ap.31C–D, 40A–C, 41D, Theag. 128D–130E, Alc. I 103A–B, Euthyd. 272E, Rep. 496C, Phdr. 242B, Tht. 151A. I do take both Alcibiades I and Theages to be genuine works of Plato: ontheformer seeAnnas 1985; onthelatter Cobb 1992. There is quite a bit of secondary scholarly literature on the daimonion, of which the most important items are Riddell 1867, McNaghten 1914, Rist 1963, Cobb 1992, Joyal 1995 andMcPherran 1996. Apart from Riddell’s book, other editions orbooks about Plato’sApology arealso important, particularly Reeve 1989, Brickhouse andSmith 1989, de Stryker andSlings 1994 andStokes 1997. The daimonion also attracted considerable learned attention in antiquity, notjust in commentaries on Plato’s dialogues, butin extant essays byPlutarch, Apuleius and(two of them) Maximus of Tyre. 65 Especially Vlastos 1991: additional note 6.1.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission

or encourage himto stay? (b) ThetwoXenophontic passages in question

101 (Apology

13 andMemorabilia 1.1.4) are both vague enough to be compatible with the view that Socrates’ advice to his friends wasnomore than anextension of the advice he hadreceived himself from his little voice. To take (merely for clarity of illustration) a later, anecdotal story, preserved in Plutarch’s De genio Socratis 580D–F: the daimonion warns Socrates notto walk downa certain street andthen Socrates tells his friends to be careful of walking downthat street. (c) This is a blatant piece of special pleading byXenophon precisely totryto getSocrates off thehook of appearing different andspecial, andshould therefore not be counted as part of Xenophon’s account of the daimonion itself. So there are no great differences from Plato, but we should pay attention to what differences there are. It maybe aneasy extension for Xenophon to stress that inhelping Socrates thedaimonion canalso help hisfriends, butit is significant that it is Xenophon whotakes this step. Oneof theproperties of a Xenophontic kaloskagathos, werecall, is that he is good to his friends, so naturally it is part of Xenophon’s mission to portray Socrates as good to his friends. Or again, if Xenophon argues that thedaimonion is really nodifferent from normal Greek divinatory techniques, in the light of his mission we should conclude that he does not want his Socrates figure, as opposed to Plato’s, to be so unique andremote from popular understanding that ordinary people might wonder whythey should try to assimilate themselves to himat all. C. Oeconomicus 1.7 ff. contains a typically subtle Socratic argument, in the Platonic sense of “Socratic”, in which Socrates plays with three cognate words µατα– respectively “make use of”, “useful” and“asσι µος andχ ρή χ ρῆσθαι, χ ρή µατα as “assets” because the English wordcanbe ambiguous sets”. I translate χ ρή in the same wayas the Greek word. Onthe onehand, myassets are, naturally, my property; on the other hand, something is an asset to meonly if it is useful. Once this subtlety is appreciated, the argument becomes quite delightful. I shall call “assets” in the first sense “property-assets”, andin the second sense “useful assets”. Under Socrates’ prodding, Critobulus argues that only beneficial things areassets – i.e. useful assets – andthat a possession of which onedoes notknowhowto make useis therefore notanasset. In fact, Critobulus says, a useless possession only becomes an asset if one sells it. This is all fair enough, but only if “assets” means “useful assets”. The argument is equally capable of being read, however, as concerning property-assets, since these are the original andconcluding terms of the argument. From this point of view, wesee that Socrates hasforced Critobulus into anexquisite paradox: a useless possession onlybecomes a piece of one’s property if one sells it! I mention this argument notjust because it is so fine – andso clear anexample of howclever Xenophon could beif hechose to– butalso because theparadox does morethanjust adda humorous twist. Theimmediate point of theargument hastodo with useful assets: even selling a possession does notconvert it into a useful asset unless oneknows howto make proper useof money. When a short while later (2.2 ff.) Socrates claims to be rich, even though poor, heis continuing theparadox. The implication is that he is rich because, even though his property-assets are few, they



are all useful assets. The same point is made again when, later still (3.2–3), tidiness is praised because it converts property-assets into useful assets. Since the aim of estate-management is to make a profit bycorrectly managing one’s estate, theparadoxof useful assets andproperty-assets is of central importance to this work, andit is connected notjust to Socrates’ adaptive moral strategy, which wehave already noted, but also to the teaching that youhave to know howto make proper use of anything to convert a possession into something useful andgood for you. Now, this reads very like a response to a famous section of Plato’s Euthydemus (280B–281E), where Socrates is made to argue that even apparently good things such aswealth andhealth arenotgoodfor oneunless they areputto proper use, and that since it is knowledge that enables oneto putthings to proper use, then strictly speaking knowledge is the only goodthing there is.66 The idea recurs elsewhere in Xenophon too: Memorabilia 3.8.6–7, 4.1.3–5 and4.2.31–35. The reason I call it a response, rather thanjust a parallel with Plato is this: Plato’s argument is a protreptic to philosophy, while Xenophon’s is a protreptic to estate-management.67 This might seem to trivialize Xenophon’s work, since surely philosophy is more elevatedthan estate-management, butwhen weconsider the benefits Xenophon ascribes to estate-management, wecanseehowcrucial a subject it is in his view. Thebenefits include self-discipline andall the manly virtues (5.4, 5.12– 13), inculcation of

the desire to protect one’s homeland andthe ability to do so (5.5, 5.7), andtraining in the ability to rule others (5.15– 17). In the final two chapters of the book, the analogy between wielding authority on an estate anddoing the same in an army is developed (see also Memorabilia 3.4.7– 12); at 13.5 Socrates becomes very excited byIschomachus’ claim that he canteach his foremen to wield authority ona farm, since this implies that Ischomachus canteach kingship, i.e. thehighest form of political constitution (see also Memorabilia 1.2.64, 2.1.19, 3.6.14, 4.1.2, 4.4.16 and 4.5.10 forthepairing of estate-management andpolitical management). EvenPlato, in Euthydemus, when considering what is the highest form of knowledge which will bring the greatest happiness to a person, cannot do better than suggest that it is kingship (291C ff.); since toXenophon’s minda goodestate-manager is also a good leader of men, the twophilosophers draw close at this point. But Xenophon’s mission to make morality accessible is implicit in the main theme of Oeconomicus – that estate-management inevitably inculcates morality. D. A last coincidence to which I want to draw attention is again prominent in Oeconomicus.68 Most scholars would agree with a developmental view of Plato’s attitude towards thepossibility of gaining knowledge. Intheearly dialogues, Socratesdenies that heis a teacher; hehasnoknowledge toimpart, andhemakes himself outtobe nomorethan a partner inthesearch forknowledge heundertakes, through

66 This passage of Plato’s Euthydemus hasbeen very intensively


inrecent years. I recom-

mendthefollowing articles: Annas 1993, Ferejohn 1984, Irwin 1986, Santas 1993. 67 The actual Greek wordπροτρέπειν does not occur in Oeconomicus, as it does in Euthydemus (in context at 275A, 278C, 282D; also 307A); butthat does not alter the fact that Socrates is trying to encourage Critobulus to take uptheproper management of his estates. 68 Morrison 1994 has also drawn attention to this coincidence in the context of discussing Xenophon’s views


Xenophon’s Socratic mission


theelenchus, with his interlocutors. However, bythetime Plato wrote Meno hehad come to believe that Socratic questioning could lead to knowledge, but only in the sense that it enabled onetorecover forgotten beliefs, which could thenbe converted

to knowledge byrepetition. Wehave innate knowledge of truths, presumably from all eternity, andwhat we call learning is actually recollection of these forgotten truths. Socratic questioning acts as a trigger, to prompt recollection of forgotten truths.69

I donotneedto introduce themore metaphysical andontological aspects of the theory of recollection introduced byPlato inPhaedo, because they arenotgermane to the point I want to make. In Oeconomicus, while making himself out to be Socrates’ teacher andusing question and answer to this effect, Ischomachus pointedly andrepeatedly alludes to Plato’s doctrine of recollection. At 15.10 he tells Socrates: “Agriculture isn’t like other skills, where the pupil has to spend an exhausting amount of time at his lessons ... all youneed is to watch people working at some aspects of it, andlisten to people explaining other aspects, andthen you’d understand it – well enough evento explain it to someone else, if youwanted. I also think that youyourself know considerably more about it than youthink youknow”. The theme continues a little later, at 16.8, where Ischomachus asks: “So where would youlike me to start, Socrates? Howshall I remind you of what youknow about agriculture? I’m sure that youalready know a great deal of what I’ll tell youabout farming methods”. Ischomachus labours the point in chapter 18, repeatedly pointing outto Socrates howmuch he already knew about certain aspects of harvesting andthreshing (18.1, 18.3, 18.5), until he concludes that Socrates could, as he had suggested atthe start, teach someone else too. Socrates remarks (18.9– 10): “Well, I hadn’t been aware of this knowledge of mine. In fact, I’vebeen wondering for some time whether I also knowhowto smelt gold andplay thepipes andpaint pictures. I mean, noonehastaught methese subjects, butthen I’venever been taught agriculture; butjust as I see people farming, so I see people working at other arts and crafts”. In response Ischomachus makes a distinction which harks back to what he hadsaid at thebeginning: agriculture is very “generous” (15.4) andeasy to learn, in contrast to these other arts, for which a more laborious process of learning is presumably required.70 Thepointedness ofthese remarks byXenophon is only increased whenat 19.14– 15 he has Socrates pass explicit comment on this aspect of his conversation with Ischomachus: I’vebeen wondering for some time (he says) whyonearth, whenyouasked me earlier the general question whether I knew howto plant trees, I said that I didn’t. I mean, I didn’t think I’dhave anything to sayabout howplanting ought to be done; but then you set about asking me particular questions, andI find that, as yousay, I come upwith answers which correspond to what youknow, 69 The scholarly literature on the theory of recollection is substantial. Some useful essays are collected in Day 1994, butsee also Ebert 1973, Bostock 1986, Scott 1995. 70 Wellman 1976 hassome useful comments onthis part of Oeconomicus, butI think he goes too far in finding “anamnetic” questioning even in parts of Memorabilia.



andyou are an acknowledged expert at agriculture. Is questioning an educational process, Ischomachus? I’m asking because I’ve just understood your method of questioning me.Youtake methrough points that I know, youshow methatthese points arenodifferent frompoints I’dbeenthinking I didn’t know, andthus youconvince me,I think, that I doknowthelatter points too.

Theirony of having Socrates comment, asthe interlocutor, onthemethod of questioning hehimself putsinterlocutors through inbothXenophon’s andPlato’s works, is exquisite. It is notgoing toofarto saythat inthis case Xenophon seems towantto correct Plato. Whereas in his early dialogues Plato’s Socrates hadinsisted that he only asked questions, anddidnoteaching, Xenophon claims that questions of this sort arethemselves a kindof teaching. Butmoreimportantly forourpresent purposes is whatunderlies Ischomachus’s description of agriculture as “generous”: it is so easy to learn (heclaims!) that oneneedonly watch others atwork, andapply a little common sense, andone becomes an expert. This has already been emphasized in 15.10 and18.10, andIschomachus repeats it at 19.17–19: youneedonly watch and listen, andreflect onwhat nature itself teaches youabout proper farming methods. This emphasis onplain common sense fits perfectly with Xenophon’s mission. His Socrates hasnoneedof hifalutin’ theories of reincarnation andprenatal knowledge, which would only serve todistance himfrom all buta fewof hisreaders. HisSocrates (or in this case his Ischomachus, but Socrates is still the narrator) talks the kind of language that is readily comprehensible, andgoes nofurther into abstruse theory than is minimally necessary. This is the Socrates who “always discussed human matters” (Memorabilia 1.1.16), rather than complex philosophy. For he is the Socrates devised by Xenophon, whose mission is to preach traditional morality in an accessible fashion. E. Finally, I should consider a possible objection. It hasbeenclaimed thatwhereas Xenophon’s Socrates is, politically, an out-and-out oligarch, Plato’s Socrates, while being suspicious of some aspects of Athenian democracy, is still committed to it.71 Obviously, if this is so, Xenophon’s Socrates is in danger of endearing himself less to the manonthe street than Plato’s Socrates, andthis would tell against mythesis that Xenophon’s Socrates is actually more of a popular figure than Plato’s. (Those Athenians of anoligarchic turn of mindmaywell have been the most universally literate group in Athenian society, buttheeducated elite – andtherefore the audience Xenophon needed to keep in mindif hewanted more than a very limited readership – covered a muchwider political spectrum.) Now,I have noquarrel withthis picture of Plato’s Socrates,72 butI donotthink it is quite correct as regards Xenophon’s Socrates. Certainly Xenophon himself would disagree, since inMemorabilia 1.2, where heresponds to thecharge (probably from Polycrates) that Socrates wasthe teacher of undesirable oligarchs or potential tyrants, such as Critias andAlcibiades, he goes outof his wayto combat the

71 This is the thesis expressly argued by Vlastos 1983. Given the wide exposure this article has received it is indanger of sweeping thefieldfaute demieux, butit hasreceived a goodresponse in Wood andWood 1986. 72 Although he has little to say about Xenophon’s Socrates, Kraut 1984 is in substantial agreementwith Vlastos.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


charge notjust by stressing Socrates’ benign influence on these two, as on all his pupils, as long as they stayed with him, butalso byrecording Critias’ personal animosity towards Socrates, anda supposed conversation Socrates had with Critias andCharicles, another member of theThirty, in which this animosity wasapparent. Then at 1.2.59–60 Socrates is described as δηµοτι κὸς καὶ φι λά ν θρ ωπος thanks to his constant efforts (some of which are recounted in subsequent sections of Memorabilia) to make people “useful” to the city, andother teachers are compared unfavourably with him, as being less δηµοτι κοί, because they charged for their teaching, while Socrates wasprepared to converse with everyone.73 It seems to methat Xenophon presents Socrates asa loyal member of Athenian society – loyal eventothepoint of going against thepeople’s wishes if heperceives that they are acting immorally. This is the context in which hetells the story of the illegal trial of the generals after the battle of Arginusae in 406 (Memorabilia 1.1.17– 19) andthat of Socrates’ disobedience totheThirty overLeonof Salamis (Memorabilia 4.4.1–4). Butloyalty is in itself anambivalent trait. Perhaps Socrates wasloyal to whatever form of government there was. After all, this is suggested byhis positivist identification of justice with behaviour that is sanctioned by the law, at Memorabilia 4.4.5–25. AndI think there is some truth in the suggestion that Xenophon does portray Socrates as apolitical in this way: his concern is with morality, not politics. In so far as morality impinges on politics, Xenophon’s Socrates sees his job as preparing others to play a part in politics, rather than as taking an active political role himself (Memorabilia 1.6.15, a principle that is putinto practice in the encounters that constitute 3.1–7); in sofar ashedidplay a part inAthenian political life, he obeyed the authorities only if what they required of him waslawful (4.4.1).74 What evidence, then, is there for Vlastos’s view that Xenophon’s Socrates is positively anti-democratic? There are a couple of key passages. First, at Memorabilia 1.2.9, hereports Polycrates’ accusation that he

encouraged hisassociates to makelight of constitutional practice bysaying that it wasfoolish to appoint political leaders bylot andthat nobody would employ a candidate chosen bylot asa pilot ora carpenter ora musician orfor anyother such posts – although if these posts are badly filled, they cause far less harm than badpolitical appointments.

Vlastos adds that Xenophon’s failure to respond directly to this charge proves that

he felt the force of it, and dropped it “like a hot potato” .75

73 Xenophon’s useof political terms in this apparently non-political context is notmerely metaphorical. In a politically charged atmosphere, everything a person does is seen as having a political significance. The fact that Socrates conversed with everyone is therefore a (probably unconscious) political act. For a parallel note howthe orators of the French Revolution acclaimed Franz Anton Mesmer as a political ally simply because his healing techniques were painless, non-interventionist andwidely available:

see Darnton 1968.

74 Forthecoincidence between this andatleast oneinterpretation of thepolitical views of Plato’s Socrates see Brickhouse andSmith 1994: chapter 5 75 Vlastos 1983: 397 = Prior 1996b: 27.



Second, Vlastos describes bilia 3.9.10– 11:76

as his “star passage” the following, from Memora-

Hesaid that it wasnotthose whoheld the sceptre whowere kings andrulers, northose whowere chosen by unauthorized persons, northose whowere appointed by lot, nor those whohadgained their position by force or fraud, but those whoknew howto rule ... He used to point out that in a ship it is the man whoknows that takes command, andthe owner andeveryone else on board obeys the manwhoknows; that in farming those whopossess land, in illness those whoareill, inphysical training those whoareexercising their bodies, and all other persons whohave anything that needs attention, if they think they have the necessary knowledge, look after themselves; but otherwise they not only follow the advice of experts, if they are on the spot, but call in their help if they are not, so that, by taking their advice, they mayfollow the right course. Andhe pointed outthat in the case of wool-spinning, women actually exercise control over men, because they knowhowto dothework andmendonot. Finally, Vlastos finds evidence for Xenophon’s Socrates holding the lower classes in contempt, when at Memorabilia 3.7.5–6 he tells Charmides not to be frightened of them, because they are unintelligent andconcerned only with making a quick buck, andwhen at Oeconomicus 4.2 and6.4–9 he expresses contempt for the “banausic” occupations. Andhe concludes: “The convictions of Xenophon’s Socrates commit himto anoverwhelming preference for oligarchy over democracy” .77 Now, Vlastos makes themistake of quoting his first passage, Memorabilia 1.2.9, out of context. First, Xenophon records the charge, as quoted by Vlastos. But he adds, what Vlastos omits, the final clause of the charge, that by this kind of talk Socrates madetheyoung unruly. However, Xenophon goes on,it is only those who donot exercise reason whoare unruly – the clear implication being that Socrates taught his followers to exercise reason, notto subvert theconstitution; andthen the accuser introduces Critias andAlcibiades asexamples of twoyoung menwhowere madeunruly bySocrates – but, aswehave already seen, Xenophon responds tothis charge. Thus, byquoting thepassage outof context, Vlastos makes it seemasthough Xenophon never responded to this charge anddropped it like a hotpotato, whenin fact he responds to it in twoways: first by implying that Socrates’ teaching would have quite the opposite effect, andsecond by showing that in the two specific instances of unruliness which theaccuser brings forward Socrates’ effect wasbenign. Asregards thesecond passage, thecall forexpertise inpolitics asinother areas of life,78 there is of course something very familiar about this. The reason it is so

76 Hecould have added Mem.3.1.4 (“anuntrained person is neither a general nora doctor, evenif his appointment is unanimous”), which has the same general import as 3.9.10–11 andis adduced in this context by Brickhouse andSmith 1994: 157 n.48. Puzzlingly, Brickhouse and Smith also adduce Mem.2.6.26, which touches on the waygood mencan help each other in politics, butsays nothing about whatpolitical system is involved; it might aswell be democracy, andsooffers nosupport forBrickhouse andSmith’s Vlastosian conclusion thatXenophon’s Socrates is “simply hostile to democracy”. 77 Vlastos 1983: 505–506 = Prior 1996b: 35. 78 A vacuous call, ashasbeen shown byBambrough 1956.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


familiar is that it is a recurrent call from Plato’s Socrates as well. See, for instance, Apology 24E–25C, Crito 47A–48C, Laches 184C–E, onwhich Brickhouse andSmith


Each of these passages reveals Socrates’ commitment to the view that nothing – not even a huge majority – can outweigh or override the single opinion of an authentic expert. Plainly, Socrates assumes thatmoral expertise will notbefound in the greater masses of people, butrather only in one or a fewpeople, if any have it at all. Contrary to popular democratic ideology, Socrates regards the teaching of virtue [which Socrates assumes to be the goal of political activity] tobenodifferent fromtheteaching of anyother expertise – suchteaching is the sole province of the expert.79 Now, it would take ustoo far afield to go further into the political views of Plato’s Socrates as well, about which whole books have been written,80 so let mejust say that in myopinion the correct context for these remarks by Plato’s Socrates onthe appalling lack of expertise in Athenian politics is to see Plato’s Socrates as a constructive critic of democracy. In his view there is no perfectly satisfactory political system, but democracy is the best of a bad lot; having made this decision, he will live in Athens to the bitter end, as Crito shows. But that does not stop himwishing to improve things if he can, andthe major improvements he wants to see are for greater useto be made of political experts (which would presumably take Athenian democracy more in thedirection of thekindof representational democracy wefind in the modern world today), andfor power politics to give wayto the art of moral improvement through political means. In short, none of the fewpolitical remarks

of Xenophon’s Socrates contradict what wecan also find said by Plato’s Socrates. Xenophon’s evidence, then, is just ascompatible asPlato’s withtheidea that Socrates was, orwasseen as, a constructive critic of democracy. I conclude, then, that this does not constitute evidence against Xenophon’s populist mission.81


I needto drawtheline somewhere, butthere aremore cases of apparent intertextuality in Xenophon, where he is drawing onPlato.82

1. The echo of Gorgias 488B–489B at Memorabilia 1.2.40–46 is very interesting. Socrates’ Hobbesian, positivist account ofjustice as whatever is sanctioned by 79 Brickhouse andSmith 1994: 158. 80 I recommend in particular Klosko 1986. 81 In the context of thebackground to Memorabilia in wisdom literature, which wastraditionally aristocratic in orientation, Xenophon’s Socrates comes across “as a democrat andphilanthropist whoargues thatthegentleman will findusefulness notonly inother gentlemen, butinthose groups in the community which had once been considered useless anddangerous: the poor particularly, butalso presumably theprostitute” (Gray 1998: 192). 82 In thefollowing list I amindebted mostly to myownobservation, several times to Kahn 1996: 393–401, andonce to Annas 1985: 121 n.32.



party is used by both Plato andXenophon to prove that the people as a whole have a natural andconstitutional right to wield power over the minority.83 2. Memorabilia 1.4.1 takes on the challenge issued by the author of Cleitophon,84 echoing, evenverbally, thegauntlet cast downat408D and410B that while Socrates canencourage others to devote themselves to virtue, he failed actually to show them the way there. 3. Memorabilia 1.6.14 is a partly verbatim echo of Lysis 211D–E: in the context of a discussion of friendship, thepleasure of a goodfriend is compared withthat felt in a goodhorse or dogor bird. 4. Memorabilia 2.6.6 is similar to Laches 185E: both passages argue that possession of a craft is shown by the quality of the work produced, not just by any unsubstantiated claim of excellence. 5. Memorabilia 3.9.1–6 echoes both the theme and some of the passages of Protagoras. Xenophon has understood the importance of the intellectualist theory of motivation propounded atProtagoras 358C–D andgives his ownversion of it at 3.9.5, with remarkable clarity: “I presume that everyone acts by choosing from the courses open to himtheonewhich he supposes to be themost expedient”, while in the previous sentence he has given his version of the doctrine of the unity of the virtues, also found inProtagoras (329C–334C, 349B– 350C). Andthegeneral theme of this section ofMemorabilia, thequestion whether “courage wasa matter ofteachingora natural gift”, is effectively thesame asthequestion which occupies muchof Protagoras andMeno, whether or notvirtue is teachable. 6. AtMemorabilia 3.9.8 Socrates defines phthonos (“envy” or“malice”) asfollows: “Heconcluded that it wasa species of distress, butnotthe sort that arises over the misfortunes of friends or the good fortune of enemies; he said that only those people were envious whowere distressed atthe success of friends”. This is remarkably close to the definition of phthonos given at Philebus 48B– 50A, except that Plato describes it as a mixture of pleasure andpain. Still, the central psychological insight, that weenvy ourfriends, notourenemies, is the same. 7. Memorabilia 4.2.12– 18, Socrates’ discussion of justice with Euthydemus, calls to mind a fewpassages in the first book of Republic: in likening justice to a craft; in claiming that it therefore has a function or product (ἔργον); in the suggestion that under certain circumstances traditionally wrong actions, such a telling lies, might turn out to be right; and in rejecting the idea that actions which are unjust when done to friends become just when done to enemies. These points recall, respectively, Republic 332D, 335D, 331C, and332A–B with 334B–D. 8. AtMemorabilia 4.2.19–20 Socrates argues, ina manner strongly reminiscent of Plato’s Hippias Minor, that a voluntary liar is better than an involuntary one.

the ruling

83 Onthis passage of Gorgias see Santas 1979: 262–264. The positivist definition of justice, as found inthese twopassages of Xenophon, also putsina brief appearance elsewhere in Gorgias, at 476A–477A, onwhich see Mackenzie 1981: 181. See also Hipp. Mai. 284DE; positivism is also perhaps implicit in Socrates’ refusal in Crito to disobey thelaw. OnXenophon’s Socrates onjustice see Morrison 1995. 84 Fora recent attempt to argue that thedialogue might well bePlatonic (onthegrounds that there is at least some philosophical interest in thework) see Roochnik 1984.

Xenophon’s Socratic mission


However, whereas Plato’s Socrates appears to be committed to (but puzzled by) this view, which is a consequence of his intellectualism, Xenophon comes out with the plain solution, at Memorabilia 3.9.5, that those who know how to act justly “would never choose to doanything else”. This effectively solves thedilemma Pla-

to has caught himself in.

9. Memorabilia 4.2.32–5 perhaps gives, as Kahn puts it, “a garbled version of twoPlatonic arguments designed to showthat wisdom is a goodthat is always beneficial (Meno 87D–89A; Euthydemus 281A–E)”. Xenophon’s Socrates points out that theconsequences of even health andwisdom mayonoccasion dousharm, and so that health andwisdom, andall apparent goods, should be called nomore good than badin these instances. In Plato’s argument, however, wisdom is the only true andinvariable good. 10. It is also hard to resist the idea that Memorabilia 4.2 as a whole is Xeno-

phon’s response to Plato’s Alcibiades I: in both cases Socrates persuades a young mantojoin his philosophical circle by revealing his lack of self-knowledge in the sphere of politics 11. According to Kahn, Memorabilia 4.4.5 “parallels several passages in Plato, most notably Meno 89Dff., onthe impossibility of finding teachers of virtue”; but thetopic is perhaps toobroad andfamiliar for oneto state with confidence that this is a definite borrowing by Xenophon from Plato. 12.Memorabilia 4.4.6 clearly echoes Gorgias 490E: inboth cases Socrates parries an interlocutor’s attempt to tease him for going on about the same things by escalating theclaim andturning it into a virtue. 13. At Memorabilia 4.4.9 Hippias accuses Socrates of dissembling – of being content to question others while withholding his ownopinion. This is identical to theaccusation madeagainst Socrates byThrasymachus atRepublic 336C (see also 337A and337E, andcompare Theaetetus 150C, where Socrates justifies this practice of his in the context of his midwifery). That this is a blatant borrowing from Plato is certain, because it is such an inappropriate complaint to bring against the Xenophontic Socrates, whorarely withholds his ownopinion. Thenthere area number of well-known instances where incomposing hisSymposium, Xenophon borrowed fromPlato’s Symposium (andonce from Theaetetus):85 14. 4.14 echoes Symposium 184Bff. onbeing a slave to love. 15. 4.19 echoes Symposium 215A–216E onSocrates’ resemblance to Silenus. 16. 4.62 echoes Theaetetus 150A– 151B on midwifery andpandering. 17. 8.9 echoes Symposium 180E onCommon andCelestial Aphrodite. 18. 8.32 refers to Symposium 180C–185C andcombines elements of this with 178E– 179A, onhomosexual warriors. There is clearly plenty more work to be done onthe topic of Xenophon’s borrowings andgleanings from Plato. I believe that at least some of the passages just listed would reveal, onexamination, that Xenophon’s response to Plato wasagain coloured by his particular mission. Nevertheless, I have covered enough instances to provide corroborative evidence for myconclusions. Thefirst of these is that Xe-

85 Andthese arejust the most outstanding echoes andreferences between thetwoSymposia. For more detail seeThesleff 1978 andDakyns 1897: lix–lxix.



nophon is nota Plato manqué, butanindependent andinteresting thinker inhisown right whodrewonhisSocratic background inhisownfashion. I have notdeveloped this aspect at any depth, only to suggest that the ideal of the kaloskagathos is Socratic in origin andthat, since this ideal pervades all his work, from theSocratica to the Cyropaedia, then all hiswork deserves to be seen as containing a philosophical substrate. Others, especially Morrison, O’ Connor andVander Waerdt, have gone much further in this direction. Secondly, however, in this paper I have outlined what I take to be Xenophon’s mission, and explained how in the light of this mission weshould adjust ourperception of Xenophon, sothat hebecomes a rewarding writer. I have argued that in many cases, where he differs from Plato over some point of Socratic philosophy, we can attribute those differences to the differences between their missions as writers, rather than suggesting that Xenophon failed to understand something about Socrates thatPlato moreclearly understood. This should clear thewayfor a proper appreciation of Xenophon’s work– neither exaggerating nordiminishing its importance – inthefuture. Andapart fromtheability to appreciate Xenophon’s work on its ownmerits – or rather, once this has been done to a sufficient extent – then Xenophon can also be studied as a source for Socratic philosophy, rather than being overlooked as he so often is. Hecanbe anindependent source, andsometimes he can corroborate something in Plato. The differences between himandPlato become very important: is hecorrecting something heregards as a mistake – philosophical or historical – in Plato, or using his clarity to elucidate some issue?

BIBLIOGRAPHY Anderson, J. K., 1974, Xenophon (London). Annas, J., 1981, AnIntroduction to Plato’s Republic (Oxford). – 1985, “Self-knowledge in Early Plato”, in D. J. O’Meara (ed.), Platonic Investigations (Washington): 111–138. – 1993, “Virtue as the Use of Other Goods”, in T. H. Irwin andM. C. Nussbaum (edd.), Virtue, Love, andForm: Essays inMemory of Gregory Vlastos (Edmonton): 53–66. Arnim, H. von, 1923, Xenophons Memorabilien undApologie desSokrates (Copenhagen).

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Kane, J., 1990, “Greek Values in Xenophon’s Hellenica”, in A. Loizou andA. H. Lesser (edd.), Polis andPolitics: Essays in Greek Moral andPolitical Philosophy (Aldershot): 1–11. Klosko, G., 1986, TheDevelopment of Plato’s Political Theory (New York). Kraut, R., 1984, Socrates andtheState (Princeton).

Lacey, A. R., 1971, “OurKnowledge of Socrates”, in G. Vlastos (ed.), ThePhilosophy of Socrates: A Collection of Critical Essays (Garden City): 22–49. Long, A. A., 1988, “Socrates in Hellenistic Philosophy”, CQn.s. 38: 150–71. Reprinted with postscript in id., Stoic Studies (Cambridge 1996): 1–34. Luccioni, J., 1953, Xénophon et le Socratisme (Paris). Mackenzie, M. M., 1981, Plato onPunishment (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). Mayr, E., 1991, One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought (Cambridge MA). McNaghten, R. E., 1914, “Socrates andtheDaimonion”, CR28: 185–189. McPherran, M. L., 1996, TheReligion of Socrates (Pennsylvania). Mitscherling, J., 1982, “Xenophon andPlato”, CQn.s.32: 468–469. Momigliano, A. D., 1993, TheDevelopment of Greek Biography (second edition: Cambridge MA). Montuori, M., 1981, Socrates: Physiology of a Myth (Amsterdam). 1985, Socrates: An Approach (Amsterdam). --- 1992, The Socratic Problem (Amsterdam). Morrison, D., 1987, “OnProfessor Vlastos’s Xenophon”, Ancient Philosophy 7: 9–22. Reprinted in --Prior 1996a: 119–135. 1994, “Xenophon’s Socrates asTeacher”, inP.A. Vander Waerdt (ed.), TheSocratic Movement --- (Ithaca): 181–208. 1995, “Xenophon’s Socrates ontheJust andtheLawful”, Ancient Philosophy 15: 329–347.


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Puòapparire azzardato, dopo la recente pubblicazione delpoderoso lavoro diFélix

Bourriot (1995), ritornare a breve distanza ditempo a parlare dikaloi kagathoi e di kalokagathia. Tutto quello che si poteva dire, sembra dover essere contenuto in quelle fitte pagine. In effetti è merito di Bourriot aver definitivamente posto fine al mito dell’ arcaicità dei kaloi kagathoi e a quello della kalokagathia come ideale del perfetto eroe omerico, miti che hanno trovato in Jaeger il vero padre fondatore: i kaloi kagathoi, collocati nel glorioso passato eroico, bensi prestavano come potente modello etico e civile per i cittadini della nascente grande Germania degli anni Trenta. Manella pars construens nontutto di Bourriot è condivisibile, soprattutto l’ origine spartana deltermine che, perusare le parole diD.L. Cairns, unodeiprimi recensori delvolume, «is a mirage».1 Nonè certamente questa l’occasione né per un’analisi puntuale del lavoro di Bourriot, né per unariconsiderazione più generale della kalokagathia e dei kaloi kagathoi. Tuttavia, per comprendere la posizione di Senofonte e quali prospettive di lettura si possono aprire rivolgendo lo sguardo alla kalokagathia e ai kaloi kagathoi, è necessario fissare alcuni punti cheoffro quisommariamente, riservandomi di argomentare in altra sede la spiegazione deirisultati a cuimisembra diessere giun-


1) kalos kagathos è un appellativo sorto nell’ Atene della metà del V secolo per connotare il gruppo degli aristocratici, minacciati dal mutamento politico in atto cheneminava sempre piùi privilegi e i vantaggi. L’ ampliamento della cittadinanza aveva fatto perdere progressivamente l’ identità ai vecchi aristocratici di fronte a coloro che da poco si potevano fregiare del titolo di Ateniesi o che solo in parte vantavano una discendenza ateniese. In questo contesto, l’ impiego dell’ aggettivo kalos seguito dal nome proprio, con cui i vecchi aristocratici amavano chiamarsi,2 dovette diventare verso la metà delV secolo sempre piùinflazionato, nongarantendocosì i membri di antica tradizione. E’ plausibile quindi che gli aristocratici, alla ricerca dinuovi termini che li definissero, abbiano voluto ribadire le valenze eticopolitiche, insite nell’ aggettivo kalos, conl’ aggiunta di unaltro aggettivo dalle forti connotazioni nobiliari quale agathos.3 1 2


Cfr. in partic. 1997: 76. La documentazione offerta dalle iscrizioni suivasi è inproposito illuminante. Perquesto aspetto rimando a Shapiro 1987. Il caso di kalos kagathos ben si inserirebbe così nella notevole proliferazione di termini indicanti gruppi politici avvenuta nel V secolo, come ha messo in luce Donlan 1978. Lo studioso sottolinea che si trattò di unbisogno di auto-riconoscimento daparte aristocratica, quando gli aristocratici si sentirono appunto minacciati nella loro pretesa superiorità.



2) Machi furono concretamente i kaloi kagathoi all’ interno delvariegato pano-

rama aristocratico ateniese? Unpasso della Costituzione degli Ateniesi aristotelica (28.4–5) risulta in proposito molto interessante, visto che con ogni probabilità è

influenzato datradizioni storiografiche di scuola isocratea (Eforo e Teopompo) impegnata a difendere i kaloi kagathoi deltempo, i quali cercavano difondare subasi storiche edideologiche il loro purrecente passato.

I migliori uomini politici adAtene, dopo gli antichi, sembra siano stati Nicia, Tucidide e Teramene. SuNicia e Tucidide, quasi tutti concordano nonsolo che furono uomini kaloi kagathoi, ma anche esperti nella conduzione della città, chetrattarono tutta concurapaterna; suTeramene invece, a causa dell’instabilità costituzionale dei suoi tempi, c’è divergenza di giudizio. Comunque a coloro chenonguardano superficialmente, sembra cheegli nonvolesse abbattere tutte le forme costituzionali, come lo accusano calunniandolo, maappoggiarle fino a quando noncommettessero qualche atto illegale, poiché pensava di poter esercitare le suefunzioni di cittadino sotto tutte le forme costituzionali – ciò che è poiil compito delbuoncittadino (ἀγαθοῦ πολίτου) – madinonsostenerle, anzi ditenersene lontano, quando commettessero illegalità. Sembra dunque emergere unaprecisa linea dikaloi kagathoi chedaNicia a Tucidi(fautore del partito aristocratico liquidato da Pericle) scende fino a Teramene, sulla cui effettiva appartenenza al gruppo dei kaloi kagathoi era ancora incorso, stando adAristotele, unacceso dibattito, nelquale nonmanca diinserirsi – come si avrà modo di vedere – lo stesso Senofonte. Unalinea politica che si deve sempre piùconnotare e presentare perla suareale o presunta moderazione, soprattutto all’ indomani dei mutamenti politici in senso piùdecisamente oligarchico che costellano la fine delV secolo ateniese. Kalos kagathos diventa così unfondamentale appellativo del moderatismo in cui si possono riconoscere di volta in volta coloro che intendono far dimenticare il loro passato pericoloso di fronte alle periodiche restaurazioni democratiche. Un chiaro indizio di questa situazione ci è fornito soprattutto dal coro delle Rane di Aristofane (674 ss.) che nel 405, opponendoli ai nuovi cittadini poco propensi a soffrire perAtene, rivendica la moderazione e l’ attaccamento alla città dei kaloi kagathoi: a loro si deve concedere la possibilità di difendersi e di prendere completamente le distanze da Frinico che, considerato il principale colpevole del moto oligarchico dei Quattrocento, andrà incontro a unainesorabile damnatio memoriae. Qualche cosa di simile dovette avvenire anche all’ indomani della parentesi dei Trenta. Conla restaurazione democratica, i conservatori moderati, timorosi diessere assimilati ai filo-spartani oligarchici, presentandosi ancora unavolta come kaloi kagathoi, cercano di ribadire la fedeltà alla polis e in particolare alla patrios politeia, tema caro alla loro propaganda. In questo clima vainserito anche il processo a Socrate, a cui i kaloi kagathoi nonsembrano essere estranei. E’ ancora la Costituzione degli Ateniesi aristotelica (34.3) adoffrirci utili indicazioni in proposito, documentandoci la situazione di poco precedente l’ instaurazione deiTrenta. Tre erano gli schieramenti che si fronteggiavano in quegli anni, i demotikoi, checercavano diconservare le libere forme democratiche, e duefazioni

de di Melesia

Kalokagathia e kaloi kagathoi in Senofonte


di gnorimoi: da unaparte quelli organizzati in eterie, di cui dovevano far parte i fuorusciti rientrati in patria dopo la pace; dall’altra coloro che non si riunivano in alcuna eteria e chericercavano lapatrios politeia (τὴνπά τουν). τριονπολι τείαν ἐ ζή «Tra questi c’ erano Archino, Anito, Clitofonte, Formisio e molti altri; maa capo c’ era soprattutto Teramene». Ricompare dunque Teramene che richiama la linea deikaloi kagathoi diNicia e Tucidide diMelesia; Teramene però quinonè solo e in questa lista spunta unnomeinquietante, Anito, l’ accusatore diSocrate. Socrate dunquestoricamente capro espiatorio dei kaloi kagathoi, dei loro fantasmi oligarchici che potevano apparire troppo sinistri alla neo-restaurata democrazia, disposta ad accettare solo il professato moderatismo dei sedicenti kaloi kagathoi?4 Prima di approdare a Senofonte, nonè forse inutile gettare unosguardo suPlatone. Kalos kagathos in Platone occupa unaposizione marginale e comunque nella maggior parte deicasi nonassume unavalenza deltutto positiva: Socrate nonè mai

assimilato ai kaloi kagathoi e soprattutto non è portavoce della kalokagathia, né tanto meno neincarna i valori. E’ indicativo chekalokagathia ricorre all’ interno di tutto il corpus solo nelle Definitiones (412E), sicuramente opera spuria. Si è cercato digiustificare tale assenza sulla base diunapresunta eccessiva modernità delvocabolo di conio sofistico che Platone nonreputerebbe degno di essere accolto nella sua prosa. Difficile prestarvi fede, nel caso di un autore così attento a restituire, soprattutto nella cornice dei suoi dialoghi, anche il dato realistico della lingua viva diV–IV secolo. C’è probabilmente dell’altro. Il Socrate platonico è presentato volutamente come unescluso dal gruppo dei kaloi kagathoi storici: con il termine egli appare giocare fin dall’Apologia, dove il nobile sintagma viene applicato, con trasparente forte ironia, ai puledri e ai vitelli (20B). Socrate inoltre ribadisce di nonsapere nulla dikalon kagathon (21D), e anchepoco oltre, riconsiderando i capi d’accusa, in unserrato dialogo conMeleto, fa cadere l’ accento ancora una volta indicativamente sui kaloi kagathoi. A sentire l’ accusa – dice Socrate – «tutti gli Ateniesi formano deikaloi kagathoi, tranne me; io li rovino» (25A). La negazione della kalokagathia, l’esclusione dal gruppo dei kaloi kagathoi e in particolare l’ estraneità al loro percorso formativo garantito dai sofisti sembrano pertanto sempre meglio, nella biografia delSocrate platonico, come gli aspetti che maggiormente hanno influito sulla condanna. E così ai kaloi kagathoi storici il Socrate platonico contrappone unkalos kagathos che non trova la sua compiuta realizzazione negli intrighi della politica e nell’ orizzonte della polis, manell’ individuale adempimento della giustizia e nel rispetto della verità. E’ quanto Socrate insegna a Callicle a conclusione del Gorgia, invitandolo a comportarsi come lui, neldisinteresse dichi lo puòconsiderare pazzo: «Lascia pure che altri ti disprezzi come unpazzo e ti infanghi, se vuole, e, sì per Zeus, sopporta che ti colpisca con questo infamante colpo, perché tu non sopporterai niente di male qualora, esercitando la virtù, sia realmente unkalos kagathos (τῷ ὄντι κ αλὸς κ ἀγαθό ς)» (527C–D). Ai kaloi kagathoi storici dunque, il So-


Rivelatrice diquesta situazione puòessere la significativa esortazione contenuta nelfinale della Pace (133) diIsocrate, il quale ancora nel 356, in unaltro momento critico della storia ateniese, invita a nonconsiderare i sicofanti fautori della democrazia e i kaloi kagathoi invece oligarchici.



crate platonico contrappone il τῷὄντι κ αλὸς κ ἀγαθό ς chehadimira la virtù oltre la morte. Ma il kalos kagathos storico, che come tale si professa, della politica non può fare a meno. La situazione descritta nel Menone è emblematica (92E ss.). Da chi deve andare Menone peressere educato? Chi risponde è Anito, presente in tutto il corpus platonico solo quie nell’Apologia. Nonc’è bisogno – dice Anito – difornire unnome preciso; basta recarsi daunodei kaloi kagathoi ateniesi: nonc’è nessuno di questi che, nel renderlo migliore, possa raggiungere risultati inferiori ai sofisti. Socrate però, di fronte ad Anito difensore dei valori dei kaloi kagathoi, si mostra incerto; ancora unavolta la suaestraneità appare totale. A suodire infatti il sapere dei kaloi kagathoi è veramente labile se si devono misurare i risultati ottenuti dai grandi uomini delpassato: Temistocle, Aristide, Pericle e Tucidide (ancora unavolta Tucidide di Melesia!) fallirono con i loro figli. I kaloi kagathoi quindi – sembra lasciar intendere Socrate trale righe – nonhanno ottenuto risultati migliori diquelli rinfacciati a lui stesso. Le parole seguenti di Anito, difensore dei kaloi kagathoi, hanno un suono sinistro e contengono una forte carica allusiva, se si tiene conto della fine che Socrate dovette affrontare proprio per mano anche di Anito (94E–


Anito: Mi sembra, Socrate, che sei facile a parlar male della gente. Io dunque ti consiglierei di starci attento, se vuoi darmi retta, perché forse in un’altra città è facile fare delmale o delbene alla gente, mainquesta lo è ancora dipiù. Penso chelo sappia anche tu. Socrate: Menone, Anito misembra chesi siaalterato e nonmimeraviglio! Pensainprimo luogo cheio parli male (κακηγορεῖν) diquesti uomini e poiritiene di essere unodi loro. Ma se mai saprà cosa vuol dire parlar male, smetterà di alterarsi; ora però nonlo sa. Comunque dimmi, nonci sono anche tra voi dei kaloi kagathoi?

Il rapporto kaloi kagathoi – accusa si fa sempre piùstretto e ciò è ancora piùrimar-

cato dalla evidente funzione apologetica rivestita daampi tratti delMenone. Sebbe-

ne Socrate cerchi qui di dirottare l’ attenzione su eventuali kaloi kagathoi tessali, conterranei di Menone, sono chiaramente i kaloi kagathoi ateniesi l’ oggetto del discorso e il κ ακηγορεῖν diSocrate allude scopertamente al κ ατηγορεῖ ν cheSocrate dilì a poco dovrà invece subire. Kalos kagathos, dunque, e accusa: unrapporto chetradati storici e ritratto platonico emerge con sempre maggiore chiarezza. E Senofonte? Eranecessaria questa lunga premessa prima diarrivare a Senofonte, persuperare il trito dibattito sulla produzione socratica diPlatone e Senofonte neitermini o dimaggiore/ minore aderenza storica nelritratto diSocrate oppure dimaggiore / minore acume dell’unoo dell’altro autore nella comprensione delle idee del maestro, confronto dal quale Senofonte è sempre uscito perdente. Il sintetico giudizio formulato ancora recentemente daBourriot riflette bene la communis opinio: Senofonte, menodotato teoricamente, nonhaselezionato le nozioni e le teorie esposte daSocrate, néepurato le espressioni cheimpiegava; «Platon estunpenseur, Xenophon estunconteur».5 Aquesto man5

Cfr. 1995: 315.


e kaloi kagathoi in Senofonte


cato lavoro direvisione e di selezione andrebbe dunque imputata tral’ altro anche la massiccia frequenza deltermine kalokagathia inbocca al Socrate senofonteo. Basta infatti aprire i Memorabili per accorgersi di come il Socrate di Senofonte, ben diversamente daquello di Platone, sia in modo ostentato il detentore della kalokaga-

thia, ne incarni i valori: la kalokagathia non è lasciata ai margini, ma vi diventa centrale. Il Socrate senofonteo è per eccellenza il kalos kagathos, interprete delle istanze deikaloi kagathoi storici e nonin opposizione polemica conloro. Ὁ τῷὄντι κ αλὸς κ ἀγαθό ς, espressione così pregnante, come si è visto nel Gorgia, è deltutto estranea al panorama senofonteo: nonesiste unvero kalos kagathos dacontrapporre al kalos kagathos storico. Proprio sulla base di quanto emerso daPlatone, nonsi tratta probabilmente solo diunproblema linguistico, madiunadifferente operazioneculturale edideologica: è il recupero diSocrate alla kalokagathia e al gruppo dei kaloi kagathoi storicamente invischiati nell’accusa che sembra premere maggiormente a Senofonte. I Memorabili in tale prospettiva rivestono unruolo fondamentale: kalos kagathos e kalokagathia rappresentano il vero comune denominatore delle varie sezioni, quasi il tema unificante.6 Opera nata con spiccate finalità apologetiche, almeno nella prima parte, nonè dunque uncaso chepresenti unnutrito richiamo ai kaloi kagathoi proprio neiprimi duecapitoli,7 probabilmente unarisposta alla κ ατηγορία scritta daPolicrate, ulteriore indizio di quanto il tema della kalokagathia dovesse risulγορος anonimo ricordato nella prima parte dei tare decisivo per l’ accusa. Il κ ατή Memorabili puòessere pertanto, come daipiùè creduto, Policrate. Si tratta comunque, alla luce dei rapporti fin qui delineati, di un anonimato molto significativo. Policrate infatti si presenterebbe in tal caso come il perfetto doppio di Anito, che – si badi – nonè mai esplicitamente nominato in tutti i Memorabili, silenzio quanto meno singolare in un’opera che proprio alle diverse accuse dovrebbe rispondere. Come sarebbe stato però credibile il recupero di Socrate ai kaloi kagathoi con il ricordo esplicito nella veste di accusatore proprio di Anito, ai kaloi kagathoi storicamente legato e rappresentato come kalos kagathos daPlatone? Mase questo è effettivamente il fine delprogetto diSenofonte, viene a rivestire unruolo centrale all’ interno ditutta la suaproduzione la parte delle Elleniche dedicata allo scontro tra Teramene e Crizia (2.3.11 ss.). Nonè certamente casuale che anche in questa sezione si incontri un’alta concentrazione del termine kalos kagathos, la piùalta di tutte le Elleniche, pari a quelle già menzionate dei Memorabili.8 Si tratta, senza ombra di dubbio, di un nucleo compatto: Teramene è presentato come il moderato kalos kagathos per eccellenza, ultimo difensore contro le mire oligarchiche delkalos Crizia,9 vero martire, insomma, dell’ azione politica deiTren-


Nonentro quinelmerito delproblema compositivo deiMemorabili, recentemente affrontato da


Si contano sei occorrenze di kalos kagathos dall’inizio fino a 1.2.48. Solo nel blocco unitario dedicato a Critobulo (2.6), che haforti legami conl’E conomico (altra opera in cui la kalokagathia e la ricerca delkalos kagathos rivestono unruolo fondamentale), si riscontra unaconcentrazione altrettanto significativa (undici occorrenze). Sei occorrenze. Cfr. Hell. 2.3.56 dove l’ aggettivo kalos, riferito a Crizia daTeramene nel suobrindisi mortale, pare assumere unaforte valenza politica.

8 9

Gray 1998.



ta. Probabilmente le cose nonandarono proprio così, come lascia intendere la tradizione controversa sulruolo diTeramene dicuiun’ecosi avverte anche nelpasso già menzionato della Costituzione degli Ateniesi aristotelica. Maciò chepreme qui sottolineare è in primo luogo la lettura fortemente ideologica offerta daSenofonte in una sezione fondamentale per tutte le Elleniche, probabilmente il vero incipit di manogenuinamente senofontea, se si esclude la prima parte in cui si è riconosciuta unarielaborazione dicarte tucididee.10 In questa sezione pertanto Senofonte si scopre nelle sue passioni politiche, mostrandosi in tutto e per tutto filo-terameniano, fautore quindi in ultima analisi – se sono accettabili le considerazioni fin qui presentate – deikaloi kagathoi, alla cui esaltazione nondovette essere estranea anche

la scuola isocratea, mossa dainteressi comuni, pureinaltri ambiti, a quelli diSenofonte.11 Se si tiene conto del carattere di assemblaggio delle Elleniche – che certamente riuniscono sezioni differenti legate a diversi successivi programmi, tutti con unfine limitato e preciso – tale sezione suTeramene kalos kagathos risulta estremamente importante perilluminare unodeiprogetti perseguiti daSenofonte, quello appunto direcuperare alla vita della rinata democrazia diIV secolo le frange oligarchiche meno estremiste, macomunque guardate ancora con sospetto. Progetto che Senofonte cerca di delineare in gran parte della suaproduzione: dalle varie sezioni

dei Memorabili, attraverso l’E conomico (nella ricerca della definizione del kalos kagathos e nel ritratto del kalos kagathos Iscomaco) e il Simposio (che si presenta subito in apertura come un momento di svago e di riso di kaloi kagathoi, in cui domina la figura di Socrate),12 fino alla sezione delle Elleniche, probabilmente da collocare nell’ ultimo periodo della produzione senofontea, attorno alla metà degli anni ’ 50.13 Nonci sarebbe dunque unSenofonte dicotomizzato tra produzione socratica e riflessione storica. Tutto appare coerentemente rispondere adunaprecisa strategia culturale edideologica in cui unruolo diprimo piano giocano Socrate daunaparte e Teramene dall’altra, il primo recuperato al gruppo deikaloi kagathoi, ai valori in cui essi si riconoscono, il secondo storico paladino dei loro principi edinteressi. Si è spesso ripetuto che il Socrate di Senofonte si presenta meno eversivo e menoteoricamente dotato rispetto a quello diPlatone; ciò si è imputato soprattutto 10 Cfr. Canfora 1983. 11 Cfr. Tuplin 1993: 33. Sulla vicinanza di Senofonte a gruppi moderati, principalmente filoterameniani, cfr. Bearzot 1979, in partic. 196 n. 1. La trattazione del contrasto tra Teramene e i Trenta diHell. 2.3 si inserisce perla studiosa in unatradizione vicina a quella diDiodoro e di Aristotele (cfr. Ath.pol. 36). Si tratterebbe diunatradizione conservata appunto in ambito terameniano che Senofonte puòaver conosciuto dopo il rientro dall’esilio nel 370 circa, quando si legò a Isocrate e ai moderati. Suquesti aspetti cfr. anche Bearzot 1978/1979. 12 Alcune interessanti osservazioni chevanno nella direzione diquanto quipresentato sulrapporto kaloi kagathoi – accusa di Socrate sono contenute nello studio di Huss 1999 (cfr. in partic. 401–406) dedicato appunto al Simposio, lavoro apparso a convegno avvenuto e che ho potuto leggere poco prima dilicenziare definitivamente il testo della relazione. 13 In generale suquesta sezione delle Elleniche si confrontino Tuplin 1993 (per il problema della datazione in partic. 30–31) e Riedinger 1991 (in partic. 10 e 15–16), che vede in Hell. 2.3.11–

4.43 unasezione a sè stante, tutta dedicata com’è unicamente a eventi di storia locale ateniese. La singolarità di questa parte potrebbe spiegarsi con unacomposizione inizialmente per altri fini, solo in seguito confluita nelle Elleniche.

Kalokagathia e kaloi kagathoi in Senofonte


allo scarso ingegno e alla superficialità di Senofonte che, nel migliore deicasi, poteva solo assicurare al ritratto socratico unamaggiore fedeltà storica. Forse la rico-

quiprospettata puòrendere giustizia al nostro autore, finalmente inserito quadro diriferimento: il recupero di Socrate alla città, e in particolare alla città dei moderati che si vogliono presentare come kaloi kagathoi, ha imposto necessariamente a Senofonte unaselezione del pensiero del maestro, privato così deicontenuti che meno si adattavano a tale operazione. Main questa ostentata assimilazione, dalle forti connotazioni ideologiche, di Socrate ai kaloi kagathoi, il struzione

in undifferente

meno storicamente attendibile, sulla base delle nostre fonti, appare così alla fine proprio Senofonte che, attraverso la suaimmagine diSocrate, consegnerà alla tradizione successiva, soprattutto stoico-cinica, il kalos kagathos e la kalokagathia come sinonimi rispettivamente di filosofo e di filosofia. Senofonte dunque strenuo difensore dei kaloi kagathoi e a loro unito in modo inscindibile: anche la tradizione antica sembra averlo recepito come tratto peculiare del suopensiero, tanto che esso costituisce indicativamente il tema basilare delcurioso aneddoto, registrato daDiogene Laerzio (2.48), sulprimo incontro traSocrate e il futuro discepolo:

Si dice che Socrate lo incontrò in unavia stretta, gli allungò il bastone e gli impedì di proseguire, chiedendogli dove si vendesse ciascun alimento. Avuta risposta, di nuovo gli chiese dove gli uomini diventano kaloi kagathoi; visto che quello rimase in difficoltà “Seguimi allora – gli disse – e impara”. E da allora divenne discepolo di Socrate.14 Senofonte e la kalokagathia; madi quale kalokagathia si tratta? Spoglia della sua presunta arcaicità, kalokagathia risulta untermine vuoto, tutto daconnotare. Quali sono dunque i valori che Senofonte vuole trasmettere al gruppo dei kaloi kagathoi storici, attraverso le pagine soprattutto delle sue opere socratiche? Non si è mai riflettuto a sufficienza su questo aspetto che può invece rivelarsi decisivo per la comprensione dell’ opera senofontea, poiché si è sempre pensato che la kalokagathia fosse o un ideale arcaico, o comunque un valore panellenico ormai da tutti condiviso nel V–IV secolo. La kalokagathia invece nel IV secolo è unvalore dai contenuti ancora incerti e che si affermerà anche grazie al prestigio dichi la professa, Senofonte e Isocrate inparticolare. Cercherò dunque, almeno schematicamente, di rintracciare le linee fondamentali della kalokagathia senofontea, sebbene il discorso meriti benaltro sviluppo. Si tratta di unakalokagathia molto particolare. Se è ai kaloi kagathoi ateniesi che Senofonte intende parlare, la kalokagathia ha uno strano diritto di cittadinanza all’ interno delle suepagine; sembra infatti veicolare valori cheinprima istanza ateniesi nonsono. Il vero modello di kalos kagathos in tutto Senofonte, oltre Socrate, forse piùdi Socrate, è Iscomaco: dalui Socrate stesso vaa lezione dikalokagathia. Iscomaco è sì unkalos kagathos ateniese: ricorda l’ abitudine dei suoi concittadini di citarlo in tribunale con tanto di patronimico per qualche processo di antidosis,

14 Comeesempio disuperficiale lettura delpasso, si vedaDelebecque 1957: 26 il quale, alla ricerca didati storicamente attendibili sulla vita diSenofonte, conclude chel’ aneddoto è «trop jolie pourêtre entièrement vraie».



menzionando così anche le varie liturgie chedeve assolvere (7.3). Maè uncittadino molto particolare constretti rapporti, cheemergono quie là daltesto dell’Economico, con la Persia e con un modello di vita orientale: l’ organizzazione dell’ oikonomia fondata sulla dispensa e la pianificazione deilavori dei campi attraverso gli epitropoi sono segnali eloquenti.15 Manonè solo l’E conomico a spingere questa kalokagathia in Oriente. La Ciropedia ci presenta il modello di Ciro che, come mise in luce Jaeger, «ist einvollkommenes Paradeigma derhöchsten Kalokagathie»16 e semprela Ciropedia contiene al suointerno il ritratto diunsingolare sapiente, perfetto doppio di Socrate (3.1), un«Socrate in Persia», perusare la felice formula di Deborah Gera.17 Forse nonsi tratta solo diungioco letterario, che, come è stato spesso ripetuto, intenderebbe riproporre nei diversi ambiti i medesimi modelli e gli stessi temi propri di un autore che cerca di mettere a frutto quel poco che ha colto dell’ insegnamento socratico. Puòessere piuttosto unindizio eloquente dicome Senofonte, attraverso questi scoperti rimandi, intenda trasmettere, soprattutto con la figura di Socrate kalos kagathos, valori che nonsono genuinamente ateniesi, madi derivazione orientale, con cui entrò probabilmente in contatto nella suatravagliata esistenza.18 La kalokagathia come ricerca di ἐγκ ρά τεια e di οἰ κ ονοµία, della cura e del controllo disè e delproprio patrimonio sono, a benguardare, elementi peculiari del corpus senofonteo e nonemergono conaltrettanta insistenza, all’ interno diunquadroallo stesso modo coerente, in nessun altro testo giuntoci delV–IV secolo.

E’ buono

[solo] quell’ uomo che è costantemente buono, che gode della salute delcorpo, è padrone del suocorpo, nonè in ansia peril suopane quotidiano, è in pace conla suafamiglia, e che [sviluppa e] accresce i suoi talenti e le buone cose che gli appartengono. E’ costantemente buono quell’ uomo che sempre si rallegra. L’ uomo che gode della salute corporea gode [anche] della salute dell’anima. L’ uomocheè padrone delsuocorpo è colui chenehadiscacciato la Menzogna. L’ uomo che nonè in ansia peril suopane quotidiano è colui che si accontenta ditutto ciò cheincontra sulsuocammino. L’ uomocheè inpace con la suafamiglia è colui chetiene inbuono stato i fuochi, l’ acqua, il bestiame e gli uomini sucui esercita la suaautorità. L’ uomo che [sviluppa e] accresce i suoi talenti e le buone cose che gli appartengono, è colui che compie il suodovere. L’ uomo malvagio [d’altro canto] è colui che è costantemente malvagio, che è

15 Perquesti aspetti rinvio a Roscalla 1991 e 1990. Noncondivido le posizioni di Stevens 1994 e di Pangle 1994, i quali hanno voluto vedere nella kalokagathia di Iscomaco unamatrice ironica. Iscomaco, lungi dalproporre unmodello positivo a Critobulo, mostrerebbe i limiti e i pericoli di unakalokagathia tradizionale. Si tratta di due studi che evidenziano i fraintendimenti prodotti daunamancata riconsiderazione generale delproblema della kalokagathia e deikaloi kagathoi.

16 1955: 231 (passo citato anche daBourriot 1995: 75). 17 Conquesta espressione Gera intende piùin generale l’ influenza socratica esercitata sulla Ciropedia precisamente a tre livelli: nel ritratto di Ciro, nelle allusioni, direttamente presenti nell’ opera, al processo e alla morte diSocrate, neltenore deidiversi discorsi a sfondo didattico. 18 Si vedainproposito Masaracchia 1996, cherichiama l’ attenzione suimportanti influssi orientali, dainterpretare noncome semplici echi in grado di fornire solo unacornice a unpensiero prettamente greco.


e kaloi kagathoi in Senofonte


malato nelcorpo, chenonè padrone delsuocorpo, cheè in ansia peril suopane quotidiano, nonè in pace con la suafamiglia, che nonsi cura dei suoi talenti e delle buone cose che gli appartengono. E’ costantemente malvagio quell’ uomo [che è sempre] miserabile. L’ uomo che è malato nel corpo è colui che è malato [anche] nell’ anima. L’ uomo che non è padrone del suo corpo è colui nel cui corpo agisce violentemente la Menzogna. L’ uomo che si tormenta per il suo pane quotidiano è colui che è insoddisfatto di tutto ciò che incontra sul suo cammino. L’ uomo che non è in pace con la sua famiglia è colui che tiene in cattivo stato i fuochi, l’ acqua, il bestiame e gli uomini sui quali esercita la sua autorità. L’ uomo che trascura i suoi talenti e le buone cose che gli appartengono, è l’ uomo che noncompie il proprio dovere.19

Pare dileggere sinteticamente il ritratto diIscomaco, che sulla cura di sè e delproprio patrimonio, sul rispetto del prossimo e della polis ha posto le basi della sua esistenza di kalos kagathos; nel ritratto dell’ uomo malvagio si ritrovano invece le ansie dialcuni uomini ricchi caduti in disgrazia che, a piùriprese, nelle opere socratiche senofontee, ricorrono a Socrate perchiedergli aiuto o perindagare conlui cosa sia la vera ricchezza. Ma non si tratta né di untesto di Senofonte, né di un altro autore greco. Sono parole del Dēnkart che, purrisalente al IX sec. d.C., si offre a noi come unpreziosissimo compendio di genuine tradizioni, leggende e credenze persiane piùantiche, risalenti anche all’età classica, al tempo di Senofonte.20

e salute: unrapporto comune in Senofonte, mache ci diIV secolo. Sulle tracce deikaloi kagathoi e della kalokagathia sembra dunque d’incontrare unSenofonte diverso dacome si è comunemente propensi a considerarlo, in grado dielaborare unprogetto politico e culturale differente daquello diPlatone, mache, nonper questo, dovette risultare di minore importanza all’ interno dell’Atene del suotempo, a cuiil nostro autore sempre guardò e si riferì anche quando fuesiliato e Kalokagathia, economia

appare sempre meno scontato nell’ Atene


BIBLIOGRAFIA Bearzot, C., 1978/1979, “Callistrato e i ‘moderati’ ateniesi”, CRDAC 10: 7–27. ---- 1979, “Teramene tra storia e propaganda”, RIL 113: 195–219. Bourriot, F., 1995, Kalos kagathos – kalokagathia. D’unterme depropagande de sophistes notion sociale etphilosophique. Étude d’histoire athénienne (Zürich-New York).

à une

Cairns, D. L., 1997, Review of Bourriot 1995, CR47: 74–76. Canfora, L., 1983, “L’ esordio delle ‘Elleniche’ ”, inMélanges E.Delebecque (Aix-en-Provence): 61–


Delebecque, E., 1957, Essai sur la vie deXénophon (Paris).

19 Dnkart 267 (ed. Madan); testo citato in Zaehner 1962: 326. 20 Perfonti persiane di cui Senofonte potrebbe essere venuto direttamente a conoscenza e giunte fino a noi, a seguito di unalunga tradizione orale, in testi fissati periscritto molti secoli dopo, cfr. Gera 1993: 13–22.



Donlan, W., 1978, “Social Vocabulary andits Relationship Athens”, QUCC 27: 95– 111.

toPolitical Propaganda inFifth-Century

Gera, D. L., 1993, Xenophon’s Cyropaedia. Style, Genre, andLiterary Technique (Oxford). Gray, V. J., 1998, TheFraming of Socrates. TheLiterary Interpretation ofXenophon’s Memorabilia (Hermes Einzelschriften 79, Stuttgart).

B., 1999, “The Dancing Sokrates andthe Laughing AJP 120: 381–409.



or The Other


Jaeger, W., 1955, Paideia. Die Formung des griechischen Menschen (seconda edizione: BerlinLeipzig). Masaracchia,

E., 1996, “LaCiropedia diSenofonte e l’ ideologia imperiale persiana”, QUCCn.s. 54:


Pangle, T. L., 1994, “Socrates intheContext ofXenophon’s Political Writings”, inP.Vander Waerdt (ed.), TheSocratic Movement (Ithaca-New York): 127–150. Riedinger, J.-C., 1991, Étude sur les Helléniques: Xénophon et l’ histoire (Paris). Roscalla, F., 1990, “La dispensa di Iscomaco. Senofonte, Platone e l’ amministrazione della casa”,

QS31: 35–55.

1991, Senofonte. Economico. Introduzione, traduzione e note di F. Roscalla. Con un saggio di D. ---- Lanza (Milano). Shapiro, A., 1987, “Kalos-Inscriptions with Patronymic”, ZPE 68: 107–118. Stevens, J.A., 1994, “Friendship andProfit in Xenophon’s Oeconomicus”, (ed.), TheSocratic Movement (Ithaca-New York): 209–237.

in P. Vander


Tuplin, C. J., 1993, TheFailings of Empire. AReading of Xenophon Hellenica 2.3.11– 7.5.27 (Historia Einzelschriften 76, Stuttgart). Zaehner, R.C., 1962, Zoroastro e lafantasia religiosa (Milano). Traduzione light of Zoroastrianism (London, 1961).

di TheDawnandTwi-


For some scholars thekeyto Xenophon’s views onsame sexrelationships between menis tobe found intheunqualified condemnation of such love voiced bySocrates in the eighth chapter of Symposium. Xenophon, it is claimed, like Socrates whose views hepurports to transmit, shared his mentor’s repudiation of physical pederasty.1However, a closer examination of Xenophon’s work as a whole reveals a considerable variety of suchrelationships. Inparticular, there emerges a marked difference of attitude between Xenophon andSocrates onthis subject. For a fuller examination of thematerial from this point of view I mustrefer thereader to myarticles in Classical Quarterly,2 butthematter maybe summarised thus. There are, broadly speaking, three styles of same-sex relations inXenophon’s writing: (a) theuninhibited self-indulgence typified by Critias; (b) the unqualified celibacy advocated (and, it seems, practised) bySocrates; (c) a middle wayor“wayof moderation”, towhich wemayattach thenames of Critobulus andHiero. Thefirst category – rejected asmuchbyXenophon asbySocrates – hasimportance as a foil for Xenophon’s positive representation of thewayof moderation. He recognises the demeaning andoften dangerous power of uncontrolled sexual desire.3 Thus, in discussing Agesilaus’ resistance to the advances of Megabates he writes, “It seems to me that many more men are able to gain mastery over their enemies than over suchpassions”. Elsewhere heobserves that “in oneandthesame body the pleasures are rooted alongside the soul, constantly urging it to lose control”.4Heimplicitly endorses Socrates’ condemnation of Critias for seeking to use his paidika, Euthydemus, purely for sexual gratification, like a piglet scratching itself against a stone.5 InHellenica, herecords howtwoarmycommanders (Alcetas 1


3 4 5

Cf. Buffière 1980: 404f., Cantarella 1992: 63f., Thornton 1997: 103, 202f. – Unless otherwise stated, Symposium in this paper refers to Xenophon’s work of that name. Hindley 1994, 1999. (Some material in the present paper is drawn – in revised form – from these earlier publications, withthepermission of theoriginal publisher, Oxford University Press on behalf of the Classical Association.) I do not wish to make anyclaim about the “Socratic question” beyond theconfines of this article. Butasfarashomosexuality is concerned, it seems tomemostunlikely that Xenophon would have invented a public disagreement between Socrates andhimself (inrelation to Critobulus’ kiss: seebelow) without anyhistorical foundation. It is from this starting point that a systematic analysis of differences of attitude about same-sex relationships would seem to be feasible. A theme recently exposed byThornton 1997. Ages. 5.6, Mem. 1.2.23. Mem. 1.2.29–31. Fortheimagery cf. Plat. Gorg. 494C–E, andWinkler 1990: 53, whodraws the distinction between romantic pederasty andthe life of the κίναι δος. In his introduction to the anecdote Xenophon says that Socrates would rightly be blamed if he expressed approval of



andThibron) suffered military reverses asa result of their inability tocontrol homo-

sexual passion.6 At the other extreme is homosexual celibacy. “He [Socrates] urged resolute avoidance of sexual relations with beautiful people for it wasnoteasy for onewho became involved with them to preserve self-control” (Memorabilia 1.3.8). Given the general context andthe fact that the immediately ensuing anecdote is that of Critobulus’ famous kiss, the likelihood is that the “beautiful people” (τῶν κ αλῶν) here areyoung men. Asfor therest, oneneedonly refer to Socrates’ extended declaration (towards the endof Symposium) of the superiority of “love of soul” over love of body. Elsewhere (towards the end of the discussion of Critobulus’ kiss), Xenophon affirms that Socrates practised what hepreached, andthere would seem to be little room for dissent from Sir Kenneth Dover’s conclusion that the Socrates of both Plato andXenophon condemned homosexual copulation.7 It is however doubtful whether anyother example of homosexual celibacy is to be found in Xenophon’s writings. Themost obvious candidate is Agesilaus, andtheincident of his refusal of Megabates’ kiss hasbeen explained as arising outof a moral objection to pederasty on Agesilaus’ part. But a closer reading of the political context reveals another, andI think more plausible, interpretation. Theyoung andhandsome Megabates wasthesonof a Persian nobleman, Spithridates, who(apparently forpersonal reasons) wasdisaffected from theGreat King. In a bidto secure a stronger political base, Spithridates (with Agesilaus’ help) hadarranged a marriage of convenience forhisdaughter with a neighbouring king, Otys. Spithridates’ aimwas, I suggest, to secure a similar relationship with Agesilaus through having his sonrecognised asthe Spartan king’spaidika. Some such view is required to explain both the degree of negotiation involved (including theuseof a courtier asintermediary) and the enormous importance which Agesilaus attached to his refusal. Acceptance of Megabates might well have putat risk not only his own, buthis country’s honour andinfluence. But it would nothave been objectionable onmoral grounds.8


7 8

those whobehaved badly (ἐκε ίνους φαῦλα πρ ά ττοντας), i.e. the kind of conduct exemplified in Critias’ action. Hell. 5.4.56f., Hell. 4.8.17–22. For Alcetas andThibron, see Hindley 1994. Onthe face of it, in thecase of Thibron theonly pointer to such aninterpretation is thecomparison with Diphridas atHell. 4.8.22. ButI have ventured to argue that λακωνίζειν atHell. 4.8.18 means “engage in sex”. Such a view eliminates the need to amend δι ασ κηνῶν, andyields the following translation: “Nowit so happened that Thibron wasretiring in his tent after the morning meal with Thersander the aulêtês. ForThersander wasnotonly a goodaulos-player, butalso made some claim toprowess astheactive partner inanal sex”. It waswhile they were thusengaged that the enemy attacked. Mem. 1.3.8–15; Dover 1978: 160; cf. Guthrie 1971: 70–78. Ages. 5.4–7. It might becountered that a moral objection topederasty is demonstrated byAgesilaus’ avoidance of private houses andgoing about hisbusiness inpublic view. Heapplied this rule, however, only whenoncampaign abroad (Ages. 5.7). This qualification implies the same explanation asthat proffered in thecase of Megabates. Theking wasavoiding therisk of compromising his authority orindependence of action byeven theappearance of anill-judged liaisonwith a foreigner. Hiscaution arose from political, notmoral, considerations.

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


Between thetwoextremes of unregulated self-indulgence andcelibacy lies Xenophon’s wayof moderation. Herecords more than oneinstance of this kind, where a physical, buthonourable relationship seems tobeimplied. Onethinks of thepaidika of the Spartan general Anaxibius, who stood by his erastes as he fought to the death; ortheGreek soldier, Pleisthenes, whovirtually adopted the sonof anArmenian village headman, taking himhome with him as his erômenos.9 One mayalso bring in here the most prominent of Xenophon’s pederastic narratives which refers to theliaison between Archidamus, sonof Agesilaus, andCleonymus, sonof Sphodrias. This relationship seems tohave lasted foratleast seven years, from378 (Sphodrias’ raidonAttica) tothebattle of Leuctra (371), where Cleonymus methisdeath. It seems unlikely that this liaison (whose honourable nature is stressed by Xenophon) never reached the point of physical gratification.10 Such examples suggest that Xenophon felt able to combine a recognition of the power of erôs with the application of self-control, in anhonourable love which did notexclude the physical. His dissent from Socrates’ view onthis matter is implicit in the anecdote of Critobulus’ kiss.11 Socrates, it will be remembered, rebukes Critobulus for having kissed Alcibiades’ handsome son, thus putting himself in deadly peril. It is to be noted that Critobulus is introduced as having a reputation for being ς andπρονοητι κό ς, andXenophon joins in onhis side. Addressing Socσωφρωνι κό rates, hesays, “Well, really, if that’s thetype of a foolhardy act, I think I might face such a risk myself!” The whole exchange, at least upto this point, is in a jocular and light-hearted vein. But for Xenophon thus in public to disagree with Socrates must surely be significant as a statement of his ownposition, especially when it is remembered that this is the only occasion throughout Memorabilia when Xenophon himself appears notonly asnarrator butasparticipant. Ontheissue of pederasty he is seen to be much closer to Critobulus than to Socrates. Critobulus is sympathetically portrayed on several other occasions, notably for his speech in praise of love in the Symposium (to be discussed below). He appears both in serious discussion with Socrates andas a lover of young men. He is willing to accept advice from Socrates on many matters, including the control of bodily desires (short of homosexual celibacy). He claims, however, after self-examination to have these things reasonably under control in his own life (αὐτὸς δ᾽ ἐ µαυτὸν ἐ ξε τά ζων δοκῶ µοι εὑρίσκειν ἐ πι ε ι κῶς τῶν τοι ο ύ των ἐ γκ ρατῆ ὄντα).12 Onthebasis of his speech in 9 Hell. 4.8.38f., Anab. 4.6.1–3. 10 Hell. 5.4.25–33. Fortherelationship between Archidamus andCleonymus, seeCartledge 1981, Gray 1989: 59–63. A difficulty in handling the Spartan material is thebanwhich, according to Xenophon, wasplaced byLycurgus onanyphysical contact between erastes anderômenos (RL 2.13f.). Xenophon himself finds it unsurprising that somehave doubted this assertion, andcontrary indications include Plato’s claim that sodomy waswidely practised at Sparta (Leg. 636B, 836A–C). See Cartledge 1981, whoconcludes that while certainty cannot be attained, hewould expect sodomy to have been a widely prevalent feature in institutionalised pederasty at Sparta. 11 Mem. 1.3.8–15. There is anapparently irreconcilable conflict between thebanonhomosexual copulation atMem.1.3.8 andtheconcessions tohuman weakness at 1.3.14. Thehypothesis may be advanced that the latter is aninterpolation into the argument, intended to soften the ascetic rigours of the chapter as a whole (Hindley 1999: 83f.) A further warning against kissing (than which nothing is a fiercer incitement to passion) is given by Socrates at Symp. 4.25. 12 Oec. 1.21–23, 2.1.



Symposium 4, it would seem that as far as love of boys is concerned, he is close to whatXenophon sawasthewayof moderation. A further example of this ideal is the

tyrant, Hieron, whose description of love-making seems almost designed to illustrate the possibility of a non-hubristic form of erôs.13 Whatever thenature of thehistorical links between these various characters and actual persons maybe, they exemplify different aspects of whatI have termed Xenophon’s wayof moderation inthepractice of love between men.Undergirding them all is what sometimes appears to be Xenophon’s favourite virtue – self-control (ἐγκ ρά τε ι α). It is “a truly good thing for a manto possess”, and “the foundation of moral goodness”. It also frees a manfrom thetyranny of wrongful desires, both in anindividual’s life andintheservice of thepolis. Indeed (perhaps to oursurprise) it is oneof thevirtues “in-breathed” (ἐµπνεῖν) bythebeautiful beloved into hislover. It is theexistence of this virtue that enables Xenophon to support thewayof moderation in the face of the powerful drive towards the chaotic which mayarise from uncontrolled erôs.14 It is against this background that we must interpret the phrase σ ώ φρων ἔ ρως which lies at theheart of whatI amtempted to call “thevision of Autolycus” at the beginning of Xenophon’s Symposium. Thephrase is nodoubt something of anoxymoron,15 particularly if the first half of the compound is taken to mean “not allowing sexual love to be expressed physically” (as the unwary modern reader might suppose). But as ourbrief survey has shown, the wayof moderation both accepts a degree of physical sex, andis subject to the discipline of ἐ γκ ρά τει α. Xenophon recognises that this is notaneasy path to tread, butit is a possible option. As such it mayproperly be called σ ώ φρων. This usage maybe illustrated from Memorabilia 1.6.13, where a distinction between honourable (but still physical) erôs andprostitution is put into the mouth of Socrates himself. The philosopher is discussing with the sophist Antiphon the propriety of accepting fees for the teaching of philosophy. Hemakes a comparison with the commonly accepted view of pederastic prostitution in Athenian society (παρ᾽ἡµῶν νοµίζεται ). According to this view, only if the young mangives himself in a non-mercenary friendship to a noble lover may he avoid the label “whore”, andbe considered the σ ώ φρων φίλος of his erastês.16 It would however be wrong to argue from thewordφίλος that the σ ώ µενος φρων ἐ ρώ will pursue friendship while permitting nophysical contact. The comparison with the philosopher whorenounces fees only runs if both characters (philosopher and ephebe) have a saleable service to offer – which in theyoung man’s case is sex. He wins honour by not charging, andby giving himself in a loving relationship to his

13 Hier. 1.29–38; cf. Foucault 1986: 198. 14 The main discussions are at Memorabilia 1.5.1–6 and4.5.1–3, but references to the principle abound in Xenophon’s Socratic writings. For ἐ µπνεῖν andthe ἐ γκ ρά τεια evoked by the erômenos in the erastês, see Symp. 4.15. Onἐ γκ ρά τεια in general, cf. Foucault 1986: part 1.3. 15 Bowen 1998: 91; Symp. 1.10. 16 Behind this sentence lurk manydifficulties overthedistinction between gift-exchange andpayment for a commodity, for which see Davidson 1997: chap.4. But these considerations do not affect theargument over themeaning of σ ώ φρων in this passage.

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


erastês. Thecomparison would berendered worthless if theservice provided bythe young manwere at that point transformed into a non-physical relationship.17 The foregoing lends strong support to the view that the σ ώ φρων ἔ ρως for Autolycus which inspires Callias includes a physical element. Such a reading is confirmed by the interjection of Hermogenes at Symposium 8.12. Socrates has just praised Callias for his choice of such a fine youth as Autolycus as his erômenos, implying that hislove is of theOuranian rather thanthePandemian variety. Hermogenes however intervenes, diagnosing Socrates’ words asanironic admonition rather than a sincere compliment. Addressing Socrates he says, “By Hera.... I admire you particularly forthefact that in this compliment to Callias youarealso teaching him what sort of manhe should be”. Weareto infer that their love does, in fact, include a physical relationship.18 Theargument sofarhassought touncover Xenophon’s “wayof moderation” in φρων ἔ ρως maybe used as a convenient matters pederastic, for which the term σ ώ shorthand. Theremainder of this paper seeks to explore some aspects of this interpretation of Xenophon’s views andto make some suggestions as to the ethical valuesimplicit in them. Thereference to thedivine in theopening chapter of theSymposium mayprovide a significant, if unexpected, starting-point. Xenophon is well known forhisreligious observances andtheattention hepaidto oracles anddivination. But he also devoted two substantial sections of theMemorabilia to what might be termed “natural theology”. They seemto reproduce, asDillery 1995 hasargued, fairly commonly accepted conclusions on the part of the rationalism of his day. They include concepts of God’s (or the gods’) omnipresence – belief in a being, whoprovides for the needs of human kind, andwho may also be directly engaged withthelives of individuals. To illustrate thefirst point with a detail relevant to this paper, wemayrecall Xenophon’s remark that God’s solicitude extends toproviding that we can enjoy the pleasures of sex throughout the year!19 As for the second point, it prepares us for the thought (found in the Symposium’s opening chapter) that some heightened human experiences may convey a sense of the divine. Sir Kenneth Dover presents a wide variety of examples where gods intervene in the affairs of individuals, both beneficently andwith malevolent purpose. Aphrodite

andEros areparticularly prominent inthis regard.20 Norneedwebe surprised atthe


of a religious reference into a social occasion such as drinking


17 Mem. 1.6.13 is, of course, irreconcilable with Socrates’ teaching elsewhere onmale love. The explanation, nodoubt, is that Xenophon allows Socrates to give expression (bywayof illustration) toa viewcommonly heldingentlemanly circles, though onewhich Socrates didnotshare. 18 Symp. 8.12 (tr. Bowen). A similar argument to that deployed byHermogenes occurs in Socrates’ discussion withtheyounger Pericles atMem.3.5.23–24, where thelatter exposes Socrates’ manoeuvre. A quite different portrait of Autolycus andhisrelationship with Callias wasapparently given inEupolis’ (lost) comedy Autolycus, where it seems Autolycus andhisfamily were lampooned, with the innuendo that Autolycus prostituted himself to Callias: cf. Dover 1978: 146f. andFisher 1998: 99. Whatever the historical truth of this matter, it is notrelevant to the present study, whose purpose is to examine theideals presented inXenophon’s text. 19 For theology in general, see Mem. 1.4 and4.3; cf. Dillery 1995: ch.7, and(for the philosophical background) Muir 1985. Year-round sex: seeMem. 1.4.12. 20 Dover 1974: 137f.



however strange that mayseem to our wayof thinking. Indeed, it would seem to have been notuncommon to introduce such proceedings with aninvocation to the gods – as in the first fragment of Xenophanes, where Professor Easterling has arguedagainst inferring anyparticular philosophical orreligious character fortheoccasion.21 What is interesting in the present instance is that we are told not merely of a formal recognition of the god’s presence by wayof libation or invocation, butof a distinctly religious aura which tinged the experience of the participants. It would seem to be a somewhat low key anddomestic example of possession, ecstasy, or other supranormal experiences which form the starting point of many cultural expressions of religion.22 It is a subjective experience of thedivine orthe“other”, akin to whatOtto 1950 termed thenuminous. Xenophon at least sawit that waywhen, in describing thecompany’s response to Autolycus’ beauty, he deemed the distinctly heightened language of religion to be appropriate. Noone, he says, wasuntouched in his ψυχή(a concept to which I shall return). All whoare possessed by one of the gods are remarkable to look at, being described, in the present case, as “filled with the divine spirit (ἔνθεοι) of a φρων ἔ ρως”. This is particularly true of Callias, buttheonlookers areincluded as σώ “initiates of this god”. They notonly fell silent andlooked onadmiringly, butsome at least expressed their feelings more dramatically. Ἐ σχηµατίζοντόπως, says Xenophon. They responded with a gesture, the precise nature of which is oddly left obscure. But in view of Xenophon’s resort to euphemism elsewhere whendiscussingτὰἀφροδίσια, onemaysurmise that someof thecompany allowed themselves a (possibly indecorous) gesture to indicate their sexual feelings.23 The overall effect is that of experiencing something strangely other, with silence imposed upon the gathering as if by some mightier power. Thereligious tone is taken uplater in the dialogue, where sexual excitement is referred to as ἀφροδίτη (printed with a lower case initial letter by the OCT), and Xenophon’s indirect reference to Aphrodite is further illustrated by the use of the rare adjective, ἐ παφρό διτος (“sexually attractive”) to describe the element of playfuljousting inlove making.24 AsforSocrates, healso (nodoubt withhisownmeaning) speaks of love as a great spiritual power. Indeed, at the beginning of Symposium 8 he embraces many love relationships within the ambit of that godof whom

21 22

23 24

Easterling 1985: 40f. Ontheritual observance onealso notes, at theinterval between the meal andthedrinking session, ἔ σπε ι σά ν τε καὶ ἐ παι ά νι σαν (Symp. 2.1). See Dodds 1966: 217f., Burkert 1985: 109ff., Zaidman andPantel 1992: 139f., 217. Onthe parallel between aesthetic/erotic andreligious experience cf. Hackforth 1952: 98. See also the discussion of terminology in Rudhardt 1992. Thepresence of thegodcanof course have banefulconsequences, aswithDionysus inBacchae. Thepossible dire results of allowing symposiastic drinking to get outof control under the influence of Dionysus are imaged in theExekias eye-cup (ABV 146.21), asanalysed byOsborne 1998: 23f. Dionysus mayturnmeninto beasts. For euphemism, cf. Hiero 1.4. Symp. 3.1; Hiero 1.35. AtSymp. 8.21 thereference to ἀφροδίτηis moreearthy, butthis doesnot annul thepossibility of a moreidealistic reference. Ἐ παφρό διτος is also usedof “spiritual” love at Symp. 8.15, reflecting the ambivalence of the language of erotics in Hiero andSymposium: cf. Hindley 1999: 93–95.

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


all present are celebrants.25 One also wonders whether we should not pay more attention than is customary to thereligious element in thedialogue’s closing mime, where Dionysus appears as a key player. Is this apparently detached heterosexual episode intended tobalance theopening (homosexual) scene with Autolycus? Such an interpretation would provide a frame for the whole dialogue, romantically en-

folding both types of sexual experience in quasi-religious feeling. It would also mitigate, if not remove, the difficulty of explaining the unexpected appearance of Dionysus andAriadne, andperhaps even point to an implicit reversal of Plato’s suggestion (Phaedrus 250E) that all forms of physical intercourse are equally contemptible.26 Indrawing uponreligious language, Xenophon echoes earlier tradition. Several passages in Theognis speak of Aphrodite as the source of the grace andgift of erôs (andalso its pains). It is said of Anacreon that, whenasked whyhewrote hymns to boys andnot to gods, he replied, “because they are my gods”. A well-known fragmentof Aeschylus makes Achilles speak in seemingly religious terms of his“reverence” (σέβας) for the thighs of Patroclus. In a companion fragment from the same (lost) play, he speaks of µηρῶν τε τῶν σῶν ε ὐ σε βὴς ὁµι λία, which Dover translates, “god-fearing converse with your thighs”. A high point in this tradition is Plato’s description (in the Phaedrus) of the dawning of love on the part of erastês and erômenos. I note simply the points most relevant to the present discussion. The τε ὑ πῆ λθεν lover is filled withtrembling andawe(πρ ῶτον µὲν ἔ φρι ξε καὶ τι τῶν τό των); heworships thebeloved as a god(προ σορῶν ὡς θεὸν σέβεται); αὐτὸν δε ι µά the “flood of passion” (ἵµε ρος) pours into his soul. A page ortwolater thepaidika is portrayed as seeing his friend as filled with god(ἔνθε ος); once again the ἵ µε ρος flows between them, andthis time it is characterised as reflecting thelove between Zeus andGanymede. Onerecalls also the eulogies of Love (whether oldor young among the gods) by Phaedrus andAgathon in Plato’s Symposium.27 In a tradition as rich as that of theGreeks in the useof myth for symbolic purposes, weneednotstumble at the“theological” language, andit would be wrong to ignore such a widespread feature of thetexts. Whatthis brief survey suggests is that there wasa discourse of writing about erôs, which, by wayof myth or religiously flavoured terminology such as σέβας, reflected an experience of the “numinous”.

25 Symp. 8.1–6. 26 Cf. Thesleff 1978: 168. I agree withThesleff that themimedefends married love, butthis does φρων ἔ ρως of Symposium 1 if it is accepted that (a) not prevent it being a counterpart to the σ ώ φDionysus andAriadne areontheir bridal night (Symp. 9.3: cf. Bowen 1998: 125), and(b) σώ ρων ἔρως includes a degree of physical pleasure. 27 Theognis, 1303–4, 1319–1322, 1329–1334, 1386–1389. OntheTheognidian corpus, M. L. West (who divides the material into “Theognis” and“Anonymous Theognidia”) says of the latter collection that it “maybe taken as a representative cross-section of the elegiac poetry written for sympotic andother social settings inthesixth andearly fifth centuries (1993: xv). ForAnacreon, see schol.Pind. Isthm.2.1b. Aeschylus frags. 135, 136; Dover 1978: 197. Plat. Phdr. 251A–252B 255A–E; Plat. Symp. 178A–180B, 194E– 197E. ἵ µε ρος in Plato recalls Theognis’ useof ἱ µε ρό ειςtocharacterise thegrace bestowed byAphrodite. Thephilosopher wasof course later to repudiate thevalues of theZeus-Ganymede myth (Leg. 636C–D). Σέβας in its meaning of “reverential awe”doesnotnecessarily refer tothegods, butLSJ gives a number of examples with gods as its object: cf. Rudhardt 1992: 16f.



Such experience might (as it didfor Plato) prompt metaphysical speculation.28 For others it simply gave rise to a sense of wondering respect in the presence of the beloved. This is theperception which, inhisownundramatic way,Xenophon seems to have shared. He sought to portray it in the first chapter of the Symposium, an account made all the more compelling by the absence of a name for the superior

power which manifests its presence. It would seem to be some such experience which in part prompts the description of the lover towards the endof Critobulus’ speech in Symposium 4. The structure of thespeech is interesting. It starts withfairly commonplace observations about the services which the erastês is inspired to perform for the erômenos. But at its climax it introduces ideas which arenotso easily paralleled elsewhere. Thelovers are said to be made “more modest andself-controlled, because they feel reverence for whatthey most desire”. “What they most desire” is pretty clearly a euphemism forthebody’s needfor sex.29 “Feel reverence for”translates αἰ σχύνονται . That the verb refers toreverence rather than shame is suggested bytheanalysis of thehistory of αἰ δώ ς andrelated words made by von Erffa (1937). Von Erffa’s analysis stops short at Xenophon, but it is not difficult to find a number of passages in our author to support the translation of αἰ σχύνοµαι by “show reverence or diffidence towards”.30It should, I suggest, be seen as parallel to σέ βας andσέβοµαι in thepassages quoted from Aeschylus andPlato. All these passages (andthose quoted from Theognis) reflect a degree of respect, even (to usea goodoldromantic word) worship towards the beloved. They suggest a respect or reverence which is evoked in thelover, whoresponds to thebeauty which hasbeen shown to him. The concept of “evocation” here reveals a major point of difference between Xenophon’s (and Plato’ s) attitude to homosexual relationships and that of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. In the latter (for the most part) Godcommands andmen obey (even to thepoint of denying their ownpersonality.) Xenophon’s Symposium points to a very different analysis, where sexuality is notgoverned by divine laws, butethical behaviour towards thebeloved is a free response to themanifestation of his physical beauty andnoble character.31 It is thus (in demythologised language) that onemaysummarise thethought which Xenophon expresses inhisreferences to

28 Cf. Dover 1978: 162. 29 Symp. 4.15 (tr. Tredennick andWaterfield). For δέοµαι in this context cf. Mem. 1.3.14, Hier. 1.33. For a fuller discussion see Hindley 1999. 30 See vonErffa 1937 (and also Cairns 1993, whoalso hasnothing to sayabout Xenophon). Following are relevant passages in Xenophon: Cyr. 1.4.27; Anab. 2.6.19 (cf. Charmides’ diffidence before the “lower orders” of the ekklesia: Mem. 3.7.6); Anab. 7.7.9 (cf. Anab. 2.5.39); Cyr. 2.1.25; 4.2.40. Compare also Aeschin. 1.180. Forself-control inthis context cf. p. 128and n.14 above.

31 Cf.thecontrast between authoritarian morality andthecreative freedom exercised bytheGreeks, noted by Dover 1978: 203. The passage is quoted by Foucault 1986: 252. The distinction it draws becomes a major theme in thelatter’s TheUseof Pleasure, where theGreek approach is characterised as “anaesthetics of existence”, whose character is to be determined byeach man forhimself. It canbequestioned whether this analysis gives sufficient weight to thedimension of thesocial andpolitical (νόµος) in determining conduct, butit seems to be animportant element in thedevelopment of upper class (male!) Athenian life.

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


thegods. Thesight of Autolycus touches everyone inhis soul, andaswehave seen, the onlookers, particularly Callias, are inspired by a god. Later (in Critobulus’ encomium of Cleinias32) wehave a further glimpse of this theme as it is transferred from anemotional experience to thefield of behaviour – inparticular, anattitude of respect andreverence onthepart of theerastês towards theerômenos. Once again, theerômenos is themedium of inspiration. He“breathes” (ἐµπνεῖν) thevirtues into the erastês.33 Similarly, in Cynegeticus, Xenophon refers in passing to the principle that “under thewatchful eyes of hisbeloved (erômenos) every mandoesbetter than hisbest andallows nothing disgraceful orbadtoenter hiswords ordeeds, incase he is seen byhim”.34 Against this background it is possible to examine further the implications, in Xenophon’s thought, of the vision of beauty for the treatment of the erômenos. In general terms, the concept of “respect” complements what has often been emphasised – the responsibility of the young manto safeguard his honour by refusing to allow animportunate lover to break therules of honourable erôs.35 Xenophon here recognises a corresponding obligation onthepart of theerastês. Because he sees in the beauty of the beloved a value which transcends (without excluding) physical satisfaction, heis ledtobemodest, self-restrained andrespectful (asCritobulus puts it). Such an attitude will avoid harming those who should not be harmed.36 It also implies a self-imposed restraint ontheexercise of that phallocracy which characterises citizen status. Indeed, the demonstration of respect for the erômenos maywell contribute to solving theproblem of thetransition from the status of a minor to that of a full citizen in respect of sexual relations. Onemust bear in mindthat a citizen male at Athens wasgenerally such by right of birth, andthe δοκι µασία for enrolment of a demesman confirmed butdidnotconfer citizen status (Ath.Pol. 42.1). A respectful or even reverential approach on the part of the would-be erastês in his dealings with a citizen youth would be a wayof recognising that fact. It might free the compliant youth from any slur on his citizen status, and an appeal to quasireligious sentiment would serve to lift the whole transaction onto a more idealistic plane.37 Similar thoughts are expressed by Plato (Phaedrus 255A), despite his reluctance

to accept homosexual


32 Symp. 4.15. 33 A full discussion of ἐ µπνεῖν would involve its relation to ε ἰ σπνή λας (the Spartan word, it seems, for erastês), andthelongstanding discussion asto whodoes the“in-breathing” andwho is the recipient of this inspiration (or, perhaps, insemination). The material has recently been surveyed by Ogden (1996: 139–147), whoconcludes that the bulk of the evidence associates the act of “blowing-in” primarily with the activity of the erômenos, not that of the erastês, but that thelatter cannot be separated entirely from active “blowing-in”. 34 Cyneg. 12.20 (tr. Waterfield). Gray 1985 makes a strong case fortheauthenticity of this work. 35 Dover 1978: 103–109. 36 Mem. 2.6.22. 37 A similar position is advanced byGolden (1984), whopoints topractices andattitudes inpederastic relationships (such as δουλεία on the part of the erastês) which imply a “paradoxical subordination” of erastês to erômenos andwhich would facilitate the latter’s transition to full citizenship. But in linking the analysis to the boy’s status as pais (at once “citizen boy” and “slave”) Golden seems to meto underestimate theimportance of citizenship frombirth. Davies 1977 hasshown howanapparently clear definition of citizenship in terms of birth suffered a



Themost significant element intheobservance of suchrespect is inthemanner of love-making, andthe first chapter of Hiero gives usjust a glimpse into the kind of relationship involved. It is notmerely sexual excitement, but(asHieron says) sex with love (desire) – τὰ µετ᾽ ἔ ρ ωτος ἀφροδίσια – which, “as we all surely know, gives muchgreater pleasure”. Even more, it is that which Hieron wants fromDailochus – a sexual relationship including friendship on the part of one whogives it freely (µετὰ φι λίας καὶ παρὰ βουλό µε νου). It is the opposite of forcing oneself uponanunwilling boy, which according to Hieron is a form of robbery. There is no mention of the word hubris, butthere could hardly be a clearer affirmation of the values of a hubris-free sexual encounter.38 The ideal relationship (for this is surely what Xenophon is seeking to describe) is thus closely associated with friendship andthe free response of erômenos to erastês. Respect for the sexual partner maythus be a basis forphilia, andphilia in its relationship to erôs is animportant element inXenophon’s approach to pederasty. I amnotofcourse claiming thatphilia necessarily presupposes erôs, butneither should the two concepts be seen as mutually exclusive, andthe best kind of erôs (in Xenophon’s view) does, I think, lead to philia. The nature of the latter is discussed in a more general wayinMemorabilia 2.4–6, andis clearly important both for Socrates

andforXenophon himself (asthelatter’s short introductions tothese chapters makes clear). A good friend is πά ντων κ τη µά των κ ρά τι στον andµέγι στον ἀγα θόν.39His attributes are then described, with some thoughts on howsuch a friend can be secured.

A similar


on friendship is found in Symposium 8. Friendship is

here seen as thetrue fulfilment of a relationship based on“love of soul”. In Hiero, onthe other hand, friendship appears as something to be aimed at in a good relationship with a lover (“the gorgeous Dailochus”) whose love is clearly physical. The concept of philia recurs more fully at other points in the dialogue – particularly in chapter 3, where philia is presumably to be identified with the same virtue as is mentioned inHiero 1.33. Further study of friendship (philia) in Xenophon’s dialogues uncovers a phenomenon very similar to that which I have analysed elsewhere in respect of sexual desire (erôs). Inthecase of thelatter, a comparison between twokeypassages (Symposium 8.12– 18 andHiero 1.29–38) shows hownearly all the significant concepts

38 39

degree of erosion through the encroachment of other criteria. He nevertheless concludes that the“descent-group criterion of citizenship” continued to dominate until some time in thethird century BC. See also Manville 1990. Hier. 1.29–38. Hindley 1999 offers a fuller exposition. Also seeFoucault 1986: 198. Mem. 2.4.1–2. Recent scholarly study of philia has tended to concentrate on two aspects: its nature asa bondof reciprocal obligation, andits wide application to all manner of relationships, fromkinship to citizenship (cf. Millett 1991: ch. 5). This hasbeenchallenged byKonstan 1997, whoargues that “friendship intheclassical world is understood centrally asa personal relationship predicated on affection andgenerosity rather than an obligatory reciprocity” (p.5). The matter is complex, butthetexts studied here, atleast, seemto support Konstan’s view. It is true that atMem.2.4 contractual reciprocity is tothefore. Butlater, inwhatis really a single extendeddiscussion (Mem. 2.6.17–23) personal relationships between menandtheir qualities of character aredominant, andI would claim that thetwotexts central to myargument (Hier. 3, Symp. 8) support anaffective view of whatbeing a friend means.

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


related to erôs can be applied to both types of experience – with or without sexual contact. Thus, both forms of relationship are subject to a sense of “compulsion” (ἀνά γκη) whether evoked through the beloved’s character or his beauty; both relationships are celebrated through the exchange of glances andconversation; both involve a kindof hunger, which in thecase of “ spiritual” love is muchless liable to satiety butwhich, inphysical experience, is the source of greater pleasure; both are concerned withbeauty inthebeloved (whether inhisoutward form orinhis “spiritual”growth); andboth are erotic (ἐπαφρό δι τος) (whether in a physical or in a Socratic, “spiritual” sense).40 Weseehere twoparallel exemplars of personal relationships based on erôs, whose descriptions in general closely resemble one another, though oneinvolves genital activity, the other does not. Ananalogous situation is to be found in the treatment of philia in Symposium 8.16– 18 (where philia eschews bodily experience) andHiero 1 and3 (where philia is associated with physical erôs). In a general summary of his aim, Hiero affirms that he wants his physical pleasure to be accompanied byphilia with one whoyields willingly (Hiero 1.33), and the meaning of philia here may be elucidated by reference to the longer discussion at Hiero 3.1–3. Onthe other hand, in the Symposium Socrates sees the erastês’ “spiritual love” for the erômenos as ground for the latter to love himin return (ἀντι φι λε ῖ σθαι). Both speakers set great store byphilia. The distinction between them lies in whether a link with sexual pleasure is to be accepted (Hieron) or rejected (Socrates). That said, we see that for each set of passages, onefriend seeks thewell-being of theother; each enjoys theother’s company, looks andconversation; each takes pleasure in the other’s successes andis grieved at the other’s misfortune. Tothis note of convergences, Socrates would addtrust inenduringfriendship whatever maybefall, andthepair’s continuing happiness together in sickness andin health.41 Theduality over attitudes topederasty, which is discernible within thecommon discourse of erôs andphilia, also underlies Xenophon’s allusions to myth andlegend.Whatever mayhave beenHomer’s intention, prevailing fourth century opinion seems tohaveregarded Achilles andPatroclus (nottomention Zeus andGanymede)

40 See Hindley 1999: 91–95. Themain verbal correlations are: Hiero 1.29 Symp. 8.12 ε ὐ φραίνε σθαι / ε ὐ φραίνειν 8.13,18 ζειν ἀ νά γκη / ἀναγκά 1.33 passim φι λία: ἀντι φι λε ῖ σθαι / ἀντι φι λεῖν 1.35 ἡδέ ως προσο ρᾶν, ε ὐνοι κῶς δι αλέγε σθαι / 8.18 – 8.17

σεις etc. ψε ι ς, ἐ ρωτή ἀντι βλέ


τὰ τοῦ παι δὸς καλά / κά λλι στος 1.31 8.15/18 ἐ παφρό δι τος/ ἐ παφρο δι τό τατος 1.35 For ‘compulsion’ as part of the discourse of love, cf. Gorg. Hel. 19. 41 AtSymp. 8.18 Socrates includes trust (πι στεύ ειν, πι στε ύε σθαι) in his catalogue of the qualities tobefound infriendship. Hieron omits this inchapter 3, butdevotes thenext chapter to the need for trust in a variety of relationships. Aninteresting cross-reference in these passages is λµα (Symp. 8.18) andτι σφαλλόµενον (Hier. 3.2). Ontherelation between emotheuseof σ φά tional andphysical satisfaction onemaycompare Arist. an.pr. 68a40–b8, cited by Allen 1991: 76f. Elsewhere Aristotle notes that it is notuncommon for a sexual liaison in youth to develop into a long-lasting friendship (EN 1157a6ff.).



aslovers. Yet inSymposium 8 Socrates directly opposes this, treating these relation-

ships as examples of non-physical philia. Patroclus, he says, wasnotAchilles’ paidika buthis hetairos. With similar intent a surprising etymology is produced for the name Ganumedes to prove that thehandsome cup-bearer wassummoned to Olym-

pus not for his body, but for the beauties of his mind.42 But whether it is Achilles engaging in the greatest deeds of heroism orZeus himself sipping nectar at his leisure, theimplication is of a continuing relationship withtheir lovers, whether ornot that relationship involves genital activity. Finally, in this analysis of the role of sexuality in erotic relationships between men, onemust refer, at least briefly, to thecomplex andmuchdiscussed subject of the individual in public life, where some passages in Xenophon are particularly

relevant to our theme.43 Socrates’ extended rebuttal of Aristippus’ preference for withdrawal from public life (Memorabilia 2.1.1–34) demonstrates the general importance of this subject andthe close association between personal andpublic life in the polis ideal. In particular, the youth whois being trained for leadership in government, inthewayapproved bySocrates, mustbe self-disciplined inrespect of all thebodily appetites, including λαγνε ία.44The same list of virtues is applicable in selecting friends in Memorabilia 2.6. But in the latter, the discussion of friendship goes on to analyse the role of this virtue in public life. Critobulus observes despairingly that even good menquarrel about pre-eminence in the state. But, replies Socrates, human beings have a tendency to friendliness as well asto hostility, theroot of which is thedesire to overreach (ὁ τοῦ πλε ονε κτεῖν ἔ ρως). Theremedy lies inphilia, which binds goodmentogether (διὰ το ύ ντωνἡ φι λία δι αδυοτων πά µέ νη συ νά πτει τοὺς κ αλού ς τε κ ἀγαθού ς: Memorabilia 2.6.21f.). Inparticular, the antidote to πλε ονεξία lies in the mastery of bodily appetite, including sex. Good menare exhorted to “exercise self-control in taking sexual pleasure with people in thebloom of youth, soasnottoharmthose whomoneshould notharm”.45They are


Whether or not Homer represents Achilles andPatroclus as lovers is a well-known problem. Thearguments infavour aresetoutinClarke 1978. Theancients also disputed howtheroles of erastês anderômenos should be allocated between them. But, apart from this Xenophon reference, writers of the classical period (so far as I amaware) treat them as lovers, cf. Aesch. frs. 135, 136Radt; Aeschin. 1.142; Plat. Symp. 179E–180B. Forvase evidence regarding thevariety of views held ontheir respective ages, see Foxhall 1998: 60 n.35. Onthe etymology of the name Ganymede, seeBowen 1998: 122. 43 Cf. Foxhall 1998, whoin her study of emotional relationships between men, notes that the mythological prototypes for suchfriendships were generally assumed to have included anerotic element. She also recognises (as against the recent domination of scholarship by the protocols of the erastês / erômenos relationship) a broad spectrum of relationships between men (59ff.). Onthis, see further Fisher 1998: 96. 44 Mem. 2.1.1–3. 45 Mem.2.6.22f. Theexact interpretation of thepassage is debatable. Butthecontext (the antidote to πλε ονε ξία) suggests that the first κοι νωνεῖν at least means “take a share of” (as LSJ). As elsewhere, thetheme is control of bodily appetites, andwhattheindividual canfairly take – the meanbetween πλε ονεξία andabstinence. Thesame is true of sex, where thepresent participle ἡ δό µενοι implies participation; καρτε ρεῖν flows from ἐ γκ ρά τεια, but does not imply abstinence. Less certain is the gender of τῶν ὡραίων. The language could apply to heterosexual intercourse (not least therisk togoodmale citizen relationships posed byadultery). Butlinguis-

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


not, however, exhorted to abstain altogether. Indeed, the passage seems to presuppose that the tensions andanimosities aroused by sexual indulgence are inevitably present in those whoshare in theconduct of public life (andnodoubt contribute to

the “volatility” which Lin Foxhall discerns in friendships between citizen men).46 Whatis needed is tobring thepassions under discipline. Thegender of τῶν ὡραίων here cannot bedetermined withcertainty: butthephrase is commonly usedof young men, andthe general context of discussions with Critobulus (of which this is one) suggests that homosexual rather than heterosexual relations aretheprime consideration.

The gist of this section of the Memorabilia, then, is that philia is essential to public life, but insofar as it involves pederasty, a man’s pleasure, while not renounced, should be subject to self-control. Thepassage provides another sphere for φρων ἔ ρως, at least in ideal. As such it stands in contrast with the thepractice of σ ώ more well known discussion of civic duty at the endof Symposium 8. In the latter, Socrates sums uphis oration in favour of “love of soul” with the affirmation that one would rather entrust things of value to the lover of “soul” rather than to the lover of body. Hecommends Callias forhaving been granted such a fine andmanly youth as Autolycus for a lover, always with the implicit reservation (as has previously been affirmed), that nothing physical should pass between them. It is for Callias to inspire the young manwith all the noblest ideals of civic leadership, for σει such ideals arethe object of true love, and, concludes Socrates, ἀγαθῶν γὰρ φύ καὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς φι λοτίµως ἐ φι ε µένων ἀείποτε τῇπό λει συνε ραστὴς ὢν δι ατελῶ (Symposium 8.41). This brief survey of love in relation to civic virtue produces once again a dual model. There is ontheonehandwhatwemaysurmise tohavebeen a common view among upper class Athenians – theacceptance of physical love affairs aspart of the give andtake of practical politics. Here Xenophon implicitly commends σ ω φρ ο σύ νη (not abstinence), though no doubt ἀκ ρασία hadto be reckoned with.47 Onthe other hand stands Socrates, with his insistence on homosexual celibacy for those whoseek toexcel incivic virtue andfame. Thetension between these views reflects that which wehave found elsewhere, andwhich in fact informs several blocks of material (orthemes) inXenophon’s writing (particularly theSocratic works). I refer to the discourses of erôs and of philia, the appeal to myth and legend, andthe call tically, theparallels with homosexual discourse areequally close, where ὡραῖ ος is commonly used of a youth in his prime. Similarly the risks to good citizen relations posed by aninjudicious approach to a citizen boymaywell have been asgreat asthose arising from adultery. The sentence, which seems to accept the practice of pederasty, is (surprisingly) putinto the mouth of Socrates. It would seem that “Socrates” is here reporting onobserved social mores rather than formulating his ownteaching. 46 Foxhall 1998: 61. 47 Statements about the spread of any particular belief can only be tentative. But what I have φρων ἔ ρως, seems very close described inXenophon’s writing (taking uphisownphrase) as σ ώ totheaccount of pederasty given byPlato’s Pausanias. Aeschines canpublicly refer toa number of (apparently distinguished) citizens whowere noted for the honourable nature of their love των τύχοντες ἐ ραστῶν), though they could be contrasted affairs (πλε ι στῶν καὶ σ ωφρο νε σ τά with anequally well known list of libertines (1.156– 159).



for young mento serve the state in public life. In each case there is a version which accepts a degree of physicality or σ ώ φρων ἔ ρως, anda version which holds to an uncompromising celibacy. This polarity is wittily depicted (by Socrates) in mythological terms as thecontrast between Scylla (who laid hands onmen, causing them to flee) andtheSirens, whowonthem over byenchanting songs.48 It begins to look as though, in the wake of Socrates’ teaching andexample there wasa continuing debate onthis subject, the deposit of which can be found in Xenophon’s writings. Or, more cautiously, wemayat least hypothesise that such a debate wasgoing on within Xenophon’s ownmind. Onenaturally then asks whether a resolution of the debate canbe found. What doesXenophon seeasthemeans of ethical decision making? Part of theanswer lies in the authority of νόµος, the ‘custom’ to which reference is made atMemorabilia 1.6.13 (from which webegan). But, as recent emphasis on ποι κι λία in regard to pederasty atAthens haswarned us,theapplication of νό µος requires discrimination (cf. Plato Symposium 182A).49 A review of the handful of texts in Memorabilia, Symposium andHiero which bring ψυχή into connection with erôs suggests that in this area Xenophon gave animportant role also to individual judgment, through the medium of the ψυχή . Much has been written about the development of the concept of “soul” from Homer onwards, a study which would call fora separate paper, andXenophon’s use of words is varied andinconsistent. But Claus 1981 seems to meto make a good case for distinguishing broadly two groups of Xenophontic references. The first (andlarger) implies a close integration of body andsoul, which maybedescribed as “psychosomatic”, andwhich seems to stem from Democritus, certain medical texts andtheHelen of Gorgias.50 Thesecond group (comprising essentially thereferences to “love of soul” advocated by “Socrates”) reflects a quasi-Platonic mind/body dualism. In general, this division runs in parallel with the distinction drawn in this paper between Xenophon’s ownview of the role of ψυχή in regulating sexual and other activity andthat which heattributed to Socrates inSymposium 8. This diversity of viewrequires some examination. Xenophon’s fullest description of the ψυχή andits powers is probably that to be found in Memorabilia 1.4.13. It is said to have been implanted by God, but is not conceived as independent of the body.51 It may, I suggest, be described as that which orders a person’s life as a whole, andit maycover both the directing mind andthe personality which results. Its functions in the passage cited (once its duties to God have been recognised) are almost entirely concerned with the development of the body andits needs. Theψυχή provides far-sighted protection against hunger, thirst, 48 Mem. 2.6.31. 49 Cohen 1991. Butwhile notquestioning Cohen’s emphasis onποι κιλίαinpederastic customs, I donotbelieve that in suchmatters thelawonhubris plays therole which hespeculates it might have done: cf. Hindley 1991. 50 For theconnection with Democritus, see Vlastos 1945, 1946. 51 A fewpassages speak of the ψυχήleaving the body at death (Mem. 1.2.53, Cyr. 8.7.21f.), but the latter passage also expresses doubt whether or not it survives the death of the body. The quasi-Platonic (andnotably tentative) suggestion that a living person’s ψυχή might share inthe divine (Mem. 4.3.14) seems to be anisolated exception.

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


cold andheat, warding off disease and developing bodily strength, exercising its powers of perception (hearing andsight), the acquisition of knowledge andmemory.Elsewhere, these powers aresummed upinthephrase βασι λεύ ει ἐνἡµῖν, though to our surprise the subject of this eulogy can be also represented as forgetting its virtues andbeing in need of constant training.52 The critical questions, however, “By whom?” or “By what?” areleft unanswered. regulates bodily appetites in general (e.g. Memorabilia TheXenophontic ψυχή 1.2.4), but it may lead to either virtue or vice. Thus at Memorabilia 1.2.23 it is are implanted claimed that within one andthe same body andalongside the ψυχή the pleasures (presumably “desires for pleasure”) which persuade it to anundisciplined gratification of the body. At Memorabilia 1.5.4–5, it is said of the corrupted soul that its possessor loves prostitutes rather thantrue companions, anda manwho is enslaved to pleasure is degraded in both body andψυχή . Onthe other hand, “the soul’s functions” (τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς ἔ ργα) at Memorabilia 1.2.19 consist, presumably, ofthepractice of virtue, andCallias claims (nodoubt ironically) tomakemenδι καιοτέρους τὰς ψυχά ς (Symposium 4.2). There aremanyunsolved questions here about the “parts” of the soul (later to be analysed by Plato), but for the purpose of this article someconclusions canbe drawn fromthefewpassages inMemorabilia, Symis posium andHiero (apart from Socrates’ teaching in Symposium 8), where ψυχή brought into connection with sexual love. The analysis yields a surprising conclusion for the Socratic “lover of soul”. The first passage is Memorabilia 1.3.14. It occurs at the end of the episode of Critobulus’ kiss, during which Socrates has shown himself to be strongly opposed to even a single kiss for a beautiful ephebe. But despite this apparently unconditional rejection of male love, heis (illogically, it seems) prepared to allow concessions whenbodily desire is overpowering. So at least claims Xenophon, whenhe writes:

he (Socrates) held that those whose passions were notunder complete control should limit themselves to such indulgence as the soul would reject unless the need of the body were pressing, andsuch as would donoharm whenthe need wasthere (tr. Marchant).

Theinterpretation of this passage hasbeen discussed at some length elsewhere.53 It seems to me likely that the non sequitur may be explained on the supposition that Xenophon has imported this “concessionary” statement from another context. But theimportant point here is that, at a keymoment inthediscussion of celibacy, ψυχή is brought in, not as the object of Socrates’ ideal of “true” (i.e. non-physical) love, but as the arbiter in a process which will lead to a relaxation of the injunction to practise celibacy. Less surprising, perhaps, is the description of the arts practised by the courtesan, Theodote.54 Theconversation with Socrates revolves around that lady’s appar-

52 Mem. 4.3.14, to be contrasted with Mem. 1.2.19–23. 53 See Hindley 1999: 83f. 54 Mem. 3.11. Though treated in non-religious terms, the response to the sight of Theodote is analogous tothat of gazing onAutolycus. Forfurther analysis of theeffect of thesight of Theodote’s charms has on the beholder, see Goldhill 1998.


C l if f o r d H in d l e y

ently substantial income. At Memorabilia 3.11.10. Socrates speaks of her putting out nets to hunt men. And what are these nets? Her body, says Socrates, and her mind (ψυχή), which teaches her how to make a lover feel comfortable, and, notwithstanding the coy language, one is obliged to say that the purpose of theψ υχή here is actively to promote (lucrative) sexual engagements, though admittedly in a context of “friendship”. Thus in both the Theodote and the Critobulus episodes, we find the ψυχή deployed to facilitate sexual enjoyment. This is in line with the recognition that the ψυχή can be found initiating or directing virtually any human activity, and that the pleasures of year-round sex are a gift of God. On this view of the role of the ψυχή, the exceptional and surprising thing about the texts under discussion may not be the use of ψυχή to guide Critobulus or Theodote, but its deployment (in Symposium 8) to idealise one rather well defined type of moral character. The third passage which relates ψυχή to sexuality is found at the opening of Memorabilia 4, where Xenophon summarises Socrates’ teaching on love (ἐρᾶν). It is interesting, and I think significant, that speaking in his own person, Xenophon does not use phrases like “love of ψυχή” (as does Socrates at e.g. Symposium 8.12 – ὁ τῆ ς ψ υ χῆ ς ἔρ ω –or at 8.23 – ὁ τὴν ψυχὴν ἀγαπῶν). Instead, he says that Socrates was drawn to those people who were well endowed with a ψυχή which led to virtue ((τῶν τὰς ψυχὰς πρὸς ἀρετὴν εὖ πεφυκότων ἐφιέμενος: Memorabilia 4.1.2). This phraseology reflects what appears to be Xenophon’s own view: the ψυχή is the medium or facilitator of moral judgment and the will. It may “condone” the physical expression of erôs, or subserve Theodote’s seductive purposes, but it does not inherently stand for any particular moral attitude. For if some people have “souls” disposed to virtue, we may assume (as indeed the texts reveal) that others have “souls” disposed to vice.55 This analysis of ψυχή suggests a comparison with the modem concept of individual responsibility for moral choice. It may fail to produce reasons for preferring one choice over another, but its decisions are a significant element in the development of life. What is to be admired is the resulting moral character of actual individuals, and their virtue (ἀρετή) as it emerges over the whole range of human activity. This (or something like it) is, it seems to me, Xenophon’s own perception of the relation between ψυχή and character. Notably different is the use of ψυχή in Symposium 8. Many observers have seen here something akin to “mind-body dualism”. But, whatever is implied as to the soul’s metaphysical status, it also carries with it a heavy weight of moral conviction. In this chapter “love of ψυχή” expresses admiration for a specific sexual morality which, in relation to homosexual experience, esteems the “spiritual” expression of love and growth in friendship while renouncing physical ἔρως. The point is underlined in the way that Symposium 8 not only affirms (in a linguistic ploy characteristic of Socrates) that celibate relationships are truly “erotic’ (ἐπαφρόδιτος), but virtually excludes even the possibility of a σώφρων ἔρως.56 Assuming that at least chapter 8 of Xenophon’s work postdates Plato’s 55


Claus 1981: 162f. speaks of “X enophon’s tendency to think instinctively o f the ψ υχή as an impersonal energy that is inherently neither good nor b a d . . . but by its strength a source only of the largeness o f goodness or evil which one exhibits in life”. This would seem to be an example of what Vlastos calls “complex irony” in Socrates (1991: 41). On ἐπαφρόδιτος and its role in the argument, see Hindley 1999.

Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


Symposium,57 the point I wish to make is apparent at the very outset of Socrates’ portrayal of the two Aphrodites. Xenophon’s Socrates shows a knowledge of Pla-

to’s analysis, but drastically simplifies it. For Plato’s Pausanias, Pandemian love (for women andyoung boys) is clearly physical. Onhis view, however, Ouranian love (addressed to older youths), involves not only a moral relationship, but also includes a (hubris-free) physical component in an association which maylast into later life. In Plato’s Symposium such love is implicitly acknowledged in the relationship between Pausanias andAgathon.58 The analysis proposed by Xenophon’s

Socrates, however, is significantly different. Pausanias’ somewhat sophisticated distinction between the twoAphrodites is reduced to a stark choice between love of (good), andPausanias “lover of Agathon” is pilloried body (bad) andlove of ψυχή as ἀπολογούµενος ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀκρασίᾳἐ γκ αλι νδου µένων. A simplistic dichotomy dominates the whole of Symposium 8, summarised in thephrase ἀντίπαλον ἔ ρωτα at 8.24. Indeed, with only the briefest of nods in the direction of combining love of body with love of “soul” (Symposium 8.14), this chapter seems designed to suppress by silence the possibility of admitting a bodily element in true homosexual love. AtSymposium 8.24 thetwoloves areirreconcilably opposed. There is here no φρων ἔ ρως, no staging post between the non-physical objective of committing σώ oneself infriendship ontheonehandandtheacceptance of corruption andprostitution which is degrading on the other. In associating ψυχήexclusively with the former, “Socrates” seems to depart from the normal use of the wordin Xenophon. Linguistic analysis thus confirms thebroad distinction I have drawn between Xenophon’s recognition of the role of the individual moral judgment andthe view he ascribes to Socrates that only one form of morality maybe recognised by rightthinking people in respect of homosexual practice. This analysis maybe re-enforced byreference to Holgar Thesleff’s theory (recently accepted by Bowen) on the two recensions of Xenophon’s Symposium.59 Thesleff modifies Dover’s widely accepted conclusions by claiming priority over Plato’s dialogue for Xenophon’s first recension (essentially chapter 1–7 of thecurrent text). This, according to Thesleff, was followed by Plato’s brilliant development of Xenophon’s work, which caused Xenophon in turn to write a revised concluding chapter (roughly, thepresent chapter 8). Thetheory neatly accounts for the fact that virtually all arguments relied uponbyDover to support thepriority of Plato occur inthelatter chapter, and(with Bowen) I findThesleff s theory convincing. In relation to thepresent enquiry, it makes more intelligible thechange of tone which comes over the discussion of male love in chapter 8, andwhich is reflected in the contrasting uses of the term ψυχήwhich we have analysed.60 It is possible that

57 See discussion of Thesleff’s thesis below. 58 Plat. Symp. 193B. Ontheinclusion of a physical element in Ouranian love, seeDover 1978: 91 andDover 1980: 95f. Also, seeRowe’s reference to whatmaybetermed the“burden of proof”. Infourth century Athens, it is forthose whodisagree withPausanias’ acceptance of a physical element to explain their position, notvice versa (Rowe 1998: 140f.). 59 Thesleff 1978, Bowen 1998. Contrast Dover 1965. 60 This contrast might well beadded to thelist of distinctive words (noted byBowen) which mark off chapter 8 from therest of thework: Bowen 1998: 118, footnote.



Xenophon penned this chapter in direct continuation of what preceded. But it is easier to understand this development if a gap of (possibly) years intervened between thewriting of chapters 1–7 andchapter 8 in its present form. There are, then, twomain views of pederasty in Xenophon’s writing – that attributed to Socrates, andthat of Xenophon himself. Xenophon, it hasbeen suggested, wasnotprepared to follow Socrates in affirming the value of homosexual celibacy, butwasprepared torecognise that, within thelimits of σ ωφρο σύ νη, thepleasureof sexual relations between menmight be accepted. Onemaywell ask why, if this wasso, he elevated the contrary view to such a position of prominence in the concluding speech of the Symposium discussion. There were perhaps twomotives at work. First (as the opening sentence of the Symposium declares) there washis biographical interest, which mayhave been stimulated afresh byhisreading of Plato. Xenophon believed that he was telling the truth about a great manwhom he admired. It is unfortunate for himthat onthe issue of pederasty he wasat variance withhishero– though probably notwiththemajority of hisfellow citizens.61 It was perhaps outof respect for Socrates that heminimised (without entirely eliminating) expressions of dissent.62 It is however atleast arguable that thepresentation of pederastic love in Hiero (where the discourses of ἔ ρως, ἀφρο δίτη andφι λία are reorientated to include a physical relationship) represents, at least in part, a recantation of whatmight have seemed tobetacit support for Socrates’ vehement rejection of physical sex in Symposium 8.63 But more important for understanding the motivation of Symposium 8 would seem to be what is widely recognised as its apologetic purpose.64 For Xenophon, at anyrate, the charge of “corrupting the young” meant inducement to unrestrained sexual indulgence (Memorabilia 1.2.1–2). He rebuts that charge by an appeal to Socrates’ self-disciplined character (Apology 16 andMemorabilia passim). In Symposium 8 he shows Socrates surveying the world of practical experience, mythologyandAthenian political heroes. Thephilosopher is represented asattacking (often in immoderate language) all physical expression of erôs, andseems deliberately to suppress the possibility of a σ ώ φρων ἔ ρως. Hetakes care to repudiate anysuggestion that even heroic examples of pederastic love (such as the Sacred Band) might be worthy of approval.65 Theclimax is anexhortation to Callias to conduct hispersonal life as one devoted to “love of ψυχή, andto live up to his noble family’s ” traditions in a life of service to the city. Any weakening or qualification of this

61 Cf. note 47 above. 62 Oneshould perhaps also notoverlook occasional hints thatXenophon didnotintend tobetaken entirely seriously in this work. It is important, he says, to record the playful as well as the serious moments of great men(Symp. 1.1), andallows Socrates to confess to being goaded on by alcohol in attacking anideal of love opposed to his own(Symp. 8.24) 63 See Hindley 1999 and(for philia) above, 134f. The relative chronology of Xenophon’s works is uncertain, but there seems to be widespread agreement that Hiero is a comparatively late work.

64 In a more general context Vlastos (1991: 161).


of “Xenophon’s proneness to apologetic

65 A surprising exception is Solon, whois mentioned as thephilosophical lawgiver, reference to his reputation as a poet of love for boys (Plut. Sol.1, Mor. 751B–E).




Sophron Eros: Xenophon’s ethical erotics


advocacy of homosexual celibacy (inline withXenophon’s ownviews) would clearly undermine its apologetic purpose as a posthumous defence of Socrates against thecharge of corrupting theyouth. Meanwhile, Xenophon himself, by implication andallusion, and(as in Hiero) occasional direct exposition, shows himself prepared topursue anindependent line, in what I have termed his “wayof moderation”. This paper has sought to uncover

the salient features of such a σ ώ φρων ἔ ρως, andbegun to explore the ethical values

it embodies. First, at least in point of logic, is a quasi-religious invocation of love. By his use of the language of divine myth, Xenophon shows that for him sexual relations are a serious matter, not simply a question of bodily gratification. The proper attitude to the erômenos is evoked by the vision of beauty (not commanded bydivine fiat). Theerastês, inspired with true erôs, will, claims Xenophon, honour andrespect his erômenos. Such respect, sustained by self-control, will determine thepattern of his non-hubristic love-making, andwill lead himto look for a lasting relation of friendship. This ideal embraces the substantial values of mutual regard and support in good times andbad. It also includes, one may assume, the more outgoing virtues which, according to Critobulus, are inspired in the erastês by the erômenos: liberality with money, readiness to endure toil andto court glory through danger (Symposium 4.15). No doubt, as contemporary scholarship holds, law and custom laid down the protocols of status relationships andthe like for honourable love (though Xenophon makes little, if any, mention of them). But this is hardly a

complete picture. Theapplication of those rules andthenature of acceptable physical relationships mustbe determined bytheindividual himself through themedium of his ψυχή . If Hiero is anything to go by, this process would, I suspect, have involved a considerably greater degree of personal interaction than is allowed for in some recent academic discussion. Thepicture that emerges here is a romantic and(asI would bethefirst to admit) an incomplete one. There seems to be no wayof telling howfar it applied in real life. Noris it easy to see howit fits with some other aspects of sexual relationships which Xenophon recognises – the institution of marriage, for example, (which, we learn, Critobulus hasjust entered), or the appearance of a multiplicity of lovers in relation to both Critobulus andHieron. Norarethese characters theonly paradigms onoffer atAthens. FromLysias’ non-lover” through Pausanias’ seeker of virtue to “ pseudo-Demosthenes’ aspiring philosopher, there is a great deal of ποι κι λία. But whatcanbeclaimed is that Xenophon presents a possible model forpederastic relationships, a model which stood in opposition (and, one might venture to think, in conscious opposition) to thehomosexual celibacy propounded by Socrates.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Aalders, G. J. D., 1953, “Date andIntention of Xenophon’s Hiero”, Mnemosyne4 6: 206–215. Allen, R. E., 1991, Plato: theSymposium (NewHaven-London). Anderson, J. K., 1970, Military Theory and Practice in the Age of Xenophon (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). 1974, Xenophon (London).




Bassett, S. E. 1917, “Wit andHumor in Xenophon”, CJ 12: 565–574. Bowen, A. J. 1998, Xenophon: Symposium (Warminster). Bremmer J., 1983, TheEarly Greek Concept of the Soul (Princeton). Bruce, I. A. F., 1967, AnHistorical Commentary on the ‘Hellenica Oxyrhynchia’ (Cambridge). Buffière, W., 1980. Eros adolescent. La pédérastie dans la Grèce antique (Paris). Burkert, W., 1985, Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical (Oxford). Translation (J.Raffan) of Griechische Religion der archaischen undklassischen Epoche (Stuttgart, 1977). Burn, A. R., 1967, TheLyric Ageof Greece (London). Burnet, J., 1916, “The Socratic Doctrine of the Soul”, PBA7: 235–259. Cantarella, E., 1992, Bisexuality intheAncient World (NewHaven-London). Translation (C. Ó Cuilleanáin) of Secondo natura: la bisessualità nel mondo antico (Rome, 1988). Cartledge, P., 1979, Sparta andLakonia (London). 1981, “The Politics of Spartan Pederasty”, PCPS 207 = n.s.27: 17–36. ----, 1987, Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta (London). ----, 1997, Introductions andNotes to Xenophon: Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises (tr. R. Wa----, terfield: Harmondsworth). Cartledge, P., Millett, P., & vonReden, S. (edd.), 1998, Kosmos (Cambridge). Cawkwell, G.L. 1979, Introduction toXenophon: AHistory of MyTimes (tr. R. Warner: Harmondsworth). Clarke, W. M. 1978, “Achilles andPatroclus in Love”, Hermes 106: 381–396. Claus, D. B. 1981, Toward the Soul: AnEnquiry into the Meaning of Psyche before Plato (New Haven-London). Cohen, D., 1991, “Reply” [sc. to Hindley 1991], Past andPresent 133: 184–194. Davidson, J. N. 1997, Courtesans andFishcakes (London). Davies, J. K., 1977/8, “Athenian Citizenship: TheDescent Group andtheAlternatives”, CJ 73: 105–


Delebecque, E. 1957, Essai sur la vie deXénophon (Paris). Denniston, J. D., 1954, The Greek Particles (2nd ed.: Oxford). Dillery, J., 1995, Xenophon and the History of His Times (London). Dodds, E. R. 1966, TheGreeks andthe Irrational (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). Dover, K. J., 1965, “The date of Plato’s Symposium”, Phronesis 10: 2–20. 1974, Greek Popular Morality in the time of Plato and Aristotle (Oxford). ---- 1978, Greek Homosexuality (London). ---- 1980, Plato: Symposium (Cambridge).

---Easterling, P. E., 1985, “Greek Poetry andGreek Religion”, inP. E. Easterling andJ. V. Muir (edd.) Greek Religion andSociety (Cambridge): 34–49. Erffa, C. E. von, 1937, “AIDOS undverwandte Begriffe in ihrer Entwicklung vonHomer bis zum Demokrit”, Philologus Supplementband 30.2: 1–206. Fisher, N. R. E., 1992, Hybris (Warminster). 1998, “Gymnasia andthe democratic values of leisure”, in Cartledge et al. 1998: 84– 104. Foucault, M., 1986, The Useof Pleasure (Harmondsworth). Translation (R. Hurley) of L’ usage des ---plaisirs (Paris, 1984). Foxhall, L., 1998, “The politics of affection: emotional attachments in Athenian society”, in Cartledge

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Gigon, O., 1953, Kommentar zumersten Buch vonXenophons Memorabilien (Schweizerische Beiträge zurAltertumswissenschaft 5, Basel). 1956, Kommentar zumzweiten Buch vonXenophons Memorabilien (Schweizerische Beiträge ---- zurAltertumswissenschaft 7, Basel). Golden M. 1984, “Slavery andHomosexuality at Athens”, Phoenix 38: 308–324. 1985, “Pais, ‘Child’ and ‘Slave’ ”, AC 54: 91– 104.


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S., 1998, “The seductions of the gaze: Sokrates andhis girlfriends”, in Cartledge et. al. 1998: 105–124. Gould, J., 1985, “On Making Sense of Greek Religion”, in P.E. Easterling andJ.V.Muir (edd.), Greek Religion andGreek Society (Cambridge): 1–33. Gray, V. J., 1985, “Xenophon’s Cynegeticus”, Hermes 113: 156–172. 1986, “Xenophon’s Hiero and the Meeting of the Wise Man and Tyrant in Greek Literature”, ---- CQn.s. 36: 115–123. 1989, The Character of Xenophon’s Hellenica (London). ---- 1992, “Xenophon’s Symposion: theDisplay of Wisdom”, Hermes 120: 58–75. Guthrie, W. K. C., 1969, A History of Greek Philosophy III (Cambridge). ---1971, Socrates (Cambridge). Goldhill,

---Hackforth, R., 1952, Plato’s Phaedrus (Cambridge). Halperin, D. M. 1990, OneHundred Years of Homosexuality andOther Essays onGreek Love (Lon-

don). Hatzfeld, J., 1946, “Note surla date et l’ objet duHiéron duXénophon”, REG59: 54–70. Henderson, J., 1991, The Maculate Muse: Obscene Language in Attic Comedy (second ed.: New York-Oxford). Herman, G., 1987, Ritualised Friendship andthe Greek City (Cambridge). Hindley, C. 1991, “Law, Society and Homosexuality in Classical Athens: Comment”, Past and

Present 133: 167–183. 1994, “Eros andMilitary Command in Xenophon”, CQ n.s.44: 347–366. ---- 1999, “Xenophon on Male Love”, CQ n.s.49: 74–99. ---Kahn, C. H. 1994, “Aeschines onSocratic Eros”, in Vander Waerdt 1994: 87–106. Koch-Harnack G., 1983, Knabenliebe undTiergeschenke (Berlin). Konstan, D., 1997, Friendship in the Classical World (Cambridge).

MacDowell, D. M. 1993, Gorgias: Encomium of Helen (Bristol). Manville, P. B., 1990, TheOrigins of Citizenship inAncient Athens (Princeton). Marchant, E. C. andUnderhill, G. E., 1906, Xenophon: Hellenica (Oxford). Millett, P., 1991, Lending andBorrowing inAncient Athens (Cambridge). Muir, J. V. 1985, “Religion andtheNewEducation: TheChallenge of theSophists”, inP. E. Easterling andJ. V. Muir (edd.), Greek Religion andSociety (Cambridge), 191–218. O’Connor, D. K., 1994, “TheErotic Self-sufficiency of Socrates: A Reading of Xenophon’s Memorabilia”, in Vander Waerdt 1994: 151–180. Ogden, D., 1996, “Homosexuality andWarfare in Ancient Greece”, in A. B. Lloyd (ed.) Battle in Antiquity (London-Swansea). Osborne, R., 1998, “Inter-personal relations onAthenian pots: putting others in their place”, in Cartledge et al. 1998: 13–36. Otto, R., 1950, TheIdea of theHoly (second ed.: Oxford). Translation (J. W. Harvey) of DasHeilige (ninth ed.: Breslau, 1923). Patzer, H., 1982, Die griechische Knabenliebe (Wiesbaden). Proietti, G., 1987, Xenophon’s Sparta: AnIntroduction (Leiden-New York-Cologne.).

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B. S., 1997, Eros: TheMyth ofAncient Greek Sexuality (Boulder).

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54: 578– 592. 1946, “Ethics and Physics in Democritus (Part Two)”, Philosophical Review, 55: 53–64. ---- 991, Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher (Cambridge). ----1 Waterfield, R. andTredennick, H., 1990, Introduction to Xenophon: Conversations of Socrates (tr. Tredennick andWaterfield: Harmondsworth). West, M. L., 1993, Greek Lyric Poetry (Oxford). Westlake, H.D., 1966/7 “Individuals inXenophon, Hellenica”, Bulletin of theJohn Rylands Library 49: 246–269. (Reprinted in H.D.Westlake, Essays on the Greek Historians and Greek History [Manchester, 1969].) Winkler, J. J. 1990, The Constraints of Desire (New York-London).

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TheCyropaedia is a long text involving manydifferent approaches; andyetthere is a major split in the work: the taking of Babylon which, at the endof Book 7, marks the end of Cyrus’ military conquest. Indeed, while throughout the first part, the young conqueror was at the head of a kind of “travelling Republic”1andwas deliberately rejecting theslightest display of luxury, thecircumstances turntobeentirely different with thedefeat andthefall of theenemy capital town. Cyrus settles down in the palace under Hestia’s patronage.2 The last conquests are swiftly reported in just a fewsentences.3 Andthen a crucial pattern appears, thedevelopment of which gives a framework to thewhole beginning of Book 8: the notion that the sovereign mustbe very parsimonious andcautious in his public appearances. Immediately after the endof the final struggles, “Cyrus conceived a desire to establish himself ashethought became a king (ὡς βασι λεῖ ἡγεῖτο πρέπειν) [...] in such a waythat his public appearances should be rare andsolemn (σπά νιό ς τε καὶ ς) andyetexcite aslittle jealousy (ἐπι φθόνως) aspossible” (7.5.37). ForXenσε µνό ophon’s Cyrus, monarchy requires a certain degree of pomp. As P. Carlier puts it, “the verb πρέπειν must be taken in its strongest meaning: the lack of pompwould beinappropriate andshocking” (Carlier 1978: 149). Theetiquette andmagnificence (σε µνό της) of hisoutward appearance area major component of Cyrus’ newpower andoneof his favourite means of ruling the huge territory which is nowunder his leadership. This is the context within which the luxurious ceremonial adopted by Cyrus andhis circle, as it is described by Xenophon (8.1.40–43), comes to take on its meaning: from then on,theconqueror decides to wear theMedian dress, aswell as shoes with thick soles, andto make uphiseyes. Fora long time, scholars havebeenpuzzled bythis adoption of Eastern pomp– apparently praised byXenophon. In order to elude thequestions raised bythis part 1



This is Hippolyte Taine’s expression in Essais decritique et d’histoire I (1904), 49–95, about theGreek armyintheAnabasis. It canbeusedwithin theframe of theCyropaedia – atanyrate before Cyrus accedes to thethrone at theendof thebook. 7.5.57: “After that, Cyrus moved into the royal palace. Andafter he took possession, Cyrus sacrificed first to Hestia, then to sovereign Zeus, andthen to anyother godthat the magi suggested” (all quotations arebased onLoeb editions). If there is another sort of nomadism going on (Cyr. 8.6.22), however, it takes on a different meaning than that of the wandering of the army before the conquest. Onthese issues, see Briant 1988: 253–273. Cyr. 8.6.19–20. “The dividing-line between the military style of the past andthe establishment of a neworder of peace is marked bythecapture of Babylon”: Breebaart 1983: 120.



of thetext, some doubts have sometimes been expressed asto its authenticity.4 Yet, this “suspect” episode is confirmed by another one (8.3.1–3), in which the author

strongly stresses the adoption of the Median ceremonial. Xenophon is obviously using the latter as an element of a deliberate ideological strategy: in his idealized picture, he could indeed have rejected this adoption of an equivocal practice after Cyrus’ death, all the more as Herodotus does not credit the founder of the Persian Empire withthis innovation, butattributes it to a Median King, Deioces. Ananswer to the questions raised by Xenophon in this passage canbe gained only through a deeper analysis of the intellectual context within which the work hasbeen written. Therefore, the viewpoint of this study is notthat of the Iranists whoseek to determine what credit is to be given to Xenophon’s work when one wants to write the history of the Achaemenid Empire – even though a fruitful approach to this question of the ceremonial is equally relevant from that point of view.5 The aimhere is rather to shed some light ona Greek intellectual debate, within which the adoption of a “barbarian” ceremonial comes to take ona particular meaning. Some interpreters have avoided theproblem by assuming that Xenophon mentioned this episode in order to suggest that he washimself keeping his hero at a distance formoral reasons (see Carlier 1978, Gera 1993: 291–292 andrecently, Too 1998: 287). In adopting theMedian outfit, Cyrus would only be morerapidly ledto give uptheplain andstern “Persian style” described atthebeginning thework. This approach, initiated by Leo Strauss, is based on the underlying assumption that, in order to interpret the Cyropaedia correctly, oneshould be able toread“between the lines”.6From such a viewpoint, the adoption of the ceremonial would be one elementoftheironical complicity7 between Xenophon andhisGreek readers. Hewould

4 5



Delebecque 1978: 168: “les §§ 40–42 sont souvent jugés apocryphes parce queXenophon exdesidées contraires dans l’ É conomique 10.3–9”. It has been deemed possible to compare these episodes with the NewYear festivities taking place during the spring equinox in Persepolis: standing in front of the crowd, the Great King proved hiskinship withthedeity byperforming rituals which were supposed to awaken nature andtofavour universal fertility. SeeEddy 1961: 51–58. Indeed, in 8.3.34, Xenophon points out thatthisroyal procession is still taking place inhistime. Besides Xenophon wasabletobasehis description of theNowruz ceremonial onhisownexperience andonhisvision of thearmyled by Artaxerxes II during the Anabasis: see Sancisi-Weerdenburg 1980: 195 andSancisi-Weerdenburg 1991: 196. Therefore Xenophon maywell have described a genuine Persian procession, borrowing aspects fromthePersepolitan Nowruz andfrommilitary marches. Strauss 1939: 521, about theConstitution of theLacedaemonians. In another text (Strauss 1968), applying hismethod of “reading between thelines”, hewrites about theCyropaedia that: “Cyrus’ political activity andhis amazing successes consisted in shaping a stable andmoderate aristocracy into anunstable oriental despotism’ which collapsed right after hisdeath atlatest”. Fora similar perspective on‘ the matter, see Higgins 1977: 12, Glenn 1990 and, above all, Too 1998: 288, whogoes asfarassaying that “thediscrepancies intheCyropaedia aresufficiently explicit to demand that wereadthelines themselves”. See Cartledge 1993: 7: “is Xenophon best seen as a subtly ironical andallusively lucid writer (the ‘revisionist’ viewof the70’s and80’ s) orrather asanearnestly sententious andploddingly moralistic exponent of human affairs (the traditional andstill themajority view)?” There may be a happy medium between these two extreme positions: one could conceive Xenophon as being neither ironical norover-sententious. prime

TheMedo-Persian ceremonial


be underlining in an implicit waythe troubles resulting from such a change in the way of ruling. Many other scholars have reacted vigorously against this kind of interpretation, pointing outthelack of explicit evidence andtheinterpretative gapit implies.8 Onthe other hand, different answers have been putforward to solve the difficulties of interpretation which seem to be raised bytheadoption of theMedian ceremonial in the Cyropaedia.9 In such a context, an attempt to throw some light on the exact meaning of this ceremonial may allow us to define more precisely the interpretative stakes of the work itself. Firstly, when reading this text, we are led to raise the problem of “pomp” in fourth century Greece: how does an oligarchic thinker conceive the relationship between pompandauthority? Within whatframe is a spectacular performance to be displayed? Whois totake part init? Tothebenefit (andattheexpense) of whomare those imposing performances enacted? Wewill assume that this adoption of a foreign ceremonial byXenophon’s hero hasa political meaning, andnota moral one. AsB. Duereminds us, “whether Xenophon actually approved of the measures taken by Cyrus wecannot know andit is not important. What is important is to realize that he wasinterested in andunder-

stood the psychological mechanisms behind the strange customs he met in Persia” (Due 1989: 220 n.40). This pomp is a newgovernmental τέχνη, which is related to Cyrus’ settling in his palace; it is also linked to his wish to deal with issues of imperial deportment andof territorial security andnolonger with military problems. Asa matter of fact, if “it is a great thing tohave wonanempire, it is a still greater thing to preserve it after it hasbeen won”(Cyropaedia 7.5.76). Asit is meant to submit thesubjects’ bodies todiscipline bymeans of theuseof prostration (8.3.14), the ceremonial required by Xenophon’s Cyrus symmetrically introduces a reflection about the body of the sovereign himself and “the means whereby a manknows howto regulate his body well” .10For Xenophon, the problemis to find a good andexact balance between what is required by the ruling of such a huge empire – which obliges the ruler to resort to luxurious pomp – and those requirements imposed by the ruling of his ownbody11 – and, especially, the necessary inner asceticism of a good leader. I. THE CEREMONIAL: HOWTO MASTER ILLUSION

A. Cyrus the trickster Whereas his mother Mandane hadprecisely warned himagainst such anevolution whenCyrus wasstill a child (1.3.18), after thetaking of Babylon thelatter seems to adopt deliberately the customs he hadknown in Media, at his grandfather’s home,

8 Carlier’s article (1978) is thoroughly discussed byBreebaart 1983: 117–134, andmore precisely 133–134. Due 1989: 216–219 also criticizes Carlier’s point of view. 9 SeeWood 1964: 65, Breitenbach 1967: 1739 andAnderson 1974: 178–179forthefake parallel between the Oec.10.3–9 andCyr. 8.1.40–42. σειε. 10 Mem. 4.5.10: τὸ ἑ αυτοῦ σῶµα κ αλῶς δοι κή 11 See, in a similar perspective Foucault 1984: 27–35 andHindley 1994.



at a crucial moment of hispaideia.12 To describe the adopted ceremonial, the vocabulary of illusion andof make-believe is systematically resorted to:13 thepurpose is always to be impressive andto enhance, by all possible ways, themajesty of the royal person. Illusion andpublic performance arealways united in a dialectical way in theroyal pompwhich Cyrus chooses to adopt. Thewearing of theMedian dress, which hasonly anethnographical interest in Herodotus’ Histories, perfectly fits with this newpolitical use of the royal image described in the Cyropaedia: Cyrus thought “that if anyonehadanypersonal defect, that dress would help conceal it, andthat it made thewearer look very tall and very handsome” (8.1.40). In exactly the same way, “the shoes of such a form that without being detected the wearer can easily putsomething into the soles so as to make himlook taller than heis” (8.1.41) arepart of this performance staged bythe sovereign.14 Then, “the fashion of pencilling the eyes, that they might seem more lustrous than they are, andof using cosmetics (ἐντρίβε σθαι) to make thecomplexionlook better thannature madeit (ὡς ε ὐχροώ κασι)” (8.1.41) τε ροι ὁ ρ ῷντοἢ πε φύ reiterates this illusory relationship with reality.15 These deceptive manners have a political purpose which is to contribute “to their appearing to their subjects as men who could not lightly be despised” (8.1.42). There has been a shift from a logic of being to a logic of appearance, as if, gradually, the newrequirements of imperial ruling led to unavoidable adaptations: “We think, furthermore, that we have observed in Cyrus that heheld the opinion that a ruler ought to excel his subjects not only in point of being actually better than they, but that he ought also to cast a sort of spell (καταγοητε ύ ειν) uponthem” (8.1.40).16 Yet theonly other occurrence of a term based onγοητεία in Xenophon – inthe Anabasis – raises a doubt about the legitimacy of using such means. Onthe way back to the Black Sea, there was a rumour going around in the Greek army that Xenophon wanted to deceive histroop (ἐξαπατή σας: 5.7.5) instead of leading them back to Greece; andthis, with the purpose to draw them into a newadventure towards the river Phasis. In order to restore the situation, Xenophon is compelled to deliver them a reassuring speech: “But suppose youhave been deceived andbewitched by me (γοητε υ θέντας ὑπ᾽ ἐ µοῦ) andwe have come to the Phasis (...) I, whohave donethedeceiving will be onelone man,while you, thedeceived, will be close to tenthousand, with arms in your hands” (Anabasis 5.7.9).17 Therefore, cast12 See Grottannelli 1989: 187, ontheimportance of Cyrus’ stay inMedia inXenophon’s paideia. Onthe influence of the maternal uncle or grandfather as far as thepaideia is concerned, see Bremmer 1983.

13 Ἐ πι δε ι κνύ ναὶ φαίνοι ντο; φανε ροί; φαίνε σθαι ; δοκεῖν: Cyr. 8.1.41–42. 14 Strabo saysthat Persian leaders wearὑπόδηµακοῖ λον δι πλοῦν (15.3.19): seeHirsch 1985: 89. Whether this detail is true or false does not really matter here: what I aminterested in is the truly Greek interplay between appearance andreality. 15 For a different perspective, see Briant 1996: 238–239. 16 For a slightly different point of view, see Too 1998: 295. 17 In this extract, theuseof magical metaphor maybe linked to a hint of Colchian magic. But, of course, witchcraft and rhetoric go together quite often: Gorg. Hel. 10, Pl., Sph.234E–F, Plt. 303C, Euthyd. 289E–F, Mnx.234C. Socrates bewitched hisinterlocutors (R. 358B) (I owethese remarks andreferences to Christopher Tuplin). Conversely, in the Cyropaedia, the magic is a visual oneandnota rhetorical one.

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inga sort of spell is nota device tobeusedwiththeGreeks, least of all infront of an

army.18 Putting this scene in relation to the adoption of the Median ceremonial may seem, at first sight, rather difficult. WasXenophon caught upby History? Didhe feel obliged – especially because of his ownmemory of Herodotus’ work aswell as of his ownexperience of the Persian world – to mention a far from brilliant aspect of the reign of Cyrus, with that adoption of this delusive attire?19 Did he choose, in doing so, to hint, “between thelines”, that he waskeeping his hero at a distance?

B. The hidden king Cyrus seems tocome to a deadend.Indeed, besides thedeceptive aspect of ceremonials, bytaking upa newwayof life, he created a clear-cut separation between the king andhis countrymen.20 Yet, in the Agesilaus andthe Memorabilia, two other books by Xenophon, on the contrary, a charismatic leader is supposed to be approachable. A close comparison with the Agesilaus shows that the decision to remain distant can be considered to lead to a political deadlock. In the Agesilaus, indeed, Xenophon underlines the flaws of a kingdom in which the king seldom appears in public. Furthermore, Xenophon even draws a parallel with the situation in Persia. According to him, Agesilaus would have a lifestyle in complete contrast to theboastful pompof theGreat King (τῇ τοῦ Πέρσου ἀλαζονείᾳ) whowascriticized for his infrequent public appearances: “In the first place the Persian [king] thought his dignity required that he should be seldom seen (ὁ µὲν τῷ σπανίως ς), νετο): Agesilaus delighted to be constantly visible (ἀεὶ ἐ µφανή ὁ ρ ᾶσθαι ἐ σε µνύ believing that, whereas secrecy wasbecoming to anugly career (αἰ σχρουργίᾳµὲν τὸ ἀφανίζε σθαι πρέπε ιν), the light shed lustre (κόσµον) on a life of noble purpose” (Agesilaus 9.1).21 The same terms, σπά νι ος, σε µνό ς, κ όσµος, πρέπειν, cantherefore be found in both books – Cyropaedia 7.5.35 andAgesilaus 11.1 – but they are organised in a diametrically opposed fashion. Inthe Cyropaedia theemphasis is laid ontheidea of making fewbutimpressive appearances, σπά νι ό ς τε καὶ σε µνό ς, both terms being

18 Weshould here seethatthis negative judgement is forXenophon based merely oneffectiveness (contra Too 1998: 295). Indeed, such magical practices would only lead to the soldiery getting their revenge in theend. 19 See for example Tuplin 1990: 23–24. 20 Hemust“appear inpublic [only] onrare andsolemn occasions (σπά νιό ς τε καὶ σε µνός)”: Cyr. 7.5.37. This idea will be around for a long time afterwards, andfirst of all thanks to pseudoAristotle’s De Mundo. The invisible power is indeed the dream of an absolute power. As M. Senellart writes (after Kantorowicz), thewithdrawal of theprince corresponds to society applying the demand of visibility to itself (Senellart 1995: 280). In the Cyropaedia, the separation between the king andhis subjects leads to a control of society by “the King’s eyes andears” which aremultiplied (8.2.10– 12); after taking Babylon, while at the same time setting himself µον) formen”(8.1.22). apart fromthepeople, Cyrus becomes “asa lawwitheyes (βλέποντανό Invisibility cantherefore be equated with panoptism. 21 Onthis opposition between Cyrus andAgesilaus, see Tuplin 1994: 141. Onthe issue of the princeps clausus, seetheremarks made byBriant 1996: 270–272.



involved in a dialectical relationship since the scarcity of theking’s public appearances makes themall themoreexceptional andmemorable. IntheAgesilaus, onthe other hand, prestige is achieved bytheking’s maximum availability. Αἰ σχρου ργία, infamy, is what befits someone whomakes infrequent appearances andwhostays confined in his palace: once more, one sees the term πρέπειν which needs to be understood in the fullest sense of the word, as being critical of the monarchical lifestyle. TheGreat King’s σε µνό της means tobe “invested with aninvaluable dignity which, as it fully relies onpomp, conceals the individual’s inner void”.22For Xenophon’s Agesilaus, the king’s body is better dressed in a harsh andunceasing flow of light than in deceptive clothing. Asit is presented at thebeginning of theMemorabilia, Socrates’ character apparently comes to be seen as inevitably accessible, just like Agesilaus’: “Socrates lived ever intheopen(ἐν τῷφανε ρῷ); forearly inthemorning hewenttothepublic promenades andtraining-grounds (φανε ρό ς) (...) andtherest of the dayhe passed just where most people were to be met” (Memorabilia 1.1.10). Socrates leads a transparent lifestyle andtries to keep a balance between twoextreme positions: “as some will do or say anything in a crowd (ἐν ὄχλῳ) with no sense of shame (οὐδ᾽ ον ν), while others shrink even from going abroad among men(οὐδ᾽ἐ ξητι τέ αἰ σχρό εἰς ἀνθρώ πους)” (1.1.14). Whereas, in Babylon, Cyrus takes upthe latter attitude as he thinks upa ploy to isolate himself from his subjects, Socrates refuses to shirk other people’s opinion andcontrol. However, Socrates’ historical figure urges usto ponder further the alleged political relevance of a person’s accessibility: thephilosopher wassentenced to death in spite of his (allegedly) irreproachable behaviour in public life, when he should have been vindicated by his very demeanour (Memorabilia 1.1.17). Onemayput forward thehypothesis that Xenophon wasstrongly impressed bythelesson taught himbySocrates. Indeed, didhenotlearn thenthat behaving ina virtuous andpious wayinpublic wasnotenough? Does it notseem necessary then to lendweight to a man’s authority by carefully staging it, in order to defuse anyfeeling of envy that his success might foster?23 Within a context in which total visibility is the rule, the jury’s furious accusations directed against thephilosopher canbeexplained onlyby jealousy, phthonos: howwould oneotherwise understand thefact that Socrates’ life wasnot a sufficiently explicit expression of his demeanour, as wasthe case with Agesilaus (see alsoAgesilaus, 5.6–7)? Asa matter of fact, intheCyropaedia, Cyrus’ decision is mostly based on his fear of arousing envy: Cyrus wants to appear “in

22 See Loraux 1981: 323–324. Forthewordσε µνό ς, see Chantraine 1968, s.v. σέβοµαι: accordingtotheetymology “to withdraw” (*tyegw-), hence (1) tobeina state of religious fear or(2) to respect, butinσε µνό ς anditsderivatives, there is anerosion oftheancient meaning oftheterm, leading to a morenegative sense (viz. arrogance). Ontheambiguities of σε µνό ς andits derivatives, seeDeVries 1944, Loraux 1981: 323–331 and(within thecontext of thetragedy) Alaux 1995: 177–180. 23 Thethreat of φθό νος hovers over social relationships between thepeople andtheelite, butalso within the elite: to avert such a crisis is oneof Xenophon’s main goals. See for instance, Cyr. νος and 7.5.77; 8.2.19; Anab. 5.7.10; Ages. 1.4; Hiero 11.15; Mem.2.3.1–2; Symp. 3.9. Onφθό its role within the Athenian democracy, see Gouldner 1965: 57–58, Ober 1989: 74–76, 205– 206.

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such a waythat his public appearances should be rare andsolemn andyetexcite as νως) as possible” (7.5.37). When devising the ceremonial, little jealousy (ἐπι φθό Cyrus takes into consideration thebasest aspects of human life in order to establish a newroyal lifestyle. Besides, it is a fact that, in spite of all hisefforts, Socrates was seen bysome Athenians as a manwhowaswontto display a presumptuous formof dignity, a bad σε µνότ ης.24 As N. Loraux writes, Socrates would walk about the streets of Athens andhe would “put on airs (σε µνοπροσωπεῖ ς)”: such behaviour greatly irritated Aristophanes, andthe playwright Callias himself accused him of having taught his demeanour to his followers;25 Xenophon writes that, during his trial, “Socrates, byexalting himself before thecourt, brought ill-will (φθό νος) upon himself andmade his conviction bythejury more certain” (Apology 32). Inthelight of theMemorabilia, onerealizes that, in some cases, thebest wayto avoid appearing “pompous” is to control public appearances andto carry outa rational organisation of ceremonials. Within thecontext of the Cyropaedia, theMedianceremonial is based on a government τέχνη which allows oneto channel envy, φθό νος, once conquest is completed.

C. From Persia to Greece

Atthetime whenhewrote the Cyropaedia, Xenophon might have been disappointed by Sparta (e.g. Bizos 1973: 46–47). That would explain whyLacedaemonian royal austerity, asit is portrayed moreparticularly intheAgesilaus, is anexceptional attitude that Cyrus chooses notto take upin the Cyropaedia, once the empire is established.26 Certainly, this austere Lacedaemonian solution does not correspond

plays a demystifying role, σε µνό της is notshown in a favourable light: see for instance Taillardat 1962: 173–177. As a matter of fact, as Loraux 1980: 324 notes: “Σε µνό ς is anadjective which is at first sight laudatory, butin reality, thewordis loaded with derogatory connotations, andanyσε µνό της seems tobe ambiguous, even inthecase of a god(Zeus, in the Birds) orof a priest” (mytranslation). Indeed, Plato often usesthewordinanironic fashion, but De Vries 1944: 155 n. 271, points outthat thebalance between positive andnegative meaning is upset andinverted in the apocryphal works: the pseudo-Plato takes himself more seriously than the real oneand, full of σε µνότης, uses σε µνό ς as anhonorific term. Onecantell if the adjective hasa positive or a negative meaning only according to a careful analysis of the context. Ar.Nub.362–363: κἀφ᾽ἡµῖ ν σε µνοπροπσωπεῖ ς. Socrates is grave andimportant like theClouds which are also σε µναί(265, 291, 314, 364); Callias fr. 15KA (= Pedetai): τὶ δὲ σὺ σε µνοῖ καὶ φρονεῖς οὑτω µέ γα. See Loraux 1981: 325 andGreen 1997: 133: rolling his eyes, swelling with conceit, Socrates acts as anexample Cyrus must not follow, since he is at odds with the ideal of nihil admirari as it is displayed in theMedian ceremonial. Mueller-Goldingen 1995: 217 n. 4 clearly shows that theparallel between Agesilaus andCyrus cannot be drawn. “Doch in Wirklichkeit ist die Parallele nurscheinbar. Kyros macht es nicht zumPrinzip, selten erreichbar zusein, undrühmt sich dessen nicht”. See also Hirsch 1985: 44: “Some of Xenophon’s remarks aremanifestly tendentious, as whenhe seizes upontheremoteness of the king (...) as sign of shameful conduct andfaithless dealing. Even without detailed knowledge of the Persian court, common sense should have told him that the differences in scale between Sparta andthe Persian Empire made the situation of the two monarchs vastly different”.

24 Since comedy





to anyGreek ideology, especially notonewhich would stand in sharp contrast with the conception of Achaemenid pomp. A quick comparison maythus be drawn between Cyrus’ sumptuous procession in Babylon (8.3.9–24) andtheprocessions takingplace during thefestivals asXenophon shows in TheCavalry Commander (3.1– 14). This comparison unveils many similarities: one observes the same ritual aim (Cyropaedia 8.3.24; Cavalry Commander 3.1), a similar degree of visual illusion,27 thepresence in both cases of strategies of distinction,28 andabove all the same degree of solemnity: “howimposing (σε µνό ν) when [the regiments] stand facing one another again” (Cavalry Commander, 3.12). Just like the Cyropaedia, The Cavalry Commander therefore provides Xenophon with the opportunity to link the issue of pompwith that of deceit andthe necessity for distinction. As a matter of fact, pomp is discarded in the Greek world only inasmuch as it aims at satisfying private ends beyond the limits set up by public rules.29 One can then putforward thefollowing hypothesis: far from establishing anironic distance withhishero, infact, bymaking Cyrus take upMedian pomp, Xenophon is exercising a pragmatic reflection on the role of ceremonials and on the contexts within which they are allowed. II. THE KING ANDHIS COURT IN BABYLON

A. Finding the right distance Therole played bytheceremonial mustbereconsidered inrelation to thenewsituation after Babylon is conquered: contrary to what was going on with the army during thewar, whenit wasof theutmost importance forthechief tobe immediately accessible, in the newempire, a special place called the court is established exclusively fortheking andhisfollowers; whereas thedistance between people within the court is progressively abolished, the gapbetween it andthe outside world increases all the more. Cyrus tells us whyhe hadnotestablished such a separation whenhe wasstill waging war: “Perhaps someone mayaskwhyI didnotadopt this arrangement in thebeginning instead of making myself accessible to all (παρε ῖ χον ν). It was, I answer, because I realized that the demands of war ἐν τῷ µέσῳ ἐ µαυτό (τὰ τοῦ πολέµου τοι αῦτα ... ὄντά ) made it necessary. AndI thought generals who were seldom tobe seen (τοὺς δὲ σπανίους ἰ δεῖ ν στρ ατηγού ς) often neglected much 27 For The Cavalry Commander, the idea is to trick the Boulé while giving the impression of making thehorses gallop at a great speed (3.9). 28 Hipparch. 3.10: thegroup of cavalrymen mustride abreast into thehippodrome and“drive out the people standing there (ἐξε λά πους)”. The cavalry comσει αν τοὺς ἐκ τοῦ µέ σου ἀνθρώ mander andhiscavalrymen seek to setthemselves apart from thecrowd, just like Cyrus andhis companions.

29 Ontherelationship between private andpublic luxury, seeWhitehead 1983: 56–57, Ober 1989: 224–226, Kurke 1992: 106–107. See also for dress style aspolitical statement in Athens, Ober 1989: 206–207. Asto the Cyropaedia, see Due 1989: 219: “theprinciple that pompandsplendour areimportant andefficient instruments in ruling is accepted both in Athens andin Persia. Thedisagreement consists in defining howandbywhom”.

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that needed to be done” (Cyropaedia 7.5.46).30 Beyond Xenophon’s well-known equivalence between thevarious spheres in which authority canbe exercised, atthe same time, the specificity of each sphere is examined andpondered upon.31 This hypothesis could be substantiated by a comparison with the Oeconomicus. The parallelism between the adoption of the Median ceremonial (8.1.40–42) and Ischomachus’s chiding his wife about make-up (10.2–8) has been drawn quite a long time ago.32 Ischomachus, an expert on the subject of agricultural techniques andXenophon’s spokesman inthebook, tells Socrates howonedayhisyoung wife hadtried to make herself more attractive: “I noticed that herface wasmadeup:she hadrubbed in white lead in order to look even whiter than sheis, andalkanet juice to heighten the rosy colour of her cheeks; and she was wearing boots with thick soles to increase herheight” (Oeconomicus 10.2).33 Theparallel orrather the sharp contrast with the passage in the Cyropaedia is striking: Cyrus andhis fellow men “wear shoes which canbefitted with soles inorder tomakethemlook taller without anyone noticing it. Then, [Cyrus] tolerated eyeshadow sothat they looked like they hadmore beautiful eyes than in reality andhe also accepted make-up so that their complexion would seem to be more beautiful than it really was”(8.1.41). However, Ischomachus precisely complains about this kindof custom, andthis hasinduced a fewcommentators to consider thepassage fromtheCyropaedia to be apocryphal. Yet, he does not so much disapprove of the use of cosmetics themselves as of their use within an intimate context: “tricks (ἀπά ται) like these may serve to gull outsiders (τοὺς µὲν ἔ ξω), butpeople wholive together arebound tobe found out, if they try to deceive one another” (Oeconomicus 10.8). Through his spokesman Ischomachus, Xenophon even draws up a real topography of private life, of those places andsituations in which absolute intimacy can be found: “For they arefound outwhile they aredressing inthemorning; they perspire andarelost; a tear convicts them; thebath reveals them as they are!” (Oeconomicus 10.8).34 30 The military ideal of accessibility is also mentioned byXenophon’s Teleutias (Hell. 5.1.14) and byXenophon himself (Anab. 4.3.10). Fora broader point of view seePritchett 1974: 243–245. 31 The same type of distinction can be found in Isocrates (15.131) when he points outthat the νη) shown byTimotheus, thefamous Athenian general fromthefourth arrogance (µε γαλο φρο σύ century, wasanadvantage within a military context butthat it nevertheless caused hima lot of trouble in his relationships with thedêmos. See Ober 1989: 92. 32 See Holden 1890: ad loc. See also Wood 1964: 65, Breitenbach 1967: 1739, Anderson 1974: 178–179 andToo 1998: 296. Ontheambiguous useof make-up in ancient Greece, see Goldhill 1995: 82–83, 90–91 and1998: 114. 33 Once again, Xenophon goes against commonsense in this passage. Athenian wives surely had theright to make themselves upfortheir husbands, within theoikos. Butwhengoing out, they wereto showgreat restraint, especially interms of clothing. SeeFrontisi andVernant 1997: 88. 34 A moralistic vision is here inadequate to grasp thesubtlety of Xenophon’s thought in this matter. In the Memorabilia (4.2.17), the Athenian does not shy away from the idea of deceiving friends for their owngood or for the safety of the whole community. Indeed, Socrates says to Euthydemus: “Nowsuppose that a general, seeing that his army is downhearted, tells a lie and saysthatreinforcements areapproaching, andbymeans of this lie checks discouragement among themen,under which heading shall weputthis deception?” “Under justice, I think.” Xenophon is notalone to maintain that point of view: there is also a “noble lie” in Plato for whomevery



All the same, his criticism does not boil down to a mere moral disapproval: Ischomachus actually appeals to hiswife’s common sense. Within a context of intimacy, those deceptions are immediately disclosed andbesides they turn outto be necessarily “counterproductive”: someone who uses such ploys is then likely to lose therespect of his nearest anddearest.35 Asa matter of fact, thetransparency typical of theoikos (atleast inXenophon’s ideological reconstruction) is echoed by the “face to face society” 36embodied by thearmy at warbefore Babylon wastaken, thearmy in which such tricks are similarly forbidden. At the beginning of the book, Cambyses thus attempts to talk his sonoutof using tricks meant to make himlook better than his subjects: “not long after, whenyouwere giving anexhibition of your skill, youwould be shown upand convicted, too, as an impostor” (Cyropaedia 1.6.22). Just as in the Oeconomicus, deceit is notcriticized onmoral grounds butin terms of mere effectiveness within a context of visibility. Onewould see through the deceiver in notime, above all because the leader of an army finds himself under close scrutiny: he is always sure “that nothing he does escapes notice” (Cyropaedia 1.6.25).37 In such a situation, just as in the case of Ischomachus’ wife, it would be sheer madness to establish ceremonials without being able to control their side effects. As a matter of fact, in the Cyropaedia, irony can be felt when he describes Cyaxares, the Median uncle, still sitting enthroned onhischair inthemidst of themilitary campaign: “Meantime, Cyaxares came outin gorgeous attire (σε µνῶς κ ε κ ο σ µηµένος) andseated himself ona Median throne” (Cyropaedia 6.1.6). Asalways inXenophon’s account, Cyrus’ uncle takes action at thewrong moment andestablishes anill-timed distance while waris in full swing. He even makes his friends wait for him, which induces the fighters to turn to Cyrus whois himself always present andaccessible:38 “While Cyaxares was attiring himself (for he heard that there was a large concourse of people athisdoors), various friends werepresenting theallies to Cyrus” (Cyropaedia 6.1.1).39 In such a situation, Cyaxares’ behaviour is likely to look like that of the government mustresort touseful lies. See, forexample, Laws663D–E andBertrand 1999: 386–


35 AsAnderson 1974: 179 cunningly points out: “A ruler, seen from a distance, is notof course subject totheintimate betrayals that disclose a wife’s deceit toherhusband. Xenophon doesnot addthat nomanis a hero to his ownvalet”. 36 Ontheexpression “face to face society”, see Finley 1985: 57. 37 See also Ages.5.6: “weall knowthis, that thegreater a man’s fame, thefiercer is the light that beats onall his actions”. 38 Within a military context, waiting is evenlikely toleadtoa reversal of alliance: seeforinstance thecase of Callicratidas whochanged sides, ashewastired of always having to wait infront of Cyrus theYounger’s tent (Hell. 1.6.6–7). See also Plut. Mor. 222D. 39 Another instance of ill-timed ceremonial is given by Xenophon in Hell. 3.4.7–8: in Ephesus, Agesilaus is infuriated to see Lysander with a crowd of clients “so that Agesilaus appeared to be a manin private station andLysander king. NowAgesilaus showed afterwards that he also wasenraged (ἔµηνε) bythese things; butthethirty Spartiatae withhimweresojealous (φθόνου) that they could not keep silence, but said to Agesilaus that Lysander wasdoing an unlawful thing in conducting himself more pompously than royalty (ὡς παρ ά σανδρος νοµα ποιοίη Λύ τῆς βασι λείας ὀγκη ρό τερον δι ά γων)”. Reversing roles andvalues by such a behaviour, Lysander exacerbates the φθό νος, instead of channelling it.

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“wives whosit about like fine ladies (αἱ δ᾽ ἀεὶ κ α θή µεναι σε µνῶς)” andwho“expose themselves to comparison with painted and fraudulent hussies”, to borrow Ischomachus’ words to his wife (Oeconomicus 10.13).

Ontheother hand, after Babylon is taken, inthepacified empire, controlled and effective ceremonials are made possible. However, tricks are then aimed only at those whoare notpart of the sovereign’s newcourt. Indeed, since the members of the court constantly live together – like Ischomachus and his wife – a ploy of this kindcannot be tolerated. Thegreat procession (Cyropaedia 8.3) mustbe interpreted as thefirst real performance of theMedian ceremonial which wasmeant “to cast a sort of spell (καταγοητεύ ειν) upon the subjects” (8.1.40). The adoption of the ceremonial and the procession are linked by the same semantic field. Indeed, Xenophon writes about theprocession: “themagnificence (σε µνότης) of hisappearance in state seems tous to have been one of the arts that he devised to make his government command respect (µὴ ε ὐ κ ατα φρ ό νητον εἶ ναι)” (8.3.1). Thanks to a significant echo, the author here sends us back to the adoption of the Median ceremonial as described in 8.1.40–42: “All this hethought contributed, in some measure, to their appearing to their subjects menwhocould notlightly be despised (εἰς τὸ δυ σκ αταφρονητέρους φαίνε σθαι τοῖ ς ἀρχοµέ νοι ς)”. Besides, it is made clear in the text that Persians were clad in the Median dress for the first time in the procession. As is his wont, after mentioning a decision taken or after elaborating a theory, Xenophon shows howchanges areenacted in concrete terms. Within such a context, the solemn procession appears to be a concrete enforcementof theaforementioned distinction between theinside andtheoutside, between courtiers andthe other subjects. Indeed, theprocession is about “going out”, going out of the palace towards the ἔ ξω, the outside world.40 As it is described, everything is set for the procession to meet the criteria for a successful sham as hinted in the Oeconomicus: first of all, theprocession aims at deceiving “theoutsiders”, the subjects of defeated Babylon. Then, the organisation of theprocession guarantees that theking’s privacy will be preserved since thecrowd is kept at a distance: “rows of soldiers stood on this side of the street and on that, just as even to this day the Persians stand, where the king is to pass; andwithin these lines no one mayenter except those whohold positions of honour” (Cyropaedia 8.3.9). Besides its functional aspect, since order as it wasplanned mustnotbe upset, oneof theconditions for the success of theploy is found in the separation from thecrowd: as Xenophon writes in different circumstances, “distance gives safety andincreases the illusion” (Cavalry Commander 5.5).

νειν expresses thesolemnity 40 See theremark madebyDelebecque 1978: 108: “theverb ἐ ξε λαύ of an influential figure’s public appearance, just as, on the other hand, the word ‘ entrée’ in French applies to the ceremonial during a reception held in a great figure’s honour, in a city whether allied or defeated” (mytranslation).



B. Court and Pomp

TheMedian ceremonial is intimately linked to Cyrus’ settling in a palace: however, hissettling in a newplace does notmeanthat hewithdraws fromthepolitical scene and shuts himself off from society just as Sardanapalus did according to Ctesias.41 Xenophon indeed strives to blur the distinction between the public andthe private spheres as the Greeks conceived them,42 in order to establish a dialectic according to which there is a clear separation between thecourt andtheentire empire subjectedtothesovereign’s overwhelming yetbenevolent domination. A small-scale “face to face society”, thecourt is indeed organized like a space in which traditional distinctions are blurred: its organisation is similar to that of a limited public space in which wealth and glory are not only for the sovereign but also for a closely-knit oligarchic community. Therefore, atCyrus’ court, there is something of a confusion between private andpublic spheres.43 After Babylon is taken, the sharp contrast established between the royal oikos andthe entire empire is essential if one is to understand the organisation of the Median ceremonial. AsChrysantas, oneof Cyrus’ most loyal lieutenants, explains: “Well, Cyrus, it washitherto quite proper for youto make yourself approachable (εἰ κ ό τως ἐν τῷ φανερῷ σαυτὸν παρεῖ χες), for the reasons youhave yourself assigned andalso because we were not the ones whose favour youmost needed to win; forwewere withyouforourownsakes. Butit wasimperative foryouinevery wayto wintheaffections of themultitude (τὸ δὲ πλῆθος ἔδει ἀνακ τᾶσθαι ἐκ παντὸς τρόπου), sothat they might consent to toil andrisk their lives with usas gladly aspossible” (Cyropaedia 7.5.55). Forthefirst time, a clear-cut separation between Cyrus’ entourage andthe army is drawn. Trying to be close to the menor standing aloof areboth considered asploys, asmeans to trick meninto being more obedient. Therefore, creating orreducing distance is nota moral issue. Inboth cases, it hasto dowith a governmental τέχνη which is applied to different situations: it is applied either to anarmyoncampaign orto anempire organized around a newcenter, Babylon. One thus comes to realize that the Median ceremonial has a truly political purpose aimed at the outside world. Besides, this change canbe seen in the vocabulary used: at the endof Book 7, thewordhomotimoi (peers), which before wasapplied tothePersian nobility, comes todisappear andit is usedonly twice afterwards.44 Farfrombeing exceptions which 41 SeeAthen. 528F–529A, where Sardanapalus is seenasa “king withhisface covered withwhite lead andbejewelled like a woman, combing purple wool inthecompany of hisconcubines and sitting among them with knees uplifted, his eye-brows blackened, wearing a woman’s dress”. 42 Besides, according to Xenophon, “themanagement of private concerns differs only in point of number fromthat of public affairs” (Mem. 3.4.12) – andhe(like Plato) is here intotal disagreement, toto caelo, with Arist. Pol. 1252a7 sq.: “Those then whothink that the natures of the statesman, the royal ruler, the head of an estate andthe master of a family are the same, are mistaken – they imagine that thedifference between these various forms of authority is oneof greater andsmaller numbers, nota difference in kind”. 43 Regarding the same idea within anAchaemenid historical context, see Briant 1996: 478f. 44 Gera 1993: 289 n. 36 effectively tackles the issue in a different perspective. See also Tuplin 1996: 92–94.

The Medo-Persian ceremonial


would undermine ourhypothesis, these

twoinstances even confirm what hasbeen said so far. The first mention of the homotimoi, in 7.5.85, stages the evolution which is taking place: “I have nothing newto tell you, mymen; butjust as in Persia thepeers (οἱ ὁµότι µοι) spend their time at the government buildings (ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀρχείοι ς), so here also wepeers (τοὺς ὁ µοτίµους) mustpractise thesamethings aswedidthere”. As is often the case, Cyrus’ assertion is far from being sincere andit paves the way for profound changes. As D. L. Gera pointed out, Cyrus shows the settling in of the newcourt asa mere shifting of theformer Persian customs into conquered Babylon, wheninfact, thevery idea is to be nolonger atthedisposal of thepolis, near public buildings asin Persia. Thehidden agenda is to shift thelife of thecourt once andfor all withthenewking tohispalace (Gera 1993: 289). Thecrucial factor is nolonger one’s social background and the flawless compliance with the cursus honorum (1.2.15) which defined theideaofbelonging totheformer Persian ruling class known as the homotimoi: to fight one’s way into Cyrus’ entourage is the only thing that matters. Just before relinquishing the obsolete trappings of the Persian politeia, Cyrus conjures them upas though better to enforce hisradical reforms. The last instance of the word homotimoi allows us to have a deeper insight into Xenophon’s intentions. It is found when Cyrus, after consolidating his power in Babylon, travels to the land of his Fathers, Persia, bringing presents for his family, his friends and “all the homotimoi” ( Cyropaedia 8.5.21). His father Cambyses, the

constitutional monarch, still rules thePersian kingdom andsocial organisation, still based on age, remains unaffected by the reforms which are conceivable only in Babylon. The Persian people under Cambyses’ rule always wear plain clothes. A treaty of friendship between Persian authorities andCyrus is even signed: the very mentioning of such a treaty clearly shows that, in Xenophon’s mind, we are here dealing withtwotruly distinct powers. Indeed, theidea is tomaintain order, to guarantee the security of the newempire andalso to keep Persian politeia in its traditional forms (Cyropaedia 8.5.24). Thechanges brought about inthenomenclature correspond to a newworld and more precisely to a reorganization of the aristocracy at Cyrus’ court. From then on, the king’s entourage is called κ οι νῶνε ς.45This expression must be understood in terms of radical novelty: the“associates” around theking arenolonger only Persian homotimoi – forming an ethnically andsocially homogeneous group. Indeed, during the campaign which led to victory, successive rallyings have taken place: the lower classes of Persian society, Medians but also Armenians like Tigranes or Assyrians like Gadatas andGobryas (contra Carlier 1978: 151) were integrated into andassociated with Persian power. This evolution is confirmed for goodwhenXenophon depicts the great procession as it wasconceived by Cyrus: “he called to himthose of thePersians andof the allies whoheld office, anddistributed Median robes among them – andthis wasthe first timethatthePersians putontheMedian robe (πρ ῶτον Πέρσαι Μηδι κὴν στολὴν

45 Cyr. 8.1.16, 25, 36, 40, etc. Wealso find another setexpression, τοὺςπερὶ αὐτό ν (8.1.15; 8.1.16; 8.1.37, etc.)



ἐ νέδυ σαν)” (8.3.1). Those κ οι νῶνες arethusnowdefined bytherole they play and no longer by their ethnic background.46 We nowunderstand more clearly the following assertion (1.3.2): “the Persians at home even to this day have much plainer clothing anda more frugal way of life”. Onemight sometimes have thought of aninterpolation.47 In order to make his point, in the imaginary politeia sketched at the beginning of the book, Xenophon keeps onusing as best he can (and upto the epilogue) the fictitious distinction between thePersians whowear theMedian dress at theking’s court andthe majority of Persian people whokeep onwearing severe clothing.

C. Theoikos andthe court Theceremonial comes totake itsfull meaning only once thedistinction between the royal κ οι νῶνες andthe other subjects is firmly established: the latter are a crowd which must be mastered even if it implies using ploys. This distinction, which is an interpretative key, is sometimes blurred bytheambiguity of certain words. According to the context, the subjects, (οἱ ἀρχό µενοι ), become “the subjects in general”, the crowd; however, the word also sometimes means the members of the king’s entourage (as in 8.1.21 or 8.1.37: τοῖς ἀρχοµέ νοι ς). The courtiers andthe crowd aretheking’s subjects inboth cases. However, it does notprevent Cyrus fromtreatingboth groups in twoextremely different ways. Cyrus’ mainpreoccupation is to leave some free time forthose inhisentourage so that “his associates (κο ι νῶνας) in power should be such as they ought to be” (Cyropaedia 8.1.16). It is the time when “they passed a resolution that the nobles (ἐντίµους) should always be in attendance atcourt” (8.1.6) inasmuch as, for Cyrus, taking care of his companions consists above all in setting the example to them.48 Thecourt is like a “face to face society” which is based onfeelings of friendship or of love for the sovereign. The idea of continuously living together is essential for the form of government which wasset upin Babylon: “In the first place, if anyof those whowere able to live bythelabours of others failed to attend atcourt (ἐπὶ τὰς θύ ρας), hemadeinquiry after them; forhethought thatthose whocame (τοὺςπαρό ν46 Such a reconstruction is cast byXenophon in anideological perspective. Indeed, Briant 1996: 94 underlines historical reality whenhewrites: “in a global analysis of thepolitical staff under thefirst kings, onecomes torealize theprominent positions heldbythemembers of thePersian aristocracy in thegovernment of theempire. ThePersians aretheones whoaretheheadof the empire andwhoholdpositions of responsibility” (mytranslation). Paradoxically, Xenophon’s emphasis on the diversity of backgrounds represented at the court would seem to provide a better description of theethnic composition of elites inAlexander’s time: Savalli-Lestrade 1998. 47 Lincke 1874: 13ff., as quoted by Mueller-Goldingen 1995: 50. The latter does underline the problem at stake; however hedoes notfully establish thedistinction between theκο ι νῶνες and the Persians. For a study onthe evolution towards a more severe dress code in Athens in the fourth century, see Geddes 1987 andMiller 1997: part II, chapter 7 (incorporation of foreign items of dress).

48 Cyr. 8.1.6. Conversely, the useof theterm ἔ ντι µοι shows Xenophon’s refusal to usethe word τι µοι which is reminiscent of Persia. ὁ µό

TheMedo-Persian ceremonial


τας) would notbe willing to doanything dishonourable orimmoral, partly because they were inthepresence of their sovereign andpartly also because they knewthat, whatever they did, they would be under the eyes of the best menthere (τῶν βελτίστων)” (Cyropaedia 8.1.16). Onthe contrary, keeping out of sight of the crowd,

thesovereign andhiscourt observe principles of complete transparency andintimacy asfar as their relationships areconcerned. It is within this context that Cyrus “chose to weartheMedian dress himself and persuaded his associates (τοὺς κ ο ι νῶνας) also to adopt it” (Cyropaedia 8.1.40): just like Ischomachus with his wife, Cyrus shares everything with his companions. Consequently, the Median dress is meant to deceive only those who do not live at thecourt. Contrary to what Herodotus conceived Median ceremonials to be, i.e. an opportunity forthe sovereign to sethimself apart fromhisentourage, theceremonial enables Cyrus to reinforce the ties of the courtiers gathered around him in the palace, andto create a clear distinction between the court andthe crowd. This is whyoneneeds to qualify theparallels which have been drawn between theMedian ceremonial as it is mentioned in the Cyropaedia andthe introduction of Oriental µceremonials by the first Median sovereign, Deioces, in the Histories (1.99: ἐ σέ νυνε). In Herodotus’ work, the king thus wishes to make himself unapproachable for his former equals;49 he needs to prevent people whopreviously hada similar status from experiencing jealousy, φθό νος. Conversely, in the Cyropaedia, adopting the Median ceremonial is only the final step in a series of measures meant to separate the court as a whole from the entire empire.50 In Xenophon’s book, the Median dress is meant to help consolidate the bases of the community within the court, andto maintain deceptive relationships with the outside world.51 The comparison with the Oeconomicus then takes onits full meaning. Indeed, whenIschomachus chides hiswife for using make-up, heimposes his ownpoint of view by using the vocabulary of the community. Hisfirst argument consists in asserting that husband andwife cannot afford to fool each other since they are “partner in the goods (χρη µά των κ οι νωνό των ν)” and“partner in the body (τῶν σ ωµά σοντε ς)”; Ischomachus carries on: “Howthen should I seem more worthy κ ο ι νωνή of your love in this partnership of the body (κοι νωνό ς) – by striving to have my body hale andstrong whenI present it to you, andso literally to be of a goodcountenance in your sight, or by smearing mycheeks with redlead andpainting myself under the eyes with rouge before I show myself to youandclasp youin myarms, cheating youandoffering to your eyes andhands redlead instead of myreal flesh (χρ ωτό ς)?” (Oeconomicus 10.3–5). Within the context of the oikos, to cheat one’s associate byusing make-up is outof thequestion. 49 Forinstance, like Cyrus, Deioces forbids tohisformer companions to spit andlaugh in front of him. But contrary to the Persian, the Median king does nottake care here of the dignity of his former companions: Hisonly concern is to improve his ownσε µνό της in order to drawa sharp distinction between him andhis previous friends. See also Stroheker 1970: 279: “Xenophon umreisst also denbereits fürHerodot vorhandenen Typus desPrinceps Clausus andemfürihn freilich positiven Beispiel desKyros”. 50 TheMedian ceremonial functions within the context of changes which concern not only the king butalso his entourage. This is whatis notmentioned byCharlesworth 1947: 34–38. 51 See Breebaart 1983: 123: “Thesubjects, nottheequals, areto be bewitched”.



Ultimately, the newcourt established

by Cyrus in the Cyropaedia is a partner-

ship in the goods andin the body; ceremonials are used only in relations with the outside world. As matters stand, this type of community is no less asymmetrical than thecommunity conceived by Ischomachus. Just like thehusband in the Oeconomicus, Cyrus is in a position of strength andhe ensures infine that the system works properly. To the uneven relationship between the sexes in the Oeconomicus corresponds theuneven sharing of power in the Cyropaedia. In both cases, marital power androyal power are shared – with thewife or with thecourtiers – only inasmuch as those whohave authority arewilling to share a part of it. The system described by Xenophon’s text must be interpreted in the light of Herodotus’ Histories, on which he weaves his owntext: “But the Persians more than all menwelcome foreign customs. They wear the Median dress, thinking it more beautiful than their own, andthe Egyptian cuirass in war. Their luxurious practices areof all kinds, andall borrowed” (Histories 1.135). Theadoption of such customs is therefore made by all thePersians, unlike in Xenophon’s account, from

which all ethnic references are absent. Onthe one hand, in Herodotus’ work, the adoption of the Median στολή is only one of the elements which hint at the Persians’ capacity for acculturation; ontheother hand, inXenophon’s Cyropaedia, the adoption of a foreign ceremonial implies a necessary distance between thepolitical leaders andthose whoare governed, irrespective of ethnical background (MuellerGoldingen 1995: 90). Theemphasis laid ontheentourage of theleader – which is a constant preoccupation in Xenophon’s work52 – is what distinguishes Cyrus’ conception fromDeioces’: far from putting a damper onhiscompanions’ proud behaviour, Cyrus helps to “fabricate” it in order to set his “associates” definitively apart from theother subjects. If one takes into consideration this distinction between Cyrus’ court andthe empire, newlight is then shed on some passages from the beginning of the book. The Cyropaedia comes to regain internal coherence, andthe passage in which the future sovereign stays in Media takes on a clear meaning (1.3–4). The adoption of theMedian ceremonial hasoften seemed odd: indeed, whenCyrus came back from Persia after a long stay in Media, he hadprecisely decided to give upwearing the beautiful Median dress that his grandfather Astyages hadgiven himwhen he had arrived at a young agein this land of tyranny.53 In fact, this passage must be interpreted in the light of the context described by Xenophon: when Cyrus came back fromMedia, thelandof τ ρυφή (Cyropaedia 1.5.1), it wasnecessary forhimtorelinquish the splendour symbolized by the Median costume as a wayto put upwith the customs of his fellow-countrymen whowelcomed himback to his native country. However, bydescribing thereaction of Cyrus as a child, marvelling at his grandfather’s Median dress, Xenophon hadimplicitly underlined the idea of the political influence of pompongullible subjects:

52 In OnHorsemanship (11.10), theidea of theteam is also linked to theissue of the ceremonial andof pomp: thecavalry commander “mustattach muchmoreimportance to making thewhole

troop behind him worth looking at”. 53 Cyr. 1.3.2–3 and 1.4.26. See Gera 1993: 291.

TheMedo-Persian ceremonial


Then he noticed that his grandfather wasadorned with pencillings beneath his eyes, with rouge rubbed onhis face, andwith a wigof false hair – thecommon Median fashion. Forall this is Median, andsoaretheir purple tunics (πο ρ φυροῖ νδυες), thenecklaces about their necks, andthe χι τῶνες), andtheir mantles (κά bracelets (στρε πτοί) ontheir wrists, while thePersians athomeevento this day (καὶ νῦν ἔτι) have much plainer clothing anda more frugal way of life. So, observing his grandfather’s adornment (κό σ µος) and staring at him, he said: “Oh mother, how handsome my grandfather is!” (Cyropaedia 1.3.2).

This passage calls for tworemarks. First of all, one mayinvalidate the “interpolation” hypothesis which has been putforward on occasions, mainly for reasons of internal coherence in relation with the rest of the text andmore precisely with the adoption of theMedian ceremonial (see above, n. 47). However, onemust emphasize the fact that far from being a momentary feeling of wonder, the small boy’s bewilderment in front of his sumptuously dressed grandfather, is a paradigmatic situation: can not one consider that, by carefully staging his public appearances, Cyrus tries to place his subjects in the situation he found himself in whenhe wasa young bewildered child? The Median ceremonial could then be considered to be part of a broader strategy of infantilization.54 WasCyrus notcalled theFather of his subjects (Cyropaedia 8.2.9)? TheMedian ceremonial would therefore provide Cyrus with theopportunity to establish a strategy in order to invert the admiring attitude that he hadas a child. As often in the book, Cyrus goes from playing the role of the son (or the role of the perfect grandson) to that of the symbolical father. However, the king imposes this father figure only bycleverly reaching a happy medium between theobservance of Persian traditions andthe adoption of Median customs.55 III. MEDIAN SOFTNESS VERSUS PERSIAN FIRMNESS

A. Π όνος, or the splendour of sweat After describing the adoption of the Median ceremonial, Xenophon adds that it is not the only means Cyrus uses to separate his companions from the crowd of his subjects. Indeed, heclaims that: “Those, therefore, who[Cyrus] thought ought tobe in authority hethusprepared in his ownschool bycareful training (µε λέτῃ) aswell as by the respect (σε µνῶς) which he commanded as their leader” (Cyropaedia

54 See Azoulay 2000: 21–26. For another instance of a linkage between “noble deception” and infantilization, seealso Mem.4.1.17 where Socrates says toEuthydemus: “Suppose, again, that a man’s sonrefuses to take a dose of medicine whenheneeds it, andthefather induces himto take it bypretending that it is food, andcures himby means of this lie, where shall weputthis deception?” “Under justice, I think”. 55 The context is that of royal euergetism andnot that of the ceremonial. However, wemaysay that, besides natural gifts, a hieratic representation mayhelp himto be considered as a slightly distant father figure. See also Due 1989: 17, for other comparisons of a political chief to a “father” inGreek literature.



8.1.43). Therefore, there are twoways theking cantrain his entourage: he canuse respect, i.e. all the tricks Cyrus employs to make himself magnificent, stately and imposing – andmore precisely the adoption of the Median ceremonial; buthe can also train them to be virtuous byteaching them the meaning of πό νος, i.e. working ononeself andonone’s body.56 From then on, Cyrus considers that a luxurious wayof dressing andphysical exercise areintimately linked whereas, atthebeginning of the Cyropaedia, there is a clear-cut distinction between both aspects. Indeed, at the very beginning of the war(2.4.1–6), theyoung conqueror refuses to weartheMedian dress that Cyaxares, hisuncle, asks himto don, ontheoccasion of thevisit paidbyanIndian delegation. Instead of appearing “asbrilliant andsplendid aspossible (ὡς λα µπρ ό τατα καὶ σεµνό τατα)” (Cyropaedia 2.4.1), Cyrus chooses to act differently and,being accompaniedbymenin arms, heranupto the ambassadors still wearing “his Persian dress, which was not at all showy (ἐν τῇ Πε ρσι κῇ στολῇ οὐδέ ν τι ὑ βρι σµένῃ)” (2.4.5). Ashefaces Cyaxares’ anger, Cyrus justifies hisbehaviour: Should I be showing youmore respect, Cyaxares, if I arrayed myself in purple and adorned myself with bracelets and put on a necklace and at my leisure (σχ ολῇ) obeyed your orders, thanI have inobeying youwith such dispatch and accompanied by so large andso efficient an army? AndI have come myself adorned with sweat andmarks of haste (ἱ δ ρῶτι καὶ σπουδῇ καὶ αὐτὸς κε κοσµη µένος) to honour you andI present the others likewise obedient to you (Cyropaedia 2.4.6).

It is striking that the verb “to adorn” andthe idea of adornment should here apply to sweat andnotto richly coloured andbrocaded finery as in the ceremonial; staging theπό νος cantherefore be seen as a strategy of political showmeant to impress the spectators, just as a sumptuous ceremonial would do. Such a choice needs to be replaced within its context: theIndian delegation is notin the same situation as the submissive subjects of Babylon: they are foreign ambassadors whoare trying to decide which side tobeonintheforthcoming war, andwithin that context a display of strength is more useful andeffective than a sumptuous ceremony. Unlike Cyaxares, who, in any event throughout the Cyropaedia, prefers an elaborate wayof dressing tothesplendour of sweat,57 Cyrus is waiting forthewartobeover in order to use Median dress as a political weapon.58 However, once Babylon is taken, theadoption of theceremonial does notmean that Cyrus absolutely refuses the “splendour of sweat”. But, as circumstances dictate, one chooses sweat or sumptuous clothing. The same person must be able to 56 Ontheimportance ofπό νος inXenophon’s work, seeLoraux 1982: 171–192andmoreprecisely Johnstone 1994: 219–240. Johnstone shows howtheemphasis laid onπό νος corresponds to an aristocratic strategy of distinction. Similarly, the ceremonial (and learning to be virtuous) corresponds to ways of setting oneself apart. 57 See Due 1989: 108. Onthe importance of sweat in Xenophon’s work, see Cyr. 1.2.16; 1.6.17; 2.1.29; 2.2.30; 8.1.38; 8.7.12; Mem. 2.1.28; Symp. 2.18; Oec. 11.12 and4.20–25. 58 Therefore, there is noreason for denying thelegitimate aspect of theMedian ceremonial in the name of the “Indian” episode, as Gera 1993: 291 does.

TheMedo-Persian ceremonial


live in luxury andat the same time to meet the requirements of πό νος; indeed, just before theceremonial is adopted andbefore thesumptuous Median dress is donned, Xenophon points to Cyrus’ preoccupation with his entourage’s ability to control their bodies anddesires: “By this same exercise [i.e. hunting], too, hewasbest able to accustom his associates (τοῦς κ οι νῶνας) to temperance andthe endurance of hardship, to heat and cold, to hunger and thirst” (Cyropaedia 8.1.36).59 The men whoaregoing toweartheMedian costume areprecisely those whohavetoundergo these hardships. The same goes for the king (8.1.38).60 Xenophon therefore establishes a close link between Cyrus’ sumptuous appearance andthe strict corporal discipline he imposes upon himself. This original idea echoes a passage from theOeconomicus inwhich Lysander theSpartan is surprised νος to seethat hishost Cyrus theYounger harmoniously combines theculture of πό : “What, Cyrus?”, exclaimed Lysander, looking at him, with the display of τρυφή andmarking thebeauty andperfume of hisrobes, andthesplendour of thenecklaces andbangles andother jewels that he waswearing. “Didyoureally plant part of this with your ownhands?” Cyrus answers himthus: “I swear bytheSun-god that I never yet sat down to dinner when in sound health, without first working hard at some task of waroragriculture, orexerting myself somehow” (Oeconomicus 4.23– 24).61 In this passage as in the Cyropaedia, luxury is notnecessarily perceived as a sign of degeneration: on the contrary, luxury can embody the “splendour of royal power” (Briant 1996: 313), atleast whenit is combined with corporal exercise. The problematic richness of the Greek notion of τ ρυφή is here fully revealed dans toute

sa splendeur.62

Ceremonials arenotthemselves signs of thedangerous andcorrupting power of pomp. Furthermore, when Cyrus chooses to take upMedian pomp, he also decides

59 Onthe importance of hunting in Cyrus’ paideia, andmore generally in Xenophon’s work, see Schnapp 1997: 144–171 andBriant 1996: 242–244. is organized (8.3.1– 60 Aconfirmation of this hypothesis is tobefound inthewaythewhole ποµπή 34): after the splendid ceremonial where Cyrus appears for the first time in his extraordinary dress, thekingandhiscourtiers participate inhorse races (8.3.24–25) signifying thehighregard in which they holdphysical activities andthecare of their ownbodies. 61 SeeBriant 1996: 244–246. Thesamedialectical relationship is found intheAnabasis (1.5.7–8): the army being momentarily stopped by a muddy area difficult to cross for thewagons, Cyrus halted withhistrain of nobles anddignitaries (σὺντοῖςπερὶ αὐτὸν ἀρίστοις καὶ ε ὐ δαι µονε στά τοις). “Butit seemed tohimthat they took their time withthework; accordingly, asif in anger, hedirected thePersian nobles whoaccompanied himto take a handinhurrying onthewagons (...); they each threw off their purple cloaks (πο ρφυ ροῦς κ άνδυς) where they chanced to be standing (...) wearing their costly tunics andcoloured trousers, some of them, indeed, with necklaces around their necks andbracelets on their arms; andleaping at once, with all this


finery, into the mud, they lifted the wagons high anddryandbrought them out more quickly than onewould have thought possible”. Faster, mayweadd,than a Greek would have thought, considering theluxurious clothes wornbythese Persian noblemen. For study of the Greek stereotyped conception of τρυφή , see Passerini 1934, Cozzoli 1980, Lombardo 1983 andKurke 1992. In this paper, I develop a view quite parallel to that of Hindley (1999; andthis volume), whoargues that there is no total rejection of physical ἔ ρως in φρων ἔ ρ ως), Xenophon’s books. Xenophon accepts a moderate or self-controlled ἔ ρως (a σ ώ , i.e. a φρων τρυφή which takes pleasure in physical expression. Onecould also speak of a σ ώ andπόνος. wayof appearing andbeing which balanced dialectically τ ρυφή



to introduce a fewcustoms into the ceremonial itself, thus showing the importance . Cyrus he attaches to the πόνος: the πό νος is introduced into the heart of the τρυφή thus asks his κ οι νῶνες to be clad in Median dress buthe also henceforth urges them “not to spit or to wipe the nose in public (ὡς µὴ πτύ µενοι οντες µηδὲ ἀπο µυ ττό φανεροὶ ε ἶ εν)” (Cyropaedia 8.1.42): in other words, he asks them to observe strict principles of personal hygiene. Cyrus wants to stage a cleverly designed show in which his companions would convincingly appear as disciplined menwhorevel in physical effort in a truly virile way. Indeed, such a behaviour implies regular physical exercise since Xenophon writes at the beginning of the Cyropaedia (about the Persians andnotabout theking’s court) that: There remains even unto this dayevidence (µαρτύ ρια) of their moderate fare (τῆς µε τρίας δι αίτης) andof their working off by exercise what they eat: for even to thepresent time it is a breach of decorum for a Persian to spit orto blow his nose (τὸ πτύ ειν καὶ τὸ ἀποµύττε σθαι) or to appear afflicted with flatulence; it is a breach of decorum also to be seen going apart either to makewater or for anything else of that kind. Andthis would not be possible for them, if they didnotleadan abstemious life (δι αίτῃ µε τρίᾳ) andthrow off themoisture by hard work (ἐκπονοῦντες), so that it passes off in some other way(1.2.16: italics mine).63

Besides, in this passage, we see that the ceremonial adopted by Cyrus in Babylon notonly corresponds totheintroduction of Median customs butalso totheadoption of typically Persian practices designed for a court which hasmany different ethnic backgrounds: acculturation is reciprocal andis not achieved only in onewayas in Herodotus’ book. Instead of theMedian ceremonial, onemust talk about theMedoPersian ceremonial. While displaying their τ ρυφή in dress, the κοι νῶνες display their perfect physical discipline which shows their δίαιτα µέ τρι α, their balanced diet.

Asa matter of fact, intheepilogue, Xenophon criticizes shallow ceremonials in – do not enwhich physical appearance and the dress code – which denote τ ρυφή compass the concomitant practices of ἐ γκ ρά τεια andof πόνο ς.64The ceremonial made sense only inasmuch as it implied “physical effort” 65by wayof consequence. 63 Before adopting the ceremonial, in a carefully prepared show (7.5.37–39), Cyrus lays the emphasis ondeportment byshowing theembarrassing situations hisfriends could findthemselves in, if a protocol wasnot established: after waiting for a long time because of the crowd who absolutely wanted to see Cyrus, when his friends were able to go home at last, “ [they] gladly departed, running fromhispresence, forthey hadpaidthepenalty for ignoring all thewants of nature (ὑπὸ πά ντωντῶν ἀναγκαίων)”. Farfrombeing a scene “inbadtaste” (Delebecque 1978: adloc.), thepassage points atthenecessity to establish a ceremonial which would in anyevent prevent Cyrus’ companions from running therisk of behaving in a vulgar way(andtherefore of being despised). Forbidding to urinate, a Persian custom as shown by Herodotus (1.138), is therefore dealt with in a political perspective byXenophon. 64 Cyr. 8.8.8: “In the next place, as I will nowshow, they donotcare for their physical strength (οὐδὲ τῶν σ ωµά των ἐ πι µέλονται) asthey usedto do”. 65 The parallel with the ToNicocles (2.32) is striking: “Be sumptuous in your dress andpersonal φα µὲν ἐν ταῖ ς ἐ σ θῆσι καὶ τοῖς περὶ τὸ σῶµα κόσµοι ς); butsimple andsevere, adornment (τρύ as befits a king, in your other habits (καρτε ρεῖ δὲ ὡς χρὴ τοὺς βασι λε ύοντας ἐν τοῖς ἄλλοις

TheMedo-Persian ceremonial


The ceremonial is then no more than an empty frame: “For example, it used to be their custom neither to spit norto blowthenose. It is obvious that they observed this custom not for the sake of saving the moisture in the body, but from the wish to harden the body by labour and perspiration (δι ὰ πό µατα νων καὶ ἱ δ ρῶτος τὰ σ ώ στε ρε οῦσθαι). But nowthe custom of refraining from spitting or blowing the nose still continues, butthey never give themselves the trouble to work off the moisture in some other direction” (Cyropaedia 8.8.8–9).

B. The virtue of τρ υφή Within this context, the epilogue takes on a different meaning;66 Xenophon does indeed endupcriticizing the court dress code, butit should notbe interpreted as an wasallowed, as outright rejection of luxurious dress. To dress with a certain τ ρυφή long as theperson’s behaviour went beyond themere quest for comfort andluxury. However, whereas wearing beautiful clothes wasnot anendin itself andplayed a public role in Cyrus’ time, from then onit would correspond to therelentless search for comforts. Consequently, the only purpose for wearing clothes is to satisfy private ends. In the ideological reconstruction laid out by Xenophon, the main problemtheAchaemenid empire faces is the giving upof Persian customs to thebenefit of Median practices: “Furthermore, they are much more effeminate nowthan they were in Cyrus’ day. For at that time they still adhered to the old discipline andthe old abstinence that they received from the Persians, but adopted the Median garb andMedian luxury; now, on the contrary, they are allowing the rigour of the Persians to die out(τῇἐκ Π ε ρσῶν παι δείᾳκαὶ ἐ γκρατείᾳἐ χ ρῶντο), while they keep δων στολῇ καὶ ἁβρότητι)” (Cyropaedia upthe effeminacy of the Medes (τῇ δὲ Μή 8.8.15). In order to avoid going into decline, it is necessary to maintain a balance between luxurious clothing – along with its corresponding values – anda well-ordered life. For Xenophon, the very legitimacy of the ceremonial depends on this requirement to combine luxury andeffort, instead of having one or the other in an alternate fashion; if this rule is notrespected, theentire system is doomed to failure

. in the τρυφή

but, at the same Therefore, the king must have the appearance of the τ ρυφή . The Median ceremonial infine contime, his behaviour must be worthy of ἀρετή , uponthetension sists in a meditation uponthereality andappearance of theτ ρ υφή a king must establish between being andappearing. Cyrus makes a distinction between thecourtiers andthewhole empire. Those wholive outside thecourt mayand must let themselves be wonover by the lure of appearances; we then see that the sovereign’s andhiscompanions’ outward τ ρυφή originates from a carefully thoughtoutstrategy based onthe great fascination luxury holds for people (see also Briant


µασι ν)”. Closely following Xenophon’s distinction, Isocrates establishes a dichotoἐ πι τηδε ύ andinternal ἐγκ ρά mybetween external τ ρυφή τεια. Fora thoughtful interpretation of this palinody, seeTatum 1989: 215–239, andmoregenerally, Briant 1989.



1996: 311–313). However, at the palace and within the king’s entourage, moral


andself-control areencouraged.

Insuchcircumstances, thedilemma Heracles faces intheMemorabilia (2.1.17– 22) takes on its full meaning: the hero must choose between Κακία andἈ ρετή , between a life devoted to pleasure anda life dedicated to working andbeing virtuous.67 Κ ακία is embodied by a beautiful woman whose height is increased by beautiful shoes andwhose beauty is enhanced by make-up anda sumptuous garb (ina striking analogy withthedescription of theceremonial inBabylon). Shepromises the pretender to the throne a life of pleasure, but she fails to seduce Heracles

whois in full control of himself. Thehero refuses to yield to heroffers because he assuredly displays “moral andspiritual force”, butalso because hedoes notwantto set aside political andmilitary action as Κακία urges himto do(“of wars andworries youshall notthink”: 2.1.24). Under nocircumstances shall a manwhowants to become king lethimself beseduced byΚακία– andbythebodily pleasures.68 However, nothing prevents him from using the appearance of Κ ακία in order to hold sway over his subjects while, at the same time, leading a life worthy of ἀρετή .

C. Cyrus theMedian or Cyrus thePersian? Cyrus always tries to combine the teachings of Persia andMedia, the twoplaces where he was brought up (and also his two genetic inheritances).69 The Persian legacy does appeal to himinasmuch ashe actually tries to showhimself superior to his subjects; buthe knows that it is no longer enough: conjuring andshowing are necessary to control thenewly conquered nations. Cyrus sets upa political balance between the Median andthe Persian legacies. In this respect, it seems to us irrelevant to consider, as some have done,70 that the endof the book andthe settling in Babylon leadto a complete reversal of situation andto theunequivocal adoption of Median customs, whether in terms of clothing, food, orin terms of legal andpolitical systems. TheMedo-Persian balance canbe seen inthedress code, aswehave previously pointed out. It can also be seen in food – one of the important factors of the (see Schmitt-Pantel 1992: 430–433) – since, inreturn forthedelicious meals τ ρυφή

67 Onthis much-discussed episode, seefor instance Loraux 1989: 59; onthelegacy of thetheme, during the Middle Ages andthe Renaissance, see Panofsky 1930 andRochette 1998: 106–113 (with bibliography). However, commentators usually set little store by Xenophon’s political questioning of Prodicus’ parable: Socrates uses Heracles’ case within thecontext of a reflection aiming atdetermining whois capable ofruling, andnotmerely inthemoral terms Cynics would useto tackle the issue (contra Hoistad 1948). 68 Forthesame idea within a different context, see Hindley 1994. 69 Myinterpretation is closely akin toTuplin’s 1996: 95: “Theimperial end-result does represent a mixture of Median principles of royal superiority, military principles of a calculated mixture of comradeship andsubordination, andPersian principles of formal education”. 70 E.g. Too 1998: 294–301 andGera 1993: 293: “[Medes andPersians] are nowalike in their dress, eating habits, aloofness from their subjects, grandizement”.


attitude towards

the law, self-ag-

TheMedo-Persian ceremonial


at the king’s table, the king demands of his companions (including himself) that they should do some physical exercise. Indeed, thanks to the practice of hunting, “he wasbest able to accustom his associates to temperance andthe endurance of hardship, to heat andcold, to hunger andthirst” (8.1.36). Furthermore, “ [Cyrus himself] never dined without first having got himself into a sweat” (8.1.38).71 Similarly, hisconcern for a Medo-Persian balance is obvious inthelegal andpolitical way of handling things. Cyrus does not try to exercise his power without restraint, as Astyages does in Media (1.3.18). It is true that what wassaid of Cyrus’ father (“his standard is nothis will butthe law”72)nolonger holds goodfor the son, but, onthe other hand, it does not mean that the young conqueror goes as far as replacing the lawbyhisowngoodwill. After taking Babylon, Cyrus comes to think that thegood ruler is “as a law with eyes (βλέποντα νό µον) for men” (Cyropaedia 8.1.22: see Tuplin 1996: 91). However such a conception does notmeanthat theking becomes µος ἔ µψυχος). Xenophon simply shows Cyrus as being the enlaw incarnate (νό forcer of thewritten laws which would be ineffective without external support. Far from substantiating a self-normative andproto-hellenistic conception of monarchy, Xenophon only summons up an aristocratic commonplace which he had already used in the Oeconomicus.73 Once again, it has to do with a skilfully-maintained balance between strictly obeying Persian written laws andyielding to royal whims inMedia. Asto Cyrus’ allegedly excessive behaviour (πλε ονε ξία) after Babylon is taken, as is underlined by Xenophon, it is witnessed only in the fears of the conqueror’s father.74 The latter indeed reminds his son howdifficult it is to maintain the balance he tried to establish when he acceded to the throne; in the event, this successful butunstable balance is lost at Cyrus’ death. Finally, the distance set up byCyrus bears norelation to the stilted Median ceremonial. In this respect, it does notseempossible to compare Cyrus’ separation from thecrowd during theprocession (8.3.19–23) with Astyages’ situation in Media (1.3.8). Indeed, in Astyages’ case, theMedian king is unapproachable both for the subjects andfor the courtiers indiscriminately;75 in Cyrus’ case, however, as wehave pointed outearlier on, the sovereign is andmustbe accessible to the courtiers.

71 Cyr. 8.2.4 and 1.3.4

cannot be compared as they are by Gera 1993: 293, without similarly mentioning 8.1.36 and38. As a matter of fact, Gera is fully aware that Cyrus does nottake up his grandfather’s typically Median drinking habit (1.3.10).

72 Cyr. 1.3.18. 73 See Oec. 9.14– 15 andPomeroy’s interpretation (1994: 302–303). Evidently, the scale is very different between theoikos of Ischomachus andtheempire of Cyrus. Butthelogic seems to be µος ἔµthe same for Xenophon (cf. Cyr. 5.1.24 andOec. 7.32–34). Onthe question of the νό ψυ χος, see e.g. Aalders 1969. 74 It seems difficult to establish a connection between 1.4.20, 1.4.26 and8.5.24: if youon your as youdo part become puffed upbyyour present successes andattempt to govern thePersians “


those other nations...” (italics mine). Astyages would be better compared to Deioces in Herodotus (1.99): both are kings andboth aredifficult to approach bythecourtiers.

of Media



*** AnAthenian in quest of distinction like Xenophon could usedtwoaristocratic strategies toconfront theusual democratic ethos. Thefirst andmostcustomary approach wasto adopt an austere wayof being andappearing which ledto laconism: in the Cyropaedia, the Persian politeia described in the beginning of the work expresses that range of values. Conversely, one could also choose to distinguish oneself by displaying a powerful andimpressive richness which wasassociated with Eastern luxury andmedism.76 In the Cyropaedia, Xenophon imagines an happy medium between these two ideological solutions: Cyrus is an accomplished “equilibrist”, an outstanding man whose moderation enabled him“to reduce to obedience a vast number of menand cities andnations” (Cyropaedia 1.1.3). In spite of what has often been said, the Cyropaedia does deserve its title:77 upto the very endof the book, excluding the epilogue, Xenophon shows howa dualpaideia, being both Persian andMedian, can be thekeyto thecreation of anideal government. BIBLIOGRAPHY Aalders, G. J. D., 1969, ΝΟΜΟΣ Ἐ ΜΨΥΧ ΟΣ”, in P. Steinmetz (ed.), Politeia undRespublica (Wiesbaden): 315–329. “ Alaux, J., 1995, Le liège et lefilet. Filiation et lienfamilial dans la tragédie athénienne du Vesiècle av. J.-C. (Paris). Anderson, J. K., 1974, Xenophon (London). Azoulay, V., 2000, “Xénophon, la Cyropédie et les eunuques”, Revue française d’histoire des idées politiques, 11: 3–26.

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Devrons-nous (...) renoncer à confronter les sociétés guerrières duMoyen Age occidental et la société homérique sous prétexte quel’ uneappartient, selon la terminologie de Marx et d’Engels, à l’Antiquité “esclavagiste” et l’ autre à la société “féodale”? (...) oubien, limitant, par exemple, l’ existence d’une “féodalité” aux seules sociétés de l’ occident médiéval et du Japon, le champ de la comparaison setrouvera extraordinairement limité, ce quiexclurait dudomaine de nos études toute une série de recherches qui ont prouvé le mouvement en marchant (Vidal-Naquet 1974: 141).

Chezles historiens grecs quitraitent del’ empire achéménide, parmi lesquels Xénophon occupe la place la plus éminente, onnepeut manquer d’être frappé parle fait

quecertaines pratiques régissant la société perse présentent d’étonnantes similitudes avec ce que les historiens médiévistes désignent par le terme de “vassalité”, c’ est-à-dire ce “contrat parlequel unhomme devient le dépendant d’unautre homme, le seigneur” (Lemarignier 1970: 126) et qui instaure entre eux unerelation de “réciprocité dans des échanges inégaux” (Le Goff 1977: 320). Toutefois de tels parallélismes ontsuscité desrésistances deprincipe oud’ordre théorique etd’ailleurs ne vont pas sans poser des problèmes méthodologiques. La citation figurant enépigraphe résume assez bien unedesréticences les plus difficiles à surmonter dansl’historiographie contemporaine, singulièrement enFrance: la démarche comparatiste y est généralement décriée ence qu’elle vaà l’encontre d’hypothèses deMarx, qui, bien queprésentées comme telles parl’économiste lui-même, furent érigées en dogmes parcertains gardiens duTemple.2 En l’ occurrence, onpeut toutefois affirmer, parodiant la formule reprise parPierre Vidal-Naquet, qu’enfait d’ethno-histoire, force marcheurs, etdesplusillustres, ontdéjàprouvé l’existence dumouvement.3 Il serait donc dommageable de se priver d’un tel


2 3

Je voudrais développer ici uneanalyse, unpeurapidement esquissée dans Petit 1990: 148–149, etn. 161; cf. Briant 1988: 109, n. 60; 1996: 949, 336–337. Je tiens à remercier très chaleureusement J.-L. Kupper, Professeur d’histoire médiévale à l’ Université de Liège, pour sa lecture attentive decesquelques pages et sesprécieuses remarques, ainsi queBenoît Tock del’Université deStrasbourg. Les erreurs quisubsisteraient sont bien sûrdemonfait. Surce point, je mesuis déjà expliqué: Petit 1990: 243–253. Nombreux sont les auteurs, historiens comme sociologues, à avoir utilisé le comparatisme anthropologique et historique avec succès (par exemple, Herlihy 1970); Marc Bloch lui-même plaidait pourunehistoire comparative et la pratiquait avec succès tant dansLes rois thaumaturges quedans La société féodale (Herlihy 1970: XIX; Oexle 1997: 57–59; deMontlibert 1997: 73). Dans le domaine del’histoire économique, les analyses deKarl Polanyi sont fondées surla méthode comparatiste, ce qui suscite desréactions passionnées chez les historiens deprofes-



outil herméneutique ense refusant à comparer les pratiques devassalité dans différentes sociétés historiques, enparticulier la société achéménide et la société médiévale, parangon dessociétés vassaliques (dumoins chez les historiens occidentaux). La démarche permettrait d’éclairer certains faits historiques et institutionnels de l’ empire perse, jusqu’ici énigmatiques. Uneseconde objection plus sérieuse fut avancée contre la démarche comparatiste par certains auteurs, à juste titre échaudés par des excès ou déviances de la méthode: ils en conclurent que, le plus souvent, la mise en parallèle de traits de culture oud’institutions desociétés n’ayant entre elles aucun lien topographique ou historique est artifice et purjeu de l’esprit, qu’en bref, comme le dit le proverbe français “comparaison n’estpasraison” (voir, parexemple, Servet etal. 1998: 396).4 Sans aller jusque là, il faut cependant garder à l’ esprit qu’unetelle méthode n’est légitime quesi elle est assortie dedeux précautions. (1) Autravers destémoignages, il faut analyser lesfaits, nonisolément, maisen tant qu’ils constituent un système, qu’ils s’inscrivent dans une structure; l’ étude présente toutes les garanties d’efficacité et de légitimité dès lors qu’il s’agit des structures institutionnelles et sociales (Le Goff 1977: 365; voir n. 3). C’est le principe quiguidera les développements quisuivent. (2) Il convient aussi deprendre en compte et derésoudre aupréalable les problèmes terminologiques et, conséquemment, conceptuels.


sion (Servet et al. 1998: 396). En archéologie, Colin Renfrew se livre, sans hésitation et avec fruit, à la comparaison anthropologique (Renfrew 1990: 301), car, comme le pense Claude LévyStraus (cité parRenfrew 1990: 304), les homologies structurales discernables dansdessociétés sans origines communes ni contacts sont dues à desfacteurs plus généraux et nonà unecollectivité historique spécifique. Mais le parangon en la matière est, bien sûr, MaxWeber dont la totalité deWirtschaft undGesellschaft estfondée surle comparatisme; voir, enparticulier, pour la “féodalité”, Weber 1972: 640–641, où, dans une vision d’unelucidité étonnante, le “satrapat tributaire” est associé au“lien féodal defidélité personnelle” (cf. entre autres paragraphes Weber 1972: 150–151). Voir aussi Hintze 1962: 87–90. Pourles préjugés quiontlongtemps jeté le discrédit surle comparatisme, voir la citation mise enépigraphe (Vidal-Naquet 1974: 141). Le Goff lui-même (1977: 352, 402–410) utilise l’ approche anthropologique et a recours à dessociétés noneuropéennes pourexpliquer la vassalité médiévale (voir aussi Coulborn 1956). Pourquoi la démarche inverse serait-elle moins légitime? Si uneorigine germanique dela vassalité occidentale est désormais douteuse (Werner 1998: 421– 422; Barthélemy 1997: 327–328, 333 et n. 64), ce qui, enrevanche, nel’estpas, c’estla similitude d’institutions quipeutexister dans dessociétés très diverses pour régler les relations dedépendance dans descivilisations encore frustes, toute influence historique oudiffusionnisme étant exclu. Ainsi la Gefolgschaft germanique est tout à fait comparable aux buccellarii romains (Werner 1998: 422–423). Cette institution n’est donc pas unmonopole des Germains, ni même indo-européen: ainsi Weber (1997: 69–70) parle également de la Gefolgschaft derrière les rois d’Israël ainsi que des confréries de guerriers (Männerbunde: Weber 1997: 128–129). Ontrouve même desparallèles deces pratiques en Polynésie (Claessen 1996: 341) et à Hawaï (Van Bakel 1996: 332). Il y eut par le passé des tentatives de relever, au sein des sociétés iraniennes en général et achéménide enparticulier, destraits “féodaux”. Laplus systématique futcelle deG.Widengren quifut, àjuste titre, critiquée pour soncôté “unilatéralement féodal” (Briant 1996: 949).

Xénophon et la vassalité Achéménide


Vocables et concepts

Dans notre Moyen-Âge occidental, la relation vassalique s’accompagne (presque) toujours dela cession d’unfief, d’unbien foncier, en contrepartie de services rendusparle bénéficiaire. La combinaison desdeux institutions, féodalité (all. Lehnswesen) et vassalité, constitue le “féodalisme”(all. Feudalismus) (Hintze 1962: 94– 96; Petit 1990: 247–248). Orl’on confond souvent ce quirelève dela vassalité et ce quiressortit à la féodalité, auprétexte qu’on les trouve associées ausein duféodalisme occidental. De cette imprécision des termes naît une grande confusion des concepts. Bien que, dans la pratique, ils soient souvent liés, l’ on peut toutefois distinguer vassalité, féodalité et féodalisme (ou“structure féodo-vassalique”). À cette condition, il estlégitime deparler devassalité dansl’ empire achéménide (Petit 1990:


Le “système ” vassalique

Cetype derelations seretrouve mutatis mutandis dansdiverses sociétés; et cela n’a rien pour surprendre, puisque la nécessité de s’assurer la protection d’unpuissant ne peut trouver d’innombrables formes institutionnelles, la clientèle et la vassalité constituant les deux formes dominantes (Bloch 1989: 212–217). C’est bien sûren Occident, dans la société médiévale, que cette institution fut la plus conséquente. C’est là quel’on trouve le système le plus achevé et le plus représentatif desrapports vassaliques. J. Le Goff (1977: 353–369; 419) a misenlumière le système qui est à la base deces rapports. Selon lui, les rites de vassalité se composent de trois

parties essentielles, quireprésentent les différents aspects dela relation vassalique. À ce titre, tousles éléments decesrites sont étroitement interdépendants et neprennent designification qu’accomplis simultanément: autrement dit, ils constituent un système (LeGoff 1977: 415). Letout doitêtre sacralisé parunecérémonie (Lemarignier 1970: 127). C’estle rituel del’hommage. Il comporte trois parties, quichacune mettent enoeuvre gestes, paroles, objets (Le Goff 1977: 352; voir aussi Duby 1984: 163–164): l’hommage, la foi, l’ investiture. (1) L’ hommage (lat. hommagium ou commendatio; all. Mannschaft: Hintze 1962: 91; Herlihy 1970: XIV, 70– 1, 98; Duby 1984: 163–164), première phase de la cérémonie, comporte lui-même deux parties: (la) la déclaration, l’ engagement duvassal envers le seigneur à devenir son “homme” (élément verbal); et (1b) l’ immixtio manuum (élément gestuel), qui consiste pour le vassal à s’avancer mains jointes devant le seigneur et pour celui-ci à prendre entre les siennes les mains du vassal ainsi présentées (Werner 1998: 422, 428). Des variantes peuvent cependant exister quiaccentuent l’ infériorité symbolique duvassal (Le Goff 1977: 355–356). Il est clair queles deux rites, engagement et immixtio manuum, marquent la subordination duvassal parrapport auseigneur, selon unerelation quel’on peut schématiser avec Le Goff (1977: 419) parla formule: seigneur > vassal. 2) La “foi” (lat. fides; all. Treue), elle aussi, se compose de deux rites: (2a) l’osculum, le baiser queles deux hommes se donnent surla bouche; et (2b) le ser-



mentprêté surla Bible ousurdesreliques. À ce stade, les deux parties semblent sur unpied d’égalité: seigneur = vassal (Le Goff 1977: 419). (3) Enfin, l’investiture dufief est, enOccident, inséparable dela vassalité. Cet-

te dernière

étape implique

uncontrat oùle vassal


sa fidélité et sa soumis-

sioncontre laprotection duseigneur et unavantage matériel (fief oubénéfice). À ce stade, le vassal reçoit parfois duseigneur unobjet quireprésente la concession d’un bien, souvent un fief, et garantit symboliquement le contrat passé entre les deux parties (Le Goff 1977: 360–362). Il y a donc échange et réciprocité entre les deux hommes, ce quetraduit la formule: seigneur vassal (Le Goff 1977: 419). L’ analyse destrois éléments dela relation vassalique permet à J. Le Goff d’inscrire le système dansuneperspective comparatiste deportée universelle (1977: spéc. 402– 410). Rien n’interdit donc a priori deparler devassalité chez les Achéménides; il faut cependant que tous les constituants durite soient attestés. Pour reprendre les critères de Le Goff, il faut que se retrouvent simultanément des relations de (1) subordination, mais aussi (2) d’égalité, laquelle suppose (3) unéchange contractuel inégalitaire etréciproque (Le Goff 1977: 365). Onvavoir quele système achéménidedans sonentier fonctionne defaçon similaire, accompagné degestes et d’objets symboliques qui, quoiqu’ils diffèrent en nature desgestes et objets attestés en Occident, leur correspondent fonctionnellement. À maconnaissance, il n’existe pas de représentation iconographique de cette cérémonie, mais les témoignages textuels permettent de la reconstituer avec unecertaine précision et dene pasdouter de sa signification. En la circonstance, c’est Xénophon quiconstitue notre source privilégiée. Ses oeuvres quimettent en scène le personnage deCyrus le Jeune, et dans unecertaine mesure ce qu’il dit dans sa Cyropédie de Cyrus l’Ancien, constituent un tableau éminemment documenté dela morale militaire et aristocratique et desrapports hiérarchiques et personnels ausein dela société perse desVeet IVesiècles. Letexte auquel il serafait référence tout aulong decetexposé estunpassage de l’Anabase (1.6.4– 11). Combiné avec d’autres témoignages, pourlaplupart pris chez le même auteur, il nous servira de fil directeur pour analyser le système desrelations vassaliques au sein de la société achéménide et les rites auxquels elles donnaient lieu. UnPerse del’ entourage deCyrus le Jeune, Orontas, vient d’être pris en flagrant délit de trahison: Cyrus a intercepté une lettre où il offrait ses services à Artaxerxès II. Onentreprend donc dele juger.

(4) Après avoir pris connaissance dela lettre, Cyrus fait saisir Orontas et convoque (συγκ αλεῖ) dans satente les sept Perses lesplus éminents (ἀρίστους) de sonentourage (τῶν περὶ αὐτό ν). (5) Il fait aussi entrer comme conseiller Cléarque,quisemblait, autant à Cyrus qu’auxautres, être le plusconsidéré desGrecs. Lorsqu’il sortit, il rapporta à ses amis le jugement (κρίσιν) d’Orontas tel qu’il s’était déroulé, caril n’était pasinterdit dele faire. (6) Cyrus, dit-il, commença sondiscours dela sorte: “Je vous ai convoqués (παρε κ ά λε σα), mesamis, afin de décider avec vous de ce qui est juste aux yeux des dieux et aux yeux des hommes et del’ accomplir envers Orontas quevoici. Ce dernier, d’abord, mon père me le donna (ἔδωκεν) pour qu’il fût vassal envers moi (ὑπή κοον ε ἶ ναι

Xénophon et la vassalité Achéménide


ἐ µοί); mais lorsqu’il enreçut l’ ordre demonfrère, comme il le ditlui-même, il mefit la guerre entenant l’ acropole deSardes, etje fis si bien enle combattant qu’il préféra arrêter salutte contre moi, etje pris samaindroite (δε ξι ὰν ἔ λα βον) etje lui donnai la mienne (ἔδωκα); ensuite, dit-il, Orontas, ai-je commis quelque injustice envers toi (ἔστιν ὅ τι σε ἠδίκησα)?”. Non, répondit-il. (7) De nouveau Cyrus l’ interrogea: “N’est-il pas vrai qu’ensuite, comme tu en conviens toi-même (ὡς αὐτὸς σὺ ὁµολογεῖ ς), bien quetu n’eusses souffert aucun tort de mapart (οὐδὲν ὑπ᾽ ἐ µοῦ ἀδι κ ού µε νος), après avoir fait défection (ἀπο στὰς) auprofit desMysiens, tu fis à monterritoire tout le mal quetupus?” Orontas enconvint. “N’est-il pasvrai encore, ditCyrus, que, lorsqu’à nouveau tupris conscience deta puissance réelle, tu te présentas devant l’ autel d’Artémis(ἐπὶ τὸν τῆς Ἀ ρτέµι δος βωµό ν) et déclaras quetute repentais; et, m’ayant persuadé, tumedonnas à nouveau ta foi (πι στὰ πά λιν ἔ δωκά ς µοι) et tureçus la mienne (καὶ ἔ λαβες παρ᾽ ἐ µοῦ)?” Et Orontas l’ admit (καὶ ταῦθ᾽ ὡµολό γει Ὀ ρό ντας). (8) “Quelle injustice, dit Cyrus, as-tu donc endurée de mapart (τί ων) unetroisième fois de οὖν ἀδι κηθεὶ ς ὑπ᾽ ἐ µοῦ) pour metrahir (ἐπι βου λε ύ manière aussi évidente?” Lorsque Orontas eutadmis qu’il n’avait souffert aucuneinjustice (οὐδὲν ἀδι κηθείς), Cyrus lui demanda: “Tureconnais (ὁµολογεῖ ς) donc quetu as été injuste (ἄδι κος) envers moi?” “Il le faut bien”, dit Orontas. (9) Là-dessus, Cyrus demanda unenouvelle fois: “Pourrais-tu alors être encore ς) envers moi?” unennemi pour monfrère et unami(φίλος) et unfidèle (πι στό Celui-ci répondit: “Même sije le devenais, Cyrus, jamais plusje nepourrais te paraître tel”. Sur ces paroles, Cyrus déclara à tous les présents: “Voilà ce que m’a fait cet homme, il le déclare lui-même; parmi vous, Cléarque, donne ton avis le premier, que faut-il faire selon toi?” Cléarque répondit en ces termes: “Je conseille de nous débarrasser au plus vite de cet homme (....)”. (10) Les autres, dit-il, se rangèrent à cet avis. Ensuite, raconte-t-il, surl’ ordre deCyrus, tous se levèrent et saisirent Orontas par la ceinture en signe de mort (ἔλαβον τῆς ζώ τῳ ἅπαντες), même ses parents (καὶ οἱ συγνης τὸν Ὀ ρ όνταν ἐπὶ θανά γενεῖ ς); ensuite ceux quienavaient reçu l’ ordre l’ emmenèrent. (11) Lorsqu’ils le virent, ceux quiauparavant se prosternaient devant lui (οἵ περ πρόσθεν προνουν), seprosternèrent alors, bien qu’ils comprissent qu’onle conduisait à σε κύ la mort. Lorsqu’il futintroduit dans la tente d’Artapatès, le plus fidèle desporte-sceptre deCyrus, jamais personne, ensuite, ne vit plus Orontas, ni vivant ni mort, et personne nepouvait dire avec certitude comment il était mort. Chacun faisait dessuppositions différentes; mais sontombeau n’ajamais étédécouvert. Valeur


Cen’estpasici le lieu derappeler la valeur deXénophon pourl’histoire achéménide, et sa grande connaissance des réalités perses (voir, par exemple, Hirsch 1985b: 75ff.; Briant 1996: 323 et 339; et Azoulay dans ce volume). Mû par une insatiable curiosité et soutenu parsonhonnêteté historique, il est uninformateur de premier ordre. Il connaît bien la réalité despouvoirs et dela société perse, et il est



assez rigoureux dans sa terminologie (Petit 1990: 15–20). S’ agissant de l’ extrait incriminé, deux problèmes se posent néanmoins. Tout d’abord, la langue dans laquelle s’esttenue cette réunion, le persan, diffère decelle danslaquelle elle nousest parvenue, le grec; ondoit donc supposer l’ intervention d’uninterprète. Y enavait-il unà côté deCléarque, seul Grec admis sous la tente deCyrus, oubien la teneur de la conversation luifut-elle résumée parla suite? Lapremière solution meparaît plus vraisemblable: on voit mal Cyrus invitant Cléarque à participer à une séance du Conseil, dont il ne pourrait saisir le moindre mot. Est-ce à dire queXénophon retranscrit fidèlement les propos rapportés par Cléarque? Cela ne paraît pas être le


Plusieurs participants aucolloque deLiverpool onfait trèsjustement observer quela forme dudialogue qui s’instaure entre Cyrus et Orontas doit beaucoup à la rhétorique grecque.5 Cette succession dequestions faites parCyrus, parlesquelles il

contraint Orontas à concéder safaute, et debrefs acquiescements dece dernier rappelle immanquablement ladialectique socratique (voir aussi l’E conomique). Encela, Xénophon ne fait que se conformer à la règle commune de sontemps qui voulait quel’ historien rapportât seulement la substance desparoles oudesdiscours. Thucydide s’estexpliqué clairement surce point: “il était bien difficile deseremémorer la teneur exacte desdiscours (τὴν ἀκ ρίβει αν αὐτὴν τῶν λε χ θέντων), aussi bien pour moi, lorsque je les avais moi-même entendus, quepourquiconque meles rapportait d’ailleurs. J’ ai donc exprimé ce quechacun meparaissait plutôt devoir dire ausujet desévénements présents, enmetenant auplusprès del’avis général surles paroles vraiment prononcées” (1.22.1). Chez l’historien de la Guerre duPéloponnèse, les procédés oratoires sont le plus souvent ceux d’Andocide. Pourundisciple deSocrate, comme Xénophon, la méthode rhétorique dumaître constituait unmodèle naturel. Est-ce toutefois unargument suffisant pour dénier toute véracité autémoignage? Certes Xénophon ne rapporte pas les paroles exactes échangées par Cyrus et Orontas, mais on ne peut douter qu’il nous livre ici assez fidèlement la teneur du dialogue. Et, puisque nulne songe à faire grief decette imprécision à Thucydide, il serait malvenu, enla circonstance, d’enfaire le reproche à Xénophon. Pourle reste, onnepeutqu’imaginer le cheminement desoninformation: sasource – si c’ estbien Cléarque – estuntémoin direct et digne defoi; il n’y a aucune raison depenser qu’il ait déformé les faits, sinon peut-être en accordant à sa propre intervention dans la délibération uneinfluence plus déterminante qu’elle n’eutenréalité. En outre, certains faits rapportés parl’ auteur accréditent sonrécit. En particulier, le geste des Perses qui saisissent la ceinture dOrontas en signe de mort. Il s’ agit là d’un hapax chez Xénophon et d’ailleurs dans presque toute la littérature grecque. Seul Diodore de Sicile y fait allusion à propos d’un épisode ultérieur (17.30.4; voir infra, 3.2). L’ Athénien nepeut donc l’ avoir inventé, ni l’ avoir glané chez unautre auteur. Cette coutume avérée, mais très peuconnue, ne laisse aucun doute surla réalité dela scène. De même, la disparition d’O rontas et l’ absence de sépulture connue renvoient peut-être à unsystème devaleurs proprement perse (voir infra, 4.2). Ainsi, même si la forme de l’ entretien doit beaucoup à la rhétorique grecque, le fonddespropos et les détails durituel semblent authentiquement perses.


Je remercie Deborah Gera et Christopher

Tuplin pour leurs pertinentes observations.

Xénophon et la vassalité Achéménide


1 L’ hommage Selon les médiévistes, c’ est la partie la plus caractéristique de la cérémonie, plus encore quela deuxième, la “foi” (Bloch 1989: 211; Le Goff 1977: 387).

1.1 Signification del’hommage Dans l’hommage médiéval, ce qui est signifié avant tout est la subordination (Le Goff 1977: 354–356; 367). Elle est exprimée à la fois parunedemande expresse et

parungeste symbolique. AuMoyen Age, la demande marque la volonté personnelle duvassal dese soumettre auseigneur. Dansle casd’Orontas, ce dernier neparaît pasavoir eula liberté derefuser, puisque le roi Darius II “donna” (ἔδωκε) Orontas à sonfils pour qu’il fût κ οος, c’ est-à-dire sonsubordonné. Cependant, pareille dation d’unhomme sonὑπή ne se comprend quesi unerelation spéciale existe entre celui quiest donné (d’une part), celui quidonne et celui quireçoit (d’ autre part). En l’ occurrence, il est manifeste qu’il y a transfert d’allégeance, desuzeraineté. Devassal direct duroi, Orontas devient sonvavasseur (ce qui, en termes médiévaux, se traduit respectivement par vassus regalis et vassus vassi: Lemarignier 1970: 90 et 144). Comme c’ est le cas au Moyen Age (Barthélemy 1997: 328), différents mots

(grecs enla circonstance) traduisent le rapport desujétion d’unnoble à l’ égard d’un seigneur. Dans le texte deXénophon, le motὑπή κοος indique la subordination. On trouve aussi le terme δοῦ λος, “esclave”; ainsi, enAnabase 1.9.29 et 2.5.38, Cyrus est dit δοῦλος desonfrère Artaxerxès. Cyrus promet auxLacédémoniens dejuger deleur valeur quand il enverra undesesδοῦλοι pour soumettre la Grèce (Hérodote 1.153 et Diodore 9.39; voir aussi la lettre deDarius à Gadatas; pour les problèmes quepose cette traduction: Missiou 1993). Parfois, maisplusrarement, c’ estle terme της quiest utilisé. Ainsi chez Diodore (17.30.4), Charidèmos est condamné à ὑ πη ρέ mort et Darius III le livre à ses ὑπηρέται ς. Onpourrait bien sûry voir de simples “serviteurs” accomplissant les basses oeuvres duRoi; mais dans le contexte, en particulier après la prise de la ceinture de Charidèmos (voir 3.2), ces “serviteurs” semblent bienjouer le rôle d’Artapatès dansle texte deréférence (ontrouve le même terme, dans le même contexte vassalique et aulique, enAnabase 1.8.18; de même en 1.9.18: “les meilleurs ὑπηρέται étaient à la disposition deCyrus”). Le terme quiest ainsi traduit engrec est l’iranien bandaka, quel’onretrouve à plusieurs reprises dans les inscriptions royales achéménides. Le bandaka peut être un des plus hauts dignitaires de l’ empire. Il est lié au roi par des liens de nature personnelle. Étymologiquement le terme s’ apparente d’ailleurs à l’ allemand binden, “lier” (Bittner 1985: 185, n. 1); c’ est donc celui est lié, attaché auRoi. Comme c’ est le cas destermes homines oumêmevassus auMoyen Age(Barthélemy 1997: 330; Bloch 1989: 209; Le Goff 1977: 368–369), la traduction d’ ὑπή κοος ne peut dépendre queducontexte; comme danslestermes accadien et grec quile traduisent, le sens premier est la subordination, la dépendance (Briant 1996: 353 traduit par “dépendants”; cf. Helléniques 4.1.36). Vule rapport quiexiste entre les hauts dignitaires perses et leur seigneur direct, la traduction “vassal” s’impose. L’ expression grecque ὑπή κοος ε ἶ ναι ἐ µοί(“afin qu’il devienne monvassal”) trouve d’ailleurs



unparfait parallèle dans le latin médiéval, hominem suumfieri, utilisé dans le même contexte (Le Goff 1977: 367–368; cf. 388).6 Le seigneur, quant à lui, est appelé δε σπό της (Plutarque Artaxerxès 9,2), ce qui correspond au latin médiéval dominus. Les statuts se répondent d’ailleurs terme à terme: dans l’ hommagium, l’ homme qui se donne devient le vassus/vassallus ou homo dudominus, ici Orontas, ditXénophon, devint l’ ὑπή κοος deCyrus, sonnouveau δε σπότης. 1.2 Le geste de l’ hommage chez les Achéménides: la proskynèse

Uneressemblance superficielle pourrait nous faire rapprocher l’immixtio manuum dela commendatio médiévale avec la poignée desmains droites dont parle le texte del’Anabase. Ce serait pourtant unefausse ressemblance comme onle verra parla suite (2.2). Disons simplement que, dans le rite del’ immixtio manuum, il y a dissymétrie parl’ insertion desmains (Le Goff 1977: 369), tandis quele geste achéméniderévèle aucontraire uneréciprocité et uneégalité entre les parties. Chez les Achéménides, le geste symbolique qui représente la soumission de l’ homme” face à son seigneur c’ est la proskynèse. Certes le prosternement a un champ “ symbolique beaucoup plus large quela subordination duvassal. Il s’exécute devant tout supérieur;7 mais cette absence de spécialisation sémantique n’a rien de rédhibitoire, puisqu’il en va de même debien de gestes de la vassalité médiévale qui ne trouvent leur signification proprement “vassalique” quedans le système et dans leur conjonction, enparticulier entant qu’associés à la prise deceinture (voir infra). Dans untel contexte, le prosternement représente donc uneattitude rituelle, cérémonielle. Son usage dans un environnement vassalique s’explique aisément: c’ est évidemment ce geste qui symbolise le mieux les rapports de dépendance reconnus dans l’hommage, bien queceux-ci soient denature particulière. Certes, dans le texte de Xénophon, la proskynèse (première étape) n’est pas associée explicitement à la cérémonie dela “foi”(deuxième étape), quielle estsymbolisée par la poignée des mains droites, comme on le verra (voir 2.2), et nous n’avons pasla preuve formelle desonappartenance auxrites del’hommage vassalique. Mais cette absence s’explique aisément dans le contexte: dans la cérémonie dont Cyrus rappelle allusivement certains détails aucours dujugement d’Orontas, la proskynèse n’avait pasdûêtre renouvelée: seul le serment defidélité réciproque avait été misà malparl’ attitude d’Orontas; c’ estpourquoi cet extrait nementionne 6


Tandis que, dans sonlexique en fin de volume, Briant 1998: 1158, traduit parhomme-lige, il recule devant le tenne dans le corps dutexte (par exemple, Briant 1998: 336; voir aussi Briant 1988: 93ff.). Mais qu’est-ce donc que cet “homme à la fois soumis et loyal au roi” sinon le vassal decelui-ci. Eneffet, il s’agit là dela définition exacte duvassal qui, parl’ hommage, est soumis au seigneur et, par la foi jurée, doit lui être fidèle. Widengren 1968: 147 traduit par “homme-lige”, tandis queWidengren 1969 propose à juste titre detraduire bandaka par“vassal” ouà tout le moins “dépendant” (Widengren 1968: 36, n. 1: Untertanen ou Gefolgsmann). Surle terme bandaka, voir les références chez Briant 1996: 949. Hérodote 1.134; Strabon 15.3.20; voir Briant 1996: 234–236, 346. Sur la signification et la nature de ce geste, les avis divergent: Frye 1972 et Widengren 1969: 103, n. 1 et 2, 106–7; Bickerman 1963: 241–255.


et la vassalité



quele renouvellement de la seconde partie de la cérémonie, celle qui concerne la “foi” (voir 2). Nulbesoin derenouveler l’ allégeance: Cyrus n’y fait pasallusion. La suite dutexte deXénophon précise cependant: “Lorsqu’ils le virent, ceux quiauparavant se prosternaient devant lui (οἵ περ πρό σθεν προσε κύ νουν), se prosternèrent alors, bien qu’il comprissent qu’onle conduisait à la mort” (Anabase 1.6.10). Ces genssontvraisemblablement lespropres vassaux d’Orontas quimarquent ainsi, dans

témoignage de respect et de fidélité, l’ allégeance envers leur seigneur. Nousaurions donc ici l’ indice quela proskynèse était enusage à unniveau inférieur delahiérarchie vassalique. Nousavons toute raison decroire qu’il enallait demême auxautres échelons (voir 6). Ainsi, il est extrêmement probable que, lorsque Cyrus κ οος, “donné” parle Roi (sans doute en407), ce dernier reçut Orontas comme ὑπή


dutexécuter la proskynèse.

2 La “foi” Dans la cérémonie médiévale, la seconde partie durite est la “foi” (lat. fides; all. Treue) qui, elle-même, comporte deux parties: l’ osculum, ou baiser de paix, et le serment (Le Goff 1977: 356–357; Herlihy 1970: 71).

2.1 L’ engagement


la fidélité

Dans le texte de référence, Cyrus déclare à Orontas, qu’il avait une seconde fois λιν ἔ δωκά ς µοι )”; contraint à se soumettre: “tumedonnas à nouveau tafoi (πι στὰπά mais la relation est ici réciproque puisque Cyrus ajoute: “et tureçus la mienne (καὶ ἔ λαβες παρ᾽ἐ µοῦ)”. Auparagraphe suivant, Cyrus force Orontas à admettre quela confiance est définitivement rompue entre eux, ce quiest unobstacle redhibitoire à unnouvel échange dela “foi” (“Cyrus demanda unenouvelle fois: pourrais-tu être ς] envers encore un ennemi pour monfrère et un ami [φίλος] et un fidèle [πι στό moi?”). La cérémonie dela foi est donc uneétape essentielle durite et ce n’est pasun hasard si la fidélité est une vertu cardinale chez les Perses, celle qui est le plus hautement prisée parla morale aristocratique (Briant 1996: 328, 335–336). Enl’occurrence, il ne s’agit pas de n’importe quelle “loyauté”. Elle est jurée, sacralisée, contractualisée, garantie par la divinité (voir 2.3) et par les pairs (voir 4.2). Cette fidélité n’est donc pasunesimple extension durespect dela parole donnée, valeur qui est également mise en exergue chez les Perses (Hérodote 1.136; cf. Anabase 1.10.7–10); elle la transcende largement, surtout danscet ensemble derites quiformentsystème: demêmequele signe quila symbolise, elle y prend unesignification plus spécifique.

L’ importance decet aspect desrelations vassaliques est attestée parl’ extrême fréquence duterme πι στό ς. Plus encore qu’ ὑπήκ οος, le terme désigne les proches duseigneur perse; il est souvent ausuperlatif (πι στότατος: Anabase 2.5.35, 3.3.2; Cyropédie 8.5.3, 5.8 etc.; Diodore 14.26.4); ce n’est évidemment pas unhasard si onle retrouve dans le même contexte auMoyen Age(Le Goff 1977: 366). L’ autre vocable très fréquemment utilisé est “amis”; mais, de notre point de vue, il a une



acception axiologiquement plus neutre, quoique affective (Briant 1996: 319–320, 332–334). Ce n’est bien sûr pas fortuit si, au Moyen Age, le mot est synonyme courant de“vassal”! (Bloch 1989: 325; voir aussi Weber 1972: 149). La fidélité dueau seigneur a pour conséquence undévouement qui peut aller jusqu’ audonsuprême desoi, c’ est-à-dire jusqu’à la mort. Pareille attitude estégalement admirée dans d’autres sociétés “vassaliques” (Herlihy 1970: 69–74; 88–96), notamment dans l’ Occident médiéval (Bloch 1989: 326). Dans l’ idéologie perse, c’ est le plus sublime et le plus admirable descomportements. Ainsi, lorsque Cyrus tombe à Cunaxa, ceux queXénophon appelle ses “amis” meurent tous avec lui en combattant pour soncadavre (Économique 4.19). Dans l’Anabase, le récit del’épisode estplus circonstancié: Xénophon précise quehuit desnobles quise trouvaient autour deCyrus tombèrent sursoncorps (1.8.27). Parmi eux se trouvait Artapatès qui, comme dans le récit duprocès d’O rontas, est dit le “plus fidèle de ses portesceptre” (1.8.28); il sauta, dit-on, à bas de soncheval – ce qui lui interdisait toute possibilité defuite ultérieure et donc desalut – et se coucha surle corps deCyrus. Certains prétendent même qu’il se trancha la gorge avec son propre sabre; Xénophon cite sans le faire sien ce dernier détail, mais il nepeut s’empêcher dele mentionner, car cela illustre à ses yeux, comme sans aucun doute pour les Perses quile lui rapportèrent, l’ exemple parfait de cette fidélité ultime du vassal qui suit son seigneur jusque dans la mort (1.9.28). Cetempressement et cette fidélité sans faille valaient à Artapatès l’ estime de Cyrus (1.9.29). En conséquence, c’ est unequalité majeure duchef quedesavoir distinguer parmi les siens les “amis” et compagnons fidèles, bienveillants et sûrs (1.9.30, et Cyropédie passim). Semblable idéologie paraît avoir été extrêmement coercitive et il est probable quele sens del’honneur a fini par“tyranniser” les esprits perses (voir, parexemple, Helléniques 4.1.37), comme Barthélemy (1997: 333) le dit des esprits médiévaux. C’estquel’ intention politique decette morale officielle estclaire, dumoins lorsque le Roi est lui-même le seigneur: il s’agit defaire prévaloir la fidélité envers le souverain surles liens familiaux et claniques (Briant 1996: 348–350; 364–366; même idée chez Le Goff 1977: 387; Bloch 1989: 316; Barthélemy 1997: 329). Cependant, l’ intrication desrapports vassaliques au sein de l’Empire est telle que des conflits entre différentes fidélités peuvent survenir. Incompatibilité entre les liens familiaux ouclaniques et la fidélité vassalique certes, mais aussi entre les obligations dues à différents seigneurs. Ainsi – pour des raisons qui tiennent évidemment à sonintérêt propre – Orontas hésite entre sonancienne fidélité auRoi, qui est le seigneur de son seigneur (son “suzerain”), dont il est, autrement dit, le vavasseur, et la fidélité dueà sonseigneur direct, Cyrus. Dansla lettre qu’il adresse à Artaxerxès, Orontas rappelle auRoi son“amitié”et sa “foi” antérieures (Anabase 1.6.3: τῆς πρόσθεν φι λίας ὑ πο µνήµατα καὶ πίστε ως). Toutefois il semble bien que le transfert de vassalité dont Orontas fut l’ objet au profit de Cyrus (ἔδωκεν) ait eu valeur contraignante: en effet, Orontas est condamné par le tribunal vassalique, y compris parsesparents; et, selon toute apparence, aucune voix ne s’est élevée dans le tribunal pour faire valoir cet argument en sa faveur. AuIVesiècle, le même dilemme semble avoir étreint Mithridate, sans aucun doute le vassal deDatame, qui décida detrahir son seigneur pour le Roi (Népos Datame 4, 10–11; voir 2.2). C’est


et la vassalité



donc cette “vassalité pardélégation”, dontje parlais naguère (Petit 1990: 234), qui pose problème et quiconduit à desconflits d’intérêt, enparticulier lorsque le satra-

pese révolte.

2.2 Le geste dela “foi”: la poignée desmains droites Dans ces rapports de fidélité, maître et vassal sont sur unpied d’égalité. Ona vu que, dansla société médiévale, cet aspect dela relation vassalique est symbolisé par le baiser (osculum); c’ est lui qui fait du dominus et du vassus des égaux (Le Goff 1977: 356–357, 370, 387). Dans le rite rappelé parCyrus lors duprocès d’O rontas, c’ est de toute évidence la poignée des mains droites qui illustre l’ égalité d’obligation entre les deux parties. Bien qu’ici le geste soit autre, sa signification est tout à fait identique: il y a donc synonymie gestuelle (cf. Le Goff 1977: 412).8 Il nefait aucun doute quela poignée demain est le symbole del’ échange dela “foi”: elle est présentée comme sonéquivalent dans la formulation prêtée à Cyrus: celui-ci explique qu’O rontas vint par deux fois à résipiscence; et, à chaque occasion, Cyrus accomplit le même rituel de renouvellement de la “foi”. Or, dans le premier cas, il est dit qu’ils se donnèrent la main droite (“etje pris sa main droite [δε ξιὰν ἔ λα βον] etje luidonnai la mienne [ἔδωκα]”); dansle second, qu’ils échangèrent leur “foi” (“tu medonnas à nouveau ta foi [πι στὰ πά λιν ἔ δωκά ς µοι] et tu λιν l’ indique sans reçus la mienne [καὶ ἔ λαβες παρ᾽ἐ µοῦ]”). Comme l’ adverbe πά ambiguïté, les deux expressions sont utilisées l’ unepour l’ autre dans descirconstances et lors decérémonies identiques. Nous avons d’ailleurs uneautre attestation dugeste dans uncontexte qui semble spécifiquement vassalique. Népos (Datame 10.1) rapporte que Mithridate résolut de trahir Datame, son seigneur, en révolte contre le Roi, auprofit dece dernier. Il s’engagea à tuerDatame si le Roi luilaissait carte blanche et “s’il luidonnait safoi à la modeperse desamaindroite” (fidemque ... more Persarum dextra dedidisset). Mithridate se trouve en outre dans la même situation parrapport à Datame qu’O rontas visà visdeCyrus: unvassal félon trahissant sonseigneur auprofit duRoi (pour le geste et unpossible simulacre, voir Sherwin-White 1978). Après la mort deCyrus à Cunaxa, onlui coupa la tête et la main droite; cette disgrâce s’explique sans doute par le fait c’ est cette dextre qui avait prêté le serment vassalique rompu parfélonie (Plutarque Artaxerxès 13.2; cf. Ana-

base 1.10.1). Onnepeutdonc douter quela poignée demainscelle le serment, la “foi”. Mais, dans uneacception plus large, le geste est d’abord signe de “bonne foi”, d’unsermentinviolable, chezlesPerses (Diodore 16.43.3–4). Il estattesté dansbiend’autres circonstances et n’est donc passpécifique à la relation vassalique (Cyropédie 2.4.7, 5.3 etc.). Dans certains cas, il estutilisé dansdesimples contrats (par exemple Anabase 2.3.28, 4.7, 5.3; Helléniques 4.1.3, 1.15), voire, comme denosjours, pourune banale salutation (Agésilas 3.4; Anabase 7.3.1); il peut l’ être aussi par des nonPerses (Anabase 7.3.1). Ainsi, comme au Moyen Age, les liens vassaliques et la cérémonie d’hommage ne se distinguent pasradicalement d’autres contrats ouser8

Unbaiser existait bien chez les Perses, mais il paraît avoir été réservé à d’autres circonstances: Hérodote 1.134;

Xén. Agés. 5.4; Cyr. 1.4.27, 7.5.32: voir Bickerman 1963: 253.



ments (Herlihy 1970: 68–69; Barthélemy 1997: 328–329; Bloch 1989: 211). C’est qu’unesociété ne dispose pasd’unstock illimité de symboles (Le Goff 1977: 393; cf. Davy 1922: 43–46, spéc. 45). Peu importe, autrement dit, que la poignée de main soit utilisée dans d’autres circonstances parles Perses oudans les mêmes circonstances par d’autres peuples (Sherwin-White 1978); ceci ne lui enlève en rien sa signification spécifique dans le contexte. Ce qui compte, encore une fois, ce n’est pas la similitude des gestes, qui d’ailleurs ne prouve rien, c’ est “son contexte ou mieux encore ... le système complet auquel engénéral il appartient” (Le Goff 1977: 391), notamment le statut descontractants (ὑπή κοος– ἔ δωκε) et la nature deleurs obligations réciproques, comme aussi certains gestes et institutions quilui sont associés (comme le conseil et le tribunal vassalique: voir et 4.1) et la manière caractéristique dont ici le contrat est rompu (voir 3.2).

2.3 Le serment

AuMoyen Age, la “foi” vassalique estjurée; autrement dit, elle est également accompagnée d’unserment (Le Goff 1977: 357; Ganshof 1982: 22–23). Le texte deXénophon est à peine moins explicite queses correspondants occidentaux:

“tu te présentas devant l’ autel d’Artémis (ἐπὶ τὸν τῆς Ἀ ρτέµι δος βωµό ν) et déclaras quetu te repentais; et, m’ ayant persuadé, tu medonnas à nouveau ta foi (πι στὰ πά λιν ἔ δωκά ς µοι) et tureçus la mienne (καὶ ἔ λαβες παρ᾽ἐ µοῦ)”. Malgré l’ intérêt qu’il revêt, le texte deXénophon reste assez allusif; comme dans toute promesse de foi (Davy 1922: 44), ce geste devait s’ accompagner de paroles quiaffirmaient solennellement la fidélité, dontla poignée demains était le symbole et quiétait hautement proclamée parseigneurs et vassaux (voir 2.1). Aucun témoignage ne rapporte le texte précis dece serment, mais nous en possédons peut-être desbribes, certaines formules éparses. Ainsi, lorsque Xerxès, en 479, propose de s’allier auxAthéniens, il promet dele faire “sans dolni tromperie” (ἄνευ τε δό λου καὶ ἀπά της: Hérodote 9.7). Du terme grec δό λος, Népos donne l’ équivalent latin dansuncontexte purement vassalique: Datame, dit-il, estvictime delaperfidie (dolo) de son vassal, Mithridate (Datame 10.1). On laissera aux spécialistes le soin de chercher l’ équivalent iranien decette formule, quiexprime l’ exact contrepoint dela fidélité (πίστι ς). En ce sens, onrelève unétrange parallèle entre uneformule médiévale et les qualités queCyrus attend desesvassaux, selon Xénophon. AuMoyen Age, le vassal jure d’être fidèle à son seigneur; il lui promet foi et sûreté (fidem et securitatem: Lemarignier 1970: 127). OrCyrus le Jeune, dit Xénophon, était capable dediscerner parmi sonentourage les hommes fidèles (πι στού ς), bien disposés à sonégard (εὔνους) et sûrs (βε βαίους) (Anabase 1.9.30). Peut-être les équivalents iraniens de ces termes figuraient-ils également dans la formule canonique duserment. Dans l’ Occident médiéval, la cérémonie a parfois pour cadre la cour du seigneur (Lemarignier 1970: 127; Le Goff 1977: 397). Chez les Achéménides, cela correspond à l’ obligation pour le vassal, par exemple le satrape, de se rendre “aux portes” du Roi, c’ est-à-dire à sa cour (Petit 1990: 169– 170 et Briant 1996: 337–


et la vassalité Achéménide


339), pour renouveler sonallégeance (par exemple, Hérodote 3.120; Plutarque Artaxerxès 3; Ctésias 688 F 16.59; Anabase 1.1.3). Il est fort probable que le décor “laïc” suffisait à solenniser la cérémonie, pourvu quele seigneur fût entouré d’une assistance nombreuse, en particulier parl’ ensemble desvassaux. Il s’agissait ainsi d’associer le plus de témoins possible à cet engagement (Le Goff 1977: 398–399). Pour ce quiconcerne le serment d’O rontas et deCyrus, la tenue decette cérémonie devant l’ autel d’Artémis à Sardes suppose également unpublic. Pour accroître le caractère solennel et irrémédiable duserment, celui-ci se fait aussi enprenant les dieux à témoin. EnOccident, cela sepasse dans uneéglise et le serment est prononcé super altare (Le Goff 1977: 397 et n. 89), surdes objets sacrés, soit desreliques contenues dans unechâsse, soit surles livres saints (Lemarinier 1970: 127; Herlihy 1970: 86). Dans le texte deXénophon, c’est l’ autel d’ArtémisdeSardes quijoue manifestement ce rôle: “tute présentas devant l’ autel d’Arν)”. Toute la scène se déroule sous le regard de témis (ἐπὶ τὸν τῆς Ἀ ρτέµι δος βωµό la déesse, oùles Perses pouvaient sans doute reconnaître unedeleurs divinités féminines, peut-être Anahita (Briant 1996: 724).

3 L’ investiture La troisième phase dela cérémonie qui scelle le lien vassalique médiéval est l’investiture. À encroire Le Goff (1977: 387), c’ estlà “l’ élément le plusfaible, le moins marqué durite”. La raison enest simple: la nature dela contrepartie seigneuriale à la soumission duvassal peut varier considérablement – et, dansles faits, a considérablement varié – suivant les lieux et les époques. AuMoyen Age, dans sa forme terminale qui remonte au plus haut aux XIe et XIIe siècles, c’ est bien sûr le fief. Mais desformes plus primitives ontexisté auxépoques mérovingienne et carolingienne.

3.1 La réciprocité Alors quel’hommage établissait desliens dedépendance entre vassal et seigneur, et la “foi”des rapports d’égalité, l’ investiture instaure des obligations réciproques entre les deux parties contractantes (Davy 1922; Le Goff 1977: 371). Les historiens médiévistes insistent surl’ aspect quasiment juridique, contractuel, dece pacte (Weber 1972: 148–149; Herlihy 1970: 71–73; Le Goff 1977: 370; Hintze 1962: 90–91; Lemarignier 1970: 126–128; Barthélemy 1997: 330).

3.1.1. Obligations duseigneur

AuMoyen Age, le seigneur doit protection et entretien au vassal (Le Goff 1977: 370). Protection

Dans dessociétés frustes oùla solidarité familiale elle-même ne suffisait pasà défendre

les intérêts desindividus, la protection duseigneur est le premier




quel’onpeut tirer de la dépendance. En Occident, cela vaut essentiellement pour lesépoques mérovingienne etcarolingienne. Dansle domaine achéménide, le “lien” quiunit le vassal auseigneur, signifie aussi quecelui-là se place sous la protection decelui-ci (Bittner 1985: 185). Mais rapidement, avec les progrès dudroit, l’ avantage matériel a prévalu. Entretien

La forme la plus primitive de l’entretien dûparle seigneur aux vassaux était bien sûrdeles régaler à sa table (Herlihy 1970: 74; Weber 1972: 181), usage dont ona desréminiscences chez les Perses parl’ importance qu’ils accordaient auxbanquets (Cyropédie 8.6.10–11etc.). Demêmequ’auMoyen Age, les antrustions étaient les convivae regis (Widengren 1969: 48–9), les vassaux deCyrus sont appelé les συνπε ζοι oumieux les ὁµοτρά τρ ά πε ζοι , les “commensaux” (voir 5.2). Le banquet, qui n’est pas seulement unusage mais unvéritable rite et uneinstitution sociale, souvent associé à la foi (Davy 1922: 46), offrait aussi l’ avantage deréaffirmer enpermanence la prééminence duseigneur, enparticulier parla pratique dedons inégalitaires (Briant 1996: 316 ss.), enmême temps quedecontrôler les vassaux. ChezlesAchéménides, bien quel’ entretien aitdéjà évolué vers desformes plus élaborées, comme la prébende oule fief, subsistent desvestiges decette contrepartie ennature. Ainsi, selon Plutarque (Artaxerxès 4.1), Cyrus se serait révolté contre sonfrère parce qu’il était mécontent dece qu’il recevait chaque jour. Cyrus seplaint en somme quel’ entretien quotidien quilui est alloué est insuffisant pour sonrang. C’est là évidemment unprétexte fallacieux, ce quenemanque pasnoter Plutarque. Mais le reproche adressé au Roi, au seigneur, est intéressant sous deux aspects: d’abord l’ anecdote montre quel’ entretien duvassal faisait partie desobligations du contrat; d’autre part, quele non-respect de ces versements parle suzerain était un motif de“dévestiture” (voir 4.1). Outre cette forme primitive d’entretien, onpeut distinguer deux modes derétribution plus évolués, le beneficium et le “fief” proprement dit. Le bénéfice pouvait être unoffice, charge administrative, fiscale, militaire, uneprébende donc (Ganshof 1982: 29). Ainsi la charge importante dechiliarque deSardes (Petit 1990: 110–118) était pourOrontas unesolide compensation autransfert d’allégeance dontil fit l’objet (voir 1.1). De même les fonctions d’hyparque, c’ est-à-dire de vice-satrape, devaient aussi constituer descharges auxbénéfices substantiels (Petit 1990: 152–153). Dans les provinces, le satrapat lui-même représentait la plus importante prébende administrative del’ Empire (déjà Weber 1972: 640–641), comme, dans l’ o rdre militaire, le karanat (Petit 1983 et 1990: 133–144). En Occident, à partir du XIe siècle, c’ est le fief qui se répand comme forme achevée dubienfait. De tels fiefs nobiliaires attachés au statut de leur détenteur existent bien dans l’Asie achéménide (Petit 1990: 118–127). C’est encore unefois Xénophon quiest notre informateur principal. Selon les prescription deCyrus, les satrapes devaient obliger “tous ceux quiavaient reçu uneterre (γῆν) oudesἀρχεῖ α à seprésenter auxportes [dusatrape: i.e. à fréquenter sacour]” (Cyropédie 8.6.10); ailleurs Xénophon parlera deχ ώ ρας καὶ οἴ κους (8.6.4), expression strictement parallèle à la précédente. Ces terres et ces résidences sont en fait desfiefs concédés


et la vassalité



auxnobles perses contre leur fidélité et sans doute donnés aumoment mêmedeleur serment lors dela cérémonie (dans untel contexte, le terme grec ἀρχεῖ ον ne peut avoir quecette acception: Petit 1990: 120–126). Unefois encore les termes grecs γῆ et ἀρχεῖ α correspondent auxconcepts médiévaux équivalents.9 3.1.2. Obligations duvassal

En Occident, le vassal doit auxilium et consilium au seigneur. Auxilium L’ aide duvassal auseigneur est surtout denature militaire, c’ estle médiéval “service d’ostet dechevauchée”. Il envademêmeenPerse: Orontas est manifestement obligé de marcher avec ses propres troupes et vassaux aux côtés de Cyrus contre Artaxerxès. En cas deconvocation duban, detels détenteurs dedomaines/fiefs (γῆ καὶ ἀρχεῖα) doivent aupréalable lever surleurs domaines le nombre de cavaliers prescrit (Cyropédie 8.6.11, 8.20; cf. Herlihy 1970: 72). Xénophon (Cyropédie 8.8.20) précise quec’ était unecoutume nationale (ἐπι χώ ρι ον) chez les Perses que ceux quidétenaient desterres (γῆν) dussent fournir surces dernières descavaliers (ἱ ππό τας), lesquels faisaient campagne lorsque c’ était “nécessaire”. Ce sont ces cavaliers quiforment la force principale dela satrapie. Ainsi Hérodote (5.102) rapporte que, lors de la révolte d’Ionie, vers 500, le contingent grec qui avait incendié ς) endeça Sardes futpoursuivi par“les Perses quipossédaient desdomaines (νο µού dufleuve Halys”. Ce sont sans aucun doute des cavaliers, qui correspondent aux


Laquestion épineuse dufief a fait déjà l’objet denombreux débats queje nepeux ici rappeler enquelques lignes. Quelques remarques cependant. Sauf peut-être danscertains casetpourles hautes époques, l’empire achéménide ne peut être tout uniment qualifié deféodo-vassalique. Manque, dansla plupart descas, le lien automatique et politiquement superposable entre fief et vassalité, à l’exception dequelques cascomme celui deBardiya, quifut, nonpassatrape, mais, της, ce quimarque la différence avec les autres satrapes (Ctésias 688 comme ditCtésias, δε σ πό F 9.8). Il était dispensé d’impôts; sa seule obligation était derendre hommage auRoi, ce qu’il refusa defaire. Mais, dans la plupart descas, bien queles nobles perses détinssent devastes domaines dansles satrapies, leurjuridiction territoriale, lorsqu’ils enétaient investis, necoïncidait pasavec leur propriété. Onne peut dèslors parler de “féodalisme”. En revanche, on sait qu’il existait biendesfiefs, c’ est-à-dire desterres dontlajouissance était concédée à unparticulier enéchange d’unservice rendu a l’État ouauRoi. Certains deces“fiefs” étaient modestes et leur concession n’impliquait nullement des liens vassaliques (Petit 1990: 121). C’est ce que Weber (1972: 626–7, 630; cf. 148) appelle des“fiefs liturgiques”. Il faut donc prendre desoin dedissocier méthodologiquement féodalité et vassalité, eninsistant surle fait qu’elles peuvent très bien se produire l’unesans l’ autre (Petit 1990: 249–251; pourunedistinction conceptuelle entre féodalité et vassalité: Hintze 1962: 89–91). Dans les faits, si cette vueest théoriquement juste et si destraits proprement féodaux peuvent exister sans lien personnel, l’inverse estbeaucoupplusrare et le lien vassalique entraîne, selon le principe dudon/contre-don (Le Goff 1977: 370–373), unecontrepartie seigneuriale à lasoumission duvassal. Ence sens, Barthélemy (1997: 341) nous metengarde contre le mythe del’union graduelle dela vassalité et dufief. Le Goff (1977: 371, 388 et 401) insiste surl’ indissolubilité dufief et dela vassalité oudel’hommage. Laburthe-Tolra (1998: 98–99) présente même l’ hommage et la fidélité de l’homme-lige à son seigneur comme unevariante dudon/contre-don “quiprend la figure del’ honneur”.



ἱ ππό τας deXénophon (Petit 1990: 123). Grâce, unefois encore, à Xénophon, nous disposons d’unedescription assez précise d’undeces fiefs nobiliaires: il s’agit dela bastide d’Asidatès (Anabase 7.8.8– 19: Petit 1990: 123–126). Consilium

Le vassal doit conseiller le seigneur; cette obligation consiste essentiellement à siéger à la cour duseigneur, à lui “faire sa cour”. AuMoyen Agec’ est le conseil des fidèles, le consilium fidelium (Lemarignier 1970: 94). Le terme médiéval consilium trouve unexact équivalent dans le grec σύ µβουλος utilisé parXénophon pour désigner le Conseil desvassaux autour duseigneur perse (Helléniques 3.1.13). Nous avons de très nombreuses attestations de ce Conseil. Il s’assemble sur “convocation” (sur l’usage duterme: Anabase 1.6.4; Hérodote 1.206 [συνε κ ά λε σε], 3.127 [συγκ αλέσας]). Le plus connu est celui quetient Xerxès à la veille desonexpédition enGrèce (Hérodote 7.8– 18; voir aussi 1.206; 3.65; 7.53; 8.67; Diodore 12.4.4). Comme auMoyen Age(Bloch 1989: 312), l’ absence deconseil autour duRoi est à ce point étrange qu’elle en paraît suspecte (Hérodote 3.68). A l’inverse, ne pas se rendre auconseil équivaut à unerébellion (Ctésias 688 F 13.11). Lesattestations concernent surtout le Conseil royal. Mais les satrapes ontaussi le leur: y siègent naturellement leurs vassaux perses qui fréquentent “les portes” satrapiques (Cyropédie 8.6.10), maisaussi parfois despersonnalités nonperses, commeCléarque, oudesdynastes locaux, dont desfemmes: ainsi Pharnabaze y admetil parfois Mania (Helléniques 3.1.13). Si Cyrus invite Cléarque dans sonConseil, c’ estpourjuger Orontas. Eneffet, comme enOccident (Lemarignier 1970: 135–6), unedes obligations particulières duConseil est de rendre la justice vassalique; il constitue alors dejure, le tribunal despairs (voir 4.2). Le consilium fidelium médiévaléquivaut donc dans la lettre et dans l’ esprit auxσύµβουλοι πι στοίdesPerses.

3.2. L’ objet symbolique del’ investiture: la ceinture

AuMoyen Age, “le rituel d’entrée en vassalité se termine parl’investiture dufief qui s’opère au moyen de la remise d’un objet symbolique par le seigneur à son vassal” (Le Goff 1977: 359), objet qui, lorsque le serment se passe dansuneéglise, est déposé surl’ autel (voir 2.3). L’ investiture devait se faire, disent les textes, per signum ouper symbola quaedam. Le quaedam indique clairement quela nature de l’objet importait peupourvu qu’il pûtreprésenter la transaction. Ona ainsi dénombrépasmoins de99 objets différents quisymbolisaient la cession d’unfief (Le Goff 1977: 359–362). Le contrat vassalique achéménide comportait-il semblable objet symbolique? et, si oui, quel était-il? Pour répondre à ces questions, onpeut suivre la méthode de Le Goff qui observe les rites de “dévestiture” (exfestucatio: 1977: 364), oùl’ objet enquestion était à nouveau utilisé pourrompre ce qu’il avait uni(voir le Goff 1977:

376–380). Or, lors duprocès d’O rontas, est clairement décrit unrite de sortie d’hommage (voir 4). Et le texte est tout à fait explicite sur le geste et l’ accessoire par lesquels lesvassaux deCyrus marquent larupture dulien vassalique et,parlà-même, la mort deleur pair:

Xénophon et la vassalité Achéménide


“sur l’ ordre de Cyrus, tous se levèrent et saisirent Orontas par la ceinture en signe de mort (ἔλαβον τῆς ζ ώ τῳ ἅπαντες), même νης τὸν Ὀ ρ όνταν ἐπὶ θανά ses parents (καὶ οἱ συγγενεῖ ς); ensuite ceux qui en avaient reçu l’ ordre l’em-


Un autre

témoignage confirme l’existence

de ce rite. Furieux

contre Charidèmos,

dit Diodore, Darius III saisit (lui-même, semble-t-il) la ceinture duGrec “selon la coutume perse, le livre à ses vassaux/serviteurs (ὑπηρέται ς) et leur ordonne de le tuer” (17.30.4). Cegeste signifie à l’ évidence la rupture irrémédiable dulien vassalique (Petit 1990: 148, n. 161). Onvoit detelles ceintures surles bas-reliefs dePersépolis ainsi que surle sarcophage lycien de Payava trouvé à Xanthos (les gardes derrière le personnage assis: Demargne 1974: 42: 1–2, pl. XXX:1) Parmi les nombreux objets répertoriés parLe Goff pour marquer l’ investiture, on trouve notamment la ceinture; et cette dernière semble revêtir une importance particulière (1977: 361 et 416 n° 30). De même, Werner (1998) insiste longuement surla signification symbolique ducingulum, sorte deceinturon, dansla société aristocratique médiévale. Et les parallèles qu’il fournit sont frappants (voir 4.3). Dans le bas-empire romain, le cingulum militiae était la ceinture desofficiers quidevaient l’ obsequium et avaient prêté le sacramentum, le serment; cet accessoire était également le symbole de la soumission (Werner 1998: 187–225, spéc. 189–191, 210–225, 474, 479). AuXIIe siècle, le cingulum militiae est encore le symbole dela condition duchevalier (Werner 1998: 210). Comme le montre l’ analogie trompeuse entre l’immixtio manuum médiévale et la poignée demainachéménide (1.2 et 2.2), l’historien quiveut user decomparatismenedoit pass’arrêter à desuperficielles similitudes. Deux gestes similaires peuvent avoir deux significations différentes ([quasi-] homonymie gestuelle; immixtio manuum et poignée de main); tandis que deux gestes différents peuvent revêtir la même signification (synonymie symbolique: osculum et poignée des mains droi-

tes). Il peut en être de même des objets utilisés dans la cérémonie vassalique. Il convient donc denepastirer deconclusion hâtive d’unesimilitude entre les accessoires. Enl’ occurrence cependant, il estprobable quele mêmeobjet a euunesignification analogue chez d’autres peuples. Ainsi Héraklès délie-t-il la ceinture dela reine desAmazones, vraisemblablement ensigne desoumission. C’est le mêmesens que paraît revêtir un passage d’Isaïe (45, 1) où il est question littéralement que Yahvé “ouvre les reins”, c’ est-à-dire délie la ceinture, des rois, en signe d’allégeance à Cyrus le Perse. Certains épisodes de l’ épopée de Gilgamesh semblent conférer au geste la même signification (Widengren 1968: 150). En Grèce même, la ceinture semble être unsigne desoumission, tout aumoins vis à visdesdieux (Bittner 1985: 185 n. 1). Un fait peut nous rassurer sur le danger d’uneressemblance purement fortuite quiserait dueà la polysémie decertains gestes ouaccessoires: si la ceinture semble avoir chez bonnombre depeuples unesignification semblable, c’ est parce qu’elle a unefonction identique. Danstoutes les sociétés primitives, elle estétroitement associée aux armes qu’elle permettait de porter. En Iran, la “ceinture” des textes désigne bien la “ceinture d’armes”, comme le montrent les illustrations rassemblées parWidengren (1969: pl. 6 et 7; cf. Jamdazeh 1987).



Il estmêmepossible quel’équivalence sémantique nesoit passeulement conséquence d’unesimilitude d’emploi et qu’uneexplication diffusionniste soit permise. Eneffet, Werner (1998: 191) fait remonter l’ adoption dece symbole à Alexandre le Grand et auxroyaumes hellénistiques, d’oùil serait passé dansle monde romain; or chacun sait qu’Alexandre reprit plus d’unusage decour achéménide. Il n’est donc pasexclu quele sens prêté à cet accessoire ait euuneorigine iranienne, voire achéménide. L’ hypothèse mériterait entout cas d’être explorée plus avant. Enmêmetemps qu’il marquait la soumission duvassal et donc, entant quetel, avait affaire à l’ hommage et à l’ investiture, dont il indiquait la relation inégale (Widengren 1968: 143; Borchhardt 1983: 113 et n. 64), le ceinturon achéménide symbolisait aussi, parmétaphore, le lien (bandaka) quiunissait réciproquement souverain et vassal (Widengren 1969: 27 et 38; Bittner 1985: 185).

4. La rupture dulien vassalique AuMoyen Age, la sortie devassalité, dévestiture oudéguerpissement (lat. exfestucatio: Le Goff 1977: 362 et 378), faisait également l’objet d’unrite: ce queseule unecérémonie avait été capable dejoindre, seule uneautre cérémonie était enmesure dele rompre. 4.1. Le tribunal despairs vassalique (plaid) n’était pas une institution rigide; mais elle était importante car elle représentait le jugement des vassaux, tenu pour une sorte de verdict de l’ opinion chevaleresque (Weber 1972: 338; Bloch 1989: 322; Lemarignier 1970: 136; Barthélemy 1997: 330 et n. 46). Les vassaux médiévaux, eneffet, nepouvaient êtrejugés queparleurs égaux (Lemarignier 1970: 136; Bloch 1989: 508); a fortiori s’il s’agissait derégler undifférend entre le seigneur et l’un d’eux, puisque le seigneur nepouvait à la fois êtrejuge etpartie (Weber 1972: 631). C’est la cour vassalique, laquelle, en d’autres circonstances, avait uneautre fonction (pour σύµβουλοι et consilium: voir, quijouait ce rôle (Bloch 1989: 312; Lemarignier 1977: 135; Weber 1972: 149). Le seigneur devait donc réunir, “convoquer”(voir, la cour despairs pour rendre pareille sentence. Notons quele latin médiéval pares (Bloch 1989: 312; Lemarignier 1970: 135) trouve son exact équivalent dansle terme grec ὁµό τι µοι , très fréquemment employé pourdésigner les aristocrates perses (voir, parexemple, Briant 1996: 339). C’est encore le même passage de l’Anabase qui fournit unexemple éclairant pour le domaine achéménide. Par deux fois donc, Orontas trahit Cyrus. À deux reprises, ce dernier lui pardonne; et le serment et la “foi” sont renouvelés. Ceci n’empêche pas Orontas de trahir à nouveau son seigneur. De guerre lasse, Cyrus “convoque dans sa propre tente les sept principaux perses desonentourage” (Anabase 1.6.4)10 et il prie également Cléarque, le chef des Grecs, d’assister à la séance (Anabase 1.6.5), ce quin’a rien d’anormal puisque desnon-Perses étaient quelquefois autorisés à siéger comme σύµβουλοι (voir Parmi ces sept fidèles, un seul estexplicitement nommé: Artapatès, quiestdit“le plusfidèle desporte-sceptre

En Occident, le tribunal


et la vassalité



deCyrus”(1.6.11). Peut-être y trouvait-on aussi Satiphernès (Plutarque Artaxerxès 11.2) et Pategyas (Anabase 1.8.1), quiparaissent avoir joué unrôle depremier plan aucours del’ anabase deCyrus et lors de la bataille de Cunaxa. Onsait, en outre, que certains des assistants étaient des proches d’O rontas (1.6.10), sans doute des aristocrates, parents oualliés del’accusé. 4.2. La félonie

En Occident, les conditions de la sortie de vassalité sont très précises et limitées à quelques cas graves et prévus parles textes (Bloch 1989: 129, 322; Herlihy 1977). Sans doute y avait-il chez les Perses une liste bien établie des torts entraînant la rupture dulien vassalique, casuistique dontnousnesavons pasgrand chose. Cependant, Plutarque (Artaxerxès 4.1) rapporte que, pour justifier sa révolte contre son frère et seigneur, Cyrus sedéclara mécontent dece qu’il recevait chaque jour; autrement dit, sonentretien était insuffisant. Ce n’est évidemment qu’unprétexte, mais le reproche pourrait révéler une des clauses de rupture du lien vassalique (voir Mais c’ est bien sûr la félonie qui constituait la raison la plus impérative. La rupture detout serment était grave chez les Perses, puisque, poureux, dire la vérité était unevaleur essentielle. Mais la rupture duserment vassalique revêtait uncaractère irrémédiable. La solennité duserment et sa valeur religieuse, le statut descontractants, toute la cérémonie del’ hommage enbref, telle qu’onpeut la reconstituer, renforcent l’ horreur duparjure. C’ était uneforfaiture et, plus spécifiquement, une λος (Hérodote 9.7; voir félonie. C’est ce que, dans ce contexte, le grec rend parδό 2.3) et le latin pardolus (Népos Datame 10.1; voir 2.3). Dans ce passage essentiel

del’Anabase, toute l’horreur dela traîtrise et dela félonie est suggérée; Xénophon multiplie les termes de ce champ sémantique: Orontas est parjure (ἄδι κος); il est passé par trahison (ἀπο στά ων) ς) ducôté des Mysiens; et il a comploté (ἐπι βουλε ύ

contre Cyrus. A l’ instar des pratiques médiévales (Herlihy 1970: 73 et document 22), la félonie duvassal envers son seigneur devait être avérée, admise par les pairs, et, si possible, reconnue parl’ intéressé. C’estce quiexplique pourquoi Cyrus insiste tant pour qu’O rontas reconnaisse ses torts devant le Conseil (onconstate, dans le texte deXénophon, l’ abondance desdifférentes formes duverbe ὁµολογεῖν). Les aveux doivent être à la fois négatifs et positifs. Il faut, d’unepart, que le félon admette que Cyrus n’a commis à sonégard aucune injustice (1.6.8); si tel avait été le cas, onvoit bien quecela aurait constitué ipsofacto unerupture ducontrat dufait duseigneur (ce quiconfirme unefois encore l’existence d’obligations réciproques). D’ autre part, Cyrus insiste pour qu’O rontas avoue explicitement et publiquement sa trahison et sonparjure. Or,enlacirconstance, le vassal, résigné, enconviendra aisément (1.6.8). Il est donc essentiel que nul n’ignore la régularité des débats et de la procédure,

10 Le chiffre n’est évidemment pasunhasard. C’est le nombre légendaire desconjurés quiportèrentDarius I autrône. C’estaussi celui dessepteunuques quiservent Assuérus et desseptchefs dePerse et deMédie quiconseillent le Roi dans le livre d’E sther (1.10, 14). Voir Briant 1996: 140–149.



autant les vassaux eux-mêmes quel’ ensemble del’ armée, ce quel’onpourrait appeler l’ opinion publique. Ainsi, bien qu’ils se tiennent à huis clos dans la tente de Cyrus, la publicité desdébats estpermise, voire souhaitée: enrapportant cette séance, Cléarque précise qu’il n’était pas interdit d’en parler (1.6.5). Dans uneassemblée vassalique, il est indispensable quele verdict soit assumé parl’ ensemble des siégeants, qui sont ainsi collectivement responsables. La félonie est évidemment le crime le plus grave quepuisse commettre unvassal vis-à-vis desonseigneur: elle est donc punie demort. Après desdébats contradictoires (même si l’on fait la part dela réécriture rhétorique dudialogue, il semble qu’Orontas ait eula possibilité des’exprimer), unesentence capitale estprononcée (1.6.9). L’ absence desépulture connue pour Orontas, sorte dedamnatio memoriae, contrastant, parexemple, avec les honneurs rendus auxeunuques dePantheia (Cyropédie 7.3.15), participe aussi dela peine encourue parle félon (voir supra).

4.3. Le geste symbolique dela rupture Collectivement responsables dela sentence, c’ estaussi collégialement quelesjuges présents accomplissent les gestes symboliques de la condamnation capitale, actes dont l’ accomplissement semble impératif, à l’ instar desusages médiévaux (Le Goff 1977: 362–365; 378–380). Dansla tente deCyrus, tous se lèvent et saisissent Orontas par la ceinture, ce qui, selon les termes mêmes de Xénophon, équivaut à une sentence demort (1.6.10). AuMoyen Age, détacher la ceinture est unedes sanctions quel’Église appliquait aux coupables detrahison (Werner 1998: 214). Jusqu’ auXe siècle, la “perte duceinturon” (cinguli ... amissio) signifiait que le cinctus était suspendu de ses fonctions par l’ empereur (Werner 1998: 215). Une fois encore, la similitude est frappante entre les institutions médiévales et ce quel’on peut deviner despratiques achéménides à travers le texte deXénophon.

5. La cour vassalique Il existe autour duseigneur unevéritable cour vassalique; auprès duRoi dans ses capitales, mais aussi autour dessatrapes dans les provinces. Comme onvient dele voir, cette cour constituait le Conseil duseigneur et, en certaines circonstances, le tribunal vassalique. Mais elle était réglée par une série d’uset coutumes quinedevaient rien auhasard. 5.1. Terminologie

Le vocable le plus fréquent, parce quele plus général, pourdésigner les vassaux est “ami”(Briant 1996: 319–320, 332–334; voir 2.1). Mais, selon le point devueenvisagé, d’autres termes sont attestés. Si le lien personnel et la subordination duvassal sont misen exergue, c’ est le motὑπή κοος quiest utilisé (Anabase 1.6.6; voir 1.1). Si c’ est la relation sociale et quotidienne qui est envisagée, on parle de θε ρ ά πων (Anabase 1.8.28), quel’on peut traduire ici par“courtisan”. Alors queles langues


et la vassalité



modernes font porter l’ accent surl’idée de“suivre” pour décrire métaphoriquement la position de ces vassaux par rapport au seigneur (fr. “Suite”, all. Gefolgschaft), selon Xénophon, les vassaux perses “entourent” le seigneur, ils vivent et combattent “autour delui” (Anabase 1.8.27, 9.31); plutôt quela “suite”, les “amis” constituent donc proprement l’ e ntourage” duseigneur (voir cependant Plutarque Arta” [ἀκ ό xerxès 11.6: “undes suivants λου θος] deCyrus”; mais est-ce unvassal?).

5.2. Le banquet

Les vassaux deCyrus sont aussi dit “commensaux” (ὁµοτρά πε ζοι : Anabase 1.8.25; πε ζοι : 1.9.30), lorsque l’onenvisage cette circonstance privilégiée dela vie συ ντρά πε ζος d’unecour vassalique qu’est le banquet pris en commun.11 Le terme ὁ µοτρ ά (qui répond d’ailleurs à ὁ µό τι µος) marque l’ égalité entre les convives deCyrus. Ce sont eux qui se font tuer sur soncadavre (Anabase 1.8.30; Économique 4.27; voir 2.1). L’ usage duterme “commensal” dans uncontexte aussi dramatique peut surprendre. En réalité, le festin pris en commun est étroitement associé à la foi jurée (Davy 1922: 46). Ainsi, dans le récit dela mort deCyrus, le rapport est clairement établi entre l’ honneur desiéger à la mêmetable quele seigneur et le dévouement, la fidélité qu’on lui doit (pour les rites de compétition sociale dont le banquet était le cadre, voir Sancisi-Weerdenburg 1980: 162–165; 1989: 133–134; Briant 1996: 316– 317; 326–327; pour le Moyen Age, voir Duby 1984, passim, spéc. 174). 5.3. Mode devie et éducation vassaliques

Les aristocrates quifréquentent la cour vassalique, c’ est-à-dire, dans les provinces, la cour du satrape (Cyropédie 8.6.10– 11), respectent un comportement de statut (Weber 1972: 397–398; Widengren 1969: 82–86; Briant 1996: 339–341; pour le Moyen Age, voir Duby 1973: 134–136; Herlihy 1970: 283–285). Les enfants deces vassaux sontélevés à lacourroyale, pourceux quirésident enPerse (Anabase 1.9.2– 4), ousatrapale, pour ceux quirésident dansles provinces (Cyropédie 8.6.10, 8.13–

14). Fréquentant “les portes” du satrape (Anabase 1.9.3; Cyropédie 8.6.10, 8.13 etc.), ils y reçoivent cette éducation particulière auxjeunes Perses del’ aristocratie (Hérodote 1.136; Anabase 1.9.5); ainsi ils cultivent deux vertus indispensables dans cette société vassalique et guerrière: l’excellence militaire et le respect de la “foi” accordée. Les nobles sont donc élevés dans l’ apprentissage decette culture desélites indispensable aumaintien dela cohésion sociale (voir Weber 1972: 181; Hicks 1996).


σσιτος duroi (Héνδε ι πνοι : 145F. Histiée est désigné comme σύ ται : Athénée 145C; σύ Συ µπό rodote 5.24); Démokédès est ditégalement ὁ µοτρά πε ζος (3.131); ainsi queMégabyze (Ctésias 688 F 14.21). Pour les banquets royaux, les préséances et les différents titres, voir Briant 1996:




6. La hiérarchie


Enfin, si l’on confronte les données disponibles dans les différentes sources grecques, enparticulier chez Xénophon, onconstate l’existence d’unevéritable hiérarchie vassalique12 dont les différents niveaux sont représentés par différentes personnes ougroupes depersonnes. (1) Le Roi, lui-même. (2) Les vassaux directs duRoi: les grands aristocrates vivant à la courroyale ou les satrapes dans les provinces. (3) Les vavasseurs duRoi: les nobles qui, comme Orontas dans la satrapie de Sardes ou Spithridate dans la satrapie de Daskyleion (Sekunda 1988: 184– 185), vivaient dansles cours satrapales, et quidevaient hommage ausatrape. Ouceux qui vivent à la cour duRoi mais qui dépendent d’undesvassaux directs. À cet égard, Athénée (146A) indique que “les plus honorés des commensaux duRoi vont à la cour uniquement pour le déjeuner, afin dene pasy aller deux fois, et ainsi être en mesure derecevoir leurs propres commensaux”; on voit parlà queles vassaux du roidoivent eux-mêmes régaler leurs propres obligés, c’ est-à-dire vraisemblablement les vavasseurs duRoi. (4) Le quatrième échelon de cette hiérarchie est constitué des guerriers qui étaient entretenus surlesfiefs desnobles perses installés danslesprovinces, etqu’ils étaient tenus deprésenter, encasderéquisition (voir Cesvassaux desgrands seigneurs perses dans les provinces sont appelés “chevaliers” (knights) parSekunda,tandis queleurs seigneurs, tels Orontas ouSpithridate, sont appelés “ducs” (dukes) (Sekunda 1985: 10–13; 1991: 83–84; cf. Petit 1990: 235 n. 540). Bien que peu documentées, les relations entre les troisième et quatrième niveaux de la hiérarchie vassalique paraissent identiques à celles que l’on observe entre les degrés supérieurs. Dans le texte de Xénophon, Orontas a été trompé par l’ homme à qui il avait confié la lettre à remettre à Artaxerxès (Anabase 1.6.3). Or cet homme est qualifié deπι στό ςà deux reprises (1.6.3 et 1.9.29), et Xénophon dit delui qu’il était enfait “plus ami”(φι λαίτε ρος) deCyrus qued’O rontas. Le vocabulaire est identique à celui utilisé pour qualifier les relations entre vassaux et seigneur. Cet homme semble donc être le vassal d’Orontas et ipsofacto le vavasseur de Cyrus. Et, comme l’indique le texte de Xénophon, selon lequel les “vassaux” d’Orontas se prosternent une dernière fois devant leur seigneur avant son exécution (1.6.10), la proskynèse n’estpasseulement la marque dela seule subordination auRoi, mais elle est de mise aux autres échelons de la hiérarchie vassalique pour exprimer la sujétion entre unvassal et sonseigneur. Enconséquence, mêmesansdisposer detexte quile confirme formellement, on peut supposer quenonseulement les mêmes gestes desubordination, puis de“foi”, mais aussi les mêmes obligations réciproques étaient attachés aucontrat qui liait les différents degrés decette hiérarchie vassalique.

12 Voir Petit 1990: 235. Briant (1988: 76–77) éclaire la stratification citant Anabase 2.2.1.


de l’aristocratie en


et la vassalité




Le texte deXénophon est la source la plus explicite surle déroulement dela cérémonie d’hommage chez les Achéménides. Encore la description est-elle incomplète. Eneffet, nous n’avons là quele bref compte-rendu dujugement d’unvassal par ses pairs (4). Aucours des débats, Cyrus rappelle de manière succincte mais non équivoque la foi (2), quiavait été mise à malparles trahisons successives d’Orontas, avait été renouvelée lors d’unecérémonie postérieure aupremier hommage et antérieure auprocès. Nousn’avons conservé quela description d’unjugement vassalique pour forfaiture, aucours duquel il est procédé à une“dévestiture” ousortie devassalité; il est simplement fait référence à la cérémonie d’hommage oud’entrée en vassalité. Ces divers “flash-backs” expliquent quetous les gestes et paroles rituels nesoient pasdécrits continûment et quel’ articulation entre les différentes parties dela cérémonie ne soit pasexplicitée; ainsi l’ unité detemps et delieu entre les trois phases n’estpasassurée parles sources, simultanéité quiparaît pourtant indispensable aubonfonctionnement dusystème entant quetel (Le Goff 1977: 365). Il estcependant question, dansle mêmetexte etdansle mêmecontexte, d’uneproskynèse et dusymbolisme de la ceinture, allusion assez claire à d’autres phases de la même cérémonie. Malgré le caractère discontinu de notre information, on ne peut toutefois douter que l’on ait affaire à un ensemble de cérémonies ritualisées, en l’ occurrence hommage, foi etjustice vassaliques. BIBLIOGRAPHIE Barthélemy, D., 1997, “La théorie féodale à l’ épreuve de l’ anthropologie”, Annales E.S.S.: 321–


Bickerman, E., 1963, “A propos d’unpassage deCharès deMytilène”, PdP 18: 241–255. Bittner, S., 1985, Tracht undBewaffnung despersischen Heeres zurZeit der Achämeniden (München). Bloch, M., 1924, Les rois thaumaturges (Strasbourg). 1989, La société féodale (5ème éd.: Paris). J., 1983, “Die Dependenz des Königs von Sidon vompersischen Grosskönig”, dans Borchhardt, --Beiträge zurAltertumskunde Kleinasiens (Festschrift K. Bittel) I (Mainz): 105–120. Briant, P., 1988 “Hérodote et la société perse”, dans Hérodote et les peuples nongrecs [Fondation Hardt. Entretiens XXXV] (Vandoeuvres-Genève): 69–112. 1996, Histoire de l’ empire perse. De Cyrus à Alexandre (Paris).


H. J. M., 1996, “Ideology andthe Formation of the Early States: Data from Polynesia”, dans H. J. M. Claessen, J. G. Oosten (éd.), Ideology and the Formation of the Early States (Leiden): 339–358. Coulborn, R. (éd.), 1956, Feudalism in History (Princeton).

Davy, G., 1922, Lafoi jurée (Paris). deMontlibert, C., 1997, “Histoire et sociologie”, dansP. Deyon, J.-Cl. Richez, L. Strauss (éd.), Marc Bloch. L’ historien et la cité (Strasbourg): 69–77. Deger-Jalkotzy, S., 1978, E-pe-ta, ZurRolle des Gefolgschaftswesen in der Sozialstruktur mykenischer Reiche (Wien). Demargne, P., 1974, “Le sarcophage de Payava”, dans Fouilles de Xanthos V. Tombes-maisons, tombes rupestres et sarcophages (Paris): 61–87.



Duby, G., 1973, Le dimanche deBouvines (Paris). 1984, Guillaume le Maréchal ou le meilleur chevalier du monde (Paris).


R. N., 1972, “Gestures of Deference to Royalty in Ancient Iran”, IA9: 102–107.

Ganshof, Fr.-L., 1982 Qu’est-ce quelaféodalité? (Paris). Herlihy, D., 1970, TheHistory of Feudalism (Scranton PA). Hicks, F., 1996, “Class andState in Aztec Official Ideology”, dans H. J. M. Claessen, J. G. Oosten (éd.), Ideology andthe Formation of Early States (Leiden): 256–277. Hintze, O., 1962, “Wesen undVerbreitung desFeudalismus”, dans Staat undVerfassung. Gesammelte Abhandlungen zurallgemeinen Verfassungsgeschichte (Göttingen): 84–119. Hirsch, S., 1985a, The Friendship of the Barbarians (Hanover-Londres). 1985b, “1001 Iranian nights: History and Fiction in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia”, dans The Greek --- Historians. Literature andHistory. Papers presented toA. E. Raubitschek (Saratoga): 65–85. Humphreys, S. C., 1978, Anthropology andthe Greeks (Londres).


P., 1987, “TheFunction of Girdle onAchaemenid Costume inCombat”, IA22: 267–273.

Laburthe-Tolra, P., 1998, Critique de la raison ethnographique (Paris). Le Goff, J., 1977, “Le rituel symbolique dela vassalité”, dansPour unautre Moyen Age(Paris): 349– 420. Lemarignier, J.-Fr., 1970, La France médiévale. Institutions et sociétés (Paris).

Missiou, A., 1993, “Δοῦλος τοῦ βασι λέως”, CQn.s.43: 377–391. Mueller-Goldingen, C., 1995, Untersuchungen zurXenophons Kyrupädie (Stuttgart-Leipzig).

O. G., 1997, “Marc Bloch et l’ histoire comparée del’histoire”, dansP. Deyon, J.-Cl. Richez, L. Strauss (éd.), Marc Bloch. L’ historien et la cité (Strasbourg): 57–67.


Petit, T., 1983, “Karanos. Etude d’unefonction militaire sousla dynastie achéménide”, LEC51: 35–


1990, Satrapes et satrapies dans l’ empire achéménide. De Cyrus le Grand à Xerxès Ier (Liège--- Paris-Genève). Renfrew, C., 1990, L’ énigme indo-européenne. Archéologie et langage (Paris) [tr. deArchaeology andLanguage: ThePuzzle of Indo-European Origins (Londres 1987)]. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, H., 1980, Yauna enPersai. Grieken enPerzen in eenander perspectief (Groningen). 1989, “Gifts in the Persian Empire”, dans P. Briant, C. Herrenschmidt (éd.), Le tribut dans l’ em--- pire perse (Paris): 129–146. Sekunda, N., 1985, “Achaemenid Colonization in Lydia”, REA87: 7–30. 1988, “Persian Settlement in Hellespontine Phrygia”, AchHist 3: 175– 196. --- 1991. “Achaemenid Settlement in Caria, Lycia and Greater Phrygia”, AchHist 6: 83– 143. J.-M., Maucourant, J., Tiran, A. (éd.), 1996, La modernité de Karl Polanyi (Paris). Servet, --Shabazi, A. S., 1996/7, “Horse andHorsemanship in Ancient Iran”, Iranian Journal ofArchaeology and History 11: 27–42. Sherwin-White, S. M., 1978, “Hand-Tokens andAchaemenid Practice”, Iran 16: 183.

VanBakel, M., 1996, “Ideological Perspectives of theDevelopment of Kingship intheEarly States of Hawaii”, dans H.J.M. Claessen, J.G. Oosten (éd.), Ideology and the Formation of the Early States (Leiden): 321–338. Vidal-Naquet, P., 1974, “Lesjeunes: le cru, l’enfant grec et le cuit”, dansP.J. Le Goff, P. Nora(éd.), Faire de l’histoire III (Paris): 137–168. Weber, M., 1972, Wirtschaft undGesellschaft (5e éd.: Tübingen). 1997, Le judaïsme antique (Paris).



et la vassalité


Werner, K. F., 1998, Naissance de la noblesse (Paris). Widengren, G., 1968, “Le symbolisme dela ceinture”, IA8: 133–155. 1969, Der Feudalismus im alten Iran (Köln-Opladen).




Xenophon’s Spartan Constitution is ourbest source onSpartan women in theclassical period. Xenophon spent twenty years onanestate granted to himbythe Spartans near Elis. His sons were educated in the agoge.1 Thus he writes about Sparta from the unique perspective of a first-hand witness. Like most other Greek writers Xenophon didnot aimto produce an objective journalistic history; though he admired some aspects of Spartan society, he wascritical of others.2 In anycase, his viewpoint, like that of any writer, should be considered a lens through which we view his narrative. NordidXenophon come to Sparta as a tabula rasa. His ideas about Spartan women were doubtless shaped by prior influences andexperiences. To start with the most obvious: he could well have been in the audience at theproduction of Lysistrata andseen therobust andaggressive Lampito, so different from theAthenian women whomheknew. InAthens hewill haveknown thebright young Laconizers3 of hisdayin a group associated with Socrates, andmayeven have read what Critias wrote about women in his treatise on Sparta.4 Furthermore, he will have learned muchabout Spartan society fromClearchus, Cheirisophus, Agesilaus, andthe numerous Spartans alongside whomhe wasengaged in military service in Asia over the years. It is universally acknowledged that soldiers gossip about sex andwomen. With the exception of Chapter 14 (which apparently was inserted later), the Sparta that Xenophon contemplated in his treatise hadjust defeated Athens. Of course the victory wasanalyzed. This discussion is reflected in the rhetoric of the treatise where Xenophon seems to be trying to convince some “straw man”about the truth of his statements.5

1 2 3 4 5

D.L. 2.54 andsee further Kennell 1995: 16. Badian (this volume) questions whether the sons participated in theagoge. See further Tuplin 1994: 127–181, esp. 132. According to Ar.Av.1281, all Athenians were Laconizers. Diels-Kranz 88 B32; andseeAnonymus lamblichi (n. 27 below). E.g. rhetorical question: 1.3; ὁ βου λόµενος ἐ πι σκοπεῖτω 1.10, 2.14. – For a different view of chapter 14 see Humble’s paper in this volume.



Secondary Scholarship Although Xenophon is theprincipal source onSparta inthefirst quarter of thefourth century, there is a dearth of modern scholarship onthechapters of theSpartan Constitution dealing with women andthe family.6 Several factors are responsible for this neglect. First of all, Sparta tends to attract scholars whoare interested in military andpolitical institutions. Manyfollow Paul Cartledge, oneof themost eminent Spartanologists of ourday, whois rather patronizing about Xenophon andwhoalso has no entry for “women” in the index to his fundamental study Sparta andLakonia.7 Furthermore, those who are interested in women andthe “Spartan mirage” prefer to discuss Plato’s Republic andLaws.8 The Spartan Constitution, however, like much of Xenophon’s oeuvre, has not failed to attract the attention of Straussians. Most recently Gerald Proietti inXenophon’s Sparta, states that hispurpose is to study Lysander and“the predicament of Sparta at the endof the Peloponnesian War”.9 Proietti does not provide a full commentary on the opening chapters concerning women anddaily life: for these subjects herefers thereader to anarticle by Leo Strauss, andsuggests that Strauss’ views have not entered the mainstream of Classical Studies because they were notpublished in a classical journal.10 Proietti’s interpretations areundermined byhisacceptance of Strauss’s idea that Xenophon is ironic rather than serious in this work. Among earlier publications, three monographs should be noted. Wilhelmina Adriana Kosten, Inquiritur quidXenophontis Λακ ε δαι µονίων Πολι τεία valeat ad Lacedaemoniorum Instituta cognoscenda,11 includes freeborn women in her discussion of theentire text of theSpartan Constitution. Hergrim verdict is that Xenophon’s treatise bears very little relationship to the historical situation in Sparta. H. Bazin, La République des Lacédémoniens deXénophon,12 examines the manuscript tradition as well as other works of Xenophon, especially theHellenica andAgesilaus. Bazin (275) decides that Xenophon is the author of the Spartan Constitution, despite some doubt raised by a remark attributed to Demetrius of Magnesia (Diogenes Laertius 2.57). Onthe question of the authenticity of the work most recently K.M.T. Chrimes, TheRespublica Lacedaemoniorum ascribed to Xenophon, comes to the opposite conclusion.13 That Xenophon’s view of women in theSpartan Con-

6 Most recently Rebenich 1998 devotes three andonehalf pages (88–91 [mostly filled with bibliographic references to other secondary scholarship]) to these chapters in his commentary, 7 8 9 10

which is only 56 pages long. Cartledge 1979: 261: “I amnot yet convinced that his [i.e. Xenophon’ s] allegedly allusive, ironic manner andanti-imperialist message aresufficient compensations forhisundoubted brevity, omissions, andpartisanship”. Xenophon is scarcely mentioned in, e.g., Bluestone 1987 orTuana 1994. Proietti 1987: ix. Thommen 1996 mentions a woman occasionally (e.g. 92 Gorgo), butis interested in political andmilitary developments. Strauss 1939. Proietti 1987: xv, points outthat Strauss’s article waspublished in a social sci-


11 Kosten 1921. 12 Bazin 1885. 13 Chrimes 1948.

Xenophon’s Spartan women


is consistent withtheideas heexpresses inother works whose authenticity hasnotbeen seriously questioned supports the attribution of the text to him.14 In thepresent paper I will confine myself to a discussion of Spartan women as reflected in Xenophon’s Spartan Constitution. Other texts andarchaeological evidence will be cited only in connection with this work. The topics covered can be loosely classified as: rearing andeducation; reproductive role; property control; and stitution

social status.15

The Spartan Constitution Xenophon gives the theme of TheSpartan Constitution in his opening sentence by asking how it is possible for Sparta to be the most powerful and renowned of the Greek poleis whenit hassuch a small population (ὀλι γαν θρ ωπό τατον). Hegoes on to answer this rhetorical question. In brief, according to Xenophon, Lycurgus designed social, political, andmilitary institutions that created superb hoplites. (Following Xenophon’s example, I will refer to Lycurgus, without wishing to imply that I believe in thehistorical existence of this legendary figure.) Current scholarly discussions of Spartan manpower apparently consider ὀλιγαν θρ ωπία16a lack of male citizens, andfocus on the numbers of males of all ages at various dates, but, with only minor exceptions,17 ignore women andtheir reproductive failures or successes. Not so Xenophon. He does not mention any of the reasons forὀ λι γανθρωπίαthat modern scholars have proposed, including theearthquake of 46418 or biological defects resulting from endogamy.19 Rather in RL 1 he discusses ὀλι γανθρωπία along with τε κνοποι ία. Lycurgus paid so much attention tomotherhood andmarital intercourse, thattheresult wasa population of highquality, though small.

Rearing andEducation Following a brief eulogy of Lycurgus Xenophon resumes his discussion of reproduction with a detailed description of the rearing of girls. Stating that he is begin, Xenophon highlights women’s role in child-production. Clearly ning at the ἀρχή (to rephrase a well-known adage), the child is mother to the man.

14 See below andOost 1977. 15 Fora fuller treatment of thesubjects raised inthis paper seePomeroy 2002. I amgrateful tothe John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for a fellowship andto St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, for providing hospitality while I wrote this paper. 16 Arist. Pol. 1270a36 is probably using the word solely in terms of men. See further Pomeroy 1998.

17 E.g. Cartledge 1979: 307–318 onthepopulation crisis mentions women on307, 309, as does de Ste Croix’s brief appendix on“Spartan oliganthropia” (1972: 331–332). But neither study actually integrates women into discussion of theproblem. 18 Ziehen 1933: 218–237, esp. 237; Figueira 1986: 165–213, esp. 181–182. 19 See Hodkinson 1988: 79– 121, esp. 107–109.



Xenophon (LP 1.4) points outthat only in Sparta were girls well fed andgiven undiluted wine. Hecriticizes therest of theGreeks fornotproviding adequate nourishment for girls whoare destined to become mothers of citizens.20 Spartan girls may, in fact, have been given more food than their male counterparts, for Plutarch (Lycurgus 17.4) refers toboys’ ὀλι γοσιτίαwhich theboyshadto supplement themselves. Food was supplied in the form of a family wage allotted to the menfrom their kleroi. Each kleros wassufficient toprovide a rent of 70 medimni of barley for a man, and 12 for his wife, along with proportionate quantities of fresh produce. Every Spartan wasrequired to contribute one medimnus each month to his syssition. Thus if wesuppose that thehusband consumed his twelve medimni at thesyssition while the wife hadthe same amount at home, thebasic diet of menandwomen wasthe same. Because Plutarch does not specify the amount of perishables we donot have sufficient data to enable us to calculate the complete Spartan diet. If, however, hisreport that a wife received twelve medimni of barley is true, a Spartan woman would havehad,asa minimum, morethanoneanda half choinikes daily, an adequate diet of staples even for an athletic, or pregnant, or nursing woman. According to the calculations of Forbes andFoxhall this amount of grain yielded approximately 3416 calories daily.21 Thevery active adult female aged20 to 39 years requires 2434 calories.22 Plutarch’s text refers to a stable kleros system. Such a system wascertainly not in operation throughout Spartan history. Even if Plutarch’s figures areunreliable orinapplicable to all of Spartan history, they indicate that the Spartan diet wasgenerous. Xenophon (LP 2.6, 5.3,8) mentions theofficial concern that menmight become fat. In anycase, concerning thewomen Aristophanes’ testimonyis consistent with Xenophon’s andPlutarch’s. Conforming to theethnic stereotype inLysistrata (80–81), Spartan women were notably robust. Since the father dined with hissyssition, themother would have been incharge of fooddistribution. Themother musthave seento it that herdaughters were well-nourished. Fifty-eight medimni a year would have generously fed at least five or six children of various ages, or fewer children andsome domestics. Furthermore, in addition to the minimumsupplied bythekleros, property holders would have hadaccess to foodgrown ontheir private estates. Theonly parallel intheclassical period for attention paidto women’s nutrition because they are mothers appears in the Persepolis Fortification Tablets. Allocations of wine, beer, andgrain arespecified for women whoaremothers.23 Certainly Xenophon, whose interest in supplying rations for armies is well-documented, was also concerned about supplies for individuals appropriate to their role and status (e.g. LP 7.8). In the Memorabilia (2.2.5) Socrates points out to Lamprocles that women bear children at the risk of their lives, andthat the mother shares her own nourishment with herchild. Xenophon approves of thegenerous food allocation of Spartan girls, a diet which (unusually among the Greeks) includes wine. AsXeno-

20 21 22 23

Arist. HA608b observes that the female eats less. Foxhall andForbes 1982: 41–90, esp. 59. Ibid. 49. Hallock 1969: 344–353; seefurther Brosius 1996: 171–178. Note, incidentally, that mothers boys gottwice asmuchas mothers of girls.


Xenophon’s Spartan women


phonstated intheOeconomicus (10.11), if a woman exercises shewill have a better appetite and a vibrant complexion. Modern medical authorities inform us that a moderate amount of red wine is salubrious; exercise contributes to good health;24 andsunshine onbare skin provides vitamin D. The natural colour of the skin was

to the artificial white favored by other Greek women: Lycurgus prohibitedtheuseof cosmetics, withtheresult that Spartan women were spared thepoisonouseffects of arsenic andwhite lead.25 Whenterracotta masks from Sparta fromthe second half of the sixth century depicting women are coloured, they show their


flesh as pink, not white.26 Although Xenophon does not specifically state that there wasa female agoge, he does report activities that correspond to some features of the male agoge. He approves of exercise for women, butdoes not mention that they strip for athletics. Certainly hewould have known about it, if notbymeans of first-hand observation, orword-of-mouth, thenbyreading. Forexample, Dissoi Logoi, a workwritten some time after thePeloponnesian Warin a literary Doric, reports that Spartan girls strip for exercise.27 Plato apparently knewof the Spartan practice, for it is generally assumed that nudeexercise forwomen intheRepublic (457A) is based ontheSpartan reality. Plato (457B) suggests that the bodies of old women are laughable, and, indeed, retreats from nudity for adult women in the Laws (833D). Nudity andnude wrestling could well have sexual consequences. YetXenophon’s discussion of male homosexuality or the lack of it (LP 2.12–3) does notmention analogous situations for women. Nevertheless it is clear from Alcman andPlutarch that women didengage inhomosexual relationships.28 Perhaps these omissions areduetotheprudishness that Kenneth Dover hasdetected in Xenophon.29 Orit maybe that Xenophon didnotcare topresent female nudity orsame-sex erotic connections asmodels tobe emulated. We maynote that the female nude began to appear in public art in Athens, Cnidos, andelsewhere in the early fourth century when Xenophon waswriting.30

Reproductive Role

Xenophon (LP 1.6) andPlutarch (Lycurgus 15.3) praise the Spartan custom whereby girls married in their prime, rather than prematurely, as wasthecase in Athens. They also approve of Lycurgus’s directives limiting the frequency with which the newly-weds engaged in intercourse (LP 1.5, Plutarch Lycurgus 15.5). Though Xe-

24 Stout 1999. 25 E.g. ψι µύθι ον, a commonly usedfoundation, wasmadefromwhite leadcarbonate; σανδαρά κη from arsenic sulphide; andστίµµις from bismuth andlead sulphide: Grillet 1975: 33–35, 47, 49; andsee further Pomeroy 1994: 304–306. 26 Bosanquet 1906: 331–344, esp. 341. 27 DK90 B2.9; Freeman 1946: 418–419. 28 Cartledge 1981a: 17–36, Harvey 1994: 35–58, espec. 41–42. 29 Dover 1974: 214. 30 See further Fantham et al. 1994: 173–176.



nophon does not mention the secret marriage andstealthy visits of bridegroom to bride that Plutarch reports, hedoes allude to a similarly exciting situation (LP 1.5). He comments that abstinence would fan desire, andthat the offspring would be more vigorous. Parenthetically, wemayobserve that inasmuch as the Greeks were totally ignorant about thedaysinthemenstrual cycle whenwomen were fertile, late marriage andinfrequent intercourse in the early years of marriage when women were at their most fertile age must have reduced by at least one or two the total number of children borne by each woman, thus exacerbating the ὀ λι γανθρ ωπία.31 Xenophon’s well-known interest in leadership mayalso be detected here. Hedoes notshowanysurprise that Lycurgus went so far as to formulate legislation controlling the most intimate relationships. Solon as well, according to Plutarch (Solon 20.3), decreed that the husband of an epikleros must have intercourse with her at least three times a month. (This stipulation wasdoubtless intended to deter elderly impotent fortune-hunting male kinsmen from claiming a wealthy heiress.) Xenophon’s assumption in the Spartan Constitution as in the Oeconomicus (8.5, 10.12– 13) is that a newly-married couple in their prime years will naturally have a passionate relationship. Healso draws attention to the strength of themarried couple’s mutual desire which he deems essential for the creation of strong offspring (LP 1.5: γκη σφῶν αὐτῶν). ἀν ά

Eugenics Eugenic principles underlie much of Spartan demographic engineering. The Spartans were celebrated forbreeding fine race horses andhounds, soit is notsurprising to see them transfer these notions to human beings. By eliminating weak male infants they gavenatural evolution a boost, andthrough thesubsequent rigorous trainingof boys, they assured thesurvival of thefittest andfuture reproduction bythem. A mistake might bemade, anda manmight prove tobe a coward. Such “tremblers” didnotreproduce, for they were socially ostracized, andneither they northeir sisters could find spouses (LP 9.5). Unlike many of hiscontemporaries, whoconsider the mother a mere depository for the life-giving sperm, Xenophon thought – or at least hereveals that the Spartans thought – that thecharacteristics of themother are passed on to the offspring. (That acquired characteristics could be inherited was widely believed.)32 Eugenic motivations canalso be detected in thechoices made in positive wifesharing arrangements. Xenophon (LP 1.6, cf. Plutarch Lycurgus 15.7) relates that a mancould ask a husband if he might plant his seed in a wife whohadalready produced children, buthe also attributes the initiative to the husband (cf. Plutarch Lycurgus21). Forexample anelderly manwith a young wife might offer hera handsome noble young man, andthen adopt the children born of this union. Daniel Ogden argues that Spartans believed that in theprocess of wife-lending male sperm could

31 Ontheageof marriage: Cartledge 1981b: 84–105, esp. 94–95, andPomeroy 1998 32 See further Pomeroy 1997: 97–98.

Xenophon’s Spartan women


mingle andproduce offspring whowere thought to have descended from twomale parents.33 Though Ogden is correct in emphasizing thedominance of themale contribution, he does notpaysufficient attention to the female contribution to the embryo. Therejection of cowards’ sisters andof somewives infavour of married womenwhowere ε ὔτε κνος andγε νναία (LP 1.8), shows that the mother is considered to be more than merely a fertile field for the father’s seed, andthat each woman made herownparticular contribution to the offspring. Xenophon, Polybius (12.6b.8), Plutarch, andNicolaus of Damascus (90 F 13z) refer to polyandry at Sparta. This practice is notnecessarily indicative of a paucity of women. Several scenarios arepossible. Xenophon (LP 1.8) mentions thecase of the married manwhohasno desire to συνοι κεῖ ν with his ownwife, butprefers to produce offspring bya married woman whohasalready proven herprocreative gifts. Ogden andothers take συνοι κεῖν as “marry” rather than in its common sense of “live with” or “have intercourse with.”34That a manmight want to remain a bachelor butmight nevertheless wanttoproduce anheir is certainly possible. ButXenophonnormally uses λα µβά νωof a manwhotakes a wife, andσυνουσία for “having intercourse with”. Therefore it is even more likely that a married man, for eugenic orpersonal reasons, might wantto produce a child by a woman other than his own wife. The manwhowants to have children by the wife of another manlooks for a woman whois wellborn andwhois a successful mother. If themother didnotmatter, a manwhowanted children would be satisfied with anywoman. This passage, incidentally, offers vivid evidence that Spartan women were not secluded. A Spartan manwhowasnot kin would see a mother with her children andmight be so impressed that he might askif he too could produce children with her. This so-called “wife-sharing” is notthe same as the sharing of wagons, horses, hounds, or servants (LP 6.3; andseebelow). Parenthetically it is necessary to point out that because the wife is an active participant in the arrangement whereby she produces children for a partner in addition to her husband, the practice should be termed “husband-doubling” or “male-partner duplication” or “non-exclusive monogamy” or, at any rate, some term that does not suggest passivity on the wife’s part.35 Claude Mossé suggests that the husband-doubling program was instituted in the fourth century to counter population losses incurred during the Peloponnesian War.36 Thenumber of children born, however, would notbeincreased bythis measure, if some women were to remain infertile while others diddouble-duty. Wemay compare thesituation atAthens, whenemergency measures instituted inthesecond half of the Peloponnesian War allowed men to produce citizen children by citizen women in addition to their wives. In the case of Socrates that is cited the extra

33 34 35 36

Ogden 1996: 234–235. Ogden 1996: 239. For συνοι κεῖν as “live with” or “have intercourse with” see denBoer 1954: 223; Sturz 1804: 4.190, s.v. συνοι κεῖν: “consuetudinem habere, coire”. This sense is adopted in thetranslations of Marchant (Loeb) andOilier 1934. Zweig 1993: 32–53 Mossé 1991: 138–153, esp. 143.



woman whose reproductive capacity is exploited is a widow.37 Wife-duplicating at Athens would have produced more children whereas husband-duplicating at Sparta would haveproduced thesamenumber of children asconventional monogamy withoutcontraception, butwould have distributed them among more oikoi.

Estate Planning

Asis common among elites, marital arrangements were closely connected to property considerations. Like other Greeks, Spartans practiced diverging devolution, and the Spartans attempted to counter the decrease in the economic status that large families would naturally experience when the patrimony was distributed. Xenophon’s report onhusband-doubling indicates that bothparents concurred inlimiting the size of the family so as not to reduce the share of the inheritance that would eventually bedistributed among their heirs. Inanother variation onthis theme, Polybius (12.6b.8) states that several brothers would share onewife. This fraternal polyandry wasalso a form of family limitation, for oneshared wife could nothave produced asmanychildren for thebrothers asindividual wives might have. Moreover, in theabsence of female infanticide, polyandry would have left some women withouthusbands. When each of these matrimonial experiments began, andhowlong they lasted is unclear. Xenophon depicts the Spartans as careful, if not calculating, in their selection of spouses andfamily planning. In contrast Athenaeus38 reports that cohorts of nubile menandwomen found spouses by groping randomly in a dark room, andthat thewomen werewithout dowries. This practice reflected theidea of equality among potential partners. If it ever existed in the archaic period andwasnot a Hellenistic invention, this procedure wasa casualty of themanifest advent of private property. Xenophon does notmention therandom selection of spouses, buthe does describe husband-doubling. This practice wasprobably introduced after therhetra of Epitadeus which permitted a manto give his house andkleros to whomever he wished

while he was alive, or to bequeath them in his will (cf. Plutarch Agis 5.2–5). Regardless of the authenticity of this rhetra, by the classical period (if notearlier), in addition to the land designated for distribution as kleroi, some washeld as private property.39 It is clear that with more property openly in private hands Spartan men andwomen hadincreased incentives to develop heirship strategies.

37 Fortheproduction of citizen children outside


at Athens: Diog. Laert. 2.26, cf. Athen.

555Dff, Gell.15.20.6, andsee further Pomeroy 1975: 66–67, 81. 38 555B–C, citing Hermippus 1026 F 6 = fr. 87 Wehrli (third c. BC). 39 See further David 1979/80: 30–45.

Xenophon’s Spartan women



The development of private property raises another question concerning women in theSpartan Constitution: thestatus of the”slaves” (δούλας) mentioned in 1.4. Xenophon reports that Lycurgus thought that slave women were capable enough of producing clothing so that freeborn women could devote their energies to motherhood. In the archaic period these doulai were doubtless helots, but by the fourth century they might also have been slaves. Helots belonged to the state, whereas slaves constituted part of theprivate property of theoikos. Xenophon uses theword ε ἵ λ ωτε ς40 in other contexts, but he does not necessarily distinguish carefully between thetwostatuses whendescribing thewomen to whomtheweaving wasdelegated in his time. Elsewhere in the Spartan Constitution (6.3) Xenophon refers to sharing private property, including hounds, horses, chariots, andοἰ κέ ται . Hedied after the battle of Leuctra andmayhave continued to work on the Spartan Constitution until after the emancipation of the Messenian helots.41 Thus there is a strong possibility that a substantial portion of the women whoworked in the Spartan household were slaves, though Laconian helots were still available.42 Therefore both sta-

tuses arepossible. Doulai were notthe only women in Sparta whoknew howto weave. To make hispoint about thedifference between Spartans andother Greek women Xenophon exaggerates the Spartans’ liberation from weaving. Spartan women could weave andsupervise their slaves’ work, butthey were notcompelled to weave endlessly, nor did their reputation depend upon it.43 One of the Sayings attributed to Spartan women underlines this ethnic distinction:

When an Ionian woman wasproud of something she hadwoven (which was very valuable), a Spartan woman showed off her four well-behaved sons and said these should be the work of a noble andhonorable woman, andshe should swell with pride andboast of them. (Plutarch Moralia 241D) Although servile women didthe routine weaving, freeborn women wove for ritual purposes. Paraphernalia forweaving andhundreds ofplaques depicting textiles were discovered atthe shrine of Artemis Orthia. These offerings date fromthearchaic to the Hellenistic period, but most are probably from the sixth to the fifth centuries.44 Literary testimony complements thearchaeological finds. Tenyoung girls in a choir for whomAlcman wrote a Partheneion (1.61) sing of bringing a cloak to Artemis Orthia. Presumably, like theArrephoroi whobegan the weaving for the peplos of

40 41 42

43 44

Sturz 1804: 2, s.v. Chapter 14, which is critical of Sparta andseems to undermine much of thetreatise, mayhave been written after Leuctra. (For another viewcf. Humble’s paper in this volume.) ται (6.3: cf. Ducat According to Ducat 1990: 46, Xenophon understands δοῦλοι here andοἰ κέ 1990: 21 n.9) asprivate property, that is slaves. Ducat, however, takes themasincluding helots. Onthestatus of Spartan nurses see most recently French 1997: 241–273, esp. 260–261, where French suggests that although most Spartan nurses were slaves or helots, they mayalso have been freeborn women of lower status (hypomeiones). Onwomen andweaving see further Pomeroy 1994: 60–64, 270, 274, 284, 297, 307. Onthese votives seemostrecently Foxhall 1998.



Athena at Athens, they hadparticipated in making the cloak. Pausanias (3.16.2) reports that every year women wove a chiton for Apollo of Amyclae in a room designated as the chitona.45 The xoanon of Artemis Orthia wore a polos anda wovendress reaching to thefeet.46 The figure must have been small andlight, for the priestess held it during the whipping ceremony (Pausanias 3.16.10). Therefore annual or quadrennial weaving of garments for the divinities could not have been a burden to Spartan women. Furthermore, weaving garments need nothave entailed the obligation to prepare the wool and the performance of messy tedious tasks including washing, beating, combing, carding, dyeing, andspinning. Rather, like Helen whospunwith hergolden distaff andsupervised herslaves,47 Spartan women were not required to work steadily and laboriously to produce clothing for their cult images. Atleast tengirls arenamed inAlcman’s Partheneion, andthey woveonly one cloak. Clothing thexoanon of Artemis waslike dressing a large doll. Incontrast, Athenian women notonly wovefortheoikos, butalso wereresponsible for weaving a peplos for Athena annually. The wooden image wasprobably less than life-size, andthe cloth depicted on the Panathenaic frieze ca. 2.0–2.5 x 1.8–2.3 metres.48 Every four years, however, they hadmuchmore work. Thepeplos woven by Athenian women for the greater Panathenaea wasanelaborate tapestry, so large that it was fixed as a sail on the Panathenaic ship.49 This peplos was probably ca. 4–8 metres sq.,50 andall whoattended the festival could admire or criticize theresult

The Status of Spartan Women According to Xenophon

I will both conclude andsummarize this paper by listing several criteria for establishing the status of women in anancient society andreviewing Xenophon’s report oneachrubric. Where it is relevant, thestatus of women will be compared withthat

of men. I will begin by briefly noting twoof Xenophon’s obvious omissions. Animportant criterion by which a historian can evaluate the status of women is freedom of religious expression. Religion wasa central part of life for both menandwomen at Sparta, andXenophon does mention some religious practices bymen. Weknowof

all-female cults fromother sources, both archaeological andtextual. Perhaps Xenophondoes notmention these because his wife wasexcluded as a foreigner, andhis


46 47 48 49 50

Whether this practice wasbegun in the archaic period is doubtful, for statues of Apollo were traditionally nude. See further Romano 1980: 103, whodoubts that a garment appropriate for a 30 cubit statue of Apollo waswoven annually. Onclothing forstatues seeFrazer 1913: ii 574– 575, Romano 1988: 127–134. Anivory plaque withanimage of thecult figure displays incised textile patterns. Fortheplaque: Dawkins et al. 1929: 208, andPl. XCVI, 2. Fortheweaving: Romano 1980: 123, contra Ziehen

1929: 1466. Hom. Od.4.131–5, Il. 6.323–624. Mansfield 1985: 6, 23 n.14. Ibid. 58, 89 n.26. Ibid. 58.

Xenophon’s Spartan women


male informants either could not or didnot care to provide information. He may have also omitted women’s religious practices because they were notdirectly relevant to his stated themes of oliganthropia andpower.

1. Sexual expression Xenophon also fails to mention female athletic nudity andhomosexuality. Hedoes, however, depict heterosexual intercourse asdesirable andpleasurable forboth partners. Constraints on the frequency of intercourse are considered for husband and wife alike.

2. Control over reproduction The wife concurs in husband-duplicating arrangements for the sake of producing children whowill inherit from more than onefather.

3. Control over property Property atSparta wasreal property; Xenophon (LP 7.6) reports that goldandsilver were outlawed. Women control real property for Xenophon declares unambiguously that the wife who duplicates husbands wants to get possession of two oikoi (γυναῖ κες ... βο ύ λο νται κατέ χε ιν).

4. Education Consistent with the concern

noless than men.

for women’s health, they were given physical training

5. Health Spartans must have been the healthiest of Greek women. Xenophon reports that their nutrition was superior andtheir reproductive health was a matter of public concern. Prohibition of theuseof cosmetics eliminated exposure to toxic substances. Marriage at a mature ageproduced healthy children for healthy mothers.

6. Influence in society Nowhere does Xenophon depict women as passive. In his description of marriage Xenophon draws attention to the wife as an active partner. The phrase γυνὴ ..... ἔ λθοι (LP 1.5) appears in his first sentence about marriage. In contrast, in descriptions of marriage in Athens the father or parents give the bride to the groom who νω. Furthermore, Xenophon mentions takes her: the verb commonly used is λαµβά thepersonal ambitions of thewoman whowants to control twooikoi.

To discuss Spartan society andinstitutions without mentioning women gives not only a partial picture, butalso a distorted one. Xenophon’s work is free of this bias, for hedoes notmerely include women buthebegins theSpartan Constitution with them. Comparisons between Spartan women andwomen elsewhere in Greece may well have fostered Xenophon’s admiration of Sparta.



BIBLIOGRAPHY Bazin, H., 1885, La République des Lacedémoniens de Xénophon (Paris). Bluestone, N. H., 1987, Women andtheIdeal Society (Oxford). Bosanquet, R. C., 1906, “Excavations at Sparta. 12: TheCult of Orthia as Illustrated ABSA 12: 331–344. Brosius, M., 1996, Women inAncient Persia (559–331 BC) (Oxford).


P, 1979, Sparta andLakonia (London). 1981a, “The Politics of Spartan Pederasty,” PCPS n.s. 27: 17–36. --- 1981b, “Spartan Wives: Liberation or Licence?”, CQ n.s.31: 84– 105. Chrimes, K. M. T., 1948, TheRespublica Lacedaemoniorum ascribed toXenophon (Manchester). --Cartledge,

E., 1979/80, “TheInflux of Money into Sparta at theEndof theFifth Century B.C.”, SCI 5: 30–45. Dawkins, R. et al., 1929, TheSanctuary ofArtemis Orthia at Sparta (London). denBoer, W., 1954, Laconian Studies (Amsterdam). Dover, K. J., 1974, Greek Popular Morality (Oxford). Ducat, J., 1990, Les hilotes (Paris). David,

Fantham, E., Foley, H., Kampen, N., Pomeroy, S. andShapiro, H.A., 1994, Women in the Classical World (New York). Figueira, T. J., 1986, “Population Patterns in Late Archaic andClassical Sparta”, TAPA 116: 165–


Foxhall, L., 1998, “TheWomen of Artemis Orthia, Sparta”. Paper delivered attheannual meeting of theAmerican Philological Association, Dec. 28, 1998. Abstract inAPAAbstracts: 130th Annual Meeting (NewYork): 83. Foxhall, L. andForbes, H. A., 1982, “Sitometreia: The Role of Grain as a Staple Food in Classical Antiquity”, Chiron 12: 41–90. Frazer, J. G., 1913, Pausanias’s Description of Greece (London). Freeman, K., 1946, ThePre-Socratic Philosophers (Oxford). French, V., 1997, “TheSpartan Family andtheSpartan Decline”, in C. D. Hamilton andP. Krentz (edd.), Polis andPolemos (Claremont): 241–273. Grillet,

B., 1975, Lesfemmes et lesfards dans l’a ntiquité grecque (Lyon).

Hallock, R. T., 1969, ThePersepolis Fortification Tablets (Chicago). Harvey, F. D., 1994, “Lacomica: Aristophanes andthe Spartans,” in A. Powell andS. Hodkinson (edd.), The Shadow of Sparta (London): 35–58. Hodkinson, S., 1988, “Inheritance, Marriage andDemography: Perspectives uponthe Success and Decline of Classical Sparta”, in A. Powell (ed.), Classical Sparta (London): 79– 121.

Kennell, N., 1995, The Gymnasium of Virtue: Education and Culture in Ancient Sparta (Chapel Hill). Kosten, W. A., 1921, Inquiritur quidXenophontis Λακε δαι µονίων πολι τεία valeat adLacedaemoniorum Instituta Cognoscenda (Diss. Universiteit Utrecht, Middleburg). Mansfield, J. M., 1985, TheRobe of Athena (Diss. University of California, Berkeley). Mossé, C., 1991, “Women intheSpartan Revolutions of theThird Century B.C.”, in S. B. Pomeroy (ed.), Women’s History andAncient History (Chapel Hill): 138–153. Ogden, D., 1996, Greek Bastardy (Oxford). Oilier, F., 1934, La République desLacedémoniens deXénophon (Lyon). Oost, S. I., 1977, “Xenophon’s Attitude toward Women”, CW 71:225–236.

Pomeroy, S. B., 1975, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, Preface: NewYork 1995).]

andSlaves (New York). [Re-issued with a new

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1994, Xenophon, Oeconomicus: A Social and Historical Commentary (Oxford). --- 1997, Families in Classical and Hellenistic Greece (Oxford). --- 1998, “Women and the Population Decline at Sparta”. Paper delivered at the annual meeting of --- theAmerican Philological Association, Dec. 28, 1998. Abstract inAPAAbstracts: 130th Annual Meeting (New York): 81. 2002, Spartan Women (NewYork). Proietti, 1987, G., Xenophon’s Sparta (Leiden). --Rebenich, S. 1998, Xenophon, Die Verfassung der Spartaner (Darmstadt). Romano, I. B., 1980, Early Greek Cult Images (Diss., Univ. of Pennsylvania). 1988, “Early Greek Cult Images and Cult Practices”, in R. Hägg, N. Marinatos, and G. C. Nord--- quist (edd.), Early Greek Cult Practice. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium at theSwedish Institute at Athens 26–29 June, 1986 (Stockholm): 127–134.

deSte. Croix, G. E. M., 1972, The Origins of thePeloponnesian War(London). Stout, D., 1999, “Government Allows Labels About Wine’s Benefits”, TheNewYorkTimes: February 6, 1999, A 13. Strauss, L., 1939, “The Spirit of Sparta”, Social Research 6: 502–536. Sturz, F. W., 1804, Lexicon Xenophonteum (Leipzig). Thommen, L., 1996, Lakedaimonion Politeia (Historia Einzelschriften 103, Stuttgart). Tuana, N. (ed.), 1994, Feminist Interpretations of Plato (University Park PA). Tuplin, C. J., 1994, “Xenophon, Sparta, andtheCyropaedia”, in A. Powell andS. Hodkinson (edd.), TheShadow of Sparta (London): 127–181.

L., 1929, “Sparta. E: Spartanische Kulte”, RE 3A: 1453–1525. 1933, “Das spartanische Bevölkerungsproblem” , Hermes 68: 218–237. Zweig, B., 1993, “TheOnly Women WhoGive Birth to Men: A Gynocentric, Cross-Cultural View --of Women in Ancient Sparta”, inM. DeForest (ed.), Woman’s Power, Man’s Game. Essays on Classical Antiquity in Honor of Joy K. King (Wauconda Ill.): 32–53.



I Introduction The Lakedaimoniôn Politeia (abbreviated as LP) has usually been regarded as an eclectic collection of information about the Spartan politeia, which includes discussion of certain aspects of eugenics, the education system, the general wayof life, military practices andtherole of thekings. Xenophon hastraditionally been considered the author of the work though it hasbecome fashionable to draw attention to the question of authorship.1 Themajority of scholars consider thegeneral tone of thewhole work to be one of praise, defence or idealisation of the Spartan wayof life. However, the penultimate chapter – Chapter 14 – contains censure of contemporary Spartan behaviour, andits inclusion has always proved difficult to explain in terms of the prevailing view. Thenumerous anddiverse attempts to account satisfactorily fortheapparently contradictory nature of this chapter have served to confirm thework’s eccentricity andmarginalise its importance, despite its being oneof themost extensive early expositions onSparta. Though there is little overall agreement about themeaning of Chapter 14, the majority view can be summarised as follows: while the rest of the workpraises, defends oreven idealises theSpartan wayof life, Chapter 14presents Xenophon’s disappointment that contemporary Spartans no longer uphold the noble ways of their ancestors, as portrayed in the rest of the work. Further, behind almost every attempt to address theproblem, including thethree latest views,2 is the assumption that Xenophon considers the Spartan constitution to be anideal constitution. So, for example, in a recently published commentary we find the remark: “Ziel seines Traktats ist, die Überlegenheit der von Lykurg geschaffenen spartanischen Verfassung undspartanischen Lebensweise kundzutun” (Rebenich 1998: 34). As a result LP is still consistently regarded as a work praising or defending the Spartan wayof life, as a work of propaganda for Sparta in general andAgesilaus in particular, or even as a project for Spartan reform.3 1

2 3

E.g. Carlier 1984: 252; Whitby 1994: 90; Hodkinson 1994: 217 n.2; Bianco 1996: 12; see also

section II below. Bianco 1996, Rebenich 1998, andLipka 2002. I ammost grateful to Dr Lipka for generously allowing meto readhis commentary prior to publication. Thefollowing categories aresomewhat arbitrary assome authors comment onmorethanoneof the four broad purposes below or use slightly different terminology: (a) Praise: Oilier 1934: xiii; Morrow 1960: 43; Michell 1964: 203; Tigerstedt 1965: 162–169; Breitenbach 1967: 1751; Nickel 1979: 60; David 1981: 51; Bordes 1982: 165; MacDowell 1986: 8; Cartledge 1987: 56–



There have been dissenters from this general tendency to see LP as laudatory, most notoriously L. Strauss (1939), whosuggested that it wasa work of irony or, more radically still, a work of satire: subtle criticism of the Spartan way of life hidden beneath a superficial veneer of praise. Higgins 1977 and Proietti 1987, prompted by Strauss’ attempts to make better sense of the work, have provided valuable contributions to the debate. The former argues that the work “is anessay against tyranny” (Higgins 1977: 65–75); the latter seeks to prove that although LP “explain[s] howso small a city could come to lead or dominate the alliance that emerged victorious over theAthenian empire, thelawsof Lycurgus didnotproduce that victory andin fact were at odds with the means required to winthe war”, as Xenophon reveals inHellenica (Proietti 1987, 79). Most important aretheir suggestions that Xenophon mayhave hadan agenda other than praise of Sparta when he

waswriting LP. Theopening of theworkcertainly doesnotspecify thatpraise is theaim.Xenophon starts by wondering howSparta, a state with a small population, appeared to be sovery (orthemost) powerful andsovery (orthemost) renowned; uponconsidering thepractices of theSpartans (hesays) hewondered nolonger (1.1). Moreover, hemarvelled too at their extremely wise lawgiver, Lycurgus, obeying whose laws they and their country prospered. Lycurgus brought about this prosperity not by imitating other states but by decreeing practices opposite to most of them (1.2). Given such opening remarks it should be expected that Xenophon planned to set forth these unique laws of Lycurgus which caused Sparta to gain such power and renown. This he does. What he does not dois suggest that he is writing praise or defence orapology orcriticism orsatire ordoing anything other thanpresenting the conclusions of hisinquiry into howSparta rose toprominence. Such aninquiry was hardly extraordinary since “it was axiomatic that anyone interested in politics or legislation should give first attention to Sparta, whose success in maintaining her commanding position inGreece seemed tobeevidence ofpeculiar excellence inher laws” (Morrow 1960: 40–41). Suggesting that Xenophon’s purpose is not to praise or defend Sparta does not preclude there being aspects of the Spartan wayof life of which he does approve. The important point is that there are also aspects of which he does not approve. Both are readily apparent if LP is read in conjunction with the rest of his works, which show quite clearly that he is not as naively pro-Spartan as he is frequently made outto be.4 In general, however, analyses of thenature of LP have tended not totake account of thepicture of Sparta drawn intherest of Xenophon’s corpus orat least to doso only rather selectively.


57 and416; Hooker 1989: 137; Tatum 1989: 51; Hodkinson 1994: 190–195; Kennell 1995: 16; Rebenich 1998: 18; Lipka 2002: 31–32. (b) Defence: Luccioni 1947: 162; denBoer 1954: 246– 247; Moore 1983: 71. (c) Propaganda: Delebecque 1957: 194; Toynbee 1969: 317; Carlier 1984: 253–255. (d) Programme of reform: Luppino Manes 1988: 27; Bianco 1996: 24. Examinations of Xenophon’s critical attitude towards Sparta include Cloché 1944; Higgins 1977; Tuplin 1993, 1994; Humble 1997.

The author, date andpurpose of chapter 14 of the Lakedaimoniôn Politeia


In this paper, therefore, I want to show that there is another possible explanation for thenature of LP, onewhich starts from thepremise that inthis work Xenophon shows himself to bejust as careful andinsightful anobserver of the political world

as he is elsewhere, andonein which Chapter 14 canbe shown to be aninte-

gral part of the work andindeed central to anunderstanding of what Xenophon is trying to doin LP. The major points of conflict among scholars about Chapter 14 will provide the outline for the following discussion: (a) authorship, (b) date, and

(c) purpose.

II Authorship Doubt still lingers in the minds of some modern scholars about the authorship both of thewhole work andsimply of Chapter 14 alone (see n.1). Theprimary source of this doubt is found in a statement made by Diogenes Laertius (2.57) that a work entitled Athênaiôn kai Lakedaimoniôn Politeia was ascribed to Xenophon but that Demetrius of Magnesia (fl. c.50 BC) denied thathewrote it. Whatarenowregarded astwoseparate works appear tobe linked under a single title bybothDiogenes and Demetrius before him; this misconception alone might account for Demetrius’ denial that Xenophon was the author, since what we call the Athênaiôn Politeia is manifestly notfrom Xenophon’s hand.5 Noother ancient source suggests that Xenophon wasnottheauthor of LP, andPlutarch certainly considered thathewas(compare hisreference to Xenophon atLycurgus 1.5 withLP 10.8). A recent attempt to use correspondence analysis to prove that Demetrius’ statement is correct (Lana 1992: 17–26) falls short in many regards. Not the least of these is that LP is compared to only one other of Xenophon’s works, the Hellenica. Further, this is hardly a suitable work for comparison since there is little agreement concerning its unity and date of composition.6 The only other extended attempt to deny that Xenophon composed LP (Chrimes 1948) has little to recommend it. Her conclusion is that Xenophon must have hadLP in front of himwhen he wrote his ownmaterial and that hewascomfortable using thestyle of theauthor of LP because both heandthat author were pupils of Socrates.7 But it is precisely the similarities in style and, indeed, thought that prompt most scholars to accept Xenophon’s authorship.8


6 7


It is thought to have been written c.430, theapproximate date of Xenophon’s birth: see Bordes 1982: 19–20 (n.12 provides further references); Moore 1983: 19ff. But there has been much uncertainty, andHornblower 2000 hasnowargued for a fourth century date. Forrecent discussions seeGray 1991; Tuplin 1993: esp. 29–31 and193–200; Dillery 1995 and Humble 1997: Chapter 2.4. Another problem with her analysis is her observation that the Hellenica shows no criticism of Sparta whereas Chapter 14 does. Even those whoareinclined to adhere to thenotion that Xenophon is profoundly philo-laconian recognise that heis critical atleast of Sparta’s seizure of the Cadmea (Hell. 5.4.1) andof Agesilaus’ role in this event (Hell. 5.2.32); e.g. Cartledge 1987: 296–297 andDelebecque 1957: 330, whobelieves that Hell. 5.4.1 andChapter 14 represent Xenophon’s changed outlook after Leuctra – frompraising toblaming Sparta. Cawkwell 1983: 395 n.38, Talbert 1988: 165–166 andFlower 1991: 90 n.68 are among the few whoseem to concur with Chrimes. E.g. Richards 1907: 40–47; Oilier 1933: 377–378 and1934: vii-viii; Tigerstedt 1965: 462–464



Accepting that LP is Xenophon’s work hasnotstopped scholars from speculatingthat Chapter 14 might have been written by someone else: socontrary in spirit is it to therest of thework – so the argument runs – that it musthave been added later by another hand (e.g. Hirsch 1985: 95). A more common view, however, is that Xenophon wastheauthor of Chapter 14 butthat hewrote it considerably later than the rest of the work, as anepilogue of sorts, after he hadwitnessed the decline of

Spartan power. Oneobstacle tothis theory is thefact that inthemanuscript tradition Chapter 14 is in the penultimate position, so that if it was a later addition then (on the face of it) Chapter 15 must be a later addition as well.9 Thepreferred solution to this problem has been to suggest that the two last chapters must have been transposed, on the grounds that (a) Chapter 13 (on the king’s duties in war) andChapter 15 (on the compact between the state andtheking) so obviously connect with oneanother, and (b) Chapter 14 is the logical last chapter because it is parallel to Cyropaedia 8.8, which similarly speaks of thedegenerate present incontrast withanidealised past.10 Reasons whyChapter 14 ended upin the “wrong” position include: (a) Xenophon wrote it inthemargin andlater editors inserted it incorrectly in thetext, or (b) it was written ona separate piece of papyrus andagain inserted incorrectly during editing. But, asothers have already noted, transposition is a rather drastic solution given that there is no hint of such difficulty within the manuscript tradition; indeed, we might ask howon earth Chapter 14 came to be placed second to last if it was so logically andobviously meant to be thefinal word. Butit hasbeen characteristic of past scholarship on Xenophon to assume some sort of error along the wayrather than reassess whyXenophon might have ordered the work in thewayhe did. There have, however, been lone defenders of themanuscript tradition throughout thecentury. In 1936 Momigliano (following Köhler 1896) argued that, whereas Chapter 14 declares that the legislation in Chapters 1–13 is no longer obeyed, Chapter 15 explains what is still in effect – the contract between the king andthe state (Momigliano 1966). There are some problems with the waythat Momigliano reached his conclusions, but the basic premise is sound andhis defence of the manuscript order of the chapters hasfound favour in thelast 20 years or so. There arefewwho n.530; Moore 1983: 67; MacDowell 1986: 8; Rebenich 1998: 14–15; Lipka 2002: 8–9, 46–55, whooffers valuable insights onlinguistic issues. Similarities in thought between LP andCyropaedia in particular have often been noted (for example see Breitenbach 1967: 1647 andKennell 1995: 133f.) though usually simply to argue that Xenophon’s Persians arelittle more than Spartans by another name. For a more subtle andconvincing interpretation seeTuplin 1994. 9 MacDowell 1986: 10–11 suggests that Chapter 14 is a first postscript andChapter 15 a second postscript, written after Xenophon hadbeenable to observe morefully howSpartan kings lived athome. Marchant 1925: xxi-xxii goes further andsuggests that Chapters 11–15 areall addenda,because they allegedly donotconform toXenophon’s opening thesis. Lipka 2002: 27–31 is more creative still: Xenophon started by composing just Chapters 1–10. Chapter 14 wasthen


written as anaddendum. Subsequently Chapters 11–13 were added, with a marginal note indicating that Chapter 14 should come after Chapter 13. Chapter 15 is simply a postscript. See most particularly Breitenbach 1967: 1751–1752. Also in favour of transposing thetwolast chapters are Oilier 1934: xvii-xviii; Luccioni 1947: 167–174; Delebecque 1957: 194–195; Tigerstedt 1965: 462 n.530; Moore 1983: 121; Due 1989: 21 n.48.

The author, date andpurpose of chapter 14 of the Lakedaimoniôn Politeia


nowrely on transposing the last two chapters in order to make some sense of the work as a whole.11

III Date Both of the last two chapters start with phrases that suggest they definitely refer to the time at which Xenophon is writing (14.1 καὶ νῦν ἔτι ; 15.1 δι ατελεῖ), but it is Chapter 14 which contains the only internal evidence for dating the whole work.12 Thefirst clue is provided bytwocomments about harmosts: that Spartans enjoyed being flattered as governors abroad (14.2), andthat Spartan citizens were coveting positions as harmosts (14.4). From these statements a terminus ante quem of 371 canreasonably be established because that is theyear in which Sparta wasobliged to recall all her harmosts.13 The second clue is the comment that the other Greeks no longer come to Sparta for leadership against their enemies butjoin together to try to prevent the Spartans from ruling again (14.6). This statement is commonly thought

to refer to thecreation of the Second Athenian League in c.378.14 Those whobelieve that Chapter 14 is a late addition suggest a terminus post quemof 378 for its composition. They argue that Xenophon must have written the rest of thework while hewasstill capable of blind worship of Sparta andthat something momentous must have occurred to dash his illusions. The events most often cited in this regard are the seizure of the Cadmea by Phoebidas in 382 (Hellenica 5.2.24–36) andthe attack in 378 onthePiraeus by Sphodrias, theharmost at Thes-

piae (ibid. 5.4.20– 33), the latter of which resulted in Athens allying with Thebes andcreating the Second Athenian League.15 The rest of the work, following this line of argument, waswritten before 382 andprobably closer to 394 – making it one of Xenophon’s earlier works, written as propaganda for Sparta in thanks for protecting andproviding for himin his exile.16

11 Those whoaccept the unity andorder of the work as it is found in the manuscripts include Strauss 1939: 522–525; Higgins 1977: 66; Bordes 1982: 199–200; Carlier 1984: 252–254; Anderson 1986: 36 n.6; Cartledge 1987: 57; Proietii 1987: 46; Meulder 1989: 74; Rebenich 1998. Luppino Manes 1988: 22–25 accepts theorder butdisagrees onthequestion of temporal unity. 12 1.1 does notrefer to Sparta’s victory in the Peloponnesian War, as Strauss 1939: 522 n.1 and Proietti 1987: 44 suppose. Already in Herodotus Sparta is being hailed asoneof themost powerful Greek states andpre-eminent over Athens (Hdt. 1.53–69; cf. also Thucydides 2.8) andthe problem of oliganthropy is also present in Herodotus (contrast Hdt. 1.66.1 with 7.203). 13 Hell. 6.3.18–20 andsee MacDowell 1986: 13, Rebenich 1998: 27–28 andLipka 2002: 10–11. All seemto have beenrecalled except Cleombrotus in Phocis (Hell. 6.4.2). 14 Oilier 1934: xiv-xv; Momigliano 1966: 344; Cartledge 1987: 57; Rebenich 1998: 28–29. 15 Therelationship between Sphodrias’ actions andtheformation of theSecond Athenian League is not, however, certain. For speculation see deSte. Croix 1972: 134; Kallet-Marx 1985: 127– 151; Dillery 1995: 231–232. 16 Oilier 1934: xxiii-xxix; cf. also Moore 1983: 71–72. Other theories are even more elaborate, e.g. Delebecque 1957: 195–196 and329–331 arrives at a date of 387 for Chapters 1–13and15 froma number of very questionable literary references toPlato andIsocrates (see theobjections of MacDowell 1986: 12). Hethen argues that Chapter 14 waswritten in 369 onthegrounds that Xenophon waswriting for Athenians to showthem that hehadrenounced his laconism. David



Those whobelieve in the unity of the work andwhoattempt to date it generally at oneof twosolutions. The first relies onarguments similar to those above andso a date of c.378 is posited on the assumption that 14.6 refers to the Second Athenian League.17 The other suggested solution is that the work is late because Chapter 14 is so thoroughly disillusioned in tone, like the endof Hellenica, that it could nothave been published until after Agesilaus’ death.18 This latter solution is surely untenable given theemphasis onthe activities of harmosts in Chapter 14. The terminus ante quem, therefore, can in all probability stand at 371 buta few comments need to be made about the terminus post quem. The evidence is not so straightforward onthis point when welook at other works in Xenophon’s corpus. First, it is clear that Xenophon hadample opportunity to observe the behaviour of harmosts andother Spartan commanders in Asia Minor during 400–394. What he says about theminhisAnabasis andHellenica is often far fromlaudatory. So heis certainly aware of the cupidity andambition of harmosts before Phoebidas seized the Cadmea in 382 or Sphrodrias attacked the Piraeus in 378.19 Secondly, it is not altogether clear that the remark in 14.6 about others coming together to prevent the Spartans ruling again could notrefer to the events that ledupto thebattle at Coroneain 394, oreven generally to theperiod after c.404.20 Xenophon appears to have been occupied with military pursuits between 404 and394, so, if he wrote thewhole work atthe same time, thelikely date of composition falls between 394 and371 BC. It is difficult to be more precise. arrive

IV Purpose

Asnoted in theintroduction above, there area number of different views about purpose of LP. The main views canbe summarised as follows (for proponents n. 3):


the see

1981: 51–52 believes thework waswritten between 378 and371butthat it wasfirst published without Chapter 14, then later with it. Thus heis able to explain thelinks between Chapters 13 and15andChapters 14 and15 as a “double continuity”, i.e. thework is meant to holdtogether whether or notChapter 14 is included. Momigliano 1966: 344; Breitenbach 1967: 1752; Anderson 1974: 169; Meulder 1989: 78–86;

Rebenich 1998: 29. Higgins 1977: 176 n.24 (who argues generally that Xenophon didmost of hiswriting inAthens during the last years of his life); Cartledge 1987: 57; Dillery 1989: 26 n.65. 19 E.g. Anaxibius andAristarchus in Anabasis VII and, most notably, Hell. 4.3.2 where Dercylidasis described as being φι λαπόδηµος (cf. Bianco 1996: 19 – though many of her examples come fromlater authors whoarefurther removed fromtheir subject matter andmore susceptible to thegrowing idealisation andaccompanying topoi); see further onthis point Tuplin 1993 andHumble 1997. Xenophon must surely also have been aware of Spartan behaviour abroad prior to theendof the Peloponnesian War(cf. Th. 1.77.6, 1.128–130, 1.95.7, 3.93.3, 5.52.1). 20 Cf. Cawkwell 1983: 395 n.38, Lipka 2002: 11–13for arguments that thework should be dated c.394. MacDowell 1986: 12 andBianco 1996: 23 suggest it could have been written anytime after 404, though the former argues further that thepoint of disillusion came whenXenophon first arrived in Sparta in thelate 390s.


The author, date andpurpose of chapter 14 of the Lakedaimoniôn Politeia


(1) Chapters 1–13 and 15 praise the Spartan wayof life, which Xenophon so admired; hewrote Chapter 14indespair whenfaced withtheappalling acts of Phoe-

bidas and Sphodrias; (2) Chapters 1–13 and 15 lay down the traditional wayof life of the Spartans which Xenophon admired andwhich he wanted, under the influence of Agesilaus whowas similarly traditionally inclined, to encourage contemporary Spartans to return to (their lapse being recorded inChapter 14). Theworkis, therefore, a project of reform for Sparta. Inboth of these views, butparticularly in the second, Chapter 15 is regarded as a nodto Xenophon’s “hero”, Agesilaus – other Spartans might have fallen from grace but not Agesilaus.21 He is upholding the traditional way of life andthe compact between state andking andis, therefore, the manto lead the reform. It has further been suggested that Chapter 14 also reflects Agesilaus’ views (Hodkinson

1996: 93).

Proponents of both of these approaches also, forthemostpart, seeXenophon as a mouthpiece of theSpartans, often of Agesilaus inparticular, andlacking, asRebe-

nich (1998: 33) puts it, any capacity to think independently andanalytically: “Xenophons Fixierung aufdasIdeal derlykurgischen Ordnung...bedingte ebenfalls, dass erdietieferen politischen, sozialen undwirtschaftlichen Ursachen verkennt, dieden spartanischen Staat inderersten Hälfte desvierten Jahrhunderts ineine umfassende Krise führten”. If, however, this attitude is abandoned, a more coherent view of the work can besetforth. Chapter 14canbe seentobenotdirectly opposed totherest of thework butthe logical outcome of what hasbeen described in thepreceding thirteen chapters. The object of the work has been to analyse the laws peculiar to Sparta which brought her great renown andpower (1.1–2). While describing these laws Xenophon also builds up a perfectly clear picture of the flaws in the system which lead inevitably to the situation described in Chapter 14 (Higgins 1977: 65–75; Humble 1997: 187–240). The points that are emphasised in Chapter 14 have been chosen carefully in view of the equally carefully chosen points in thepreceding portion of thework. Briefly, Chapter 14consists of thefollowing observations: Xenophon notes that hehimself could notreally saythat the laws of Lycurgus have notchanged (14.1); previously Spartans preferred to live at home butnowthey prefer to live abroad as harmosts, to be flattered andcorrupted (14.2); previously they feared to be seen withmoney, nowthey take pride inpossessing it (14.3); previously foreigners were expelled andliving abroad wasforbidden so that citizens would notbe influenced by the slackness of others, butnoweven the most prominent citizens desire to live anddieabroad (14.4); previously they strove tobe worthy of rule, nowthey simply desire to rule, worthily or not(14.5); as a result, the other Greeks ally against them 21 E.g. Meulder 1989: 86; Bianco 1996: 23–24; Rebenich 1998: 31. Bordes 1982: 199–200 provides a slightly different explanation for separating Chapter 15 from therest of the work, conµοι in Chapters 1–14 andthe discuscentrating onthe difference between the discussion of νό sion of ἀρχή in Chapter 15.



(14.6) andthe reproaches which they receive are hardly surprising since they no longer obey thegodandthelaws of Lycurgus (14.7). Some general comments about thechapter canbemade. First, Xenophon juxtaposes thepast andthepresent. Secondly, within this larger arena, healsojuxtaposes the Spartans’ former insularity with their current imperialistic involvement in affairs outside their ownborders, their former apparent contentment with what they hadwith their present grasping for more (wealth andpower). The prevailing assumption, under both views above, is that Xenophon approves of the former ways (described in Chapters 1–13) anddisapproves of contemporary practice (described inChapter 14). There is certainly sufficient evidence elsewhere inXenophon’s works for his critical attitude towards Spartan behaviour abroad though, as noted in section III above, commentators onLP often have a blind spot about Xenophon’s treatment of Spartan misbehaviour before Phoebidas’ actions in 382.22 What does not seem to have been considered properly, however, is whether or not there is evidence in Xenophon’s other works to suggest that he really does approve of all the Spartan practices he sets outin Chapters 1–13, especially since henever states that heis writing in praise ordefence of the Spartan wayof life. A fewscholars have noted significant differences between whatXenophon appears to advocate in his other works andwhathe says about Sparta inLP. Higgins’ preliminary work in this regard seems to have been all butignored, yetin his questioning of thestandard viewof LP hehashighlighted some important points (1977: 48ff., 65–75). For example, he notes that in contrast to what is presented in LP, in the Cyropaedia “the family ... is crucial to Xenophon’s conception of an ordered society”, conjugal fidelity is important (cf. also the Oeconomicus for the importance of thefamily), theft is a crime, andjustice is central to education inPersia and to Cyrus’ rule as a whole. In addition to justice, σ ωφρο σύ νη is also an aim of the Persian system andpossessed by Cyrus butis neither anaimof the Spartan system nor possessed by any of Xenophon’s Spartans (Humble 1999). Tuplin 1994 provides another extensive list of differences between Xenophon’s portrayal of thePersian andSpartan systems. While his emphasis is onrescuing the Cyropaedia from the perception that the Persians arebutthinly-disguised Spartans, his observations areequally important forrescuing LP frombeing misinterpreted asa workofpraise. Oneimportant point highlighted byTuplin (1994: 157–158) is that inLP rules and laws are enforced constantly through fear of punishment (2.2,10– 11; 3.3; 4.4; 7.6; 10.7 etc.) in contrast to the Cyropaedia where learning through example andimitation is the norm (1.2.6–8). In fact, Xenophon consistently advocates the latter, not the former, method of instilling virtue andensuring obedience throughout all his works.23 22 This criticism of Spartans abroad extends also tohissupposed heroAgesilaus (see Tuplin 1993: passim andHumble 1997: Chapter 4.3).

23 Onlearning through imitation see, forexample, Mem. 1.2.20 andCyr. 8.1.21–33. Notetoohow Xenophon emphasises the importance of leaders inspiring willing obedience: An. 7.7.29–36; the whole of the Hiero; Cyr. 1.1.3,5, 1.6.20–21, 5.1.19ff. etc.; Hell. 4.8.2, 5.4.64, 6.1.7; Mem. 1.2.10– 11, 2.6.9, 4.6.12; Oec. 21.4–8,11– 12.

The author, date andpurpose of chapter 14 of theLakedaimoniôn Politeia


What Xenophon says at the opening andclose of Chapter 14 – first, that he cannot state with certainty whether the laws of Lycurgus remain unchanged and secondly that the laws are not obeyed – is important. Tuplin has suggested that 14.2–4 represent the consequences or symptoms of Lycurgan breakdown (1994: 139) butthere is another possibility. Since themajority of thecomments inChapter 14 centre around the desire for wealth and a different, more relaxed lifestyle, it seems completely logical to ask why, if the Spartan system wasso admirable and successful, its citizens would actually desire wealth anda more relaxed lifestyle. In other words, is Higgins right to suggest that the failure of the laws is their own indictment? Theanswer is surely yes. Xenophon hasprovided theevidence inChapters 2–10 onboth these points – desire for wealth anda less rigid lifestyle. Regarding the latter point first, the key word is ῥ ᾳδι ου ργία (“slackness” or “taking things easy”). At 14.4 Xenophon comments on the fact that previously foreigners were expelled andliving abroad wasforbidden so that citizens would notbe influenced bytheῥᾳδι ου ργίαof others butnoweventhemostprominent citizens desire tolive anddieabroad. Throughout Chapters 2–10there is a decided emphasis ontheelimination of ῥ ᾳδι ου ργία (2.2, 4.4, 5.2) in conjunction with the notion that the virtues ς, obedience andself-restraint24 – needto be practised inpublic only. taught – αἰ δώ Indeed, the necessity of public (as opposed to private) practice of virtue is stressed in 10.4, where Xenophon summarises the general principle behind the previously described Lycurgan reforms. The acquisition of these virtues andtheprevention of ῥ ᾳδι ου ργία are both accomplished through the use of constant public supervision andthethreat of punishment. Indeed, the avoidance of ῥᾳδι ου ργία is presented by Xenophon asbeing synonymous withthepractice of virtue intheSpartan system. It is no coincidence, therefore, that the concept of ῥᾳδι ου ργία makes an appearance in Chapter 14. The twonewlaws mentioned by Xenophon in Chapter 14 – forbidding living abroad andthe practice of ξε νηλασία– hadbeen instituted, like many other Spartan practices, to aidinkeeping citizens under constant public supervision andsotoprevent ῥᾳδι ου ργία. Sending citizens asharmosts overseas precluded this constant supervision and, once outof the public eye with no serious threat of punishment present, there wasnoother check ontheir behaviour (other than incidental ς, obedience andself-restraint).25 internalisation of αἰ δώ HadLycurgus encouraged, persuaded andeducated his citizens to practise virtuefor its ownsake andnotsimply because they would bepunished in some wayif they did not, he would not have had to institute so many measures to prevent ῥᾳδι ου ργία andthe citizens could have been sent abroad without fear that they would fall from virtue. In a very pointed example of this principle in the Cyropaedia, Cyrus as a boyin hisgrandfather’s court is nottempted bytheluxurious diet of theMedes because hehasbeenproperly educated inPersia (Cyropaedia 1.3.4–6,14); νη, obedience andself-control by means he hasbeen educated injustice, σ ωφρο σύ of example andimitation, notthrough fear andpunishment. νη. See Humble 1999 for theimportance τεια is theterm Xenophon uses, notσωφροσύ 24 Ἐ γκ ρά of thedistinction. 25 A rare example of a Spartan portrayed byXenophon whohasactually internalised these virtues is Cheirisophus inAnabasis: cf. Humble 1997: Chapters 3.4 and5.9.



The other main point in Chapter 14 centres onthe desire for wealth. The comment at 14.3 (“formerly the Spartans were afraid to be seen having gold, nowthey boast of possessing it”) is usually understood asanexample of Xenophon “inflating the significance of wealth, especially coined wealth, that flowed into Sparta followingLysander’s successful imperialism” (Cartledge 1979: 316). Onthis viewXenophonbecomes thefirst in a long line of ancient commentators to attribute thecause of Sparta’s decline to the sudden influx of wealth into the state at the endof the fifth

century.26 It is further argued that in Chapter 14 Xenophon, like Plutarch, is contrasting the traditional disdain of wealth (which he is said to set forth in Chapter 7) with contemporary grasping for it.27 If Xenophon wasindeed making such a contrast, he would certainly not be showing anyinsight into complex socio-economic factors, because there is nodoubt that wealth wasaccumulated byindividual Spartans long before the endof the Peloponnesian War. It wasanimportant status symbol, as both Plato (Republic 547A–551B) and Aristotle (Politics 1269b12– 1270b6, 1271b10– 19) knew. The overwhelming evidence of Spartan participation in chariot racing at the Olympic games andthe dedication by prominent citizens of personal bronze statues also attests to theownership of great wealth bycertain Spartan families (cf. Hodkinson 1993, 1994, 1996: 95–96; 2000 passim). Yet Xenophon shows in LP that he is perfectly aware that not all Spartan citizens were equal as far as wealth was concerned. Only some, for example, were wealthy enough to ownhorses andhunting dogs (6.3). Nor does Xenophon ever suggest that wealth is unimportant to Spartans orthat riches were notaccumulated. For example, at 1.9 during the discussion of marriage andchild-bearing arrangements, Xenophon notes that many of the arrangements are made because “wives wishtomanage twohouseholds andmentoproduce brothers fortheir children, who have a share in the family name andpower butwhohave no claim to the money / possessions (χρη µά των)”. The root of the problem lies in Chapter 7, specifically withtheinterpretation oftherhetorical question in7.3: “Whywould they seekwealth since Lycurgus hasordered equal contributions of food andanequal wayof living precisely to eradicate a desire for money andluxuries?” This question is then followed by some extraordinary measures to discourage further interest in collecting wealth: introducing bulky coinage andsearches forgoldandsilver resulting inpunishment if anywasfound (7.5–6). Oilier (1934: xxxii-xxxiii) comments thus onthe passage: “après avoir affirmé queLycurgue avait complètement extirpé dans l’ âme desesconcitoyens l’ amour desrichesses, il déclare quel’onpunissait les Spartiates qui, à la suite deperquisitions, étaient trouvés possesseurs d’or oud’argent. Cette contradiction, qui lui aura échappé dans la hâte de la rédaction, montre qu’il n’ignorait pasle pouvoir quela cupidité conservait toujours surcertains Spartiates”.

26 E.g. Diod. 7.12.8, whois thought to be following Ephorus (Hodkinson 1996: 87); Plut. Lys.17, Lyc. 30.1, Agis 5. See Hodkinson 2000: 26–30 for a full discussion of the development of this


tradition. Momigliano 1966:

343. Plut. Lyc. 30.1 states this view; on which see Hodkinson 1994: 184. Rebenich 1998: 115 n.82: “Xenophon selbst beklagt inXIV 3, daßdieses Verbot zuseiner Zeit nicht beachtet wurde”.

The author, date andpurpose of chapter 14 of theLakedaimoniôn Politeia


Because Oilier waslabouring under the view that Xenophon waspraising Sparta excessively he wasforced to conclude that Xenophon must have been careless and hasty. But Xenophon is nothing if not a careful writer. If the “praise” theory is abandoned, thepassage is nolonger problematic or self-contradictory. The point is exactly that Lycurgus’ system didnotminimise desire for wealth inits citizens; all Lycurgus didwasattempt tominimise public display of wealth by forbidding citizens to engage in entrepreneurial activity, by making them all contribute equally to thecommon messes (this is only a secondary reason for introducingcommon messes – reducing ῥ ᾳδι ου ργία is theprimary reason, 5.1–2), bymakingthemdress identically andbyensuring that wealth wasnever ondisplay (Chapter 7). Because the desire for wealth wasnever eliminated punitive measures were required,28 asthey were for most of Lycurgus’ legislation, to force public conformity. So the comment at 14.4 that Spartans were formerly afraid to be seen (φαίνε σθαι) with wealth because they would be punished if they were found in possession of it, does notmeanthat wealth wasunimportant andthat fear of being caught with money eliminated the desire to possess it. Rather, Xenophon represents succinctly the limits of the Lycurgan system in which it wasonly important not to be seenflaunting wealth, i.e. to give theappearance of conforming to Lycurgus’ measuresforbidding theaccumulation of wealth. Thefinal rhetorical question inChapter 7 thus cleverly foreshadows Chapter 14: “why should money-making be a preoccupation in a state where thepains of its possession aremore than thepleasures of its enjoyment?” Once the pain associated with possession wasremoved (when Spartans went abroad andwere no longer under public supervision andthe threat and fear of punishment werediminished), Spartans tended toindulge ina desire that had paradoxically been made stronger for being unnaturally andforcibly suppressed. Xenophon’s point, therefore, is not to contrast traditional disdain of wealth with contemporary grasping of it butto reveal theinevitable outcome of a system which aimed only atpublic conformity andmade nospecific provisions for private morality.29

ThusChapter 14is nota disillusioned addendum, inopposition totherest of the workbut, rather, provides aninsightful summary of theflaws of theSpartan system, to which Xenophon hadbeen carefully drawing attention in Chapters 1–13. Xenophonwould have been a poor political analyst indeed if, observing theproblems of the Spartan state as he clearly did, he hadnot stopped to consider howthey might have come about. LP is theresult of that consideration. Spartan prosperity andsuccess depended upon obedience to thelaws of Lycurgus butthe strict Lycurgan sys-

temrelied onconstant public supervision andthe threat of punishment in order to 28 29

Strauss 1939: 515; Proietti 1987: 56; andHumble 1997: 220–223; contra Bordes 1982: 174, whoreads Xenophon’s text backwards, i.e. 7.5–6 before 7.1–4, andsomisunderstands hispoint. Cf. Proietti 1987: 74 and 111. This idea fits with Hodkinson 1994: 195 and 1996: 86 n.4, following Flower 1991, 91, whoargues that Xenophon identifies the “corruption as originating withcommanders abroad”, though fordifferent reasons. Thepoints being madehere are(a) that it would nothave happened, at least notwith such regular frequency, if desire for wealth had really been eliminated, and(b) that Xenophon draws attention to this fact in LP (contra Hodkinson 1994: 193–194).



work. While theSpartans’ activities were mostly confined to thePeloponnese, close tohome, thesystem worked well enough andthestate flourished, remarkably sofor its size andcitizen population, asXenophon notes (1.1). Because theLycurgan systemwasinnowayconcerned with theproper internalisation of virtues, asthesummaryat 10.4–7 emphasising thepractice of public virtue makes perfectly clear, without supervision there wasno guarantee that the Spartans would not lean more towards vice than virtue.30

V Final remarks Acceptance of the centrality of Chapter 14 hasconsequences for anunderstanding of Chapter 15 and,indeed, fortheconnected question of thedegree towhich Agesilaus exerted influence over the work’s content andover Xenophon himself. These are questions beyond the scope of this paper, but one point in regard to the latter question is worth making here. Resistance to thenotion that Xenophon wascapable of thinking forhimself has created more problems for understanding hiswork than it hassolved. It is certainly clear thatXenophon admired Agesilaus asa shrewd andsuccessful leader. It is equally clear that hewasnotblind tohisfailings asa leader. Hellenica provides evidence for both attitudes. The encomiastic portrait in Agesilaus, which (by contrast) depicts the king in a wholly positive light, is almost invariably held out as proof that Xenophon numbered himamong hisideal leaders. Butto take this line requires one todisregard boththecriticisms of Agesilaus’ policies inHellenica andthenature of encomiastic writing. InAgesilaus Xenophon clearly conforms to standard encomiastic topoi, such as complete disregard of thetruth, assigning set virtues to thesubject whether or not he possessed them, ignoring negative qualities, and so forth (Humble 1997: 247–253). Onthese grounds alone it seems to methat the encomiummustbe treated with caution as a source for Xenophon’s view of Agesilaus and that the balanced portrait of the king in Hellenica is likely to be a more reliable indication of his attitude. The evidence outside LP for the general idea that Xenophon might be acting as Agesilaus’ mouthpiece is, therefore, by no means strong; andthe specific proposition that he wassupporting Agesilaus’ presumed advocacy of a return to theLycurgan system hardly squares with thefact that Xenophon disapproved of a significant number of features of that system. In conclusion I would suggest that much of the difficulty in understanding LP hasarisen because of the general tendency to regard each of Xenophon’s works in isolation, instead of taking them together as a coherent andongoing dissemination of his ownpolitical andphilosophical views. LP, like Anabasis andHellenica, contains a balanced analytical view of Sparta andSpartans. What Xenophon describes in Chapter 14 wasthe state of affairs at the time he waswriting. Hewasunder no illusion astohowit hadcome about. TheLycurgan system wasindeed amazing and

30 This is a slightly oversimplified statement of thematter; for a more detailed analysis seeHumble 1997: Chapter 5.


The author, date andpurpose of chapter 14 of the Lakedaimoniôn Politeia

Lycurgus extremely wise for having developed laws andpractices which hadenableda state with such a small citizen bodytobecome sopowerful – fewwould have disputed this general fact. ButXenophon wasa careful andthoughtful political analyst. Hesawequally clearly howSparta hadcome to power andalso howshe had fallen. The Lycurgan system was responsible for both states of affairs. It is this paradoxical quality of the Spartan system which Xenophon haspresented in LP.31

BIBLIOGRAPHY Anderson, J. K., 1974, Xenophon (London). 1986, “Xenophon at Corinth”, in M. del Chiaro (ed.), Corinthiaca: Studies in Honor of D. A. --- Amyx (Columbia): 36–39.

Bianco, E., 1996, “Il capitolo XIV della Lakedaimonion Politeia attribuita a Senofonte”, MH53: 12–24. Boer, W. den, 1954, Laconian Studies (Amsterdam). Bordes, J., 1982, Politeia dans la pensée grecque jusqu’à Aristote (Paris). Breitenbach, H. R., 1967, “Xenophon (6): Xenophon von Athen”, RE IXA: 1567– 1928, 1981/2–

2051, 2502.

Carlier, P., 1984, La royauté en Grèce avant Alexandre (Strasbourg). Cartledge, P., 1979, Sparta andLakonia (London). ( 1987), Agesilaos andtheCrisis of Sparta (London). Cawkwell, G. L., 1983, “The Decline of Sparta”, CQ n.s.33: 385–400. --Chrimes, K. M. T., 1948, TheRespublica Lacedaemoniorum Ascribed to Xenophon (Manchester). Cloché, P., 1944, “Les Helléniques de Xénophon et Lacédémone”, REA46: 12–46. David, E., 1981, Sparta Between Empire andRevolution (New York). Delebecque, E., 1957, Essai sur la vie de Xénophon (Paris). Dillery, J., 1995, Xenophon and the History of his Times (London). Due, B., 1989, TheCyropaedia: Xenophon’s Aims andMethods (Aarhus).

Flower, M. A., 1991, “Revolutionary Agitation andSocial Change Flower andM. Toher (edd.), Georgica (London): 78–97. Gray,

in Classical


in M. A.

V., 1991, “Continuous History andXenophon, Hellenica 1–2.3.10”, AJP 112: 201–228.

Higgins, W. E., 1977, Xenophon theAthenian (Albany). Hirsch, S., 1985, TheFriendship of theBarbarians (Hanover-London). Hodkinson, S., 1993, “Warfare, Wealth, andthe Crisis of Spartiate Society”, in J. Rich andG. Shipley (edd.), WarandSociety in the Greek World (London): 143–176. 1994, B lind Ploutos’? Contemporary Images of the Role of Wealth in Classical Sparta”, in A. “‘ andS. Hodkinson (edd.), The Shadow of Sparta (London): 183–222. --- Powell 1996, “Spartan Society in the Fourth Century: Crisis and Continuity”, in P. Carlier (ed.), Le IVe --- siècle av. J.-C. Approches historiographiques (Paris): 85– 101. 2000, Property and Wealth in Classical Sparta (London). J. T., 1989, “Spartan Propaganda”, in A. Powell (ed.), Classical Sparta (London): 122–141. Hooker, --Hornblower, S., 2000, “TheOldOligarch (Pseudo-Xenophon’ sAthenaion Politeia) andThucydides. A Fourth Century Date for the Old Oligarch?” , in P.Flensted-Jensen et al. (edd.), Polis and

31 Specific thanks forhelpinrefining myarguments mustbe given toPeter Krentz, Stephen Hodkinson, Christopher Tuplin andRoger Brock.



Politics. Studies in Ancient Greek History Presented to M.H.Hansen on His Sixtieth Birthday (Copenhagen), 363–384. Humble, N., 1997, Xenophon’s Viewof Sparta (Diss., McMaster University, Hamilton). 1999, “Sôphrosynê andtheSpartans inXenophon”, inA.Powell andS. Hodkinson (edd.), Spar--- ta. NewPerspectives (London), 339–354.

R. M., 1985, “Athens, Thebes andthe Foundation of the Second Athenian League”, CA4: 127–151. Kennell, N. M., 1995, The Gymnasium of Virtue (London). Köhler, U., 1896, “Über die Politeia Lakedaimonion Xenophons”, Sitzb. Berlin: 361–377. Kallett-Marx,

Lana, M., 1992, “Xenophon’s Athenaion Politeia: A Study byCorrespondence Analysis”, Literary andLinguistic Computing 7.1: 17–26. Lipka, M., 2002, Xenophon’s Spartan Constitution (Berlin). Luccioni, J., 1947, Les idées politiques et sociales deXénophon (Paris). Luppino Manes, E., 1988, Unprogetto di riforma per Sparta (Milan). MacDowell, D. M., 1986, Spartan Law(Edinburgh). Marchant, E. C., 1925, Xenophon, Scripta Minora (London). Meulder, M., 1989, “La date et la cohérence de la République des Lacédémoniens

AC58: 71–89.


Michell, H., 1964, Sparta (Cambridge). Momigliano, A., 1966, “Per l’ unità logica della Lakedaemonion Politeia di Senofonte”, Terzo contributo alla storia degli studi classici e delmondo antico 1 (Rome): 341–345 = RFIC 14 (1936): 170–173. Moore, J. M., 1983, Aristotle andXenophon onDemocracy andOligarchy (London). Morrow, G. R., 1960, Plato’s Cretan City (Princeton). Nickel, R., 1979, Xenophon (Darmstadt). Ollier, F., 1933, Le mirage spartiate (Paris). 1934, Xénophon. La République des Lacédémoniens (Paris).

--Proietti, G., 1987, Xenophon’s Sparta (Leiden). Rebenich, S., 1998, Xenophon. Die Verfassung der Spartaner (Darmstadt). Richards, H., 1907, Notes onXenophon andOthers (London).

Ste Croix, G. E. M. de, 1972, Origins of thePeloponnesian War(London). Strauss, L., 1939, “The Spirit of Sparta or the Taste of Xenophon”, Social Research

6: 502–536.

Talbert, R. J. A., 1988, Plutarch onSparta (London). Tatum, J., 1989, Xenophon’s Imperial Fiction: OnTheEducation of Cyrus (Princeton). Tigerstedt, E. N., 1965, TheLegend of Sparta in Classical Antiquity (Stockholm). Toynbee, A., 1969, Some Problems in Greek History (London). Tuplin, C. J., 1993, TheFailings of Empire (Historia Einzelschriften 76, Stuttgart). 1994, “Xenophon, Sparta and the Cyropaedia”, in A. Powell and S. Hodkinson (edd.), The Shad--- owof Sparta (London): 127–181. Whitby, M., 1994, “TwoShadows: Images of Spartans andHelots”, in A. Powell andS. Hodkinson (edd.), The Shadow of Sparta (London): 87– 126.


There has been very little recent study of Xenophon andreligion, andreviewing some of what has been written, it is hard to avoid the idea that, with one notable exception (Dillery 1995), Xenophon is a disappointment to his commentators in this area. His approach to religion appears to be so different from that expected of an enlightened intellectual that scholars treat it at best as a forgivable personal eccentricity (Anderson 1974: 34–35), andat worst as a sign of his mediocrity (Cawkwell 1979: 45; Cartledge 1987: 65). All this is a pity, because it seems to methat a study of Xenophon’s approach to religious issues can throw considerable light on thereligious attitudes of Athenians of histime. It canalso aidourunderstanding of his contribution to historiography andhis relationship to his predecessors.1 Xenophon’s Religion

I wantto start bytouching onareas of “Xenophon andreligion” that I consider less interesting, even if they are the areas that scholars have tended to focus on. We might ask the question “wasXenophon a religious man?”, andbefore answering along thelines of “yes, obviously” wemight bebetter off thinking about what such a question might mean. It is possible, I think, to construct onthebasis of remarks in many of Xenophon’s works a picture of thebehaviour of thetypical member of the Athenian elite in this regard – not, I would point out, a particularly good or bad Athenian, but an average one. He will pray to the gods, andoffer sacrifices and other offerings – whenhe remembers, andin particular if he is in difficulties. If he is introuble hewill probably promise toperform a service tothegodthat helps him – and, again, if he remembers he will carry it out. He will attend the public festivals most of the time, unless a really pressing engagement prevents him. While recognising the importance of keeping an oath, he may occasionally break one, if he thinks he can get away with it – which more often than nothe probably will. This appears to be the level of piety, religiosity or whatever against which Xenophon measures his heroes: Agesilaus, Cyrus, Socrates, andperhaps himself. Howfar he 1

This paper hasbenefited greatly fromthecomments of manycontributors to theWorld of Xenophon conference, andalthough it is always invidious in such circumstances to pick outindividuals, Sherylee Bassett, John Dillery andRobert Parker inparticular mademerethink aspects of the argument.



really lived upto theideal wecannot tell: he admits to some lapses as well asmentioning some positive actions, so he probably did not do too badly.2 Theanswer I havejust given is notusually whatpeople meanwhenthey askthe question “was Xenophon a religious man?”: they tend to want to talk about his beliefs, or his “theology”. Thus for example J.K. Anderson uses upseveral of the few pages he devotes to religion in discussing whether Xenophon hadviews on what he calls “the conventional belief” in the immortality of the soul (Anderson 1974: 38–40). If we want to learn more about Xenophon’s understanding of the gods andof religious questions, it is necessary once again to tryto establish howhis contemporaries understood these matters: not merely the views of other philosophers, but of Athenians more generally. The lack of direct evidence about these questions is a problem here, but not necessarily an insuperable one. The world in which Xenophon grew up,Athens in the last quarter of the fifth century, wasone where questions of religion were regularly raised in public contexts. To getanidea of the kinds of issues that might be of concern wecan start, notwith the works of sophists and other philosophers, although these are significant, but with Attic drama.It wasat performances of plays in the city’s dramatic festivals that most Athenians were most frequently exposed to debate about the nature of the gods (Mikal-

son 1991).

Nowthere are obviously many issues that tragedies raise, butthere is onethat hasnotreceived as much attention as it deserves. The feature that most fundamentally characterizes relations between gods andmortals in tragedy andoutside it is human ignorance about the gods. In Euripides’ Hippolytus the hero fails to understand the danger of not showing respect to Aphrodite, andin Bacchae Pentheus makes the same mistake about Dionysus: both are warned of the dangers of their attitudes, butinneither case doesthewarner have certain knowledge of whatshould bedone. Five of Euripides’ plays endwiththesamecomment bythechorus that the ways of the gods are difficult to predict (the last five lines of Alcestis, Andromache, Bacchae, Helen andMedea). In Sophocles’ Antigone Creon comes upagainst the same problem as Pentheus. This is not a newconcern in the fifth century: in the Iliad Homer depicts this ignorance graphically when he has Athena lift the veil fromDiomedes’ eyes sothathecanseethegodsfighting ontheTrojan plain (5.127– 8). Normally in Homer thegods areinvisible even to thenoblest heroes. Thequestion of human ignorance about thegodsis also raised ina number of prose works of thelate fifth century. Herodotus emphasizes theGreeks’ ignorance of thegods(2.45, 2.53). In theMelian Dialogue Thucydides hastheAthenians say: ἡγοῦ µεθα γὰρ τό τε θεῖον δό πειό ξῃ τὸ ἀνθρώ ν τε σ αφῶς διὰπαντὸς ὑπὸ φύσεως ἀναγκαίας, οὗ ἂν κ ρ ατῇ, ἄρχειν (5.105.2). Hornblower’s translation is loose butclear: “weknow it to be true of men, andweinfer it to be true of the gods, that they rule where they can”(Hornblower 1987: 182). This is a statement of agnosticism intheoriginal and 2

Of course we can really only discuss here the actions of the character named Xenophon in Anabasis. However, there seems sufficient consistency between the approach to religion of the “Xenophon” whoappears inAnabasis andthat of thenarrative voices of theXenophontic corpusingeneral (with thepossible exception of Cynegeticus) forustotreat Xenophon thecharacter andXenophon theauthor as the same.

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narrow sense of theword: it is notpossible to knowanything about thegodsbecause ξα, not certainty. Two famous sophistic fragunderstanding of them is based on δό ments canalso be seen as taking the same approach: Protagoras began his work on the gods with the words “about the gods I cannot know either that they are or that they are not, or what kind of thing they are. For many things prevent one from knowing – the obscurity, andthe life of man, which is short” (D–K 80 B4); Xenophanes suggested that if they could draw, horses, for example, would depict the gods as horses (D–K 21 B15). These are often taken as challenges to an existing orthodoxy by the newrationalist thinkers, butin truth there wasnoexisting orthodoxy, because there was no religious authority to propound one. The rest of Protagoras’ workis lost, sowecannot knowwhathewentonto discuss at some length, but we can perhaps infer that δό ξαι about the gods gave considerable scope for investigation. Xenophanes was not mocking religious practice, but only pointing outthelimitations of human knowledge. This ignorance wasnotcomplete. Herodotus recognized that Homer andHesiodhadprovided information about the origins andfamily relationships of the gods (2.53.2). InTimaeus, Plato, whohasless time forHomer andHesiod, saysthis about traditions about the gods, referring most probably to poems attributed to Orpheus andMusaeus: “It is beyond ourpowers to know or tell about the birth of the other gods; wemust rely onthose whohave told the story before, whoclaimed to be the children of thegods, even if they give noprobable or necessary proof of what they say: wemust conform to custom andbelieve their account of their ownfamily history...” (40D6–41A3). Although they were not considered “sacred texts”, the influence of the works of Homer andHesiod onGreek views of the gods is revealed in thefairly consistent iconography of “Olympian” gods that emerges from thearchaic period. Another source of information about the gods wastradition: the established patterns of sacrifices andfestivals, andthe aetiologies associated with them, were assumed to be in accordance with the divine will for as long aspoleis continuedto prosper. Nonetheless, it seems clear that the lack of anycertain knowledge about the gods made it possible to hold a range of views. The question of whether Athens ever really tried to legislate about the limits of acceptable views about the gods is tooproblematic tobe debated here (cf. Cohen 1989). It canbe saidhowever that whatmight becalled “extreme” views, such asAnaxagoras’ suggestion inpamphlets on sale publicly that the sunandmoon were lumps of rock andearth, were more likely tobegreeted with mockery andderision thanwith outrage (Plato, Apology26D–E; Aristophanes, Clouds). Within this context we can set Xenophon, andidentify a couple of principles which he appears to accept about thegods, and, most importantly, his wayof dealingwiththeproblem of ignorance. Themost important issue for ourpurposes is the attitude of thegodsto mortals. FromtheIliad onthere is a practice of portraying the gods as indifferent to the fate of mankind in general (cf. Iliad 1.573–5) or even actively hostile (Hesiod, Works & Days 42), even when at the same time the gods mayfavour individuals, andZeuscanbeseenasguarantor ofJustice (ibid. 36; LloydJones 1971: 32–36). It is certain however that one of Socrates’ clearest views was that thegods cared for mankind in general. Xenophon attributes this viewto himin



Memorabilia (1.4), andPlato implies in Euthyphro that he held such a view. The sameviewis putforward inLaws (899D-907A). Xenophon himself, however, does notappear to have accepted this principle. In Cyropaedia hehasCambyses saythat the gods “are under no compulsion to care for any one unless they will” (1.6.46) and, although Plato would not have disagreed with this formulation, Xenophon associates this viewwiththenotion that thegodsonly helpindividual mortals someof thetime. Tatum considers this view “fatalistic” (Tatum 1989, 87) but, since Cyrus clearly does have help from the gods, the passage is less pessimistic than it might appear. Whothe gods help, andwhy, can only be guessed at, a point Xenophon makes in propria persona in Hipparchicus: “we may suppose that they are more ready to counsel those whonotonly askwhat they ought to doin thehour of need, but also serve the gods in the days of their prosperity with all their might” (9.8–9). The other assumption about the gods that appears to runthrough his work is that their intervention in human affairs is limited to communication. They advise andwarn, but can almost never be seen to intervene directly in events, a point to which wewill return later. First, however, weshall look at thewaythat Xenophon addresses theproblems of human ignorance anddivine behaviour, which is through a strong emphasis onthevalue of divination. Wecan start with thetwopassages in which Xenophon puts forward theideas about the gods quoted above: first, the advice given to Cyrus by his father Cambyses at the very endof Book I of Cyropaedia (1.6.46):

So weseethat mere human wisdom does notknowhowto choose whatis best anymore than if anyonewere to cast lots anddoas the lot fell. But the gods, myson, the eternal gods, know all things, both what hasbeen andwhat is and what shall come to pass as a result of each present or past event; andif men consult them, they reveal to those to whomthey arepropitious whatthey ought to doandwhatthey ought notto do.But if they arenotwilling to give counsel to everybody, that is not surprising; for they are under no compulsion to care for anyoneunless they will. Similar comments aremade at theendof Hipparchicus (9.8–9):

If anyone is surprised at myfrequent repetition of theexhortation to work with God, I canassure himthat his surprise will diminish, if heis often in peril, and if he considers that in time of war foemen plot andcounterplot, but seldom knowwhat will come of their plots. Therefore there is none other that cangive counsel in such a case butthegods. They knowall things, andwarnwhomsoeverthey will in sacrifices, in omens, in voices, andin dreams. Andwemaysuppose that they are more ready to counsel those whonot only ask what they ought to do in the hour of need, but also serve the gods in the days of their prosperity with all their might. Xenophon also has Socrates express the same ideas in his conversation with Little Aristodemus (Memorabilia 1.4). These passages explain clearly thepurposes of sacrifice anddivination: the gods are omniscient (cf. ibid. 1.1.19), butthere is no suggestion that they will actto helpmortals, beyond giving theminformation; sacrifice will notalter whatis to happen, butif a mansacrifices regularly, thegods aremore

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likely to communicate clearly to himwhennecessary. Theneedto sacrifice ingood times as well as bad is a recurring theme in Xenophon’s works (cf. Agesilaus 11.2; and, for hownotto doit, Croesus in Cyropaedia 7.2.19). Thepractical implications of this viewof divination aremadeclear ona number of occasions described byXenophon. Thegods effectively act as scouts andstrategic advisors. Forexample, inAnabasis, after Cyrus’ death, it is notclear which way the Greeks should go (2.2.3): After this, whenthe sunwasalready setting, Clearchus called together thegenerals and captains and spoke as follows: “When I sacrificed, gentlemen, the omens didnotresult favourably forproceeding against theKing. Andwithgood reason, it proves, they were notfavourable; for, as I nowascertain, between us andthe King is theTigris, a navigable river, which wecould notcross without boats – andboats wehave none. Onthe other hand, it is notpossible for usto stay where weare, for wecannot getprovisions; buttheomens were extremely favourable for ourgoing tojoin thefriends of Cyrus.”

The gods knowthat the Tigris will be a problem, andthus warn Clearchus against advancing towards it. A similar case where theexplanation forbadomens becomes clear soon afterwards occurs when the Greeks are camped near the mouth of the Black Sea, andareprevented from moving onbecause the sacrifices prove unsatisfactory. At first there is suspicion that Xenophon is deliberately falsifying the results, but eventually someone provides an explanation: “there appears to be good reason whyoursacrifices arenotfavourable; for asI heard froma manwhochanced to arrive here yesterday on a ship, Cleander, the harmost at Byzantium, is to come here with merchant ships and triremes” (Anabasis 6.4.18). Although this satisfies those present, it turns out not to be an accurate explanation of the unsatisfactory omens, since things donotrunsmoothly whenCleander arrives, andeventually he is unable to take the Greeks with himsince his sacrifices over three days show that the gods do not wish it (6.6.36). A third example, fromHellenica, is discussed briefly byAnderson. Dercylidas delays hisassault onCebren because theomens arenotfavourable. After four days, just intime, theomens change, andas Dercylidas is about to attack, thecity surrenders. Anderson comments: “Onecannot help suspecting that Dercylidas (nicknamed Sisyphus forhiscunning) hadbeenarranging themutiny during thefour daysdelay, andusedthe omens’ asanexcuse tokeepthesoldiers quiet. But, if so, didhereally ‘ ” (Anderson 1974: 34–35). Anexplanation more in keeping hoodwink Xenophon? withtheother examples is that no-one wasbeing hoodwinked: Xenophon (andprobably Dercylidas) understood that the gods would tell Dercylidas when it was appropriate to attack, andthis would be when, perhaps as a result of Dercylidas’ plotting, thecity wasready to surrender. Xenophon’s characters have some practical advice about whenandhowto use divination. Socrates emphasizes the need to make use of divine knowledge, but warns against asking thegods questions which menshould be intelligent enough to answer themselves (Memorabilia 1.1.6–9). In Cyropaedia, Cambyses tells Cyrus of the importance of being able to interpret omens himself, so that he will not be at the mercy ofunreliable manteis, orunable tooperate if hehasnomantis withhim(1.6.2).



Understanding omens is also a necessary part of being a cavalry commander (Hipparchicus 6.6). It is perhaps the sign of a good general that not only does he recognise badomens, butcandrawthecorrect military conclusions fromthem. Agesilaus provides anexample (Hellenica 3.4.15):

After this cavalry battle hadtaken place andAgesilaus on the next day was offering sacrifices with a view to an advance, the livers of the victims were found to be lacking a lobe. This sign having presented itself, he turned and marched tothesea. Andperceiving that, unless heobtained anadequate cavalry force, hewould notbeable to campaign intheplains, heresolved that this must be provided, sothat hemight nothave to carry ona skulking warfare. Suspicion about thereliability of manteis is a topos in Greek literature, going back to Agamemnon’s attack onCalchas in theIliad (1.106– 120). In tragedy, Teiresias andCalchas arealways disbelieved, although of course always proved toberight in theend. Inreal life thesituation wasmore complex. Theterm mantis overlaps with chresmologue, often translated as thepejorative “oracle-monger”. There mayhave been charlatans whotook advantage of theregular needof Greeks to offer sacrifices, such as we see caricatured in Aristophanes (e.g. Birds 959–991, Peace 1052– 1119), andpicked out for scorn by Thucydides (8.1.1). However, these “cowboy prophets” should not be taken as typical, andindeed mayhave been largely fictitious (Bowden 2003). Atthe opposite endof the scale weknowof manteis receiving high civic honours: Teisamenus of Elis wasgiven citizenship by Sparta for his services as seer (Herodotus 9.33–36), the Phocians dedicated to Apollo a statue of Tellias of Elis (Pausanias 10.1.4), while Sthorys of Thasos wasgiven citizenship by

Athens because he assisted them as seer before the Battle of Cnidus in 394 (IG ii2 17). It is unlikely that these honours were given simply because the seers read the omens correctly, andthe appropriate inference seems to be that the actual presence of the seer was recognised as contributing to the victories. This is borne out by Herodotus’ story of Teisamenus being told by Delphi that he would “winthe five greatest contests” (ἀγῶνας τοὺς µε γίστους ἀναι ρή σ ασθαι πέ ντε – 9.33.2). These individuals were exceptional, butit wasnotuncommon formento learn themantis’ art: Xenophon himself is an example. Onthe occasion referred to above when he fell under suspicion (although the acting mantis wasactually Arexion of Arcadia – Anabasis 6.4.13), Xenophon invited anymantis whowasthere (µά ντις εἴ τις εἴη– 6.4.15) to attend the sacrifice on the following day, indicating that several of the 10,000 might have learned the skill. Reading the entrails of sacrificial victims was fairly straightforward andteachable, asis indicated bytheexistence of model livers for diviners from Etruria (cf. e.g. Beard andNorth 1990: 68 fig. 6) andelsewhere, although none survive from Greece. Other forms of divination, like dream interpretation, or ornithomancy, mayhave been more open to variation in this period, but their basic rules must also have been teachable (cf. [Hippocrates] Regimen 4.87). Wecangain aninsight into Xenophon’s method of ornithomancy, orthat of the mantis hewaswith, fromhis account of his actions whenheis invited to take commandof the 10,000 (Anabasis 6.1.22–4):

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as he wasover his decision, he decided that thebest thing to dowas to put the matter before the gods; so he brought two victims to the altar and madea sacrifice to Zeus theKing, whohadbeen declared bytheoracle of Del-


phi to be the godwhom he ought to consult. He thought too that it was this god whohadsent the dream which he hadhadat the time when he wasfirst putin the position of sharing in the responsibility for the army. Then he remembered also that when he was setting out from Ephesus to be introduced to Cyrus, an eagle hadcalled to himfrom theright. Thebird however hadbeen sitting, and the mantis who was escorting him had said that the omens meant something great, out of the ordinary andglorious, yet it also foretold hardship, since the other birds areparticularly aptto attack theeagle when sitting. Hesaid toothat the omen didnot indicate a great fortune, since the eagle mostly got its food whenonthewing. WhenXenophon sacrificed thegodmade it plain to himthat he wasnot to seek an additional command andnotto accept it if they elected him. This then wasthe endof the matter.

This suggests that ornithomancy wasnotvery subtle. Apart from theuniversal association of the right side with good fortune, it relies on a basic knowledge of avian behaviour (and some common traditions: eagles are usually associated with Zeus Basileus – e.g. Cyropaedia 2.4.19). Why the mantis should draw from the fact that thebirdis sitting thetwopredictions hechooses is notexplained. It also emphasises the point that the gods assist by communicating rather than intervening directly: Xenophon hadbeen advised to pray to Zeus Basileus, andhere we see the advantage of his having done so – not action by Zeus (not even a real lightning flash or a storm) butthe sight of a bird acting in a noteworthy way. Earlier in Anabasis we are given Xenophon’s interpretation of the dream he refers to here. This is also rather simplistic, andpossibly his account of it owed a little to hindsight (Anabasis 3.1.11):

He dreamed that there was a thunderstorm andthat a thunderbolt fell on his

father’s house andthen the whole house wasonfire. Hewoke upimmediately, feeling very frightened, andconsidered that in some respects the dream wasa good one, because in the midst of his difficulties anddangers he haddreamed of a great light from Zeus; but in other respects he wasalarmed by it, because thedream seemed to have come from Zeus in hischaracter of theKing andthe fire hadseemed toblaze all round himandthis might meanthat hewould notbe able to leave the King’s country butwould be shut in on all sides by one difficulty or another. But what is really meant by having a dream like this can be seen from what happened after thedream.

Here wearegiven what is claimed to be Xenophon’s immediate reaction, with both optimistic andpessimistic readings of theevent. It is only with hindsight that hecan comeupwithwhatherecognizes asthereal explanation. Fromthemoment hewakes upafter the dream, Xenophon becomes the most dynamic member of the 10,000, giving advice that is almost universally accepted, andmaking a series of inspiring speeches which transform him from being an outsider (“neither strategos nor lochagos nor soldier”: 3.1.4) to being almost unanimously offered the leadership of



the expedition (3.1.26). The thunderbolt that struck his father’s house represented theglory that Zeuswasbestowing onhim.Thesignificant point, however, is Xenophon’s initial uncertainty. He is clearly aware of the problems of interpretation. What is most striking about the previous passage (6.1.22–4) is the way in which several methods of divination areused to make clear which godis communicating with him, andwhatheis saying. TheDelphic oracle, a dream, thecall of a bird and the sacrificial victims are all invoked to guarantee the authenticity of the result of thesacrifice. Divination does notrequire a suspension of disbelief, buttheintellectual ability to make sense of the signs. This approach offers an explanation for a passage inHellenica thathasconcerned somecommentators (4.7.2). Before hiscampaign against Argos, Agesipolis consults twooracles:

NowwhenAgesipolis learned that hewastoleadtheforce, andwhenthesacrifices which he offered at the frontier proved favourable, he went to Olympia andconsulted theoracle of thegod, asking whether it would be consistent with piety (ὁσίως) if hedidnotacknowledge thetruce claimed bytheArgives since they pleaded the sacred months not when the appointed time came, but when the Lacedaemonians were about to invade their territory. The godsignified to himthat it wasconsistent with piety for himnot to acknowledge a holy truce unjustly offered. Then Agesipolis proceeded straight from there to Delphi and asked Apollo in his turn whether he also held the same opinion as his father Zeus in regard to the truce. AndApollo answered that he didhold quite the same opinion.

The story also appears in Aristotle’s Rhetoric (1398b– 1399a) as an example of the strategy ἐξ κ ρίσεως, where reference is madeto a previous judgement onthe same question: Aristotle points out that it would be shameful for Apollo to disagree with his father, butpasses no comment on whether it is proper to ask such questions of the gods.3 It hasbeen argued that by asking Zeus a loaded question (asserting that, rather than inquiring whether, the truce hadbeen offered at the wrong point), and then asking Apollo a question which filial piety required himto answer in a particularway,Agesipolis wassomehow nottreating theconsultations seriously. There is nosuggestion however thatXenophon (orAristotle) sawtheepisode inthose terms. Thewhole episode (4.7.2–7) resembles anHomeric aristeia, andAgesipolis is presented as deliberately competing with Agesilaus (4.7.5). Unusually for Hellenica, Xenophon goes into some detail about Agesipolis’ ritual activities during this cam3

Most manuscripts of Rhetoric attribute the questions to Hegesippus instead of Agesipolis. Some editors compromise with the atticization of Agesipolis, “Hegesipolis”, butelsewhere Aristotle uses the Doric forms, e.g. Agesilaos (Pol. 1306b: in a reference to the conspiracy of Cinadon which maywell come directly from Xenophon’s Hellenica). This suggests that Aristotle, despite having knowledge of Hellenica, might have learned this story from another source. Especially given the oddities of Xenophon’s account, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the story existed independently,

andwas attributed by Xenophon to Agesipolis because it fitted

with the pattern of unusual uses of divination in this episode. However that maybe, the question of whether ornotXenophon’s version is actually “true” is notdirectly relevant tothequestion of howXenophon understood it.

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paign against Argos, mentioning notonly his sacrifice atthefrontier andthedouble consultation of oracles, but also a libation, the interpretation of an earthquake (4: see below), his subsequent sacrifice to Poseidon (5), andlater a thunderbolt andan inauspicious sacrifice which leadhimto endtheexpedition. Agesipolis’ interpretation of the earthquake is unorthodox, andthe impression given is of a leader who knows exactly howto usedivination, andwhogoes as far asheis permitted, butno further. In this context, the double consultation must be seen in a positive light, unusual though it maybe. There areproblems with taking the story literally in any case. To gofrom Sparta to Argos via Olympia andDelphi would have been a long wayaround, especially as hehadalready received favourable omens whenleaving Spartan territory, andit would in anycase be normal for a king to send his trusted Pythioi to Delphi rather than go himself (Herodotus 6.57). Did he take the army to Delphi, andif not, where were they in the meanwhile? We cannot assume in any case that Apollo wasasked thequestion “doyouagree with your father?”: it would be more plausible to suggest that he asked a similar question on both occasions, namely, “would it be proper for menot accept the Argive offer of truce?”. To assume a lack of trust in oracles onthebasis of this story would be to go beyond the evidence. Xenophon seems here to be presenting Agesipolis as the model of cautious consultation. Of course, this careful examination of the interpretation of oracles andomens is notthe same as putting the gods to a test to check their veracity, anattitude clearly recognized as unacceptable (Cyropaedia 7.2.17).4


Even if the story as Xenophon told it were true, Agesipolis’ tricky questioning would not be seen asimproper, asparallels from other oracle-using cultures show. InEvans-Prichard’s classic description of the poison oracle of the Azande, the author makes clear that individual consultations might be manipulated, or even rejected, without this implying any general lack of trust intheoracle. “A Zande doesnotreadily accept anoracular verdict which conflicts seriously with his interests. Noonebelieves that the oracle is nonsense, buteveryone thinks that for someparticular reason inthis particular case theparticular poison usedis inerror inrespect to himself. Azande are only sceptical of particular oracles andnot oracles in general, andtheir scepticism is always expressed in a mystical idiom that vouches for the validity of the poison oracle as aninstitution... Theoracle is often very useful in such a question as whether a man’s wife shall payherparents a visit. It is difficult for thehusband to forbid herthevisit, butif he cansaythat theoracle advises against it hecanbothprevent it andcheckmate objections onthe part of his parents-in-law” (Evans-Prichard 1976: 163). The work of anthropologists such as Evans-Prichard hasbeen very beneficial forthe study of Greek oracles (e.g. Parker 1985: 299).

Nonetheless there aredifferences between African oracles andmajor Greek oracular shrines: in particular thescale of thesanctuary andtheformality of theconsultation process at Delphi may have madeepisodes like Agesipolis’ consultation a little improbable. Another example of what was possibly deliberate tricky questioning should be mentioned here, Xenophon’s ownconsultation of Delphi (Anab. 3.1.4–7). AsXenophon tells the story, he went to consult Delphi before going, ashethought, to be introduced to Cyrus, ontheadvice of Socrates, andthe question he chose to ask was, “to what godshould I pray andsacrifice that I maybest andmost honourably go on thejourney I have in mind, andreturn home safe and successful?”. “To what godshould I pray?” is a common form of question to Delphi (Fontenrose 1978: 11–57), butSocrates criticized Xenophon for notasking first whether he should go onthe expedition at all. Socrates concluded, however, that, having asked the question, Xenophonshould doasthegodadvised. Wemayreadthis asXenophon describing hisownyouthful impetuosity, deliberately oraccidentally asking a question that guarantees that hewill goonthe



Wecanmake sense of thepractice of offering repeated sacrifices before a battle, in the hope that the omens change, in much the same way. It might be that the right moment would arrive at some later point in the day(e.g. Hellenica 4.1.22), or it might be that the wrong question is being asked. The sacrifices described inAnabasis are usually related to very specific courses of action, andit might be that the gods would discourage a hoplite advance under some circumstances, but allow it after a minor redeployment (cf. e.g.Anabasis 6.4.22). Inanycase it would benecessary to sacrifice a number of victims even if the omens turned out satisfactorily, since the sacrificial meat would be needed to feed the soldiers after thebattle. A final illustration of Xenophon’s understanding of the role of the gods comes with his attitude to earthquakes. There are three mentioned in Hellenica: Agis retired from Elis after anearthquake, interpreting it as divine (θε ῖ ον: 3.2.24). Agesilausjustifies his claim to thethrone over that of Leotychides byreporting the story that hisfather wasAlcibiades, notAgis: “Poseidon madeit clear that youareentirelymistaken. Hedrove yourfather outof yourmother’s bedroom into theopenairby anearthquake. Andhis evidence is supported by what is known as thetruest of all witnesses, namely time. For youwere born in thetenth month from the time when he fled from the bedroom” (3.3.2). Agesipolis also has to explain an earthquake whenhe hasentered Argive territory (Hellenica 4.7.4–5): Nowwhile he wasat dinner in the land of the Argives, onthe first evening of his stay there, andwhenthe after-dinner libations hadjust been made, the god sent anearthquake; andall the Lacedaemonians, those in the royal tent taking the lead, struck upthepaean to Poseidon; andtherest of the soldiers expected toretire fromthecountry, because Agis likewise, onanoccasion whenanearthquake took place, hadwithdrawn hisarmyfromElis. ButAgesipolis saidthat if the godhadsent an earthquake when he wasabout to invade, he should have thought that he wasforbidding the invasion; but since he sent it after he had invaded, he believed that he wasurging himon; accordingly, onthe next day, after offering sacrifices to Poseidon, he again led onhis forces, advancing far into the country. Although earthquakes might doconsiderable damage, in each of these three cases the effect of the earthquake is not what interests Xenophon, but its meaning. Earthquakes for Xenophon are the means by which Poseidon canreveal things: to Agis andAgesipolis Poseidon reveals whether or nottheir campaign is likely to be successful, while the incident with Alcibiades shows howPoseidon can reveal more specific (andperhaps more entertaining) pieces of information. As wecan see, there is a limit to howmuch divination canreveal: it produces information of usetothemilitary commander rather thananything else. Xenophon’s

skill andknowledge about thepractices of divination is notobviously accompanied bya wideknowledge of thegods: indeed hispersonal Pantheon is rather limited. In expedition, butit hasa further literary purpose. Asit turned out, of course, theexpedition went very badly, andthe gods to whom Xenophon prayed barely managed to keep himalive. The implication must be that, hadXenophon asked the question Socrates wanted him to ask, he would surely have been advised notto go at all.

Xenophon andthe scientific study of religion


Anabasis, he mentions Pythian Apollo (3.1.6, 5.3.4, 7.8.3), andEphesian Artemis (5.3.4), whose sanctuaries he visits before beginning the expedition, but otherwise hismainattention is paidtoZeusBasileus (one of thegodstowhomhewasadvised to pray by the Pythia – 6.1.22), although he also sacrifices to Heracles Hegemon (6.2.15) and,after realising thathehadbeenneglecting him,ZeusMeilichios (7.8.4). The names of Zeus Soter andNike are used as watchwords (1.8.16, 6.5.25) and Xenophon hasCleanor point toTissaphernes’ lack ofrespect forZeusXenios (3.2.4). Onereason for this limited range of cults is that Anabasis is set almost entirely in theterritory of theAchaemenid empire, where there werefewGreek temples touse, andmuchof theactivity takes place intheopencountry. Infact muchof theactivity of Xenophon’s military heroes (Cyrus theGreat andAgesilaus aswell asXenophon himself) takes place in the territory of the Persian empire. This does not prevent Xenophon from presenting Cyrus as engaged in Greek religious activity in thefantasy world of Cyropaedia, but it means that the choice of which gods to honour in that work are the author’s, unfettered by anyconcern for thereal religious geographyof Asia, andinstead influenced particularly no doubt by Xenophon’s memory of thegods whohadhelped himthere. Cyrus regularly sacrifices to Zeus, particularly to Zeus Basileus andZeus Patroos, butalso Soter andHegemon. Healso sacrifices to Hestia (7.5.57) andat one point Hestia Patroa (1.6.1), andto Helios (8.3.24, 8.7.3) andGe (8.3.24). These are the only gods named in the work, apart from (Pythian) Apollo, about whomCyrus hasa conversation with Croesus, butto whomhe is never said to pray. Otherwise, Cyrus is described aspraying andsacrificing to “therest of thegods” (8.7.3) or“the other godsthemagi suggested” (7.5.57). In addition weseehimpraying tothegods of the different parts of the empire whenever he crosses boundaries. Thus when he is about to cross from Persia to Media, he prays first to the gods andheroes who watch over the land of Persia, andhaving crossed, he prays to the gods of Media (2.1.1); before he crosses into Assyria, he calls onthe heroes whodwell in Media andare its guardians, andhaving crossed offers sacrifice to the gods andheroes wholive in Assyria (3.3.24). In his great procession at Babylon, he includes in his sacrifices the tutelary heroes of Syria (8.3.24). This emphasis onthe correct sacrifice before crossing a border is also found in Xenophon’s description of Spartan practice (RL 13.1–5). The aim of such sacrifices to local gods is to win their support, andelsewhere Xenophon refers to the aimof “winning over” the gods onenemyground (Agesilaus 11.1), andheoften talks about having thegods as allies (e.g. Hipparchicus 7.4; Cyropaedia 3.3.58). It wascommonly recognised at this period that the gods hadparticular concern for the areas where their sanctuaries lay, and success would bemorelikely if honour waspaidtothegodsof a particular area (see for example Pagondas’ speech at Thucydides 4.92.7) The sacrifices are thus presented as having a very practical purpose. Xenophon’s other works addlittle to this tally. Hellenica includes references to a number of sanctuaries of godsinGreece.5 Poseidon is mentioned twice withrefer5

Amphion at Thebes (5.4.8); Apollo Lycaeus in Athens (1.1.33); Apollo Pythius at Delphi (3.3.1, 4.3.21, 4.7.2, 4.4.2, 4.4.30, 7.1.27); Apollo at Sellasia (4.5.27); Artemis at Astyra (4.1.41); Artemis Mounichia in Athens (2.4.11); Artemis at Aulis (3.4.3, 3.5.5, 7.1.34); Artemis at Ephe-



to earthquakes, as wehave seen. Demeter andtheDioscuri arementioned in a speech by Callias (Hellenica 6.3.6), andAphrodite is the subject of a discussion in Symposium (8.9). Wecancontrast this with thegreat range of cults mentioned in thecivic calendarsandelsewhere, andattested bytheidentifications of temples inPausanias’ Periegesis. Xenophon gives us occasional glimpses of the complex world of Greek polis cult: Zeus Meilichios, to whom it is suggested that Xenophon should pray at the endof Anabasis, is clearly considered a very different godfrom Zeus Basileus.6 Xenophon sacrifices pigs holocaust, rather than sheep or oxen, anddoes so in a specific sanctuary, at Ophrynion, rather than on the march. However, as wehave seen, most of the religious activity described in Xenophon’s work takes place in military contexts, andtherefore his emphasis would appear tobe onthegodsusually sacrificed to on campaign. Since Xenophon himself asked the Delphic oracle about the gods to whom he should pray we might also assume that the gods most commonly addressed by Xenophon himself, andprobably by his literary creation Cyrus, arethose suggested by thePythia. None of this is to suggest that Xenophon didnot consider other cults important. Rather, these are matters determined by tradition rather than specific knowledge, whether gained by divination or other means. Festivals arediscussed anddescribed ina number of works: Xenophon seeks torefute thecharge against Socrates, that he did not honour the gods of the polis, by pointing out that he never failed to attend the public festivals of Athens (Memorabilia 1.1.2); the climax of Cyropaedia is the description of Cyrus’ first great festival procession andits accompanying festivities (8.3–4); in Hipparchicus, the cavalry’s main role outside war is participation in pompai (2.1, 3.1–4).7 Andparticipation in festivals is a basic issue in Hiero: at the start of the dialogue Hiero describes how, as a “badtyrant”, he is unable to enjoy festivals, since he is frightened to mingle with the public at home, or to risk losing his throne if he goes abroad (1.11–12); nor does he appreciate the festival food because heeats that sort of food every day(1.18). Attheend, Simonides points out that if Hiero were a good ruler, his power would be displayed through the city’s success in chariot-racing in panhellenic festivals (11.5–7), andhis ownpopularity ence

sus(1.2.6, 3.4.18); Artemis atLeukophrys (3.2.19); Artemis atTegea (6.5.9); Athena inAthens (1.6.1); Athena at Gergis (3.1.22); Athena at Phocaea (1.3.1); Athena Alea at Sparta (4.5.27); Athena at Scepsis (3.1.21); Bendis in Athens (2.4.11); Cadmus atThebes (5.2.29, 5.2.31, 6.3.9, 6.3.11); Dionysus atAphytis (5.3.19); HeraatArgos (4.5.5, 4.5.9); HeraatPhlius (7.2.6, 7.2.11,

6 7

7.2.13); Heracles onAegina (5.1.10); Heracles atChalcedon (1.3.7); Heracles atMelea (7.1.31); Heracles at Thebes (6.4.7); Poseidon at Isthmia (4.5.1–2); Poseidon at Piraeum (4.5.4); PoseidonGaeochus at Sparta (6.5.30); the Tyndaridae at Sparta (6.5.31); Zeus at Olympia (3.2.22, 3.2.26, 3.2.31, 4.7.2, 7.4.14, 7.4.28, 7.4.31–2, 7.4.35). Thucydides, in a work about twice as long astheHellenica, hastwoanda half times asmanyreferences to sanctuaries; Herodotus, in a work slightly longer than Thucydides, hasnearly eight times as manyreferences to sanctuaries astheHellenica. Inthis respect Xenophon is muchcloser toThucydides thanto Herodotus. Furthermore, sanctuaries inHerodotus areoften thescene of divine intervention (Bowden, forthcoming); they donotappear to have this role in theHellenica. OnZeus Meilichios see Cook 1925: 1091–1160, Jameson 1965, Parke 1977: 120–22.

Onthe Cyropaedia andHipparchicus

items see Dillery (this volume)

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of religion


will mean that instead of being excluded from festivals, he will find himself constantly at the centre of a panegyris of his citizens (11.10). Recent work onreligion

in Greece hasemphasized the centrality of thepolis andits religious calendar, and also theimportance of the ‘panhellenic’ festivals (e.g. Sourvinou-Inwood 1990); in Xenophon it is clear that festivals arevery enjoyable, andthat attendance atthemis expected, butthere is noattempt to explain whythey areimportant. Theimportance of keeping oaths is also stressed inseveral works.8 Again, however, there is only onepassage where the connection is made between oath-breaking anddivine punishment. Whether such a link is implicit in Xenophon’s understanding of history wewill see below. This then appears to be Xenophon’s practical understanding of the ways of the gods, andof howmortals ought to behave towards them. It is certainly a meagre collection of ideas: one can hope for guidance from the gods from divination, but cannot be certain that it will be given. Otherwise there are duties to the gods owed by mankind, but no expectation of reward for this behaviour. It is difficult to see that these views would have been considered controversial; whether one can call them “typical” is more difficult. Even though Xenophon does refer to the gods and the importance of religious sacrifice so often, he seems unprepared to say much about hisunderstanding of them. Howmuchless likely then would anyother Athenian be to be able to say anything coherent about the gods at all? Even in the late fifth andearly fourth century, evenin Athens, weshould notexpect manypeople to have anythought-through views of thegods. Xenophon emphasises theimportance of ritual action, buthas little to tell us about religious belief; this makes a significant contrast tothesituation of Christianity inpost-war Britain, where a widespread abandonment of ritual activity (most obviously the decline in church attendance) has apparently been accompanied by a continuing, and increasingly fragmented and varying set of beliefs about god (Davie 1994).

Religion andtheHellenica

When weconsider howXenophon’s understanding of the gods affects his writing of history we need to be cautious. As we shall see, from the very beginning the

genre of history-writing in Greece adopted anapproach to causation andto divine involvement in human affairs that rejected the explicit acknowledgement of divine involvement in human history. Each of Xenophon’s predecessors, Herodotus and Thucydides, produced only a single historical work, and it is thus impossible to reconstruct their views of religion even in the limited waywe can for Xenophon himself. We can however compare what they have to say about the gods in their histories with Xenophon’s approach. In Herodotus, divine (or superhuman) involvement inhuman affairs appears to operate at two levels. At one level there are specific incidents when supernatural


Relevant material can be found in e.g. Mem. 1.1.18; Anab. 2.4.7, 2.5.7, 20f., 38f., 41, 3.1.20f., 3.2.4,8f.; Hell. 2.4.43, 3.4.5–6,11 (cf. Ages. 1.11– 13), 5.4.1,11, 6.4.2f.; Ages. 3.2; Cyr. 5.1.22,




figures appear andaffect theoutcome of a situation, such as thegiant phantom figureurging the Greeks forwards at Salamis (8.84) or the heroes whodrive the Persians awayfromDelphi (8.38–9); butthere arealso comments about fate andnecessity, suggesting anoverall divine purpose of some kind. It is thefirst of these levels that is being referred to when Herodotus writes “it is clear from many proofs that thegodsinfluence human affairs” (9.100.2), buttheexamples hegoes ontogive are extremely oblique. Moreimportantly, throughout thewhole workHerodotus always presents this kind of divine intervention as something reported by others: he never makes theclaim directly. It is clear that heis distancing himself fromthesuggestion that the gods actually doappear in historical situations. Andalthough it canbe argued that Herodotus didhave a clear idea of the role of the gods in the events he describes (Harrison 2000), the notion of anoverall theory of divine causation also turns out to be questionable. Gould has demonstrated that although the History is peppered with comments such as “for it wasnecessary for Candaules to come to a badend...” ( 1.8.2), these arenotelements of a causative theory, butgnomai, part of a narrative strategy to point thereader orlistener in certain directions (Gould 1989:


Although the gods are notcentral to anyHerodotean theory of causation, they are frequently mentioned in theHistory. Nonetheless, as wehave seen, Herodotus shared the prevalent caution about claims to knowledge of the gods. There is no suggestion that he doubts the existence of the gods, or thepossibility of their being involved in events, buthisunderstanding of thegods musthave been influenced by hisexperience of non-Greek practices, andhe accepts that Greek knowledge of the gods is recent when compared with that of the Egyptians (2.50–53). When he recounts a Thessalian view that Poseidon made the gorge through which thePeneios flows, he comments that this is a reasonable view to be held by “whoever thinks Poseidon shakes the earth andthat things created by earthquakes are the works of that god” (7.129.4), a comment that suggests that he accepts the possibility of other explanations. Aninterest in non-supernatural explanations is visible in his discussion of the Nile flood (2.20–27). What is clear from this is that Herodotus can combine passages where heraises questions about Greek notions about thegodswith an overall narrative practice that uses the vocabulary of fate anddivine intervention. Thucydides’ History largely avoids even the mention of the gods. His rejection of romance (τὸ µυ θῶδες) is clearly a rejection of the kind of story about divine

involvement that Herodotus reports, although Thucydides is occasionally prepared to putnotions of divine intervention into themouth of his speakers (4.42.7). When it comes to the question of divine involvement at a more general level, some commentators argue that there is, hiding below the surface, anidea of religious causation in Thucydides (Marinatos 1981), butit is difficult to identify andHornblower represents the more accepted view when he states: “Thucydides didnotthink that theinterference of thegods is a force in human affairs. In this heis unlike hispredecessor Herodotus andhis successor Xenophon” (Hornblower 1987: 182). As we have seen, this claim misrepresents Herodotus: the question then remains, does it accurately reflect Xenophon’s historical approach?

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At its start, Xenophon’s Hellenica is continuing Thucydides’ narrative, andis onthe whole Thucydidean in style. Later onhowever there are a number of rather Herodotean episodes. For example there is the story of Jason of Pherae’s threat to attack Delphi (Hellenica 6.4.27–32). TheDelphians asktheoracle about preserving thetreasures in the sanctuary, andaretoldbyApollo that he would take care of the matter himself. This element of the story, introduced by the Herodotean λέγεται (“it is said”), is almost identical to what happened before Xerxes’ unsuccessful attack onDelphi (Herodotus 8.36). Theunstated implication inHerodotus’ account is that Apollo himself hada handinprotecting his sanctuary (animpression strengthenedbythemiraculous appearance of thesacred weapons outside thetemple); similarly whenJason dies before he cangoto Delphi, thereader caninfer theintervention of Apollo, although it is not explicitly claimed. Another episode in which the gods are invoked is what might be called the aristeia of Agesipolis (4.7.2–7) discussed above. The episode is a demonstration of how much a commander can achieve despite a sequence of apparently unfavourable omens, andXenophon concludes that thecampaign wasa success. However hedoes notdrawexplicit conclusions from Agesipolis’ scrupulous behaviour. If weturn from specific incidents to the question of whether Xenophon hada general theory of divine causation, weenter anarea of interest to a number of recent scholars. Dillery argues for a theological view underlying the narrative of Hellenica: “Xenophon’s understanding of historical permanence as proof andreward for piety” (Dillery 1995: 179–194: quotation on 189). He puts a lot of weight on a passage where Xenophon suggests a link between Spartan oath-breaking anddefeat at Leuctra (5.4.1):

Nowonecould bring upmanyother instances, bothGreek andbarbarian, which show that the gods neglect neither impious persons nor those who do wicked deeds; butat present I will speak of thecase which is before me.TheLacedaemonians, namely, whohadsworn that they would leave thestates independent, after seizing possession of the Acropolis of Thebes were punished by the very men, unaided, whohadbeen thus wronged, although before that time they had notbeen conquered byanysingle oneof all thepeoples that ever existed; while as for those among the Theban citizens whohadled them into the Acropolis andhadwanted thestate tobeinsubjection totheLacedaemonians inorder that they might rule despotically themselves, just seven of theexiles were enough to destroy the government of these men. Howall this came to pass I will proceed to relate.

Theintroductory remarks here arerather Herodotean, with echoes both of Herodotus’proem andof his comments at 9.100.2 quoted above. The question is, arethey enough to showthat Xenophon meant hisreaders to seethis asthebasis for a general historical principle? This is open to doubt. Xenophon never refers back to this incident; in the narrative leading upto the battle of Leuctra there are a number of Herodotean hints of divine involvement (6.4.3, 6.4.7), but no suggestion that the Spartans are going to be punished for an earlier action, andthe comments on the defeat itself donotrefer to the gods at all (6.4.16). The connection is made at this point (5.4.1) in order to emphasize the wickedness of oath-breaking (something that



concerns himin other works, as wehave seen). Thepurpose of the authorial interjection is to rebuke the Spartans (and their Theban supporters) for their impiety (Tuplin 1993, 99– 100) andthus it is a moralizing, rather than anexplanatory comment. Vivienne Gray (1989: 154–156) suggests a link between impiety and subsequent destruction inXenophon’s description of therevolution in Corinth. Therevolution is portrayed as unusually impious (4.4.2–3):

Andin the first place, they devised the most sacrilegious of all schemes; for other people, even if a manis condemned by process of law, donotputhimto death during a religious festival; butthese menchose thelast dayof theEucleia, because they thought they would catch more people in themarket-place, so as to kill them. Then again, when the signal wasgiven to those whohadbeen toldwhomthey weretokill, they drewtheir swords andstruck mendown– one while standing in a social group, another while sitting in his seat, still another in thetheatre, andanother evenwhile hewassitting asjudge ina dramatic contest. Nowwhen the situation became known, the better classes immediately fled, sometothestatues of thegodsintheagora, sometothealtars; thentheconspirators, utterly sacrilegious andwithout so much as a single thought for civilized usage, boththose whogavetheorders andthose whoobeyed, keptuptheslaughter even at the holy places, so that some even among those whowere not victims of the attack, being right-minded men, were dismayed in their hearts at beholding such impiety.

Theresponse to this is Spartan violence, described with approval (4.4.12):

AsfortheSpartans, they were atnoloss about whomtokill: thegodgave them onthat occasion anachievement they could noteven have prayed for. The delivery into their hands of a mass of the enemy terrified, amazed, offering their unprotected side, nomanturning themtofight, all doing their best to serve their owndestruction: howcould onenotbelieve this divine (θεῖ ον)? What makes Xenophon suggest divine involvement here is not thejustice of the outcome, asGray suggests, butthequantity of thedeadandtheease inkilling them (Tuplin 1993: 69–70). Xenophon’s comment is very similar to Herodotus’ comment onthe wreck of the Persian fleet off Euboea: “everything wasbeing done by thegodto makethePersian fleet thesize of theGreek one, soit would nolonger be somuchgreater” (8.13). Inboth cases thereference tothegodseems nottodevelop outof anytheory of divine justice, butto be the kind of commonplace remark we have seen to be typical of Herodotus’ style. If the Spartans were theinstruments of divine justice, it seems odd that Xenophon would suggest that their fortune was greater than they could have prayed for. Rather, “the god”, a term used whenthere is no wayof knowing which particular divinity is responsible, is being evoked to explain something beyond human comprehension. For an author in a society that accepted the existence of gods, but knew little about them, this seems a rational response to the circumstances. Like Thucydides’ Athenians at Melos, Xenophon mayinfer divine involvement in these incidents: that is a long wayfrom asserting that the gods act in a particular way.

Xenophon andthe scientific study

of religion


Xenophon’s historical method, as exemplified in Hellenica, does not appear, then, to reveal anyclear religious principle. Herodotus famously says of his historical approach: “I shall go forward with myhistory describing equally the greater andthe lesser cities. For cities which were formerly great have most of them become insignificant; andsuch as are at present powerful, were weak in the olden time. I shall therefore discourse equally of both, convinced that human happiness never continues long in onestay” (1.5). This is a descriptive, nota moralizing comment, andit can be compared with similar sentiments in Thucydides, such as his comments on Mycenae (1.10) andthe fate of the Athenian forces in Sicily (7.87). The fall of Sparta in Xenophon’s Hellenica canbe seen as another example of the same pattern. The historians examine the people andactions that contribute to this pattern, without offering a single overarching explanation, just as,forexample, Paul Kennedy in his TheRise andFall of the Great Powers canoffer a convincing analysis of the effect of economic forces on the history of the last five centuries, but avoids anymoralizing grand theory (Kennedy 1988). The earlier analysis of Xenophon’s approach to religious matters should make this conclusion unsurprising. For Xenophon, as for his contemporaries, the gods werenotabstract, notsomething “goodtothink with”. Rather, they werebeings that actually existed, butabout whomhuman knowledge wasvery limited. Xenophon’s works in general showhowhe andhis contemporaries might engage with thegods: regular sacrifice andavoidance of impiety might lead the gods to look favourably onanindividual; the gods might communicate information to someone whomthey favoured; butthat wasthebest onecould hope for. That is notenough understanding to allow one to draw sweeping historical conclusions, andthe wise Xenophon does notmake the attempt.


J. K., 1974, Xenophon


Beard, M. andNorth, J. (edd.), 1990, Pagan Priests (London). Bowden, H., 2003, “Oracles for Sale”, in P. S. Derow andR. C. T. Parker (edd.), Herodotus andhis World (Oxford), 256–274. f orthcoming, “Herodotus, Herakles andthe Persian Wars”, in L. Rawlings andH. Bowden (edd.), --- Herakles/Hercules in theAncient World (London). Cartledge, P., 1987, Agesilaos and the Crisis of Sparta (London). Cawkwell, G. L., 1979, Introduction in R.Warner (tr.), Xenophon, A History of My Times (Harmonds worth). Cohen, T. D., 1989, “TheProsecution of Impiety in Athenian Law”, in G. vonThür (ed.), Symposium1985: Vorträge zur griechischen und hellenistischen Rechtsgeschichte (Ringberg, 14–16 Juli 1985) (Cologne), 99– 105. Cook, A. B., 1925, Zeus: A Study inAncient Religion II (Cambridge).

Davie, G., 1994, Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without Belonging (Oxford). Dillery, J., 1995, Xenophon and the History of his Times (London). Evans-Prichard, Oxford).

E. E., 1976, Witchcraft, Oracles, andMagic among theAzande (abridged edition:



Gould, J., 1989, Herodotus (London). Gray, V., 1989, The Character of Xenophon’s Hellenica (London). Harrison, T., 2000, Divinity andHistory: TheReligion of Herodotus (Oxford). Hornblower, S., 1987, Thucydides (London).


M. H., 1965, “Notes onthe Sacrificial

Calendar from Erchia”, BCH89: 154–172.

P., 1988, TheRise andFall of the Great Powers: Economic Change andMilitary Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (London).


Lloyd, G. E. R., 1987, TheRevolutions of Wisdom (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). Lloyd-Jones, H., 1971, TheJustice of Zeus (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). Marinatos, N., 1981, Thucydides andReligion (Königstein). Mikalson, J., 1991, Honor thy Gods: Popular Religion in Greek Tragedy (Chapel Hill).

Parke, H. W., 1977, The Festivals of theAthenians (London). Parker, R. C. T., 1985, “Greek States andGreek Oracles”, in P.Cartledge andF. D. Harvey (edd.), Crux: Essays Presented to G. E. M. de Ste Croix on his 75th Birthday (Exeter), 298–326. Sourvinou-Inwood, C., 1990, “What is Polis Religion?” in O. Murray andS. R. F. Price (edd.), The Greek CityfromHomer toAlexander the Great (Oxford), 295–322.

Tatum, J., 1989, Xenophon’s Imperial Fiction: Onthe Education of Cyrus (Princeton). Tuplin, C. J., 1993, TheFailings of Empire: AReading ofXenophon Hellenica 2.3.11– 7.5.27 (Historia Einzelschriften 76, Stuttgart).



Inthecourse of working ona general study of Greek political imagery, I have come to appreciate that Xenophon’s use of political imagery is anunder-rated aspect of his character as a writer andthinker. However, since a comprehensive treatment would runtherisk of degenerating in places into a listing of images some of which are unsurprisingly conventional andof little interest in themselves, I shall concentrate here mainly on two aspects which seem to me noteworthy and interesting: Xenophon’s handling of imagery concerned with monarchy, andimages which relate to Persian ideology or Greek perceptions of it. In the former case, I shall also compare Xenophon’s practice with that of Plato andIsocrates with theaimof highlighting what is particularly Xenophontic. I shall cast my net quite widely in presenting material anddiscuss ideas which have anallegorical basis or which arerelated to images as well as images in the strict sense. Images of monarchy

The resurgence of political imagery applicable to monarchy is a striking feature of fourth-century literature, though hardly a surprising one, given therash of contemporaryexempla oftheeffectiveness of one-man rule asa formof government. Nevertheless, the images which wefind in Xenophon, Isocrates andPlato represent a form of intellectual response to thephenomenon andanattempt tojustify it onother grounds. Weshould perhaps be wary of arguing that they arenecessarily theonly oreven the principal forces behind the movement – Thrasymachus’ attack onthe concept of the ruler asbenign shepherd inthefirst book of theRepublic (343AB) suggests a reaction toideas that arealready intheair– butatthevery least they areourmajor sources for that movement; they also display interesting divergences among themselves. Xenophon’s most characteristic contribution to this movement is his development of the concept of political οἰ κ ονοµία. Although it only seems to arise in the late sixth century (Herodotus 5.28–9), awareness of a possible parallel between domestic andpolitical administration is well established by the late fifth century, as evidenced by the use of οἰ κεῖ ν zeugmatically of both fields (e.g. Euripides Electra 386–7, fr. 200) andthe growing figurative use of οἰ κ ονοµία. Such usage is to be found in Xenophon,1 buthe also locates these concepts in a wider context. In fifth1

Hell. 6.1.2–3, Mem. 1.2.64, 4.1.2, Cyr. 8.1.14–5, Vect. 4.40; An. 1.9.19.



century Athenian usage, the idea of a domestic economy is almost exclusively developed in terms of therelated ideas of politicians as servants of theDemos andof relations between thetwo, animage which expresses anessential tenet of democratic ideology andis exemplified above all in the dramatic situation of Aristophanes’ Knights. Xenophon, together withPlato, extrapolates thefundamental perception of theparallel into a theory of a single universal artof administration orrule. In Oeconomicus hedraws thecomparison between order in thehousehold andorganisation in the state, suggesting that both require not simply to be set ona proper basis initially (in a city, by the establishment of good laws) but also, subsequently, call for proper administration. Thus Ischomachus’ wife must uphold thelaws of thehousehold, inspect andscrutinise, andimpose appropriate rewards andpunishments ὥσπερ βασίλι σσαν (9.14–5). Later inthework, Socrates argues that there is oneconsistent artof rule, sothat a manwhocantrain a bailiff to command canmakehima master ora king (13.5); indeed, since τὸ ἀρχι κό ν is a constant inevery business, including andοἰ κ ονοµική πολι τική (21.2), theauthoritative householder will possess τι ἤ θους βασι λι κοῦ (21.10). This principle is expressed again ininverted form intheMemorabilia when Socrates, told that Euthydemus is studying to enter politics, exclaims οὐ δήπου, ὦ Ε ὐ θύδηµε, ταύ της τῆς ἀρετῆς ἐ φίε σαι , δι ᾽ ἣν ἄν θρ ωποι πολι τι κοὶ γίγνο νται καὶ οἰ κ ονοµι κοὶ καὶ ἄρχειν ἱ κ ανοὶ , a virtue which he identifies as τῆς κ αλλίστης ἀρετῆς καὶ µε γίστης ... τέχνης· ἔ στι γὰρ τῶν βασι λέ ων αὕτη καὶ καλεῖ ται βασι λι κή(4.2.11). In 3.4.7– 12 he demonstrates to a surprised Nicomachides that the goodοἰ κ ό νοµος will have the qualities necessary to be a good general. While in this case theidentification is made to rest onspecific skills, elsewhere Xenophon makes the more general claim that true rule is based on knowledge (Memorabilia 3.9.10– 3) andthat expertise is the basis of all authority, adducing familiar comparisons from medicine andseafaring (Cyropaedia 1.6.21). Plato too uses οἰ κεῖ ν of households andstates together2 and, like Xenophon, argues in thePoliticus (258E–259C) that there is a single universal artof rule which embracesthehouseholder aswell astheking andslave-master, while inProtagoras (318E– 9A) he makes Protagoras say that his teaching covers both domestic andpolitical administration. It wastherefore a deliberate andquite substantial theoretical divergence onAristotle’s part to drawfirm distinctions between thevarious sorts of rule andauthority in the first book of the Politics. If theconcept of thestate asa household is combined withmonarchy, it follows that thestate maybe seen astheestate of theruler, a possession to bedisposed of as he sees fit. This idea is most prominent in Isocrates’ ToNicocles, where theyoung ruler is encouraged to administer the state in the same wayas his royal estate, and advised that all theproperty of those whoreside inthecity belongs tothekings who rule them well (2.19, 21 – there is a sharp contrast to the idea of Athenian politicians handling the state’s property as stewards in Panegyricus 4.76), but the same outlook underlies a couple of Xenophontic passages which imply a possessive attitude to the subject: Hiero compares the spirited citizen to a good horse which its master fears maycause himfatal harm, yetwhich heis reluctant to slaughter (Hiero


Meno 73A, 91A, Gorg. 520A, Rep. 600D, Laws 714A, 790B.

Xenophon’s political imagery


6.15–6), while Cyaxares compares Cyrus’ winning over of his subjects to subverting the loyalty of watchdogs, servants or a wife (Cyropaedia 5.5.28–30). A more characteristic passage, however, is Hiero 11.14, where the image is given a different slant, which aligns it with one of Xenophon’s favourite concepµι ζε δὲ tions, the picture of the king as father. Here Simonides urges the tyrant νό τὴν µὲν πατρίδα οἶ κον, τοὺς δὲ πολίτας ἑ ταίρους, τοὺς δὲ φίλους τέκνα σε αυτοῦ andto outdo them in benefactions; the implication is that aspaterfamilias he will not only show kindness, butwill devote himself to thepreservation andgrowth of hisestate rather than simple exploitation of it. Xenophon makes wide useof thepicture of theruler as father: in the Cyropaedia (8.1.1), Chrysantas is made to sayof Cyrus:

κις ... κ ατε νό ἀλλὰπολλά ησα ὅτι ἄρχων ἀγαθὸς ὀυδὲν δι αφέρει πατρὸς ἀγαθοῦ οἵ τε γὰρ πατέ ρες προνοοῦσι τῶν παίδων ὅπως µήποτε αὐτοὺς τἀγαθὰ λι στ᾽ ἂν ς τέµοι δοκεῖ νῦν συµβουλεύ ειν ἡµῖν ἀφ᾽ ὧν µά ἐπι ·λείψει, Κῦρό ε ὐ δαι µονοῦντες δι ατε λοῖ µεν. Thesame image is saidto have been applied to Cyrus byhisnewly conquered subjects, the principal point being that of benefaction.3 In applying the image not only to Cyrus’ Persian subjects, but also to those whomhe has conquered, Xenophon is going onebetter thanthecelebrated passage inHerodotus (3.89.3), forwhomCyrus is a father only to thePersians (andincontrast tohis successors, whomthey holdin less high regard). Theimage is equally applicable to Greek leaders. Xenophon says of Agesilaus νον, ἀλλὰ καὶ that the Greeks in Asia mourned his departure οὐχ ὡς ἄρχ οντος µό to his politibehaviour his and (Ages. 1.38), later describes ρ ο υ ί α τ ρ ὸ α ἑ ὶ κ ὡς πατ ς cal opponents asfather-like, chiding their errors, honouring their successes andsupporting them in adversity (7.3). Finally, Xenophon ascommander of theTenThousandis twice equated with a father in speeches made inhisowndefence: inAnabasis 5.8.18 he claims that anyapplication of corporal punishment to maintain discipline should bejudged in the same light as a father’s chastisement of his sons or a teacher’s of hispupils, while in7.6.38, criticising thetroops fortheir ingratitude, he reminds them that they usedto call him“father” in recognition of hisbenefactions. Xenophon’s application

of the image to himself is suggestive of its attractions for

him as a paradigm for the exercise of authority. For him, the chief implications of theimage seemtobepaternal care andguidance, reciprocated byrespect andaffection onthepart of the children. Even though he does in the earlier passage refer to thefather’s right to chastise (cf. Aristotle Politics 1315a21 ontheneedfora ruler to administer punishment in a fatherly spirit), this aspect of the relationship seems to be less to thefore than it is in Plato, whose references in theLaws to a father’s rule over hishousehold as βασίλεια δι κ αι ότατη andto theright of parents to rule over their children (680E, 690A) imply a more authoritarian view. Another image which, as wehave already noted, enjoys a return to prominence in Xenophon’s works is that of theshepherd of thepeople. In Homer, in contrast to 3

8.1.44 (bracketing thelast clause, which implies a cynicism of which there is nohint elsewhere in Xenophon’s portrait of Cyrus or in his other uses of this image); 8.2.9; 8.8.1.




its usein NearEastern documents, theimage is applied exclusively to ideas of military direction andorganisation; thereafter, it is absent from Greek literature until its reappearance in the fourth century. Given the wide currency of the image in oriental documents (e.g. Murray 1990: 3–5), wemight wonder whether theinspiration for its reanimation derives from Persian documents rather than from Homer, though there is no direct evidence to this effect, and Socrates’ exposition of the Homeric epithet ποι µὴν λαῶν (Mem. 3.2.1), with specific reference to generalship (andto Agamemnon), might perhaps point gently in the other direction (cf. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1161a12–15). Certainly, asnoted earlier, theimage seems to have been already in circulation by the time of its earliest literary attestation; unfortunately, theproblems of dating bothPlato’s works andXenophon’s also make it impossible to reach anyfirm conclusion on questions of priority andinfluence. Just as wefound with οἰ κ ονοµία, weencounter notonly imagery, butanextrapolation andexploration of the ideas implicit in it. Theclassic example in Xenophon is of course theprogrammatic passage at the opening of the Cyropaedia (1.1). Xenophon, reflecting on the nature of human authority, contrasts the difficulty which menhave inruling men,evenatthelevel of thehousehold, withtheease withwhich they control herds of animals. Animals are more willing to obey their herdsmen in everything andallow them to profit from them as they wish and, so far from rebelling, are more compliant towards their herdsmen than to outsiders. He concludes that man’s natural condition makes it easier for him to rule other creatures than others of his ownspecies. However, the case of Cyrus shows that such rule is not impossible, although Xenophon acknowledges that he was very different from otherkings (1.1.4); Plato maybeechoing thispassage whenhenotes intheLaws(694E– 5A) that Cyrus failed to have his sons educated like true Persian herdsmen. Towards theendof theworkCyrus is madeto expound theargument that theduties of thegoodshepherd andthegoodking arevery similar: bothmustmaketheir subjects happy (εὐ δαίµονας) as they make use of them (χρῆσθαι : 8.2.14). A similar doctrine underlies Socrates’ interpretation of theformula ποι µὴν λαῶν inMemorabilia 3.2.1, namely that both general andshepherd must keep their charges safe andsupplied with life’s necessities andensure that the object for which they exist is attained (there is a certain vagueness, nodoubt deliberate, astowhyonekeeps sheep). Likewise in 1.2.32 Socrates is quoted as criticising theThirty for being like a cowherdwhomakes hiscattle fewer andworse, yetwill notacknowledge hisincompetence, ananalogy which apparently annoyed Charicles andCritias (1.2.37). There is a strong resemblance to these ideas in Socrates’ demolition of Athenian politicians in the Gorgias (516) as men who left their flock more savage and intractable than they found it. Although the opening of Cyropaedia indicates that, like Plato in Politicus, Xenophon does perceive animal husbandry as a general model for theadministration of human affairs, the other instances in his works of the image of the shepherd show that, as with the concept of theking as father, there is for hima considerable affective aspect to theidea, andthestress is ontheimportance of pastoral care. Whereas Plato hasa concern with moral improvement, for Xenophon temporal contentment seems to be sufficient, andit is perhaps thelack of a didactic element in hisviewof

Xenophon’s political imagery


the shepherd’s care (except possibly in Memorabilia 1.2.32, where he is close to Socrates) which makes Xenophon readier to acknowledge the element of exploitation of the flock by the shepherd, anissue on which Plato is silent or evasive. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with exploitation (and here weshould perhaps be thinking more in terms of milk, cheese andwool andless of meat): in Je-

hovah’s denunciation of the shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel 34, their crime is not exploitation, butfailure to deliver their part of thebargain bycaring for their charg-

es (2–4 [NEB]):

HowI hate the shepherds of Israel whocare only for themselves! Should not the shepherd care for the sheep? You consume the milk, wear the wool and slaughter the fat beasts, but youdo not feed the sheep. You have not encouraged the weary, tended the sick, bandaged the hurt, recovered the straggler or searched forthelost; andeven thestrong youhave driven withruthless severity.

At the same time, even if the herdsman mayseek to improve his flock, there is no implication of taming or control such as arises in imagery derived from horses; the relationship between herdsman andherd rests on his superior perception of their interests andneeds andhis ability to meet them. Politics as a contest Xenophon, Plato andIsocrates all employ comparisons between politics andathletics. In his defence of Socrates, Xenophon says that Alcibiades neglected to train properly for politics because of his easy superiority (1.2.24), a charge closely echoedin Plato’s First Alcibiades, where Socrates tries to persuade Alcibiades that he needs special training for a political career (119B, 132B). Similarly, Charmides is criticised in the Memorabilia (3.7.1) for refusing to enter politics like an athlete whocould winhonour for himself andhis city butwill notcompete; hereplies that competition with the masses is difficult (4), andSocrates in turn points out that as a trained expert hehasnothing to fear from amateurs (7). Isocrates tells Nicocles that as monarchy is the supreme contest with the supreme prize, so the monarch must have a mental mastery superior to the physical excellence of the athlete (2.11, cf. 13, 51). The culture of training in the gymnasium andthe cultivation of physical prowess areof course central elements in aristocratic ideology, andtheidea of polν with prizes for the individuals whoparticipate becomes almost a itics as an ἀγώ commonplace, especially for Sparta.4 There is obviously an affinity between the ν andἀγωνίζε σθαι of athletics andwarfare (cf. Hellenica 6.3.16– 17 for useof ἀγώ anexplicit comparison founded onthis affinity), butXenophon seems notto apply military terminology to politics, although this is a favourite field of imagery for fourth-century Athenian orators, especially Demosthenes.5



Xen. RL10.3; cf. Dem. 20.107, Arist. Pol. 1270b24–5, Plut. Lycurg. 26.1. Compare Dem. 15.31, 61.48, Aeschin. 3.179– 80 (Athens), Hdt. 3.83.2 (Persia). ξι ς); 19.302, Aeschin. 3.75 (desertion); E.g. Dem. 3.36, 8.71, 18.62, 138, 173, 221, 304 (τά Dem. 18.31, 19.115, 21.29, 22.61, 63, 25.38, 58.44, Aeschin. 1.64 (πολε µε ῖ ν).



The individuality of Xenophon Thus far I have been considering fields of imagery deployed by all three exponents of the political imagery of monarchy, albeit with differences of emphasis. A strikingdivergence between Plato andXenophon is that while theformer displays great

enthusiasm for maritime andmedical political imagery, it is almost entirely absent from thelatter, though hedoes cite both trireme andmerchantman as paradigms of order.6 For Plato, the helmsman andthe doctor are highly appealing paradigms of authority resting on expertise. Xenophon is clearly equally aware of the principle, since in Cyropaedia 1.6.21 Cambyses cites both, along with theguide, asexamples of leaders whom ordinary people will obey out of a desire for self-preservation. This is also the onecontext in which Xenophon deploys medical andmaritime imagery, in a passage in a speech of self-justification in which hedefends his application of military discipline, drawing ananalogy from the greater strictness of naval officers at times of danger, when small slips can be fatal (Anabasis 5.8.20). This follows shortly after a justification of the application of painful physical sanctions by analogy to surgery andcautery (5.8.18), where doctors arecoupled with fathers andteachers (as noted above). Elsewhere in his works, the fewinstances of either image seem to be derived from historical reality: leaving aside a couple of neutral uses of κυ βε ρνᾶν forgovernment intheCyropaedia (1.1.5, 8.8.1), theonly instance of maritime imagery is Critias’ attack onTheramenes for reversing course at every difficulty (Hellenica 2.3.31) which, with its reminiscence of Aristophanes (Frogs 534f.), suggests that, if it does not go back to an authentic speech, it does at least have a contemporary flavour. Likewise, Lysander’s metaphorical interpretation of theoracle warning theSpartans against a lame kingship asreferring notto physical lameness (as in the case of Agesilaus, his candidate for the throne), butto illegitimacy (since the kingship would certainly be lame if not held by menof Heraclid descent) must in its essentials be historical.7 This is perhaps the place to remark on one notable absence from Xenophon’s political imagery. John Dillery suggests inhispaper (p.261) that “perhaps themost illustrative model of order for him was the chorus”, citing Oeconomicus 8.3 (cf. 8.20) andMemorabilia 3.5.18. However, this model is employed asa direct parallel or example, rather than as an image, anddoes not appear in a context of political authority. It is possible that the reason for this lies in the division of direction of a chorus between chorodidaskalos andchoregos, which makes it unsuitable asa model of leadership or of relations of authority, though it is also true that Xenophon’s concern with order operates at a more fundamental level than questions of leadership (Dillery 1995: 27–35).

6 7

Oec. 8.8,11–16.Onthis fundamental concern seefurther below. Cf. Diod. 11.50 for theoracle’s appearance in another historical context.

Xenophon’s political imagery


Xenophon anddemocracy

Xenophon, Plato and Isocrates all also make use of the established view of politicians as servants of thedemos alluded to earlier, which arises outof theidea of the state as a household. Their outlook is, however, very different. Isocrates, at least whenwriting for Athenian consumption, is happy to endorse the concept of politicians as servants andstewards of thedemos andsoatmost trustees of public assets. Thus he alleges that in Golden AgeAthens it washeld that the demos should have the power to appoint andchastize magistrates anddecide disputes, while menof wealth andleisure should ἐ πι µε λε ῖ σθαι τῶν κ ο ι νῶν ὥσπερ οἰ κέ τας (7.26: cf. 12.146 for ἐ πι µέλε ι α). For Isocrates, the characteristic of the successful constitutional politician is effective τοῦ πλή θους θε ρά πεια (9.46, 2.16), andattention to thepeople is commended to Nicocles as oneof thepaths to success (2.15–6). Plato agrees with Isocrates in identifying service as a characteristic of the Athenian politician, but takes an entirely negative view of the phenomenon. In the Republic he speaks of the politicians whopamper the chronically ill state (426E), andportrays them asbadwine-stewards (562CD). This portrait of politicians aspandering servants is more fully developed in Gorgias: according to Socrates, the speakers ὥσπερ µοις, χαρίζε σθαι αὐτοῖς πε ι ρῶµενοι µό νον (502E). παι σὶ προσοµι λοῦσι τοῖς δή Plato terms this sort of unreflecting gratification of thepeople’s desires, which undermines thecity’s health, ‘pandering’ andrefers toit bytheterm δι ακονεῖ ν (517B–

8A, 521A).

Xenophon takes a quite different view of political service, from the topdown, andfocuses ontheaspect of subordination: in theSymposium Callias expresses adλις miration of Antisthenes’ spiritual wealth (and physical poverty) ὅτι οὔτε ἡ πό σοι ἐ πι τά ττουσα ὡς δού λῳχ ρῆται (4.45). Equally, Aristippus in theMemorabilia (2.1.9) is unwilling to enter politics andmake himself the people’s servant, a tenet of democratic belief which he expresses in the most unfavourable terms possible: καὶ γὰρ ἀξι οῦσι αἱ πό λεις τοῖς ἄρχουσι ὥσπερ ἐγὼτοῖς οἰ κέταις χ ρῆσθαι . Ashe explains, heexpects his servants to provide himwith thenecessities of life in abundance but not to lay hands on them themselves, and similarly cities expect their leaders to provide them with all possible benefits while themselves abstaining entirely from those benefits (the contrast in tone with Isocrates is very marked). From this perspective, submission to the authority of the demos seems to be considered slavish; we are close to the idea of the tyranny of the demos which is explored overtly in the amusing dialogue between Pericles andAlcibiades in Memorabilia 1.2.40–6 (but note that submission to the laws [Agesilaus 7.2] is another matter). From another viewpoint, it is acceptance of the status of subject which is servile, hence Socrates’ assimilation of being ruled in Greece to the condition of the Syrians, Phrygians andLydians as Persian vassals or the subjection of the Libyans to the Carthaginians in his assault on Aristippus’ proposed withdrawal from public

life.8 8

Mem.2.1.10–2. Compare 2.8.4: καὶ µὴν οἵ γε ἐν ταῖ ς πό λεσι προστατε ύοντες καὶ τῶν δηµοτεροι νοµίζονται . του, ἀλλ᾽ἐ λε υ θε ρι ώ σίωνἐ πι µε λούµενοι οὐ δου λοπρε πέστεροι ἕ νεκατού



Both approaches, of course, reflect a negative attitude to democracy. This outlook is also nicely illuminated by the unjust application of the language of demagoguery

to Xenophon


as commander of the Ten Thousand. In Anabasis

7.6.4 he is criticised as φι λο στρατι ώ της by Seuthes; φιλο- words are very much associated with thelate fifth-century demagogues of Xenophon’s ownyouth (Connor [1971: 99– 108]). When the Spartans ask anxiously ἀλλ᾽ἦ δη µαγωγεῖ ὁ ἀνὴρ τοὺς ἄνδ ρας, Seuthes’ agent Heracleides confirms that this is indeed the case. The charge

is clearly


to be a transparent


– Seuthes’ judge-

ment of people hasbeen shown to be poor andHeracleides’ probity non-existent – andweareintended toinfer that noformof behaviour could bemorealien to a good commander.

Images from Persia?

Several of theimages which Xenophon deploys areclose either to ideas which have been thought to be authentically Persian or to Greek versions of such ideas. The first of these is anallusion in the Cyropaedia to thebelief that theking (i.e. queen) bee wasof a different nature from the bees it ruled. The speaker, Artabazus, says (5.1.24) that Cyrus seems like a born king

νει φυόµενος τῶν µε λι ττῶνἡ γε µώ ν ἐ κείνῳτε γὰρ οὐδὲν ἧττονἢὁ ἐν τῷσµή ραἱ µέλι τται ἑ κ οῦσαι µὲνπε ίθονται , ὅπου δ᾽ἂν µένῃ, οὐδεµία·ἐ ντε ῦθεν ἀπέ χεται . ἐὰν δέποι ἐ ξίῃ, οὐδεµία αὐτοῦ ἀπολε ίπε ται · οὕτω δε ι νό ς τις ἔ ρως αὐταῖς τοῦ ἄρχε σθαι ὑπ᾽ἐ κε ίνου ἐ γγίγνε ται . Goodenough (1928: 84) suggested that this wasa Persian idea, in asmuchasit is in accord withthePersian belief inthesuperior nature of theruler (this is certainly the implication of thePlatonic usesof theimage inPoliticus 301DE andRepublic 520B, though Plato rejects the principle in the former passage), but he didnot cite any Persian parallels for the image as such. Recently, however, Fabio Roscalla has argued (1998: 97– 101) that the Persians maywell have identified themselves with bees, an identification reflected in distorted form in Herodotus’ assertion (7.61.2) that in ancient times the Greeks called them Kephenes (i.e. Drones) andsupported by anapparent allusion to theking of Assyria as a bee in Isaiah 7.18. The application of the image by Aeschylus to Xerxes in the parodos of Persae (126–9) would then also be a reflection of authentic Persian ideas. Onemight also note the complex of queen bee imagery in chapter 7 of the Oeconomicus (7.17, 32–4, 38–9) which Pomeroy (1994: 240–2, 276–7) argues is, among other things, to be seen as ananalogue tothePersian content of chapter 4,9though here Xenophon is doubtless also trading on ideas of orderly andproductive management in the hive, overseen by the queen, which go back at least to the Bee-Woman of Semonides (7.83–93, esp. 85). Xenophon employs the image again in a Greek context, comparing the Elean democrats flocking totheir leader Thrasydaeus to a swarm of bees (Hellenica 3.2.28), although the image there seems to have noimplication beyond thepicture 9

Cf. also Tuplin 1994: 130–1 onthecross-cultural

currents here.

Xenophon’s political imagery


crowding round the leader and the consequent magnification of his importance, and in a military context it may be that the immediate model is the simile of swarming bees in Iliad 2.87–90 (the parallel usually cited by commentators on Aeschylus). A rather more obscure passage is Anabasis 2.5.23, in which Xenophon hasTissaphernes speak of “wearing the tiara upright [i.e. being king of Persia] in one’s heart”. Bosworth (1980: on Arrian Anabasis 3.25.3) suggests that the significance of the tall andupright tiara wascommon knowledge to the Greeks by the time of Aristophanes (Birds 487), but that passage is apparently unique (Xenophon apart) in classical literature: theupright tiara is notmentioned byHerodotus andthe scholiast to Aristophanes cites Cleitarchus (137 F 5) rather than any earlier author. Inρα itself arenotcommon in classical sources: outside Xendeed, allusions to theτι ά ophon, wefindit inAeschylus (Persae 661), Sophocles (fr. 407a), Antiphanes (fr.38 KA), Herodotus (1.132.1, 3.12.4, 7.61.1, 8.120), Hellanicus (4 F 178a), Ctesias (688 F 20) and Plato (Republic 553C).10 The word Aristophanes uses is κυ ρ βασία (the scholiast glosses it asτίαρα), which appears also inhisfr. 559KA andinHerodotus 5.49 and 7.64, while a third term, κίταρι ς, is found in Ctesias 688 F 15 (this is simply part of Photius’ epitome) andby emendation at Herodotus 7.90. This is a puzzle: Aristophanes’ humorous comparison of the cock’s comb, which it alone among birds is permitted, to the upright tiara ought to have been intelligible to an Athenian audience, whoshould therefore have been familiar with the institution.11 Onthe other hand, there is no other evidence of that knowledge apart from Xenophon (Cyropaedia 8.3.13), andonewould be tempted to guess that it wastheAlexander historians who, à propos of Bessus, madeit general knowledge. At all events, only Xenophon makes anyfigurative useof theconcept, just asheis thesole user in ς (Anabasis 5.4.13); for him, the tiara is at extant Greek of the adjective τι αροε ι δή anyrate more than anitem of apparel. Thirdly, another contentious area. It is commonplace to observe that Greek authors represent the Persian king as δε σπό της of his subjects whoare therefore his slaves (δοῦλοι), butdivergent views have recently been taken of the phenomenon: ontheonehand, it hasbeen argued that Greek usage follows a translation of Persian origin andaccurately reflects Persian royal ideology (Missiou 1993), onthe other, that Greek δοῦλος is at best a poor equivalent which misrepresents theimplications of thePersian ba(n)daka (Briant 1996: 335–338, 524, 792). Xenophon’s usage seems to range from fairly neutral anddescriptive to Panhellenic propaganda: in speeches by Jason of Pherae (Hellenica 6.1.12) andXenophon himself (Anabasis 3.2.13) the idea is deployed as a proof of the military impotence andconsequent vulnerability of the Persian empire. Agesilaus’ appeal to Pharnabazus in Hellenica 4.1.35–6 to side with Sparta andso exchange servitude for freedom rather than one master for another maybe read as an accurate portrayal of contemporary Greek views of the position of even eminent Persians; Dercylidas at Scepsis likewise makes a standard

of followers

10 Post-classical references: Phylarch. 81 F 22, Eratosth. 241 F 30, Plut. Mor. 488D, Luc. Pisc.35, Polyaen.7.12.

11 Oncocks andPersians cf. Tuplin 1992.



contrast between Greek freedom and (implicitly) oriental servitude (Hellenica 3.1.21). Even the contrast which Cyrus himself draws between the freedom of his Greek mercenaries andhisownprosperous butservile status (Anabasis 1.7.3) might beconsidered a topos calculated to appeal tohisaudience. Ontheother hand, when in Anabasis 1.9.29 and2.5.38 Artaxerxes lays claim to the weapons of the Ten Thousand as the property of his late “slave” Cyrus, that might be no more than a literal representation of anideology by which all the assets of a vassal derive from the King, as in 2.3.17 the δοῦλοι are presumably the followers of Tissaphernes et al. Similarly, in the Cyropaedia Cyrus refers to his satraps andsubjects as δοῦλοι (8.1.43, 6.13) as does Cyaraxes (5.5.9), andconversely thekings of Media andAssyria are referred to as δε σπό της (1.3.18; 5.3.6). Thierry Petit argues persuasively in his paper (pp. 175–199), with particular reference to the treatment of the traitor Orontas in Anabasis 1.6.4–11, that Xenophon hadan accurate appreciation of the nature of Persian “vassalité” andin these latter cases, therefore, his usage mayreflect that. It might also be that his application of the term ὑ πη ρέτης to Cyrus’ aides decamp intheCyropaedia is theproduct of a search fora less loaded termtoreflect the position of ba(n)daka.12 Contrariwise, Xenophon makes little of theinstitution ofproskynesis or thedivinity of monarchs. Hisonly reference toproskynesis is Anabasis 3.2.13 where, in the context of a battlefield harangue, he contrasts oriental proskynesis to a manwith Greek religious observance (which is exemplified in, andlinked by a verbal echo to, the immediately preceding episode at 3.2.9) andconnects this with Greek freedom(cf. Isocrates 4.151). Although Plato canuse the Persian king as animage of the successful exercise of power (Republic 553BC), there is noclassical parallel to Callisthenes’ flattering report of thePamphylian seadoing homage to Alexander in a sort of proskynesis (124 F 31). Xenophon never overtly suggests that a monarch might be superhuman, unlike Isocrates, whoinhisworks for Nicocles suggests that kings are of a special nature andhonoured for their superiority (2.6,14, 3.15), puts in themouth of Nicocles a claim to omniscient omnipresence of the sort attributed to Persian kings (3.51 cf. 2.23, Herodotus 8.140β.2) andtells Philip that when he hasconquered Asia there will benothing left forhimexcept tobecome a god(Epistle 3.5). For his part, Plato calls his Nocturnal Council θεῖ οι (Laws 966D, 969B) andhis Guardians σωτῆρας (Republic 463B), andintends that the latter should receive divine honours after death (540BC).


Xenophon’s political imagery shows some similarities to that of Isocrates andPlato which areprobably partly theproduct of contemporary conditions andpartly, where Plato is concerned, dueto theinfluence of Socrates. Atthe same time, Xenophon’s particular choice anduse of imagery is distinctive andreflects his individual per12 See esp. 8.4.29 for therich rewards reflecting their status; also 2.4.4, 5.3.52, 4.18, 6.2.13, 3.14, 29, 7.1.38, 2.2–3, 5.18, 39, 8.5.13.


Xenophon’s political imagery

sonality andexperience: quite possibly inreflecting Persian influences, andcertainly inhispreference for anddeployment of certain images toreflect hisownideal of thefigure of themonarch. Aswith so many aspects of Xenophon’s literary artistry, it merits more attention anddeserves more appreciation than it hasoften received.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bosworth, A. B., 1980, Arrian Anabasis I–III (Oxford). Briant, P., 1996, Histoire de l’ empire perse: de Cyrus à Alexandre (Paris). Connor,

W. R., 1971, TheNewPoliticians of Fifth-Century Athens (Princeton NJ).

Dillery, J., 1995, Xenophon and the History of his Times (London). Goodenough,

E. R., 1928, “ThePolitical Philosophy of Hellenistic

Kingship”, YCS 1: 55– 102.

Missiou, A., 1993, “ΔΟ ΥΛΟΣ ΤΟΥ Β ΑΣΙ ΛΕΩΣ: The Politics of Translation’, CQn.s. 43: 377–391. Murray, O., 1990, “TheIdea of theShepherd King from Cyrus to Charlemagne”, inP.Godman and O.Murray (edd.), Latin Poetry and the Classical Tradition (Oxford), 1–14. Pomeroy,

S. B., 1994, Xenophon,


A Social andHistorical

Commentary (Oxford).

Roscalla, F., 1998, Presenze simboliche dell’ ape nella Grecia antica (Pavia).

C. J., 1992, “The ‘Persian Bird’: AnOrnithonymic Conundrum”, AMI25: 125–128. 1994, “Xenophon, Sparta andtheCyropaedia”, inA.Powell andS.Hodkinson (edd.), TheShad--- owof Sparta (London), 127–181.



Xenophon wasa radical thinker. His views often find their nearest parallels not in the Classical, but in the Hellenistic period. As J.J.Farber has stated in connection with the Cyropaedia, while he did not want to rule out the possibility that this text hadsome sort of direct influence onthe conduct of Hellenistic kings, he wascon-

vinced that “Xenophon’s political thought anticipated Hellenistic political thought” (Farber 1979: 498). In the same spirit, I would like to argue here that in thevarious processions weencounter in the pages of Xenophon important andto some extent innovative details emerge that find significant parallels in the Hellenistic world. Pompai in Xenophon are often interpreted by him as meaningful public displays, andas such, these interpretations canbe usedto “decode” later Hellenistic processions. It will bethepurpose of this paper to survey a selection ofpompai from three works of Xenophon. Twogeneral aims will guide theessay: (1) to drawattention to the range andvariety of the Xenophontic corpus, andyet at the same time to the consistency andcoherence of his views; (2) to highlight those features of Xenophon’s work that prefigure issues of importance for later ages. In his analysis of the great reviews of Ptolemy II Philadelphus andAntiochus IV Walbank hasoffered a useful distinction between theprocessions of theClassical polis and the Hellenistic pompe.1 While the Classical procession often had a military component, it wasabove all a popular religious event: indeed, the central feature in a typical Greek festival wasprecisely theprocession, theritual action that helped to redefine the community temporarily as a new entity, an act that transformed the entire polis into the proper setting for worship of the divine (Burkert 1985: 99; Price 1984: 110). There were of course also non-sacral pompai (Bömer 1952: 1883– 1884); one thinks especially of the victory processions of competitors intheir homecities (Slater 1984), though eventhese often took in local shrines, and hence werenotdevoid ofreligious significance (Easterling 1985: 42 andn.13). When set beside its standard Classical counterpart, the Hellenistic pompe offers distinctive features: it was often the production of a single leader, was distinctly more theatrical, andwasoften viewed as an opportunity “for general entertainment and instruction”, rather than anexpression of popular religious feeling (Walbank 1996: 120– 121; cf. Rice 1983: 180). It is both illuminating and suggestive that Walbank does not see this evolution of thepompe as a sudden shift; rather, he believes that there were anticipations of the Hellenistic procession already in the Classical period.Hischief proof: Xenophon.2

1 2

Walbank 1996: 120–121; cf., e.g., Rostovtzeff 1941: 376, Ferrary 1988: 562, Thompson 2000. Walbank 1996: 121 andn.13, citing Hipp. 3.1: see below.



Hipparchicus 3

In turning toHipparchicus weencounter a difficulty that could nodoubt already be felt also in myintroductory remarks immediately above. Chapter 3 of this treatise deals with a number of “processions”, butnotall are called pompai. At the start of this section Xenophon established a sharp distinction between religious andnon-

religious parades:

What about the responsibilities of the cavalry commander himself? In the first place, it is his duty to sacrifice to the gods, seeking favourable omens for the cavalry. Secondly, he has to see that the cavalcades (τὰς πο µπά ς) during religious festivals arespectacular. Thirdly, hehasto ensure that all theother public displays – intheAcademy, theLyceum, Phalerum andtheHippodrome – areas magnificent aspossible (τἆλλαὅσαἐ πι δε ι κ νύ ναι δεῖ τῇπό λει ὅπωςᾗ δυ νατὸν κά λλι στα ἐπι δείξει : tr. Waterfield).

Clearly pompai are those processions that take place “in the festivals” of the gods, whereas “displays” occur in other, secular settings. The event that Xenophon describes in 3.2ff. is clearly a pompe. Onthe other hand the parade in the Lyceum, discussed at 3.6ff., is notcalled apompe. Andyet, despite this apparent terminological consistency in Hipparchicus, Xenophon is notelsewhere so strict in his choice of words. At anyrate, he does not always use the termpompe in association with religious processions even though it would clearly be quite appropriate to do so. This applies bothtoorganized events suchasAlcibiades’ procession toEleusis (Hellenica 1.4.20) andtoless formal contexts (Agesilaus atEphesus inHellenica 3.4.16– 19, discussed below); and, whenCyrus plans hisgreat procession to thesanctuaries (τὰ τε µένη) of the gods of Babylon in Cyropaedia 8.3.1 (also discussed below), at no point does he call this ceremony a pompe. In the present context, therefore, I think it is fair tolook atallprocessions orprocessional displays inXenophon, whether ornothecalls thempompai. It is perhaps best to start withthepassage of Hipparchicus that is cited byWalbank as proof that there is some degree of overlap between the Hellenistic pompe andearlier descriptions of processions. Thetreatise proceeds in a very logical manner: Xenophon moves from themost to theleast essential in thecourse of hispresentation. Thus the first chapter is devoted to thetraining of menandthe finding of goodhorses, aswell asother matters that arepreliminary tothefielding of a cavalry squadron; chapter 2 is devoted to the practicing of formations, something that assumes onehascapable riders andhorses, andsoon.Hence, theordering of material in the treatise is itself significant. Given that this is the case, the first section of chapter 2 is most illuminating:

If your menhave become thoroughly trained in all these respects, it is clearly necessary that they also learn a formation thanks to which they will conduct the fairest processions for the gods,3 will most attractively drive their horses, will fight most effectively (if necessary), and will make their passages by road and effect their crossings [of rivers] in a most easy andorderly fashion (Hipp. 2.1). 3

Θεοῖ ς πο µπὰς πέµψουσι : cf. LSJ sv πέµπω III 6.

Xenophon, the military review andhellenistic Pompai


What is striking here is the prominence given to conducting processions for the gods: it is the first among the duties of the cavalry, some of which should strike a modern reader asof greater importance. Being combat-ready would seemtobemore important than providing a display at a religious ceremony. Andyet, as is so often thecase withXenophon, appearance, especially thedisplay of order (τά ξι ς), is central (Dillery 1995: 29–32). If a group of menis properly ordered, it will fill its enemywithfear andits allies with confidence. Appearance is notin somemodern sense anappearance only, butanearnest of real ability andpower.

Theprocession in Athens’ Agora is especially important. Xenophon begins by observing that thepompai will be especially pleasing both to the gods andthe spectators if the cavalry start by proceeding in a circle around the Agora paying honour to gods at their shrines andstatues (3.2). He compares this display with dramatic choruses: “also at the Dionysia the choruses with their dancing gratify the other deities as well as the Twelve”. This comparison is important for tworeasons. First, it connects the passage to several others in Xenophon’s corpus that reveal that perhaps the most illustrative model of order for himwasthe chorus. In a passage from the Oeconomicus he provides through the mouth of Ischomachus a list of groups of people that have to be organized before they can fulfill their purpose (8.3ff.): the first collectivity he mentions is the chorus, followed by an army andits elements (including cavalry 8.6), andfinally a warship. Or again, when trying to inspire the Younger Pericles with confidence in the Athenians’ potential for discipline, Socrates points to their being well-ordered (εὔτακτοι) in naval matters, andattentive to their overseers’ instructions in both athletics andthe chorus (Memorabilia 3.5.18). Secondly, this comparison between cavalry pompe andchorus also underscores the basic theatricality of the procession: it is a public display that is to be observed by gods andmenalike, just like a dramatic production. It is surely not accidental that processions were linked inpeoples’ minds withthetheatre. In addition to appearing like dramatic choruses, pompai not infrequently incorporated activities that took place in theatres (cf. Kavoulaki 1999): indeed, Xenophon is about to treat us to a description of apompe in a hippodrome (see below), a similar venue. Furthermore, later historical pompai were staged in both hippodromes4 andtheatres.5 It is tempting to see one of the reasons for drawing the comparison as a wish to make vivid something about this particular pompe that wasnovel (cf. Salomone 1986). Since archaeological evidence from the NWcorner of the Agora (tokens, inscribed lead strips) suggests that cavalry were trained there, especially in the fourth century,6 there must be something newabout the manner in which thepompe is conducted, not the procession itself. If actual cavalry pompai were conducted in the manner Xenophon recommends, there would be no point to the comparison with the dramatic choruses of theDionysia. This last point is worth considering in more detail. After the comparison with the chorus Xenophon continues his main description. Once the cavalry have completed their circuit of the Agora and are by the 4 5 6

E.g. that of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, διὰ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν πό λιν σταδίου: Athen. 197 C. Cf. Dillery 2002. E.g. Inschriften vonEphesos 1.27.90ff. = Rogers 1991: 156– 157 (early 2ndc. AD): cf. Coleman1996: 51 andn.10. Camp 1986: 118–22; cf. Habicht 1961/1994: 33.



Herms again, they ought to proceed at a gallop, but in their formations, until they reach theEleusinion, thesanctuary of Demeter andKore ontheslopes of theAcropolis above the Agora (Hipparchicus 3.2). In the process of executing this charge the cavalrymen are to make sure that their lances are not tangled up; rather they should puttheir spear-points between their horses’ ears so that a fearsome impression is created. After galloping totheshrine, they should ride slowly back along the same route. It is at this moment that Xenophon makes the observation that demonstrates he imagines both a divine anda human audience for this display. At the conclusion of this description Xenophon adds, “I knowthat the cavalry are notaccustomed (οὐκ ε ἰ θι σµέ νοι) to do these things; but I believe that [these manoeuvres] will be noble andbeautiful andpleasing for the spectators” (3.5; cf. Pollitt 1997: 64 n.19). Further, hegoes onto assert that thecavalry have madeinnovations in other contests (ἄλλα ἀγωνίσ µατα τοὺς ἱ ππέας κε κ αι νου ργηκ ότας), at a time whentheir commanders were able to persuade them. (Compare Socrates’ observation to Pericles, mentioned above.) It is crucial to determine precisely whatis novel about Xenophon’s procession. Of course, there were other processions of cavalry in Athens that were very well known indeed: the trooping of hippeis at the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Plynteria, andprobably theGreat Panathenaia (Simon 1983: 25, 48, 59; cf. Spence 1993: 186– 187). In all these cases, the cavalry were thought of as escorts for τὰ ἱ ε ρά , the sacred things of the procession in question. Although the most controversial, the reconstruction of what happened in connection with the Great Panathenaia is particularly instructive for ourpurposes. The horsemen escorted the procession from its start at the Pompeion in the Kerameikos along the Panathenaic Wayto the foot of the Acropolis, but in all likelihood went no further (Simon 1983: 61–62). In other words thecavalry seemto have madetheir wayalong anestablished route (cf. Slater 1984: 259: town planners made provisions forpompai) at a dignified pace, and didnot attempt to ride upthe Acropolis or engage in any other difficult manoeuvres.7 So, although the horsemen were (like Xenophon’ s) armed, there is clearly some distinction between what happened at the Panathenaia andthe sort of event Xenophon is describing. Details from two other processions described in Hipparchicus 3 mayhelp to define thenovel features of theAgora pompe more precisely. Writing about a procession to be held in the Lyceum, Xenophon recommends that the cavalry be deployed in battle formation andmade to ride to the topof the theatre (τὸ κ ε φά λαι ον τοῦ .... θε ά τρου: 3.7), where they should then be made to gallop downhill. Xenophon imagines that this drill may meet with difficulty:

To be sure, I know well enough

that, if they feel confident in their ability to gallop, they will welcome the opportunity of showing off their skill. But you mustseethat they arenotshort of practice, ortheenemy will compel themtodo it against their will (3.8: tr. Marchant).

Theimplication that whatXenophon recommends is unusual andwill leadto problems for at least some of the riders is clear. This is probably related to the novel 7

Thuc. 6.58.2, Ath. Pol. 18.4: on the difficulty of reconciling these passages, cf. Gomme-Andrewes-Dover 1970 adloc.

Xenophon, the military review andhellenistic Pompai


feature of the ride to the Eleusinion during the Agora pompe: the hippeis hadto go quickly up hill. A telling parallel for these exercises comes from the Anabasis. In the games held to celebrate their survival after the trek through the mountains, the Greeks set upamong other contests a cavalry race. The riders have to go down a steep slope, turn around andride back to the start (analtar). Xenophon tells usthat onthewaydownseveral horses fell androlled, while onthewayback upmanyhad difficulty simply walking (Anabasis 4.8.28). Towards the endof Hipparchicus 3 Xenophon describes yet another display, this time in the Hippodrome. There he conjures up a picture of a “mock battle” between troops of cavalry (ἀνθι ππασία: 3.11; cf. 1.20). This is also evidently novel, because Xenophon feels he must provide a series of vivid observations on the excellence of the spectacle, as though to justify it. Indeed, he concludes by noting that “these [manoeuvres] would, I believe, bemorewarlike andmorenovel” (πολεµι κ ώ τερά .... και νότε ρα: 3.13). What would seem to be newin all of these displays (Agora, Lyceum andHippodrome) is theimitation of real warfare: climbing anddescending hillsides, riding quickly (sometimes with weapons in position for attack), facing opposing cavalry andcharging. Twocautions need to be made. First, Bugh, in his book onthe Athenian hippeus, assumes that the ἀνθι ππασία took place in the fifth century. But he does also note that epigraphical evidence for its existence only begins in thefourth (Bugh 1988: 59 andn.82: see next paragraph). Certainly the visual representations wehave from the fifth century of cavalrymen allegedly involved in some form of pompe donot at all suggest vigorous activity (cf. vonHeintze 1994: 305–306; Pollitt 1997: 57). Secondly, it is true that thenotion of imitation orµίµησις is notunique to Xenophon’s descriptions; indeed, it is clearly important in processions dating back well into theArchaic period (cf. Connor 1987, esp. 49–50). However, theµίµησις in earlier periods wastypically of mythical figures andevents, not the actual circumstances of combat. Actual combat circumstances areexplicitly mentioned in the ἀν θι ππασία in the Hippodrome, strongly implicit for the Lyceum, anda little less implicit for the Agora. Theevidence of theHipparchicus suggests that whatmakes Xenophon’s imaginedprocessions different from actual ones, atleast atAthens, wastheir imitation of real combat. But one should note also that, for all the dynamic movements of these displays, some, atleast, wereclearly still thought byXenophon tobereligious events, combining, as they do, public demonstrations of piety with training through vigorousmock combat. While Xenophon’s views were novel, they mayreflect a subtle change in the wider perception of thepurpose of public displays at Athens (cf. Dillery 2002). It is probably not accidental that wepossess documentary evidence for ἀν θι ππασίαι or mock cavalry combats at Athens beginning from themiddle of the fourth century, probably after the death of Xenophon sometime in the late 350s: SIG3 1074 (= IG ii2 3130)8 records the names of three phylarchs, a father and two sons, whotriumphed in theἀνθι ππασία. By thebeginning of thethird century (296/ 5), wehear of Olympic andGreater Panathenaic ἀνθι ππασίαι (SIG3 365). It is also


Cf. SEG 32.250, andThompson 1961: 227 andfigs. 2 and3.



worth pointing out in this connection that the Pompeion, the starting point of the Panathenaic festival, wasin fact built in thefourth century (Thompson 1961: 225– 226). It is evenpossible that theHipparchicus itself helped tobring about thechange towards an emphasis on mock battles in association withpompai; a similar influence has sometimes been argued for Xenophon’s Poroi andAthenian finance (cf. Dillery 1993: 1 n.4 for bibliography). But I would hesitate to argue for that kind of direct influence having been exercised by anyof Xenophon’s works.

Hellenica 3.4.18– 19 = Agesilaus 1.27–28

In the spring of 395, King Agesilaus of Sparta wasencamped with his army in the city of Ephesus, having wintered there. In elaborate detail Xenophon describes the force’s preparations for theupcoming campaign season: every element of thearmy takes partinphysical training; thecity itself is given overtoproducing weapons and other items thesoldiers need, indeed somuchsothat anobserver could imagine that he waslooking upon a workshop of war(πο λέµου ἐ ργαστή ρι ον: Hell. 3.4.17). In thecentre of this vivid, almost cinematic presentation Xenophon places thedescription of a pompe (though thewordis notused): “onewould have taken heart seeing that spectacle, Agesilaus first, and then the other soldiers, coming back from the gymnasia withcrowns upontheir heads which theythendedicated toArtemis” (Hellenica 3.4.18). Admittedly whatweseehere is notquite thesamething asthecavalry displays of theHipparchicus: there is the sense in theHellenica passage that the procession wasnot a formal oneassociated with the celebration of a specific festival, indeed that there were several such marches to the great temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Further, the training that forms part of the cavalry pompai is separated from the informal parade of Agesilaus andhis men. Andyet the march of the soldiers is somewhat formal, forAgesilaus goes first: this is notaninsignificant detail, for Xenophon felt it was worth commenting in the Hipparchicus (3.13) that the hipparch ought to ride in front of his regimental commanders, whoin turn arepresumably thought of asleading their ownmen.Furthermore, theprocession inEphesustakes as its starting point the various venues the menhave been using for their physical training: in a sense, the exercises andthe procession are connected, the procession serving astheceremonial captotheir activities. It is infact probable that Agesilaus andhis menwould have thought of them as connected, for it has been cogently argued that they would have assimilated Ephesian Artemis with the Spartan Artemis Agrotera, who was both the protector of soldiers and a patron of gymnasia (Hatzfeld 1936: 141 n.1). Xenophon is not at all ambiguous regarding the merits of such training, piety,

andpublic display:

Where menworship the gods, train in the arts of war, andpractise obedience, howis it not likely that there everything is full of good hopes? Thinking that to despise one’s enemy instilled a certain strength for fighting, [Agesilaus] ordered the heralds to sell naked the barbarians whowere captured by brigands. Forthenthesoldiers, seeing [their bodies] pale onaccount of never undressing,

Xenophon, the military review andhellenistic Pompai


andsoft andnotused to toil onaccount of always being conveyed, considered that thewarwould benodifferent thanif they hadtofight withwomen (Hellenica 3.4.19).

Theprocessions from thegymnasia of Ephesus to thetemple of Artemis outside the city’s limits arebuta part of a larger project. They form anelement in thepreparation of the army for war, andas such have a similar purpose to the mock battles of theHipparchicus. The unfortunate barbarians whoare sold into slavery arepart of this same programme of display, though whatthey undergo is supposed to have the reverse effect fromtheprocessions: their physical, andbyimplication, moral inferiority arepublicly indicated (cf. Millar 1998: 509). Further, this passage also makes clear by the same kind of inverse logic that one of the main audiences for processions is thementaking part in them, something that wasnotclear from theHipparchicus. If Agesilaus’ menwere to look upon their enemy andscorn their physical incapacity, byimplication their ownexercises andprocessions to thetemple of Artemis are to instill in them martial spirit, something they get by looking at themselves as they forge a collectivity of well-trained andwell-armed fighting men. As I mentioned at the beginning of this paper, Farber noted quite rightly that charting the impact of Xenophon on subsequent Hellenistic thought is often a difficult business, evenif wefeel certain that hedidinfact exert somekindof influence. In the case of his description of Agesilaus’ preparations at Ephesus, however, we knowof atleast onesubsequent figure whoremembered thepassage. Inhisdescription of Scipio Africanus’ preparations for war in NewCarthage in 210, Polybius writes that, with so many menengaged in military exercises, andso many smiths andother workers employed in fabricating weapons, “there is no one who, upon seeing thecity, would nothave said, inthewords of Xenophon, that it wasa ‘workριον πολέµου)” (10.20.7). A couple of complications preshop of war’ (ἐργαστή vent us from an uncritical acceptance of this citation as proof of the influence of Xenophon’s description of theEphesian pompe of Agesilaus. In thefirst place, it is possible that this allusion in Polybius is dueto his knowledge of some sort of proverbial expression (indeed see Athenaeus 421B, andWalbank 1967 adloc.), either descended from the Xenophon passage, or independent from it, but in either case notnecessitating anydirect contact between Polybius andeither Xenophon’s Hellenica or Agesilaus (the passage is also found there). In fact we know for other reasons that Polybius’ command of detail from the corpus of Xenophon was far from perfect (in 6.45.1 Xenophon is cited for theclaim that theCretan constitution is identical to the Spartan, something he nowhere says: cf. Walbank 1957: 727). Further, it also needs to be said that the passage in question refers only to Xenophon’s description of Ephesus as a workshop of war, not the procession described in thenext section. However wedecide the question of Polybius’ reception of Xenophon’s text, it is worth emphasizing that Agesilaus’ pompe in Ephesus, like theprocessions of the Hipparchicus, seems to place equal stress onthereligious andthemilitary. Furthermore, the notion of display is central andclearly articulated. Thepompe is clearly designed to impress those whoseeit: first andforemost thesoldiers themselves, but perhaps even the enemy. It is probably not insignificant that a couple of sections



further on (Hellenica 3.4.21 = Agesilaus 1.29) wefind the satrap Tissaphernes reacting to statements of Agesilaus’ intentions: thebarbarians were evidently paying attention to whatAgesilaus wasdoing at Ephesus. Elsewhere tooXenophon stresses theeffect Greek displays of mock-combat have onbarbarians: they are terrified (Anabasis 1.2.18). The question of the potential audience for Agesilaus’ pompe should be explored further. The key, I think, is that the procession took place in Ephesus. This wasa city that wasof great importance forthewhole of Asia Minor, onethat nodoubt had many non-citizens living in it at any one time, andfurthermore was a place that regularly hosted especially famous pompai: there were first andforemost the processions that were part of the Artemisia, but also the Daitis, the δε ι πνο φο ρι ακὴ , andtheEphesia.9 Agesilaus wasnotthelast general to “make a statement” πο µπή atEphesus with a procession. Alexander, too, madea famous proclamation there in 334, establishing democracies “everywhere”, restoring their ownlaws to each city, andremitting thephoros which each community owed. (For the significance of this difficult episode see esp. Badian 1967: 45–46.) Importantly, the next thing Alexanderdid, atleast according to Arrian, wastoholdapompe totheArtemision withhis entire army in full battle array, drawn upfor combat (πο µπὴν ἔ πε µψε ξὺν τῇ στρασῃ ὡπλι σµένῃ τε καὶ ὡς ἐς µά τιᾷ πά χην ξυ ντε ταγµένῃ: Arrian Anabasis 1.18.2). Xenophon would have heartily approved. Many years later wefind Antony mounting an especially garish procession upon his entry into Ephesus (Plutarch Antony 24; cf. Cicero’s arrival atEphesus: AdAtticum 5.20.1). While different inkindfrom the pious activities of Agesilaus andAlexander (among other things Antony was decked out as the godDionysus!), the purpose of the venue wasthe same as the earlier pompai. Since Ephesus wasanextremely “visible” centre fortherest of Asia Minor, by parading in this city a commander hadthe opportunity to communicate with the Greeks of Asia: in the passage in question, Plutarch speaks of “all Asia” in onesentence, followed byEphesus in thenext (Antony 24.3–4). Relatedly, inXenophon of Ephesus’ description of the great festival of Artemis in Ephesus from the beginning of hisEphesiaca, there is mention both of theprocession from thecity to the sanctuary (called a ἑ ορτὴ ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως ἐπὶ τὸ ἱ ε ρό ν: 1.2.2), andof a large, mixed crowd in attendance, both locals andvisitors (πολὺ δὲ πλῆθος ἐπὶ τὴν θέαν, ρι ον, πολὺ δὲ ξε νι κό πολὺ µὲν ἐ γχώ ν: 1.2.3). Certainly in the case of Alexander, his proclamation wasmade in theory to all theGreeks, in particular those living in Asia, andtheprocession to theArtemision, while an act of piety staged locally, was no doubt meant to broadcast widely his intentions andauthority. If this is a fair characterization of Agesilaus’ activities in the city as well, then a significant point emerges that connects Xenophon to later, Hellenistic pompai. Theaudience fortheprocession wasnotjust theresidents of the city, butin all likelihood the Greeks of Asia Minor, as well as thePersians. Agesilaus wasannouncing in no uncertain terms that he intended to free the Greeks of Asia Minor fromthePersian yoke; hehadmadesimilar statements before (e.g. Hel-


See esp. Rogers 1991, Bömer 1952: 1922–1924. For the troublesome Ephesia, see esp. Thuc. 3.104.3, Inschriften vonEphesos 5.1604–5, andStylianou 1998 onDiod. 15.49.1.

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lenica 3.4.5: in general consult Seager andTuplin 1980), andhadeven done so in a symbolic form comparable to what we see at Ephesus (his attempted sacrifice at Aulis, Hellenica 3.4.3–4). Less formal displays in theAnabasis provoke panic and awefrom their barbarian viewers (Anabasis 1.2.17– 18, 2.4.26). Similarly, a pompe such as that which formed a part of theGreater Dionysia, whenthetribute fromthe Delian Confederacy wasdisplayed, as well as warorphans, wasevidently targeted at a broad audience: Athens’ allies andother Greeks. However, it should bepointed outthat this procession wascriticized byourmain source for thedisplay (Isocrates 8.82), precisely onthegrounds that it incurred thehatred of non-Athenians forAthens (cf. Pearson 1941: 228 n.76; Meiggs 1972: 433–444). Cyropaedia 8.3.1– 34

The longest andmost important description of a procession in Xenophon comes from the Cyropaedia: Cyrus the Great’s parade at Babylon. Xenophon calls this display an ἐ ξέλασις or a “marching out”, and states very clearly his reason for dwelling onit at length (8.3.1): “the majesty (σε µνό της) of the marching outitself seems to us to be one of the arts (τέχναι) devised [by Cyrus] to make his rule a νητον)”. Indeed, much of the first part of thing not to be despised (µὴ ε ὐ κ αταφρό Cyropaedia VIII is focused onhowCyrus consolidated his rule. Until this point in the text he has been characterized as a warrior-king anda monarch-on-the-move. Theparade atBabylon is thus to be seen asoneof theτέχναι Cyrus employs to put hisrule ona new,morepermanent footing; theprocession is part of a programme of ceremonial designed to give legitimacy to Cyrus’ rule (see esp. Azoulay [this volume]). In terms of its purpose, then, theἐ ξέλασις of Cyrus wasvery much like the Hellenistic royal pompe. If we take Ptolemy II Philadelphus’ grand procession for comparison, wesee there the same desire to project the power of a newmonarchy (cf. Coleman 1996: 50, Thompson 2000: 367f., 380). This wasaccomplished in a number of different ways, andfurthermore, there are also other elements unrelated to legitimacy that also distinguished this most famous pompe. But in their central objective, Cyrus’ procession andPhiladelphus’ could be said to be the same. It is worth considering Cyrus’ march in some detail. The first point to note is that the ἐ ξέλασις is designed as a procession to the precincts of the gods where να καὶ sacrifices are to be made (ἐλά σαι .... εἰς τὰ τε µέ νη τὰ τοῖς θεοῖς ἐ ξῃ ρηµέ θῦσαι : 8.3.1; cf. 8.3.24). In other words, theἐ ξέλασις hasa religious function, like theother processions in Xenophon wehave so far considered, andis therefore also something of a challenge to Walbank’s characterization of Xenophon’spompai cited at the beginning of this paper. Within the framework of the Cyropaedia it is not at all surprising that the parade is in the first place thought of as incorporating the divine. Throughout Cyrus’ discussion with his father in Book I the point is made that the gods needto be propitiated, specifically, they are to be honoured in such a wayas to make them willing to impart to the king their knowledge of the future (see esp. 1.6.44ff., andcf. Dillery 1995: 226–227). We arereminded toward the endof theCyropaedia that Cyrus considered theworship of thegodscentrally important, a



policy that was followed by all his successors down to Xenophon’s own time (8.1.23–24). This courting of divine favor is a common theme throughout Xenophon’s corpus (cf., e.g., Symposium 4.48–49). According to Xenophon, Cyrus entrusts muchof thestaging of theἐ ξέλασις to anable commoner, Pheraulas. Wearetoldthat “having summoned him, Cyrus took counsel with him as to howhe might make the ἐ ξέλασις most beautiful for his friends to watch, andmost frightening forhis enemies” (τοῖς µὲν ε ὔνοις κ ά λλι στα ἰ δεῖν ποι οῖ το τὴν ἐ ξέλασιν, τοῖς δὲ δυσµε νέ τατα: 8.3.5). The accent on σι φο βε ρώ display is clearly felt here. Andnote toothat theimagined audience consists of both Cyrus’ friends andenemies, just as wasnodoubt the case with Agesilaus’ demonstration in Ephesus. Several features of this “marching out”precisely concern the display of power, andfurthermore connect Xenophon’s thinking to subsequent historical developments. The members of Cyrus’ court are dressed in fancy Median garb (8.3.1ff.); Cyrus himself wears clothing that sets him apart from all others (8.3.13– 14). Even his ownstud of horses is specially attired (8.3.16). Twofeatures stand out in particular that make Cyrus’ ἐ ξέλασις an important precursor of Hellenistic pompai. Walbank noted in his acute review of Rice that while our attention in Callixeinus’ text maybe diverted by the spectacular floats andother “glitter” of theparade of Philadelphus, the emphasis seems to have been onthedisplay of military might through sheer number: Walbank calculates that the march-past of thetroops involved (over 80,000) would havetaken about three hours (Walbank 1984: 54)! Antiochus IV’s procession at Daphne in 166 involved a similarly large force (Polybius 30.25.3– 11, Athenaeus 194C–F): 46,000 infantry (not counting 500 µονό µαχοι), 8,500 cavalry of various types, 100 chariots, and36 war elephants (not counting other elephants being used as draft-animals). Cyrus’ ἐ ξέ λασις features well more than 50,000 men, indeed probably closer to 100,000.10 They are almost all cavalrymen. To be sure, Xenophon is inventing, andmaywell have his eye on famous descriptions of Persian armies from earlier historical writing, especially Herodotus’ lengthy treatment of Xerxes’ host (7.61ff.): indeed, both are organized according to ἔ θνος. But two points are worth stressing that make Xenophon’s description unique: (1) heis describing a procession, nota marshalling of troops for war; (2) although he is clearly inventing, he (unlike Herodotus) had practical experience with thetraining anddeploying of troops, sothat hemusthave hada sense of howmassive Cyrus’ ἐ ξέλασις would have been. Perhaps Xenophon wasevenfamiliar with Achaemenid images of figures inparade such asonesees on the friezes at Persepolis (Calmeyer 1979, 1987: 14–18, Amiet 1980: plate 684). That he should have a unique understanding of theGreek pompe inpart because of his experiences in the Achaemenid world does not seem anunreasonable proposition (cf. Briant 1987). Another feature of Cyrus’ march that connects it to a pompe such as Philadelphus’ is thepresence of animals. Kathleen Coleman hasdrawn ourattention to this element inPhiladelphus’ grandprocession, andhasconnected it to spectacles inthe Roman amphitheatre (Coleman 1996: esp. 58–61). There were elephants, asses, 10 Cyr. 8.3.15– 18: Xenophon lists 46,300 butincludes at the endfive more contingents; andalthough hedoes notindicate their size, heseems to favor thenumber 10,000 foreach unit.

Xenophon, the military review andhellenistic Pompai


goats, antelopes, oryxes, hartebeest andso on (Athenaeus 200D–201C). This feature of Philadelphus’ march must be attributed to aninterest in theexotic, andspecifically his access to these strange creatures andthe lands they come from. They arenotfor sacrifice, norarethey draft-animals: they arepurely fordisplay. Animals also play an important role in Cyrus’ ἐ ξέλασις: they have both a functional role, γκ αλοι : 8.3.11) andareimportant as spectacles aswell. Exceptionally beautiful (πά bulls areledoutto be sacrificed to Zeus, as arehorses for the Sungod. Attention is also paidto theteam of white horses that drawthechariot of Zeus: they areheldby a golden yoke andarewreathed withflowers. A similar teampulls thechariot of the Sun. A third chariot is pulled by horses wearing purple (8.3.12). To be sure religious processions seem always to feature the animals to be sacrificed (see e.g. Simon1983, plates 16–18); here, however, their number, beauty, andornament suggest something a little outof the ordinary – though still notquite the sort of gratuitous display wesee in, e.g., Philadelphus’ pompe. Cyrus’ procession winds through the streets of Babylon until it reaches the shrines of the gods, where the sacrifices are made to the gods (8.3.24): these proceedings have been characterized as generally in line with actual Zoroastrian practice, with some exceptions (Boyce 1982: 214–215, Gera 1993: 56 n.114). Then, we aretold, Cyrus decided to hold a horse race, with each ἔ θνος competing separately (8.3.25). Cyrus himself wins therace among the Persians, andthe victors from the other contingents are also named. We are also treated to a chariot race later in the same narrative (8.3.33). While it does not get much attention, this combination of procession, sacrifice andcompetition is very important. Of course, it connects the ἐ ξέλασις of Cyrus to the other pompai that I have discussed. Onecould also add Xenophon’s description from theAnabasis of theTenThousand at Cotyora, where weare told the Greeks first sacrificed to the gods, then staged pompai “by nation” (κατὰ ἔ θνος), and finally held athletic games (5.5.5), perhaps also by nation (cf. 1.2.10). This triad of sacrifice, procession, andgames looks forward to important celebrations held by Alexander the Great. I will return to this point in myconclusion. Before leaving Cyrus’ march in the Cyropaedia, it is important to look at one last element: the notion of ε ὔνοια (de Romilly 1958). As wenoted earlier, the procession is a march outtotheprecincts of thegodsbutalso anopportunity to display Cyrus’ power before his friends (οἱ ε ὔνοι) andhis enemies (οἱ δυσµε νεῖ ς). Cyrus uses Pheraulas’ services chiefly for distributing the fine robes for the procession among hisbest men.This is accomplished in order to adorn hisfriends; well-attired friends are sufficient ornament for Cyrus (8.3.4). Each manis given a choice by Pheraulas acting asCyrus’ agent, andis thereby madeto feel that hehasbeen given a special privilege; jealousy towards Pheraulas is deflected by characterizing what he is doing as merely acting like a porter (8.3.7). All of these gestures are clearly designed to earn the goodwill (εὔνοι α) of the Persian nobles towards Cyrus. Nor ought we to forget in this connection that later on Cyrus competes with his fellow Persians in the cavalry race at the endof theprocession, in muchthe same spirit of camaraderie that Agesilaus ledhis menfrom thegymnasia of Ephesus. Jane Hornblower has analyzed this aspect of Xenophon’s treatment of leadership, andhas



concluded that it is animportant element infostering thegoodwill of themonarch’s court andstaff; further, sheconnects Xenophon’s thoughts onthis matter withHieronymus of Cardia’s characterization of Eumenes (Hornblower 1981: 205–206). In other words, at least one historian of the diadoch period thought in Xenophontine terms whenhetried to characterize theefforts his ideal monarch took to makehimself simultaneously more approachable butalso more regal, andall this against the backdrop of physical exercise – animportant feature of processions inXenophon. It is noteworthy that the idea of ε ὔνοια continued to be anessential political concept for theRoman governance of theeastern provinces (Lendon 1997: 156) Another detail related to Cyrus’ development of ε ὔνοια among his menarethe scenes of public appeal addressed to Cyrus while on his march through Babylon. Xenophon states that while Cyrus wasmaking hiswayalong theparade route, people gathered asking for his help in various matters (δε όµενοι Κ ύ ρου ἄλλος ἄλλης πρά ξε ως: 8.3.19). In private Cyrus stresses his closeness to his aristocratic elite; in public he is careful to create aweamong his subjects (cf. Tatum 1989: 199). Since the time of Herodotus at least, and specifically his characterization of the rule of Deioces (Herodotus 1.96–100), Greeks were aware of theuneasy tension, evencontradiction, between being approachable andgranting favours onthe onehand, and ceremony anddistance from the populace on the other, as a key feature of royal ideology. With Cyrus’ ἐ ξέλασις andhis granting favors to the common Babyloniansweprobably see Xenophon’s belief that the ideal leader must cultivate φι λανθρ ωπία in his dealings with his subjects: the leader, especially the military commander, is always to make himself available to his menso that they cancommunicate to himtheir concerns.11 This idealization of Cyrus also resonates powerfully with the behavior of later, Hellenistic figures: Seleucus I for instance practiced a kind of φι λαν θρωπία when “he puthimself on the same level as all his men” when hemarched back to (as it happens) Babylon in 312.12

Conclusions: Xenophon andthe Hellenistic Pompe Although the ἐ ξέλασι ς of Cyrus the Great, along with much of the Cyropaedia, is surely theresult of sheer invention onXenophon’s part, his description repeatedly stresses that features of the procession andof the people’s reaction to it set precedents for Persian practice that hadbeen observed continuously down to his own time. Thesecuring of theroute fortheparade bysoldiers (8.3.9), thearrangement of the cavalrymen’s hands (8.3.10), andthe procession itself (8.3.34) are all cited as ceremonial practices still in effect in Xenophon’s day. Most importantly, the appearance of Cyrus in his special chariot precipitated the first act of proskynesis among hissubjects (8.3.14). Ofcourse this gesture of homage andacknowledgment of inferiority wasa hallmark ofAchaemenid rule fortheGreeks (cf.Anabasis 3.2.13, Isocrates 4.151), butwasalso anelement associated (notoriously) withAlexander’s

11 See, e.g., Teleutias atHell. 5.1.14, Xenophon himself atAn.4.3.10: cf. Breitenbach 1950: 71. 12 Diod. 19.90.5: κατε σκε ύαζεν αὑτὸνἴ σον ἅπασιν. Again seeHornblower 1981: 206.

Xenophon, themilitary review andhellenistic Pompai


rule (see e.g. Brunt 1976: 538–539, Badian 1996: 20–22). Thealleged historicity of

Cyrus’ exelasis seems a fitting bridge to a consideration of later Hellenistic pompai andhowcertain of their details were anticipated in the writings of Xenophon. It is arresting to realize that, although Xenophon’s account of Cyrus’ pompe at Babylon is purely imaginary, there is evidence that thehistorical Cyrus mayin fact have held a military procession some time after his arrival in the city. The famous Cyrus Cylinder records his claim that after “daily endeavouring to worship [Marduk]...my numerous troops walked around inBabylon inpeace” (ANET3 316). Tobe sure, thelanguage is vague here andcould meansimply that histroops didnot destroy the city, butrather “strolled around” in peace. But perhaps there is a reference here to a procession of some kind. Atthevery least, though, Cyrus must have participated in a number of religious activities in Babylon that could be styled processions, albeit less public ones: certainly the NewYear’s Festival in the Esagil, which involved the reading of the Enuma Elish, also featured the king being led (by hisears!) in anelaborate ceremony into thepresence of Bel (ANET3 334; cf. Dalley 1998: 35). Obviously it was in Cyrus’ interests to present himself as the rightful king of Babylon, andhence he hadto participate in the city festivals that called for the presence of the monarch (Kuhrt 1983, 1987, 1990). It is not without point, I think, that the actual copy wepossess of the directions for theNewYear’s Festival at Babylon dates to the Seleucid period (ANET3 331): they too must have performed the same rites that Cyrus the Great did. I have already noted inconnection with mydiscussion of Agesilaus’ somewhat informal procession at Ephesus that Alexander the Great also held a pompe to the Ephesian Artemision, one that was similarly military in aspect (Arrian Anabasis 1.18.2). On at least three other occasions Alexander held similar pompai, andin each case these processions also featured games, something wedonothear about in connection with hispompe at Ephesus, but something that wedosee frequently in Xenophon. In 333 at Soli in Cilicia Alexander “sacrificed to Asclepius andheld a procession of hiswhole army, with a torch relay race andathletic andmusical competitions” (Arrian Anabasis 2.5.8 [tr. Brunt]). In 332 atTyre he “sacrificed to Heracles andheld a procession in his honour, with his forces under arms; there wasa naval review ... andAlexander held athletic games in the temple enclosure and a relay torch-race” (2.24.6 [tr. Brunt]). In 331 at Memphis “Alexander sacrificed to Zeus the King andheld a procession with his force under arms andcelebrated athletic and musical games” (3.4.2 [tr. Brunt]; cf. 3.1.4). What is striking about these pompai is that their organization is soconsistent: sacrifice, procession, competition. (Compare also 3.16.9, 6.28.3: sacrifice andgames, butnoprocessions, at Susa and in Carmania respectively.) Of course, these arethe same components that form the typical Xenophontine pompe, whether forthehippeis of Athens, Agesilaus of Sparta, or Cyrus the Great. Perhaps some of the similarity we see is dueto Arrian’s enthusiasm for Xenophon (see in general, Stadter 1980). But surely Alexander’s activities in these cities didin fact approximate to what Arrian tell us and, as such, seem quite like thepompai wesee in Xenophon.13

13 At Susa (3.16.9) andin Carmania (6.28.3) Arrian mentions only sacrifices andcompetitions. (Hediscounts, of course, the story of a Dionysiac procession through Carmania.)



But there is another point that is worth noting, too, in connection with these celebrations of Alexander. The processions at Tyre andMemphis were staged in non-Greek cities; furthermore, they could be interpreted as being held in honour of the most important local deity. In the case of Tyre, the sacrifice to Heracles could havebeenunderstood asbeing toMelqart; atMemphis, ZeustheKing wasnodoubt also Ptah. Soli is obviously a rather different case from Tyre andMemphis inasmuch as it was a Greek city colonized by Rhodians, built on what wasprobably originally a Phoenician settlement. Moreover, it is notclear to mejust howimportant Asclepius wasthere: it is true that the godis associated with the city on a coin from the Roman imperial period (Antoninus Pius andAsclepius, Imhoof-Blumer 1901: 6; for the history of Soli / Pompeiopolis, see Magie 1950: 1148–1149 n.31) andthat his importance onRhodes (e.g. Robert 1987: 100–101) could have carried overto Soli. Butit maywell bethat thecelebration of festivities atSoli inhonour of a healing godwasprimarily dueto Alexander’s recent recovery from illness (cf. Arrian Anabasis 2.4.7). Setting the difficult case of Soli to the side, then, at Tyre andMemphis Alexander heldprocessions inhonour of Greek deities whowere also the by-forms of the most important local gods. It needs to be added, though, that despite the fact that in each case a local, non-Greek godcould be seen as the honoured deity, thecompetitions (athletic andotherwise) clearly hada distinctly Greek orientation. Twoaudiences, then, seemtohavebeenaddressed byAlexander’spompai in Tyre andMemphis. Oneof themost vexed questions concerning the grand pompe of Ptolemy Philadelphus is whoprecisely were imagined as the target audience. While it wasno doubt conceived primarily as a procession for Greco-Macedonians (cf. Thompson 2000: 368, 382), there were features that the native Egyptians could have understood as referring to their own gods (Walbank 1996: 123). Similarly, Alexander’s procession at Memphis wasin honour of Zeus the King in the eyes of the Greeks andMacedonians, andfor that matter the resident Hellenomemphites (Thompson 1988: 96–97), butin the eyes of the native Egyptians it would have been for their godPtah. The situation wassimilar nodoubt in Tyre. Where is Xenophon in all of this? I believe that Xenophon is helpful in sorting outthe meaning of Hellenistic pompai precisely because through himwesee that the same procession could have different audiences. It is clear from the passages of Xenophon discussed above that processions were inthefirst place heldinhonour of the gods. Without exception, every one of the major pompai I have analyzed was held in association with a sacrifice to a deity. But they were far from being solely religious events. Another wayto understand theprocession is as a wayfor theleader of a troop of mento form a bondwith histroops. Here weshould remember that thepompe in Xenophon, as well as some historical pompai, were also connected to athletic competitions andtraining. Together theprocession andthecompetition had theeffect of creating ε ὔνοια orgoodwill among thetroops fortheir commander. In order for theprocession to have this effect, though, theleader musthimself participate. Atfirst this mayseem a problem when set against the grand pompe described by Callixeinus, for Philadelphus clearly was not a participant. However, a document such asRC65 demonstrates howimportant thepresence of theking orprince

Xenophon, themilitary review andhellenistic Pompai


wasintheHellenistic procession. Inthis letter of Attalus II tohiscousin Athenaeus in 142, the king notes that his brother-priest, Sosander (Athenaeus’ ownson-inlaw), performed the requisite sacrifices to Dionysus Kathegemon, but could not participate intheprocessions (πο µπά ς: line 8) dueto aninjury of somekind. Hence, Sosander’s ownson, another Athenaeus, waschosen to take his place. I think we can glimpse in a document such as this the sense that processions were important opportunities forleaders to garner thegoodwill that came fromparticipating publicly in anevent that united the whole polis. Naturally this made participation by the leader himself crucial. This is also thesense wegetfromXenophon. Wearenotthat far awayfromAgesilaus leading hismenafter their training exercises totheArtemision at Ephesus to dedicate their victory crowns, or thepompe of Cyrus in which themonarch literally holds court while riding through thestreets of Babylon, giving the residents the opportunity to make appeals to him. Another instance of the cul-

tivation of goodwill by a commander in Xenophon is Alcibiades’ escort by land of the march of initiates from Athens to Eleusis in 407, something that had to be accomplished by seafor years dueto thewar(Hellenica 1.4.20). Alcibiades uses this opportunity to consolidate hisleadership bydemonstrating that hewasa sufficiently pious man, something that wasobviously brought into question by the scandals prior to the Sicilian expedition (cf. Krentz 1989: 132 adloc.). Xenophon, in suggesting that thepompe wasa wayfor a leader to garner goodwill aswell as simultaneously to distinguish himself, waspointing to a phenomenon of public ceremonial that would endure for many centuries (e.g. Price 1984: 110–112, 128–129, 189– 190, MacCormack 1981: 42, 54, Muir 1981: 185–211). Theprocession of Agesilaus andthepompai of theAthenian hippeis inparticular stress another aspect. The parade was also for the benefit of the participants themselves, apart from their leader. It created among theranks a sense of camaraderie. Further, at least as Xenophon imagines them in the Hipparchicus, processions could also help with the training andmorale of the men. They might learn difficult manoeuvres such as going upanddown hills on horseback; at the same time they took heart in the palpable display of their ownmilitary prowess. This function is obviously related to another: creating fear in one’s enemy. Agesilaus’ pompe at Ephesus, andperhaps even more Cyrus the Younger’s demonstration of his Greek troops before Epyaxa remind us that mock combats andtraining were intended to strike fear in one’s enemy as well as encourage morale in one’s own ranks (Anabasis 1.2.14–18). Thepompai were opportunities to sendmessages both to friend andfoe (a common notion: cf. e.g. Dionysius, AR7.72.1, Ps.-Callisthenes 2.21). Similarly, asWalbank points out, thetheoroi whowere present atthepompe of Philadelphus were nodoubt meant toreport back totheir homeauthorities onthe power theyhadwitnessed, especially inthemarch-past ofthetroops (Walbank 1996: 124); further, Antiochus IV sent outambassadors andtheoroi in order that there be a great interest among the Greeks’ to come to his display (Polybius 30.25.1, Athenaeus 194C), a massive military spectacle celebrating whatwasstyled a great victoryin war. Some have further maintained that the“feminization” of cities represented in Philadelphus’ parade wasmeant to help broadcast his imperialist claims to superiority over other Greek poleis, a statement that would only work if it wasim-



agined that there were potential adversaries to seethedisplay orat least to hear of it (Stewart 1993: 258; 1998: 282; Hazzard 2000: 66–75). Thepompai of Xenophon arein some ways still very mucha part of theClassical world. Surely what we see in the Hipparchicus, for example, is basically an elaboration of social ritual that Xenophon himself had witnessed. He must have seen theAthenian Panathenaea several times, andit is very likely that healso knew theSpartan Gymnopaedia (Hellenica 6.4.16) – a festival which featured men’s and boy’s choruses aswell asmockcombat andwhich wasregularly witnessed bystrangers (Memorabilia 1.2.61, Plutarch Cimon 10.6, Plato Laws 633C, Sosibius 595 F 5). Andyet there are accents in his treatment of various processions that make the descriptions ofhisparades seemstrikingly like thelater Hellenistic pompe: thestress ontherole of theleader; thefocus onsheer display; andabove all theprocession as anopportunity to communicate important messages both to friend andenemy. Unlike Walbank, I donot see the Xenophontic pompe as anyless religious than other Classical pompai, but in the endthe two most important features of Xenophon’s presentation of processions maywell be hisunderstanding of thedifferent audiences a single pompe could have, andthe significance of theleader in shaping theceremony. While it is nodoubt a mistake to deny anysort of importance for thecommunities in which thepompai occur in Xenophon, the stress onthem as a means of projecting leadership andauthority captures a central aspect of theHellenistic procession, andmoves usawayfrom modern interpretations of theArchaic andClassicalpompe as anexpression of collective “consciousness” andaspirations (cf. Connor1987, 1996, Kavoulaki 1999). Xenophon wasthinking inwaysthat clearly went beyond conventional, polis-centered attitudes: theimagined spectators were notsimply local citizens, but much larger, regional audiences. Perhaps his unique insight into Greek public ceremonial came to himas a result of his experiences in the Persian world. As in so much else, this writer whois so often misunderstood as an unimaginative observer of his times, andhence merely a cipher, wasin fact a man whose thinking not only transcended his ownperiod (cf. Dillery 1995: 94; Humphreys 1978: 240–241), butin some intriguing waysanticipated important developments in the Hellenistic era.14

BIBLIOGRAPHY Amiet, P., 1980, Artof theAncient Near East (New York).

Badian, E., 1967, “Alexander theGreat andtheGreeks of Asia”, inAncient Society andInstitutions [Festschrift Ehrenberg] (Oxford): 37–69. Badian, E., 1996, “Alexander the Great between TwoThrones andHeaven: Variations on an Old Theme”, in A.Small (ed.), Subject andRuler: The Cult of the Ruling Power in Classical Antiquity [Festschrift Fishwick] = JRA Supp. 17: 11–26.

14 I would like tothank T. Petit andV. Azoulay whoshared a panel withme;I learned a great deal from their papers, andenjoyed their company, as well as that of theother participants. I would also like to thank mycolleague J.E.Lendon for reading a late draft andfor bibliographic wisdom. I owea special thanks to Christopher Tuplin, whochaired mypanel, made helpful criticisms of mypaper, andorganized theentire Liverpool Conference.

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Bömer, F., 1952, “Pompa”, RE 21.2: 1878–1994. Boyce, M., 1982, A History of Zoroastrianism II (Leiden). Breitenbach, H. R., 1950, Historiographische Anschauungsformen Xenophons (Diss., Basel). Briant, P., 1987, “Institutions perses et histoire comparatiste dans l’ historiographie grecque”, AchHist 2: 1–10. Brunt, P., 1976, Arrian, vol. 1 (London-Cambridge [Mass.]). Bugh, G. R., 1988, TheHorsemen of Athens (Princeton). Burkert, W., 1985, Greek Religion (Cambridge [Mass.]).

P., 1979, “Textual Sources for the Interpretation of Achaemenian Palace Decorations”, Iran 18: 55–63. 1987, “Greek Historiography and Achaemenid Reliefs”, AchHist 2: 11–26. J., 1986, TheAthenian Agora (London). Camp, ---


Coleman, K., 1996, “Ptolemy Philadelphus andtheRoman Amphitheatre”, inW.Slater (ed.), Roman Theater andSociety (Ann Arbor): 49–68. Connor, W. R., 1987, “Tribes, Festivals andProcessions: Civic Ceremonial andPolitical Manipulation in Archaic Greece”, JHS 107: 40–50. 1996, “Civil society, Dionysiac festival, andtheAthenian Democracy”, inJ. Ober andC. Hedrick --- (edd.), Demokratia: A Conversation on Democracies, Ancient andModern (Princeton): 217–


Dalley, S., 1998, “Occasions andopportunities: Persian, Greek andParthian overlords”, inS. Dalley (ed.), TheLegacy of Mesopotamia (Oxford): 35–55. Dillery, J., 1993, “Xenophon’s Poroi andAthenian Imperialism”, Historia 42: 1–11. 1995, Xenophon and the History of His Times (London). 2 --- 002, “Ephebes in the stadium (not the theatre): Ath.Pol. 42.4 andIG II2.351”, CQn.s. 52: 462–

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Easterling, P. E., 1985, “Greek Poetry andGreek Religion”, inP. E. Easterling andJ. V. Muir (edd.), Greek Religion andSociety (Cambridge): 34–49. Farber, J. J., 1979, “The Cyropaedia andHellenistic Kingship”, AJP 100: 497–514. Ferrary, J.-L., 1988, Philhellénisme et impérialisme (Rome).

Gera, D. L., 1993, Xenophon’s Cyropaedia (Oxford). Gomme, A. W., Andrewes, A., Dover, K. J., 1970, AHistorical Commentary on Thucydides vol. IV (Books 5.25–7) (Oxford). Habicht, C., 1961/1994, “Neue Inschriften ausdemKerameikos”, AM76: 127–148 = Athen in hellenistischer Zeit (Munich): 23–46. (Citations are from the latter.) Hatzfeld, J., 1936, Xénophon, Helléniques (I–III) (Paris). Hazzard, R.A., 2000, Imagination of a Monarchy: Studies in Ptolemaic Propaganda (Toronto). Heintze, H. von, 1994, “Athena Polias amParthenon als Ergane, Hippia, Parthenos”, Gymnasium

101: 289–311.

Hornblower, J., 1981, Hieronymus of Cardia (Oxford). Humphreys, S., 1978, Anthropology and the Greeks (London).


F., 1901, Kleinasiatische

Münzen (Vienna).

Kavoulaki, A., 1999, “Processional Performance andthe Democratic Polis”, in S. Goldhill andR. Osborne (edd.), Performance Culture andAthenian Democracy (Cambridge): 293–320. Krentz, P., 1989, Xenophon, Hellenika I–II.3.10 (Warminster). Kuhrt, A., 1983, “The Cyrus Cylinder andAchaemenid Imperial Policy”, JSOT 25: 83–97. 1987, “Usurpation, Conquest and Ceremonial: From Babylonia to Persia”, in D. Cannadine and --- S. Price (edd.), Rituals of Royalty: Power andCeremonial in Traditional Societies (Cambridge):

20–55. 1990, “Alexander in Babylon”, AchHist 5: 121– 130.





J. E., 1997, Empire of Honour (Oxford).

MacCormack, S., 1981, ArtandCeremony in Late Antiquity (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). Magie, D., 1950, Roman Rule inAsia Minor (Princeton). Meiggs, R., 1972, TheAthenian Empire (Oxford). Millar, F., 1998, “Looking East from the Classical World: Colonialism, Culture, andTrade from Alexander theGreat to Shapur I”, TheInternational History Review 20: 507–31. Muir, E., 1981, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton). Pearson, L., 1941, “Historical Allusions in the Attic Orators”, CP 36: 209–229. Pollitt, J. J., 1997, “TheMeaning of theParthenon Frieze”, in D. Buitron-Oliver (ed.), TheInterpretation of Architectural Sculpture in Greece andRome (Hanover-London): 51–65. Price, S., 1984, Rituals andPower. TheRoman Imperial Cult inAsia Minor (Cambridge).

Rice, E., 1983, The Grand Procession of Ptolemy Philadelphus (Oxford). Robert, L., 1987, Documents d’Asie Mineure (Paris). Rogers, G., 1991, TheSacred Identity of Ephesos (London). Romilly, J. de, 1958, “Eunoia in Isocrates, orThe Importance of Creating GoodWill”, JHS 78: 92– 101. Rostovtzeff, M., 1941, Social andEconomic History of the Hellenistic World (Oxford). Salomone, S., 1986, “Letteratura, tradizione e novità tattico-strategiche nello Hipparchikos diSenofonte”, Maia 38: 197–205. Seager, R. J. andC. J. Tuplin, 1980, “The Freedom of the Greeks of Asia Minor”, JHS 100: 141–


Simon, E., 1983, Festivals ofAttica. AnArchaeological Commentary (Madison). Slater, W., 1984, “Nemean One:theVictor’s Return inPoetry andPolitics”, inD.Gerber (ed.), Greek Poetry and Philosophy [Festschrift L.Woodbury] (Chico CA): 241–264. Spence, I., 1993, The Cavalry of Classical Greece (Oxford). Stadter, P. A., 1980, Arrian of Nicomedia (Chapel Hill). Stewart, A., 1993, Faces of Power: Alexander’s Image andHellenistic Politics (Berkeley-Los Angeles-Oxford). 1998, “Nuggets: Mining theTexts Again”, AJA 102: 271–282. Stylianou, P., 1998, A Historical Commentary onDiodorus Siculus Book 15 (Oxford). --Tatum, J., 1989, Xenophon’s Imperial Fiction (Princeton). Thompson, D., 1988, Memphis under thePtolemies (Princeton). 2000, “Philadelphus’ Procession: Dynastic Power in a Mediterranean Context”, in L.Mooren --- (ed.), Politics, Administration andSociety intheHellenistic andRoman Worlds (Leuven): 365–



H., 1961, “ThePanathenaic Festival”, AA:225–231.

F. W., 1957, A Historical Commentary onPolybius vol.I (Oxford). 1967, A Historical Commentary on Polybius vol.II (Oxford) --- 1984, Review of Rice 1983, LCM9.4: 52–54. --- 1996, “Two Hellenistic Processions: A Matter of Self-Definition”, SCI 15: 119– 130. Reprinted in --- id., Polybius, Rome andtheHellenistic World: Essays andReflections (Cambridge, 2002): 79–




Thedialogue Hiero shows a poet (andnotjust anypoet, butthevery onereputed to have invented the epinician genre1) in conversation with a tyrant (the very tyrant known to have sponsored such distinguished epinician poets as Pindar and Bacchylides, apart from Simonides himself, of course): this simple fact should immediately suggest that, if notcertainly the only or even thebest way, at least oneof the ways in which the dialogue could have been approached wasthat of investigating howXenophon seems inthis workto be making useof a series of topics common to praise poetry. Choosing a poet for the role of Hiero’s partner in this dialogue, and more specifically an epinician poet, could have been mere chance, but it mayas well have been deliberate onXenophon’s part: let usfor a moment suppose that our author knows what he is doing (which is a prudent starting-point anyway, when trying to analyse a literary text) andcredit him with a purposeful and, above all, meaningful choice. Theinterpreter’s task will then beto explain theidentity of both of the dialogue’s speakers as part of the author’s communicative strategy andthus puthimself ina position asnear aspossible tothat of theoriginal audience – forI do not think it reasonable to suppose that any learned Greek could possibly have read (orlistened to) a dialogue featuring Simonides andHiero – a dialogue, moreover, in which thepoet advises thetyrant against taking part inathletic competitions (11.5f.) – without assuming a reference (a paradoxical or ironic one, maybe, buta reference nonetheless) to the identity of Simonides as epinician poet. This is surely a case where theconjunction of author, text andintended audience seems to impose a specific kindof intertextuality as a reasonable critical approach. But, obvious asit may seem, this has not to the best of my knowledge been the case:2 and the aim of this paper is therefore to examine the wayin which Xenophon manages to adapt to his ownpurpose all the basic ideas that were current in epinician poetry – e.g. the necessity of moderation as a defence against the related dangers of excess andenvy, the generosity of mind andpurse required of a mighty prince, the difference between a tyrant and a benevolent king, the political and social tensions that arise between the community and the successful individual and the way in which they can be avoided. In so doing, it will be inevitable – or, rather, it will be one of the most significant aspects to inquire into – to highlight the transformations these ele1 2

treatment of thefigure of Simonides see Bell 1978. Specific bibliography on this subject being virtually reduced to Strauss 1948, Luccioni 1948, Pasini 1975, Tedeschi 1986 (comprising Canfora 1986) andGray 1986, none of which actually approaches the dialogue from this point of view. See also Sordi 1980, 1989, Cartledge 1997. More specifically onthe date of composition: Hatzfeld 1946, Aalders 1953.




ments have to undergo in order to become fit for prose discourse instead of praise poetry. The dialogue does in fact show a confrontation between a poet anda tyrant, such as is usual in epinician poetry, where thepoet is often found to be administering advice andexhortations to hispatron, as well as praise for hispower andfor his athletic andpolitical achievements. The divinely inspired poet is fond of showing himself ashisclient’s equal, uplifted byhisfamiliarity withtheMuses andtheGraces andtherefore able notonly to celebrate thewealth andvirtues of princes andkings (because of tyrants in the proper sense of the word he does not, as a rule, speak, except in order to blame them: his own clients do not, of course, belong to this much-detested category – atleast, solong asthey payforhisrather expensive services; business is, andalways has been, business, after all), but also to stigmatize their faults, albeit in a very careful way, andactually educate them, by constantly reminding them of what the community at large expects them to do.3 The poet as the king’s counsellor andeven as a kind of intermediary between king andpeople wastherefore a familiar figure, one that Xenophon could easily have transferred from praise poetry to his owndialogue, hadhe wished to – anda poet speaking to a tyrant is in fact what he offers us here. But their relationship is not the one usual in choral poetry. Far from originating the poetic discourse and directing its performance, thepoet plays here rather therole of theclient andthat of theaudience, first byproviding thecuefor theconversation andthen bylistening to it – for most of the time at least – while the tyrant becomes the principal actor in the process of communication.4 But perhaps we have already gone a bit too far in this analysis, for the first peculiarity tobepointed outshould havebeentheactual presence andinteraction of bothcharacters: whenanepinician poetundertakes thewell-paid task of celebrating an affluent patron by teaching himhowto go on enjoying his wealth without falling into the deadly trap of envy, both human anddivine, his ownis the only voice we actually listen to, since the patron himself is but a dumb figure, only allowed to shine in the light which the poet’s winged words are conjuring up to dazzle his enemies andplease his friends. Thepoet himself, the chorus maybe – inasmuch as thelatter’s voice canactually bekept distinct anddistinguished from theformer’s – eventhecommunity of thecitizens atlarge, all of themmaymaketheir voice heard through whathasbeen aptly described as a “polyphonic” first-person,5 one, that is,




In general andfor further bibliographical references, see Gentili 1984, Bremer 1991, Svenbro 1976. Twopossible exceptions aretobefound inPindar (Pythian 2.87, 3.85), where heactually uses theterms τυ ραννίδι andτύρ αννον in reference to Hiero, buteven here it is interesting to see that in neither case does herefer the words themselves directly to him(and in the second case – the more outspoken of the two– the term is tempered andennobled by the epithet λαγέταν, leader of thepeople.). Atleast from 2.3 onHiero is practically alone in conducting thedialogue, which thus becomes a kindof monologue. Apart from a brief interruption at 6.9, Simonides does notintervene until chapter 7, andeven here rather briefly, for Hiero soon resumes his leading role. It is noearlier than chapter 8 that Simonides takes thelead (andthere arestill some interventions from Hiero:

8.8, 10.1) This definition appears in Calame 1986; for the debated question of the interpretation of first-

The imperfect hero


specially designed to accommodate as many voices as possible, save the client’s. Although some interpreters, ancient andmodern, dothink some of the poet’s statements to be spoken in the victor’s persona,6 one has to admit that the role of the client in the poetic exchange seems generally to be confined more to that of the recipient than to be extended to that of theproducer of themessage. Rather, it is the poet whomanages to give vent to his client’s feelings anddesires andto satisfy his requests through himself, while seemingly encouraging him to pursue the road to virtue.7 The ideal picture of the optimus princeps he is constantly outlining for the benefit of the audience is nomore than the self-portrait his patron wishes to present his subjects, but cannot express in his ownvoice, lest he might stir uphostile or envious reactions. So thefirst surprising aspect of this dialogue is thevery fact that it is a dialogue atall– that is to say, thatbothparties arepresent at, andengaged in, theexchange of ideas. Notthat this means Xenophon hashere considerably distanced himself from the literary tradition symbolically represented by the figure of Simonides: quite to thecontrary, hehasin a certain sense been as faithful to it aspossible under totally different circumstances. The “polyphony” typical of epinician poetry is only possible because poetry is what is in question, since prose shows itself painfully inadequate to anything less than straightforward; the so-called lyric “I” is therefore here preserved by being dramatized, in that twopeople are actually shown in the act of talking to each other, andwehear both their voices, each in its turn. But situation andcontext, both real andfictive, aredifferent from those in which poet andtyrant originally used to converse, andtheir mutual position is accordingly reversed, as has already been noted. This reversal may be thought to correspond in a certain sense to thepassage frompoetry to prose discourse: thepoet is nolonger theauthor of the speech, butrather the onewholistens to it. This same reversal provides the key also to the ideal journey which brings the tyrant from the nearly autistic isolation lamented byHiero atthebeginning tohisperfect fusion withthecommunity as depicted by Simonides at the end, andthis metamorphosis is achieved by exactly thesamemeans asthose which thereal epinician poets (the onesXenophon’s Simonides stands for) hadrepeatedly recommended to their powerful patrons, in order to achieve exactly the same endXenophon’s Hiero wishes for himself: that is to say, to be an object of respect andlove for his citizens instead of just one of fear and hatred. It could be said that Hiero starts as a kind of imperfect hero, one whoretains only thenegative aspects of this always ambiguous figure8 (both to be admired and tobe avoided), andendsupastheperfect hero, onewhouses his somewhat dangerouspower to thebenefit of the community. Also in this respect praise poetry offers a possible cultural model forthetreatment of Hiero inthis dialogue, notinthe sense that Xenophon mayhave directly borrowed from thepoetic tradition, that is, butas

6 7 8

person references in lyric poetry, see most recently Slings 1990, Goldhill 1991 andLefkowitz 1991 (with useful references to earlier bibliography). For a specific example, with general remarks as well, seefor instance Floyd 1965. Onthis topic, andmuchmore, see Young 1968, onPindar Pythian 11. Theinborn ambiguity of theheroic figure is amply treated byBrelich 1958.



a general reference frame, which mayhave helped him sketch out the intractable character of the tyrant andthe moulding of him into a more amiable shape. The assimilation of the laudandus in praise poetry to a kind of hero is actually quite common, since the victorious athlete shares many of the features that characterize this figure:9 he is in a certain sense estranged from the community he originally belonged to byhis very excellence andbythegreatness of hisfeat andhehasactually hadto leave home in order to achieve the success he is nowfeasted for. Both hero andathlete are therefore marginal figures, set apart from ordinary people by their superior powers of strength or other physical prowess, andwhen they decide toreturn where they once usedtolive, their ownextraordinary qualities mayaswell result in a danger for thequiet life of normal menandwomen, since they canupset thefragile andprecious balance uponwhich the life of a community rests.10 Asfar as thehero is concerned, it could almost be said that a certain degree of danger andeven monstrosity (i.e. another-than-human condition both in a positive andin a negative sense) is part andparcel of heroic nature, andcannot simply be explained away as a product of thepoets’ creativity: the sudden fit of madness that seizes upon Heracles after his return from the last of his tiresome labours is not a mere figment of Euripides’ imagination, buta powerful symbol of theutter impossibility of thehero sharing a normal, quiet wayof life, of living like other people do. It is almost asif thehero were forced to take forever uponhimself that death hehas hadto face andconquer in order to gain his victory;11 it is therefore highly advisable that he be worshipped andappeased, if he is to dwell at last among his people as a benefactor instead of a possible source of evil. Something of the sort may be said to be the case even with the victorious athlete, albeit in a definitely lower key, as is appropriate to a world of menrather than heroes: the victory he haswonhasplaced himon a level considerably higher than that of ordinary people and, since the athletic contests arefor themost part characterized byhaving beenoriginally organized asfunerary andexpiatory rites for some hero’s death,12 the victor could even be seen as the human counterpart of the hero hehashonoured byhisvictory atthegames, orasthenearest a mortal figure cango to heroic condition. Death is therefore as much a part of his victory as it is of the hero’s: a great manyof thegames could beinterpreted asinitiation ceremonies, and the symbolic role played by death (in a ritualized form, to be sure) in these occasions hasbeen so exhaustively illustrated in what already amounts to a huge bibliography that nomore than this passing allusion is needed to assert thepoint.13 Inmuchthesame wayaswehave seen it necessary for a community toprevent andappease the possible wrath of a hero, a victorious athlete requires to be honoured andcelebrated byhis people, andtheepinician poet sees to it that hegets his 9 Asshown byFontenrose 1968. 10 This analogy andits implications areexpounded, with specific reference to thePindaric epinician, byCrotty 1982. 11 See forinstance Davies 1988 – specifically onHeracles andGeryon, buttheissue canbereputedcommon to all heroic exploits in a general sense. 12 Oneof themanypoints treated in therich essay of Nagy 1990. 13 After VanGennep 1909 andJeanmaire 1939, see at least Brelich 1969 andCalame 1977.

Theimperfect hero


duewhenhe comes home from the games; this praise is necessary for the athlete in thefirst place, since hishard-won victory needs a public acknowledgement if it is to receive the reward it deserves, owing to the well-known (and much-commentedupon) Greek cultural requirement that all human acts andachievements obtain their value from a public assessment: manandhis actions areworth nomore, andnoless, than what others think of them.14 But if the athlete is dependent upon the appraisal of the community, noless is the latter anxious to learn about the former’s feelings and intentions: is this semi-hero a benevolent or a malignant one? He is not the same well-known manwhoset outfor thegames anymore: heis a novel andthreatening figure, one whocarries with himself the dazzling light of fame andglory, together with an extraordinary power, so extraordinary that it mayoverthrow the isonomic balance upon which peace andlife rest.15 The only way in which the citizens may get answers to these alarming questions is bycarefully studying theathlete’s behaviour inrelation tohisvictory, that is to saybycarefully listening to thewords hehasgenerously paid a poet to compose anddeliver in his stead: theepinician odeamounts to a medium of communication for the twoparties, andthe poet must be competent andwise enough to act as an intermediary between hispatron andthecitizens. In short, whatthepoet hasto doin this sense is to reassure the political community at large that his client is totally immune to the seductive powers of that much-feared-of monster that lurks behind every victorious athlete returning to his hometown: tyranny.16 A tyrant mayin fact be saidto have muchin common with theawesome figure of the hero17 – too much in fact for comfort, especially as far as a basically aristocratic world is concerned: whatcharacterizes thetyrant, andbrings himto a level of dangerous similarity to the hero, is the ambiguous position that sets himapart from ordinary men, endowing him with a power that by its very nature and extension conveys the measure of his remoteness from normal life. His is therefore a figure which is not only object of fear and hatred, but also of envy: everybody hates the tyrant but would at the same time like to be in his position.18 What renders this figure attractive andeven seductive to many is the very same thing that makes it repulsive to all, including himself: his isolation, the impossibility of his sharing his wealth andpower with anybody, derived from his constant needto be stronger than hissubjects. This is whytheepinician poet sostrongly underlines hisclient’s generosity, his willingness to share the glory of his victory and the abundance of his wealth with his citizens: it is not only that the poet himself gets his rather high fee thanks to this generosity, nor simply that the celebration all are taking part in is 14 See for instance Dodds 1951, Adkins 1960, Dihle 1982, just to begin with. 15 Forthepolitical significance of ἰ σονοµία (andrelated words), seeEhrenberg 1940, Cerri 1969, Vlastos 1964, Ostwald 1969: 96– 161. 16 Orrather, behind every clever andsuccessful Greek, asBurckhardt 1898 hasit. It could be said that, hadthedanger notbeenfelt asreal, it would nothave been necessary toputit under sucha strong taboo.

17 Onthis topic see specifically Catenacci 1996, with muchearlier bibliography. 18 See for instance Solon fr.33 West; for this aspect, aswell asfor tyranny in general, after Berve 1967 andMossé 1969, seemorerecently, among many, Vernant andVidal-Naquet 1972, Lanza 1977, Carlier 1984, Barceló 1993, Sanchez dela Torre 1994.



actually paid by again the same generosity – it is rather that this behaviour shows better than anything else that the victor is totally alien to tyrannic temptations. It is easy to see howthis complex of ideas finds a clear echo in the opening of Xenophon’s dialogue: here the situation is seen from thetyrant’s point of view, and what Hiero laments is precisely his inability to partake of the pleasures of his subjects’ lives, such as friendship, love, and feasts:19 and again, it is no chance that these are precisely the things a tyrant should miss, since personal relationships of anykindareinescapably based uponreciprocity, inmuchthesame wayasreciprocity andequality are required by that most representative of all moments of a community’s life which is thefeast. Butwhatkindof reciprocity could a tyrant conceivably offer andenjoy, he who, for all his wealth andpower, does not even dare to participate in whatever kind of celebration or merry-making the humblest of his citizens can without fear or danger take part in? He does not (nor indeed could) have friends, but only subjects, since a necessary condition for the survival of a tyrant is that nobody canever claim tobehisequal, andfriendship, like love oreven sexual relationships, requires participants to be on anat least comparable level, so that each canprofit from the other in the same way, andall canfreely share whatever goodthey maygetfrom it.20 Since thetyrant’s main concern is to be constantly stronger than anybody else, it is equally self-evident that he could noteven dream of sharing anyof his possessions with anybody: his very existence is the denial of the isonomic principle upon which social life is based.21 This lack of reciprocity between tyrant andcommunity leads to thecommunity losing its function of control over people’s lives andactions: whenever there is a tyrant, it is nolonger thepeople whovalue andjudge others andtheir achievements, including the tyrant himself, but only the tyrant’s arbitrary favour anddisfavour. This results in the lamentable situation pointed out by Hiero, who regretfully comments on the impossibility of a tyrant ever knowing if the innumerable words of praise that areaddressed tohimaretrue orfalse.22 Theconsequent danger of excess (κό ρος) which constantly threatens to overcome thetyrant is oneamply underlined by the wise poets whoused to advise their patrons not to let themselves be carried away by their achievement andso be able to avoid the consequences of such an exalting greatness: thenotorious association of arrogance (ὕβρι ς), fatal blindness to moral standards (ἄτη) andenvy (φθό νος or ζῆλος), which atleast since thetimes of Hesiod andSolon are known as the pitfalls that await the unwise, andat the same time the deserved punishment that befalls them. The lack of anyone whocould possibly remind thetyrant of theneedforrestraint, indeed the sheer impossibility for a

19 1.11ff.; more specifically 1.11–14 aredevoted to sight-seeing, 1.17–20, to eating anddrinking, 1.27–31 to love andsex, 3.1–9 to friendship andfamily relations, 4.1–6 to confidence, 4.6–11 to possessions, 6.1–6 to feasts and symposia as pleasures from which the tyrant is forcibly excluded.

20 1.26ff.; freedom is claimed tobe thebasic requirement for reciprocal satisfaction in 1.32f. 21 A specific feature of tyrannic behaviour is that thetyrant’s private interests prevail over those of the community: see for instance the well-known Thucydidean passage, 3.62, or Arist. Pol. 1295a21. Thesame terminology recurs here: 8.10 (the tyrant is always opentothesuspicion of πλε ονε ξία, at theexpense of ἰ σονοµία). 22 1.15. The excess andsatiety that comes from this is pointed outat 1.19.

Theimperfect hero


tyrant worth his name to limit his power and ambitions (for limiting them would soon result in letting others grow too strong for him to put upwith them, andfor them to put up with him) accounts for his inability to enjoy any of the positive aspects life can offer. The only life he can lead is one totally opposite to that of others, oneof perpetual waragainst them.23 All the problems that torment the tyrant in his relationship with the citizens could as a matter of fact be traced back to his inability to establish with them a satisfactory communication – or rather, any kind of communication at all, since their mutual position canonly be described as oneof utter estrangement from each other. There is oneperson whocould aptly fill the gap, enabling tyrant andpeople to communicate through himself, andthat is the poet whose role has always been oneof mediation: buttherecourse to prose dialogue instead of poetry prevents him from taking active part in the exchange from the very beginning, so that Simonides canonly figure as counsellor to the tyrant rather than as actor andguarantee in the process of communication andintegration between the two. It is therefore upto the tyrant himself to find a cure andsolve the problem, by re-establishing this interrupted process of communication: andthis Hiero of Xenophon’s is indeed oneof themost garrulous andperceptive tyrants theworld hasever seen – only, his words are, for the largest part of the dialogue at least, so much preoccupied with himself andhis predicament that they result in the perfect metaphor of his much-lamented isolation, andof its causes as well. In what could be described as a kind of stream of consciousness, Hiero goes on andon expounding all the drawbacks of his situation, andin so doing he manages to point outthe fault which lies at the root of all of them: his being unable to take part in other people’s lives and interests. This is of course no fatal flaw of his own character, but the inevitable consequence of his being a tyrant – that is to say somebody who, by definition, cannot live at the same level of others, butis obliged to be always a bit above therest. This situation results in the above-mentioned impossibility of his enjoying friendship, love, entertainments of anykind, andeven, should he actually gain one (asthereal Hiero indeed did, andnotonly once), military orathletic victory,24 since each of these things requires a community to be shared with, on an equal basis, in order to be fully appreciated. Heownsonly what seems tobebad, butdoes nottake part in anything that is really good, asHiero himself putsit.25 Hisfailure to appreciate the pleasures of the symposium is particularly significant in this respect since the symposium is the perfect embodiment of the aristocratic principle of ἰ σονοµία andreciprocity, of which the figure of the tyrant is the absolute denial.26 Of the

23 See chapter 2. Tyranny as inversion of common 24 25 26

values (as opposed to ἰ σο κ ρατία) is aptly described by Hdt. 5.92. 2.9– 18(victory against foes, bothexternal andinternal [Hiero speaking]); 11.5–7 (it is inappropriate for a tyrant, Simonides maintains, to take part in athletic competitions). 2.6ff. (µετέχειν as opposed to κε κτῆσθαι). See chapter 6. The symmetrical structure ἡδόµενος ἡδοµένοις reflects ona linguistic level the reciprocity on which the ideology of the symposium is based: see on this point Slater 1981; Vetta 1995.



importance of this principle Hiero himself is fully aware, so much so that when Simonides tries to find something goodin thetyrant’s life by underlining its greater ),27Hiero promptly retorts that honour is thefirst thing to need share of honour (τι µή reciprocity in order to be gained andenjoyed: he is in short perfectly able to understand andenumerate thevirtues necessary to become a benevolent king, instead of a tyrant – only, he lacks the input to acquire andexercise those virtues himself. It is nowtime for Simonides to intervene, in order to show Hiero that a way indeed there is, other than thequite radical onehehasjust proposed – nodoubt as a kindof paradox, rather than as a serious suggestion – which is thephysical annihilation of thetyrant himself.28 In Simonides’ opinion, thetyrant must in fact be eliminated, butonly in that he hasto be substituted for by his other self, thebenevolent king; first andforemost among the suggestions Simonides offers Hiero is that he do something for others, instead of exclusively for himself. This is the first step in the process which should end up by breaking the fearful isolation of the hated tyrant andmaking himas much anobject of admiration as those public festivals andnatural or artistic sights he felt himself so painfully excluded from.29 With an editorial process largely comparable to that of anencomiastic poet30 (which is notsurprising, after all, since heis anencomiastic poet), Simonides proceeds to showHiero all the advantages his power canhave for the improvement of his wayof life, provided he canhandle it in theright way, of course: in order to avoid the suspicion which most commonly attaches to a tyrant – that of acting for his own advantage andto the disadvantage of others – hehasfor instance to take uponhimself thefunction, once performed bythecommunity at large, of dispensing praise andblame, rewards and punishments, andin sodoing prove himself thereal touchstone uponwhich to measurethe value of things andhuman beings.31 This is only thefirst, andthemostimportant, of a series of reversals which have to take place if the tyrant is to be to transformed into a benevolent king: he has to drawfromhisprivate resources in order to contribute tothecommon good, andthus make himself, his house andproperty, a common possession of all the citizens.32 Only inthis waywill thetyrant be able to have part in theenjoyment of that happiness he so bitterly resented being excluded from: by providing himself what has to be shared with others, andmaking it really his own, at last. Whatever goodhemay 27 7.1–4 (Simonides’ remarks), 5– 10 (Hiero’s reply). 28 7.11– 13 (the tyrant hasnomeans of surrendering his power other than death); from chapter 8 onSimonides begins to expound hisviews onthematter. 29 Chapter 11 (cf. 1.11). The fact that the admiration, which amounts to praise, instead of hate, which belongs to the semantic field of blame, should be expressed in erotic terms (11.11: ἐ ρῷο) is typical of thetradition of both advice poetry andpraise poetry: see Kurke 1990. 30 Forthis expression see Huxley 1975, with a chapter called “TheEditorial Poet”. 31 Chapter 9, with the additional contrivance of reserving to himself the more agreeable task of awarding theprizes, while delegating to others thedisagreeable duty of administering thepun-


ishments. Chapter 11. Even the somewhat awkward need to keep a bodyguard of mercenaries could be exploited to the benefit andsatisfaction of the citizens, by making it a bodyguard of the community as a whole, rather thanof thetyrant alone. Butthis is only possible if tyrant andcity can be identified: nolonger enemies, they arenowto be seen asthe same thing.

The imperfect hero


dohispeople, it amounts tohisownbenefit, inthat thewhole townmaynowbefelt ashishome, hiscitizens arethecompanions hemissed, hisfriends areasdeartohis heart as his children, andhis children are no less than his ownsoul.33 Participation (cf. 11.12: µε ταδώ σει ς) andequality result in the tyrant’s actions reflecting (posi-

tively, this time) upon him, so that all the good he does others amounts to good for himself. The opposition between them is resolved and transformed into perfect agreement anda complete reciprocity is at last achieved between the king (no tyrants anymore here, please!)34 andhis people – including his family, forjust as it wasas hostile andtreacherous to the tyrant as the worst of his enemies, so it is as warmandaffectionate towards the wise king as his citizens are. The ultimate reversal is achieved whentheking is seen to be constantly trying to outdo his friends in doing good, in order not to be outdone by his enemies in doing harm: his assimilation to theprinciples of aristocratic ethic is thus completed, asindicated bytheassurance hewill inthis waytriumph over envy35 – thetraditional encomiastic refrain that signals theperfect achievement onthepart of thevictor, not only in gaining victory, but in being able to share it with others as well. Although the final stage in this process is suggested by Simonides, Hiero hasalready done part of thework himself, bypointing outthequalities necessary to a true benefactor: in this sense his education to become a king instead of a tyrant is (partially atleast) a self-education, a kindof taming36 of theleast pleasant aspects of theherolike figure of thetyrant, with hisexcessive andtherefore dangerous power, in order tolethimappear endowed withthepositive qualities only, andthus showhimself as a perfect hero, one whocan protect the community among which he dwells and make it flourish. That to reach this conclusion Xenophon has had recourse to a complex of thoughts current inepinician choral poetry is notsurprising – after all, therecipients of thatkindof poetry didbelong tothesame social class towhich Xenophon andhis readers belonged. That is the reason whyXenophon’s means of communication were notbasically different from theencomiastic poets’: their works were both intended forhomogeneous andsympathetic audiences,37 fully imbued with aristocratic values, theones transmitted andperpetuated in andby symposia.38 Although the

33 11.13–15; compare 3.7–9: tyrants are hated most by those whoshould be their nearest and dearest. It could bepointed outhere that a typical feature of thetyrant is hisinability totransmit hispower to hischildren (see for a general survey Catenacci 1996): indeed, there seems to bea kindof fixed cultural association (or wasit rather a political taboo?) in Greek thought between tyranny (or anykind of absolute power) andsocial isolation, both in a synchronic perspective (the king or tyrant does notlive among his subjects, norin the same wayas they do) andin a diachronic one(it is as if onehadto payfor extreme wealth andpower by losing his right to a lawful descent: see for instance again Solon fr.33 West). 34 Fromchapter 8 onthetermτύραννος is generally avoided, andthemoreneutral ἄρχων (andthe verb ἄρχειν instead of τυ ραννε ύ ειν) is preferred. 35 11.15. 36 The wordis notinappropriate in view of the wolf-like picture of the tyrant Plato draws in the Republic (565D– 581D).

37 ForXenophon, see Kelly 1996; for Pindar andencomiastic poetry in general, see Crotty 1982. 38 Forthecultural role of symposia, see Vetta 1995 andMurray 1990.



original audience of epinicia wasin most (but bynomeans in all) cases larger than a symposion, andit ideally extended as far as thewhole city, the actual survival of this kindof poetry waslargely dueto its being accepted into thepoetic repertory of that cultural institution, andthe complex of ideas upon which it wasfounded was basically coincident with that of thearistocratic world which found its main means of transmission anddiffusion in symposia.39 It could even be argued that thetyrant is nomore than theextreme embodiment of theheroic40 wayof life which thearistocratic world proposed to its members as a model: only, he realizes it by himself, instead of sharing it with others. So, even if it is necessary to restrain his (as everybody’s, actually) ambitions, still there is room for aneducational program like that envisaged bytheencomiastic poets in thefifth century andbyXenophon andIsocrates in the fourth, since the basic values are the same: it really is no more than a matter of measure. Theproblem both Xenophon andthe encomiastic poets have to face is, in conclusion, very much the same: that of accommodating the ambitions andachievements of the successful individual to theneeds of thecommunity. That they also found the same answer41 is therefore nosurprise either.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Aalders, G. J. D., 1953, “Date andIntention of Xenophon’s Hiero”, Mnemosyne 6: 206–215. Adkins, A.W., 1960, Merit andResponsibility: a Study in Greek Values (Oxford).

Barceló, P.,1993, Basileia, Monarchia, Tyrannis (Historia Einzelschriften 79, Stuttgart). Bell J. M., 1978, “Κ ίµβιξ καὶ σο φό ς: Simonides in the Anecdotal Tradition”, QUCC 28: 28–86. Berve, H., 1967, Die Tyrannis bei denGriechen (Munich). Brelich, A., 1958, Gli eroi greci: unproblema storico-religioso (Rome). 1969, Paides e parthenoi (Rome). J., 1991, “Poets andtheir patrons”, inH.Hofmann (ed.), Fragmenta Dramatica inhonorem Bremer, --S.L. Radt (Göttingen), 39–60. Burckhardt, J., 1898–1902, Griechische Kulturgeschichte (Berlin-Stuttgart). Calame, C., 1977, Les choeurs dejeunes filles en Grèce archaique (Rome). 1986, Le recit en Grèce ancienne (Paris). Canfora, L., 1986, “II Principe”, in G. Tedeschi (ed.), Senofonte. La Tirannide (Palermo): 11–15. --Carlier, P., 1984, La royauté en Grèce avant Alexandre (Strasbourg). Cartledge, P., 1997, Introduction andnotes, in R. Waterfield (tr.), Xenophon: Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises (Harmondsworth). Catenacci, C., 1996, Il tiranno e l’ eroe (Milan). Cerri, G., 1968, “La terminologia socio-politica di Teognide”, QUCC 7: 7–32. 1969, Ἴσος δ ασµό ς comeequivalente diἰ σονοµίαnella silloge teognidea”, QUCC8: 97–104. “ 1982, Song andAction. TheVictory Odes of Pindar (Baltimore). Crotty, K., ---

39 See Crotty 1982, Cerri 1968, 1969, Slater 1979. 40 Asis defined bySlater 1973; Berve 1967: 191points outasoneof thefeatures of most Sicilian tyrants their attempt to cultivate anaristocratic wayof life. 41 Remarkably enough, with very similar words as well: compare the ξυναὶ ἀρεταί(virtues all canenjoy) Pindar recommends the victor in Pyth.11.55 andthe κοινῆς ἀρετῆς for which men truly admire their benefactors, as Hiero himself points outat 7.9.


Theimperfect hero Davies, M., 1988, “Stesichorus’ Geryoneis andits Folk-Tale Origins”, CQn.s. 38: 277–290. Dihle, A., 1982, The Theory of Will in Classical Antiquity (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London). Dodds, E., 1951, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley-Los Angeles). Ehrenberg,

V., 1940, “Isonomia”, RE Suppl. 7: 293–301.

Floyd, E. D., 1965, “The Performance of Pindar, Pythian 8.55–70”, GRBS 6: 187–200. Fontenrose, J., 1968, “The Hero as Athlete”, CSCA 1: 73– 104. Gentili, B., 1984, Poesia e pubblico nella Grecia antica (Rome-Bari). English translation (A.T.Cole): Poetry and its Public inAncient Greece (Baltimore 1988). Goldhill, S., 1991, The Poet’s Voice. Essays on Poetics and Greek Literature (Cambridge). Gray, V.J., 1986, “Xenophon’s Hiero andthe Meeting of Wise ManandTyrant in Greek Literature”, CQn.s. 36: 115–123. Hatzfeld, J., 1946, “Note surla date et l’ objet duHiéron Huxley, G., 1975, Pindar’s Vision of the Past (Belfast).

deXénophon”, REG59: 54–70.

Jeanmaire, H. 1939, Couroi et courètes (Lille)

Kelly, D., 1996, “Oral Xenophon”, in Worthington, I. (ed.), Voice into Text: Orality and Literacy in Ancient Greece (Leiden): 149–163. Kurke, L., 1990, “Pindar’s Sixth Pythian andthe Tradition of Advice Poetry”, TAPA 120: 85– 107. Lanza, D., 1977, Il tiranno e il suopubblico (Turin). Lefkowitz, M., 1991, First-person Fictions. Pindar’s Poetic I (Oxford). “” Luccioni, J. 1948, Xénophon: Hiéron (Paris)

Mossé, C. 1969, La tyrannie dans la Grèce antique (Paris). Murray, O., 1990, Sympotica. A Symposium on the Symposion (Oxford). Nagy, G., 1990, Pindar’s Homer. The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past (Baltimore) Ostwald, M., 1969, Nomos and the Beginnings of theAthenian Democracy (Oxford).

Pasini, D., 1975, Tirannide

e paura (Naples).

Sanchez de la Torre, A., 1994, La Tirania en la Grecia antigua (Madrid). Slater, W., 1973, Review of Young 1971, Gnomon 45: 197–199. 1979, “Pindar andHypothekai”, Teiresias Suppl.2: 79–82. --- 1981, “Peace, Symposium andthe Poet”, ICS 6: 205–214. Slings, S. (ed.), 1990, ThePoet’s “I” inArchaic Greek Lyric (Amsterdam). --Sordi, M., 1980, “Lo Ierone di Senofonte, Dionigi I e Filisto”, Athenaeum 58: 3–13. 1989, “Il motivo della felicità del tiranno nella propaganda dionisiana”, AION 11: 65–73. Strauss, L., 1948, OnTyranny: AnInterpretation of Xenophon’s Hiero (New York). --Svenbro, J., 1976, La parole et le marbre: aux origines de la poétique grecque (Lund). Updated and corrected Italian translation (P. Rosati): Laparola e il marmo (Turin, 1984).

Tedeschi, G., 1986, “La felicità senza invidia”, in Tedeschi, ermo): 57–74.

G. (ed.), Senofonte: La Tirannide (Pal-

VanGennep, A., 1909, Les rites depassage (Paris). Vernant, J.-P. andVidal-Naquet, P., 1972, Mythe et tragédie en Grèce ancienne (Paris). Vetta, M. (ed.), 1995, Poesia e simposio nella Grecia antica (Rome-Bari). Vlastos, G., 1964, “ Ἰ σονοµίαπολι τι κή ”, inMau,J. G. andSchmidt, E. G. (edd.), Isonomia. Studien zur Gleichheitsvorstellung imgriechischen Denken (Berlin): 1–35. Young, D. C., 1968, Three Odes of Pindar: A Literary Study of Pythian 11, Pythian 3 and Olympian 7 (Leiden). 1971, Pindar Isthmian 7: Myth and Exempla (Leiden).



The army of Xenophon’s Anabasis has been compared to (among other things) a mobile polis, a Panhellenic utopia, anda business corporation.1 Yet however they define the nature of the community in theAnabasis, scholars have so far not paid much attention to the internal workings of that community. This essay investigates community dynamics amongst themercenaries of Cyrus, or Cyreans, byexamining the Cyrean lochos, or “company”, of roughly onehundred men. The lochos formed the basic tactical andadministrative unit of the Anabasis army throughout the army’s existence. It wasalso thebasic formal community to which each Cyrean hoplite belonged, andthrough which his social life in the army wasmediated. We start with the recruitment andorganization of the Cyrean hoplite lochos, move on to its tactical, administrative andsocial functions, andround off with the role of the lo-

chagos or “company commander”. Λό χος is anoldword, deriving originally fromHomeric λέγω, “to layonedown, χος in the Iliad usually carries a locative sense, as a place of conputto bed”.2Λό cealment or ambush. But the wordis also attested as a name for theforce comprising such an ambuscade. In the Odyssey, λό χος sometimes still retains its locative meaning – notably in a picturesque description of the Trojan Horse as κοῖ λον λό χον (8.515) – but comes in addition to signify an organized troop or company of warriors, thus suggesting theliteral translation of λό χος as “a group of fighting men wholie downtogether”.3 By thePeloponnesian War, thelochos appears asa basic unit of military organization in many Greek armies. According to Thucydides, the Argives, the Boeotians, the Corinthians andthe Megarians all mustered soldiers in lochoi.4 The ten


2 3


Mobile polis: Nussbaum 1959: 16. Panhellenic utopia: Dillery 1995: 59–98. Business corporation: Aupperle 1998: 502–505. – This is a revised version of thepaper I presented atthe World of Xenophon conference in July 1999. I would like to thank the many conference participants, especially Peter Krentz, AdamSchwartz andChristopher Tuplin, whooffered helpful suggestions andcomments. Thepresent paper comprises only part of a larger study onmilitary organization andcommunity in the Anabasis. Space limitations constrain me from discussing the informally collected small groups of comrades (suskênoi) which, I argue in mylarger study, existed within each lochos. Translations aremyown,except where indicated. Unidentified textual references areto theAnabasis. Finally, this paper is dedicated to Alice Nash. Crusius 1844: 323; Autenrieth 1958: 179; LSJ s.v. λέ γω (A). Place of concealment or ambush: Il.1.227, 11.379; force comprising anambuscade: 4.392, 6.189; troop or company of warriors: Od.20.49. Thuc. 5.72.4 (Argive lochoi at Mantinea, 418); 4.91.1 (Pagondas addresses Boeotian army by



tribal divisions of the Athenian army, likewise, seem each to have comprised an uncertain number of lochoi.5 Lochos units in these armies, however, generally variedin size anddurability. In a hoplite militia force like that of Athens, for example, thenumbers andcomposition of each tribe’s hoplite contribution to anygiven expedition would depend onhowmanyandwhich citizens found their names posted for call-up in theagora. Only ontherelatively rare occasions whentheentire Athenian phalanx marched out together (πανδηµεί) might an Athenian lochos reach its full complement (if in fact it didhave a fixed “establishment strength”, andthere exists noevidence forthis). Noris it possible to ascertain whether Athenians called upfor hoplite service always took the field in the same lochos, or indeed even the same place in the phalanx rank andfile.6 Whatever its size, innone of these armies didthelochos regularly function as a tactical unit. That is, individual lochoi didnotmove independently ona battlefield. Instead they were wholly incorporated within the ideally unbroken line of thepolis phalanx. The size of such lochoi, which always seemed to have counted at least several hundred men, only reflects the fact that they were notdesigned to function as independent tactical units, for such large blocks of troops would have been relatively unwieldy to manoeuvre efficiently.7 The Lacedaemonian lochos of the fifth andfourth centuries BC, in contrast, wasa durable administrative entity of fixed size. In the Spartan army, in fact, the lochos formed only onelevel in a highly organized system which gave theSpartans the ability to manoeuvre troops with a facility no other polis could match. Spartan lochoi, or even elements of lochoi, could be detached for independent missions or as garrisons, andlochoi were ononememorably unsuccessful occasion ordered to manoeuvre on the battlefield outside the phalanx line.8 Nevertheless, even in the fourth century whentwelve smaller lochoi mayhave replaced the five large lochoi of theearly fifth century Spartan army, theLacedaemonian lochos wasintended to fight as part of anintegrated phalanx.9 The characteristics of the lochos as found in the Spartan, Athenian, andother Greek armies thus seemonly to confirm whatRennell asserted twocenturies agoin lochos, 424); 4.31.1–4 (Corinthian lochoi at Solygeia, 424); 4.74.3 (Megarians assemble in lochoi, 424). Argives andBoeotians still organized in lochoi in the fourth century: Hell. 6.4.13 (Theban attack at Leuctra, 371); 7.2.4 (Phliasian cavalry attacks withdrawing Argive infantry,



7 8



Hell. 1.2.3; Mem. 3.4.1–2; [Arist.] Ath.Pol. 61; Lammert andLammert 1923: 446; Anderson 1970: 97; Jones 1987: 52–55. Anderson 1970: 97–98; Whitehead 1986: 224–226; Lazenby 1991: 89. Bicknell 1972: 21 conjectures anestablishment strength of 300 menperlochos, butthis is notsupported by the evidence. See also Thompson 1964: 404, onthenon-standardized size of tribal contingents. Anderson 1970: 97–98; Lazenby 1991: 89. Thuc. 4.8.9 (detachments chosen “from all the lochoi” garrison Sphacteria in succession); 5.71.3–5.72.1 (Agis at Mantinea attempts to reinforce his left with two lochoi from his right wing). WhenandhowSpartan army organization changed remains disputed, with a basic source conflict between Thuc. 5.68.3 andXen. RL 11.4. See Lammert andLammert 1923: 445–452; Delbrück 1975: I.153. HCT IV.110– 117, 119– 123, andAnderson 1970: 225–251, ably set out the problems andattempt to resolve contradictions. See also Lazenby 1985, esp. 7– 10.

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


his attempt to outline the development of unit organization in theAnabasis.10 Rennell observed, accurately, that thestudy of Greek military organization suffers most from the confounding of different periods andarmies. As wehave seen above, lochos andlochagos mean several hundred menandtheir commander to Thucydides in thefifth century BC. To Arrian seven centuries later the same terms signify only a single phalanx file andits leader.11 Even within theXenophontic corpus, thesame wordtakes different meanings indifferent works. Theidealized lochos of the Cyropaedia, for instance, is only onequarter theusual size of thereal lochoi of theCyreans. Therefore, as Rennell writes, “wemaybe allowed to consider the lochos described by Xenophon [in theAnabasis] as the one which is alone applicable to the subject” of Cyrean organization.12 This does not mean that sources other than the Anabasis areuseless for understanding theCyrean hoplite lochos; butit does mean that such sources must be deployed with extreme caution. Recruitment, size anddurability Cyrus obtained his hoplite mercenaries from several sources.13 Hedrew onhis existing garrison forces in western Asia Minor, supplemented them with newrecruits from the mercenary pool in Asia Minor, sponsored the forces of personal allies in mainland Greece andIonia, andsent recruiters to Arcadia, Achaea, andBoeotia.14 During thecourse of his march toward Babylon, Cyrus added to his army Peloponnesian hoplites andGreek deserters from the hoplite bodyguard of the Persian Abrocomas.15 From the time of their joining Cyrus until the battle of Cunaxa, these various units of the Greek mercenary force were organized in στρατι αίor σ τ ρ α τεύ µατα, literally “armies”, butprobably better translated as “contingents” .16Only after Cunaxa are the Cyreans as a whole referred to as a single strateuma, at which point thetranslation “army” becomes more acceptable. In most cases, these contingents were commanded by the strategos (general) whohad initially recruited or collected the troops. When these contingents assembled at Celaenae in May 401 BC, the smallest of them, the hoplite corps of Sophaenetus, mustered a thousand men.17 The hoplites in every one of these contingents must have been organized into lochoi from the beginning of their service with Cyrus.18 Although direct evi-

10 11 12 13 14


Rennell 1814: 185–188. Rennell 1814: 185; Arr. Tact.5.4–6.6. Rennell 1814: 186. See similar comments in Boucher 1912: 300 andAnderson 1970: 297 n.17 Onrecruitment see Parke 1933: 24–30; Roy 1967: 297–323; Perlman 1976: 241–284. 1.2.2 (garrisons); 1.1.6 (new recruits); 1.1.7 (personal allies); 1.2.3 (Milesians); 1.1.9 (Clearchus in theChersonese); 1.1.10 (Aristippus inThessaly); 1.1.11 (recruiters). 1.4.3: Peloponnesians under Cheirisophus anddeserters from Abrocomas.

16 Roy 1967: 287 n.3. 17 1.2.9. Sosis the Syracusan arrived with 300 hoplites, butSosis disappears after Celaenae, and hismenseem to have been incorporated into another contingent; see Roy 1967: 287 n.4. 18 Lendle 1995: 28–29 (“die Kontingente der einzelnen Feldherren waren in mehrere von Lochagen geführte lochoi [Kompanien] aufgeteilt, diealsdietaktischen Grundeinheiten derArmee gelten müssen”).



dence for the omnipresence of lochoi before Cunaxa is slim, there are several good reasons to accept that the Cyrean hoplites always hada lochos organization. First of all, andperhaps least convincingly, wehave already noted above that every major Greek polis army seems tohavehadsomeformof internal subdivision, no matter howrudimentary, for its hoplite phalanx.19 Such divisions, even if they didnotfunction tactically, remained essential simply forenabling troops toformup quickly as a phalanx. That is, aska thousand people to line upin rank andfile, and utter confusion will result. Askthem to do so in groups of a hundred andthen arrange these groups into a phalanx, andthe task becomes markedly easier.20 More significantly, whenin theaftermath of Cunaxa Xenophon bids the surviving lochagoi andother officers to remember events before the expedition began, he implies that they were lochagoi evenatthat time. There must, therefore, have existed lochoi for these mento command.21 From this it seems plausible to conclude that hoplite mercenary units in Ionia were normally organized into lochoi. TwoXenophontic references to the pattern of mercenary recruitment in Asia Minor reinforce this conclusion. Late in theAnabasis, as the Cyreans campaign in the service of theThracian dynast Seuthes, Xenophon recounts howEpisthenes the Olynthian once raised a lochos for mercenary service. Xenophon focuses on the point that Episthenes recruited “looking fornothing else thanthat they [his recruits] should be beautiful,” butfor ourpurposes here, this passage suggests that a wouldbe lochagos could assemble a lochos himself andthen offer theformed unit to prospective employers.22 TheHellenica offers a clearer instance of this practice of recruiting mercenaries bylochos. Xenophon relates howAgesilaus, about toreturn to Greece in394, “offered prizes tothecaptains of mercenaries, fortheonewhoshould join the expedition with the best-equipped company” .23Again, it seems clear that units wererecruited bylochos, although inthis case Xenophon doesnotspecify that the lochagos himself didthe initial recruiting. Although this episode occurred in 394, it is reasonable to suppose that recruitment wascarried outin much the same fashion when Cyrus gathered his hoplites only seven years earlier. Wehave seenthat while lochoi inGreek polis armies varied in size, they generally seem to have contained several hundred menapiece. The Cyrean lochos, in contrast, probably regularly mustered only one hundred. This “establishment Xen. Hier.9.5: “Forall cities aredivided up,somebytribe, others bymora, others by lochos, andleaders are setupover each of these parts.” 20 Lazenby 1991: 89. 21 3.1.37: Xenophon addresses lochagoi andother officers. 22 7.4.8. Whether we should identify this Episthenes with another παι δε ρ αστή ς, Pleisthenes of Amphipolis (4.6.1–3), remains uncertain. He is probably not, though, the same man as Episthenes of Amphipolis, mentioned as taxiarch of light troops (1.10.7). Stronk 1995: 226– 228 favors this identification on manuscript grounds. Xenophon’s narrative (7.4.6–8), however, indicates that only hoplites were present during theraid with Seuthes. This Episthenes of Olynthos, therefore, was most likely a hoplite; any attempt to identify him with the manof 1.10.7 will have to explain howhe went from commanding a peltast taxis to fighting as a hoplite. 23 Hell. 4.2.5 (tr. Brownson). See Roy 1967: 320 onstandardized terms of military service inAsia Minor.



The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


strength” is directly attested only after thebattle of Cunaxa. First, whentheCyreans ontheir retreat leave theMesopotamian plain andenter themountains of Carduchia, Xenophon observes that the difficulties of moving through defiles and across rugged terrain prompted theformation of six special lochoi asa picked advance and rear guard for their larger square formation (3.4.21: tr. Brownson [modified]): Whenthegenerals came torealize these difficulties, they formed six lochoi of a hundred meneach andputa lochagos attheheadof each company, adding also platoon leaders (πε ντηκ ο ντῆ ρας) andsection leaders (ἐνωµοτά ρχους). Three of these lochoi were at first stationed at the front of the army with Cheirisophos, theother three in therear with Xenophon (3.4.43). Wewill return to thepentekostys andenomotia subdivisions later, but for the moment let us stay with our discussion of lochoi. Boucher thought thatthis passage indicated theformation of six large units each consisting of four one-hundred-man lochoi.24 But his argument represents an impossible translation of the phrase ἐ ποίησαν ἓξ λό χους ἀνὰ ἑ κ ατὸν ἄνδρας and should be discarded. Both Lendle andRennell correctly recognize that Xenophon refers to the selection of picked troops, epilektoi, notto a wholesale reorganization of the army.25 The important point here is that the newly-created advance andrear

guards most probably replicated the size of the already-existing basic units of the Cyrean army: lochoi comprising onehundred men.Forit is difficult to imagine why thegenerals would create special units, also called lochoi, of different size than the other hoplite lochoi of the army. By thetime the Cyreans aremarching through Chalybian territory, at anyrate, there exists firm evidence that their entire hoplite force wasmade upof one-hundred-strong lochoi. Cheirisophus spots enemy forces blocking a pass ahead, and passes back commands to the army marching behind him: “he gave orders to the other [officers] to bring uptheir lochoi, in order to form the army into a phalanx” (4.6.6). Xenophon subsequently relates that thewhole army, before going into battle against theColchians ontheEuxine, formed into line of lochoi incolumn (4.8.15–


When each [of the lochagoi] were in their proper positions andformed their lochoi into column, it happened that there were about eighty lochoi of hoplites, ν) onehundred men. andeach lochos wasnearly (σχε δό Here the presence of the hundred-strong lochos is attested for the entire Cyrean hoplite force. Read together with the passage (3.4.21) quoted above, Xenophon’s ν (“approximately, about”) again suggests one hundred as the estabuse of σχεδό lished strength of the lochos, while recognizing the reduction of this number by casualties – anissue to which weshall return shortly. There remains one other piece of evidence to account for before concluding that the hundred-man lochos wasthe basic Cyrean unit. Onthe march toward Cunaxa, Xenophon describes howtwolochoi of Menon’s contingent, part of thedetail 24 Boucher 1913: 164–165. 25 Rennell 1814: 175–184; Lendle 1995: 179–180.



escorting queen Epyaxa back to Tarsus, were lost crossing the Taurus mountains (1.2.25). These twounits together, herecords, numbered a hundred hoplites, orfifty menapiece. Themanuscripts all agree here:

ἐν δὲ τῇ ὑπε ρ βολῇ τῶν ὀ ρέων τῇ εἰς τὸ πε δὶ ον δύ ο λό χοι τοῦ Μ ένωνος στραµατος ἀπώ τε ύ ἦσαν δ᾽οὖν οὗτοι ἑ κ ατὸν ὁπλῖ ται . λοντο Scholars, consequently, tend readily to accept that for some unexplained reason Menon’s lochoi were of different size from other lochoi in the army.26 Mather andHewitt, however, offer a simple, attractive, andlittle-noticed emendation: ἦσαν δ᾽ οὖν οὗτοι ἑ κ ατὸν ὁπλῖ ται .27This emendation has the virtue of removing Menon’s lochoi from their unusual fifty-strong size andplacing their numbers firmly with those attested for the other Cyrean lochoi.28 Given the similarity of ἕ κ αστος andἑ κ ατό ν, it is easy to see howa tired copyist might have rubbed his eyes, mistaken twowords for one, andinitiated the error; andthe fourline separation of δύ ο λό χοι from ἑ κ ατὸν does not present a serious objection to theemendation: Xenophon uses δ᾽οὖν (“at anyrate”) inthelast part of the sentence precisely to indicate resumed discussion of the two lochoi after the digression in theintervening lines.29 Those reluctant to doviolence to thetext may prefer to speculate that Menon’s lochoi differed in size because they were recruited in Thessaly, where theconventions of mercenary service might have differed from those of Asia Minor (1.1.10, 1.2.6). But even were this true – andthere exists no evidence to support such a conjecture – these smaller lochoi must eventually have

26 Parke 1933: 29; Lendle 1995: 28 (but compare 153). 27 Mather andHewitt 1910: 30–39, 248: “possibly ἕ κ αστος should be read before ἑ κ ατό ν, one hundred each” [italics in original]. 28 When the Arcadians andAchaeans temporarily split from the remainder of the army at Heracleia (6.2.11– 12), several incidents at first glance suggest a 400-strong Arcadian / Achaean lochos organization. Briefly: theArcadians andAchaeans, numbering about 4000 (6.2.16), selected tennewstrategoi from amongst themselves (6.2.12). While Xenophon andCheirisophus each with their ownforces madetheir ways separately overland, theArcadians (andAchaeans, although they are not mentioned specifically again until 6.3.24) proceeded by sea to Calpes Limen, where they disembarked, whereupon “each general ledhisownlochos” against villages in the area (6.3.2–3). Ten generals, each leading his ownlochos; therefore 400-man lochoi. These units, however, lasted for only four or five days. The Arcadians andAchaeans quickly raninto trouble, andwere soon reunited with Xenophon’s force (6.3.24–25). Twodays after, the army decided formally to return to its original condition (6.4.11). The lochoi mentioned in this secession, therefore, donotseem relevant to a discussion of the Cyreans’ usual organization. Perhaps Xenophon usedλό χος inthese passages only for lack of a better term to describe the ad hoc Arcadian/Achaean formations. For the secessionists hadleft their original lochoi (6.2.12), andhadquickly to be given some structure by their newgenerals. The generals split the troops evenly amongst themselves, andXenophon named the temporary divisions lochoi, even though they bore norelation to lochoi in the rest of theAnabasis. Perhaps his use of the phrase “another lochos of the ten generals” (6.3.5: ἄ λλου δὲ λό χου τῶν δέ κα στ ρατ ηγῶν) is intended to distinguish these adhoc lochoi from the regular Cyrean lochoi; see Lendle 1995: 28–29, 374–377, 391–392; Stronk 1995: 61–62, 66. 29 Smyth 1920: 2833, 2959; LSJ s.v. οὖν; GP2463–4.

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


been joined in pairs to form units of more usual size, for they appear only in this early passage.30

Whywasthe size of a lochos set at one hundred? Because the Cyreans’ basic unit shares its name with the mainland Greek lochos, scholars have invariably looked for the influence of lochoi in other Greek armies, especially the Spartan, on the Anabasis lochos. The influence of Persian military structures, on the other hand, has not been considered. Unlike Greek units, which in the Spartan case contained multiples of four or six, Persian units formed on a decimal basis.31 Xenophon’s account of theideal Persian army inthe Cyropaedia, for example, seems to demonstrate this clearly.32 It is possible, then, that the strength of the Cyrean lochoi wasto some degree shaped by this decimal principle. Standard-sized units were easier for Cyrus’ staff to count, andto pay (or promise to pay, at any rate). If Cyrus did not require his recruiters to arrive at Sardis with units already in hundred-strong lochoi, he may have reorganized all his contingents during the army’s month-long stop at Celaenae. There, Xenophon tells us(1.2.9), “Cyrus held a review andmade anenumeration of theGreeks”. Thehoplite mercenaries hedrewfromhisIonian garrisons were probably already formed in lochoi. Only the newly-recruited contingents, for instance Menon’s Thessalians, might have required reorganization. Howdurable were the Cyrean lochoi? In other words, were they continually broken upandreorganized during the march to keep each lochos upto an established strength of one hundred? Parke concluded such reshuffling didnot occur.33 Heusedasevidence oneof theCyreans’ manyassaults onfortified strongholds, this time in Taochian territory. Because the defenders are rolling stones downuponthe Cyreans, Xenophon suggests his men take cover in a nearby stand of trees. Cheirisophus andXenophon lead theway, followed byCallimachus theParrhasian andhis lochos (4.7.8–9): After this, about seventy menwent outunder the trees, not in close order, but individually, each protecting himself as best he could, andothers took places outside the trees, for it wasnot possible for more than the one lochos to stand safely amongst thetrees.

The one lochos is that of Callimachus, andhere it seems to number only seventy men. Parke takes this as the size of a lochos reduced by casualties andnot supplemented with replacements to bring it back to full strength. Boucher, in contrast, argues that this, andevery lochos, wasalways kept upto strength byreorganization, butthat the remaining thirty members of Callimachus’ unit were elsewhere during 30 For lochos amalgamation, see below. 31 Persian military organization: Sekunda 1988: 69–77; Wiesehöfer 1996: 91; Encyclopedia Iranica II: 492, s.v. “Army, Pre-Islamic Iran.” 32 Cyr. 2.1.22: though idealized, Xenophon’s account of Persian army organization in this passage seems based on actual practice, particularly when compared with the more fantastic description of army recruitment presented at Cyr.1.5.5. See also Cyr. 8.1.14 andAnderson 1970: 74. 33 Parke 1933: 27 andn. 1 (Parke cites 4.8.10 as an instance of reorganization, but this passage simply recounts a change of formation, from phalanx to column).



the assault, “probablement employés aux bagages” .34Since weknow soldiers did indeed leave their units for exactly this purpose, Boucher has a valid point.35 Yet Xenophon nowhere specifically mentions constant reshuffling of personnel to keep units upto full strength. Onthe contrary, when he does mention the entire hoplite force drawn upinlochoi, hequalifies their hundred-man size with σχεδό ν (4.8.15), a qualification which indicates his awareness that casualties hadreduced most lochoi to below establishment strength. A variety of causes could reduce the effective strength of a lochos below its established strength. Most obviously, menwere killed inbattle, diedfrom frostbite, fell sick or were injured. In describing battle casualties, Xenophon tends to place emphasis on the exceptional. That is, either the troops suffer no deaths, as at the battle of Cunaxa, or entire lochoi are wiped out or nearly exterminated. Thus for example, Menon’s two lochoi crossing the Taurus were completely destroyed (1.2.25). Likewise, there are the three lochoi, commanded by the Athenians Cephisodorus andAmphicrates along with theArgive exile Archagoras, which Xenophonleft as a flank guard ona hill in Carduchia. Xenophon’s mainforce moved on to take the next hill, after which (4.2.17– 18: tr. Dillery, modified): Archagoras came upin flight andreported that the Greeks hadbeen dislodged from the first hill, that Cephisodorus andAmphikrates hadbeen killed, andlikewise all therest, whoever hadnotbeen able, escaping downtherocks, to reach


Precise casualties are not given in this passage, but there seem to have been few survivors. In another case, this time during the Arcadian/Achaean split from the army, a lochos commanded byHegesander wasrouted andleft with only eight survivors.36 If these examples were typical of theCyrean battle pattern, then it maybe that theneedto reorganize units wholesale didnotarise frequently, for most lochoi would have been either around their establishment strength or non-existent. Yet Xenophon mentions in passing several other instances of less severe casualties, usually without giving precise figures.37 These losses would havebeen spread amongst the lochoi involved in the fighting, rather than concentrated in a single unit. Moreover, recorded non-battle casualties seem to have been distributed throughout the entire army. For instance, only thirty mensuccumbed to frostbite during thefirst three days of a four-day march through fathom-deep blowing snow in Armenia, a relatively lowpercentage compared to the number killed in battle in the three catastrophic episodes above.38 Perhaps, therefore, Xenophon places em34 Boucher 1913: 232. 35 4.3.30–31: soldiers leave their units to look after baggage andnon-combatants. 36 6.3.5. If this wasoneof thelarge adhocAchaean / Arcadian lochoi (see n.28) Hegesander lost 392 men, not92. Xenophon (caustically?) remarks that Hegesander himself survived. 37 Casualties: 1.10.3 (some Cyreans killed guarding the baggage at Cunaxa); 3.5.2 (killed while plundering); 4.1.10 (killed by Carduchi); 4.1.18 (Cleonymus andBasias). 38 4.4.4–5. Presumably Xenophon means thirty meninthewhole army; evenif hewasonly referring to thesix lochoi of hisrearguard though, such casualties would be relatively light in comparison to those of, say, Hegesander’s lochos. Four days in the snow: see Lendle 1995: 238; contra Breitenbach 1967: 1607.

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


onthe destruction of entire lochoi simply because such occurences were out of the ordinary; most units, rather than being swept away at a single blow, were worn down slowly as mensuccumbed to wounds, disease or frostbite. Fatal casualties aside, desertion, the selection of epilektoi, andthe removal of hoplites to other functions might reduce the numbers of a lochos. For instance, an unknown number of soldiers appear to have deserted from Cyrus’ army along with the generals Pasion andXenias at Myriandrus.39 The six picked lochoi established as the army left the Mesopotamian plain seem to have drawn menfrom the entire army, andthetwohundred Rhodians serving ashoplites certainly left their original lochoi to form a newunit of slingers, as did the fifty men who left their units to create the Cyreans’ only cavalry troop.40 Some lochoi, even when reduced by casualties, could continue to function in combat. Callimachus’ seventy-man lochos provides an example of this. If a unit could perform its task effectively, as didthe lochos of Callimachus during its attack onthe fortified Taochian stronghold, there wasnoreason to interfere with its composition. We should not, therefore, imagine men being shuffled about simply in order tokeepunits upto a fixed strength.41 Still, at somepoint there musthave been lochoi which werenotwholly destroyed, butwhich nevertheless hadsuffered enough losses to ensure that they were no longer viable fighting units. The changing structure of the Spartan army in the fifth and fourth centuries reveals howdramatically manpower shortages might affect military organization, butthe Spartan experience provides little help in reconstructing what happened to casualty-reduced lochoi in theAnabasis army. This is because thechanges in Spartan structure represented a redistribution of the entire pool of available manpower into a new tactical organization, while for the Cyreans the problem was how to bring existing tactical organizations back up to an effective strength. The logical solution to this problem might be amalgamation. That is, a weakened lochos of say, sixty men, andanother of forty, might be combined to produce a single lochos of onehundred. The numbers, of course, would not in reality work out so neatly, but this process of amalgamation could restore mauled units to usefulness. The Anabasis itself provides no direct evidence for such a process, with one possible exception. During anattack onthefortified metropolis of theDrilae, Xen-


ophon mentions hupolochagoi taking their places in battle formation next to the lochagoi (5.2.13). These hupolochagoi (“under-lochagoi”) appear nowhere else in the Anabasis. Lendle has attempted to explain these officers by identifying them with the pentekonteres (“platoon commanders”) of the six picked lochoi.42 At first glance, this identification seems plausible, especially given that Xenophon’s narra-

39 1.4.6–7; also 7.2.3–4: ontheEuxine coast, some Cyreans sell their weapons andeither sail for Greece or disappear into the local population. See Bonner 1920: 85–88; Stronk 1995: 19–23.

40 Picked lochoi: 3.4.21; slingers: 3.3.15; cavalry: 3.3.20. 41 Apparently the Persian “Immortals” were considered unusual because their units were always kept upto establishment strength: Sekunda 1988: 69–70 with Hdt. 7.83.1; for a different interpretation, see Wiesehöfer 1996: 91–92. 42 Lendle 1995: 304; see 3.4.21 as well as the discussion of pentekostys and enomotiai subdivisions below; also Lammert 1927: 944, andLSJ s.v. ὑπο λό χ αγος.



tive does notclearly specify whether the hupolochagoi are only with the six picked

lochoi orarepresent in theentire hoplite line.43 Ontheother hand, Xenophon tends to be precise in his use of technical terms.44 When pentekonteres are mentioned elsewhere inAnabasis, they are explicitly named as such, andthey are involved in specific tactical functions. This is not the case in the passage mentioning hupolochagoi. Weneedto find another wayto explain their presence here. Imagine again twocasualty-reduced lochoi, oneof sixty men, another of forty, being brought together. Thehundred menof this reformed unit nowcome under the

command of the lochagos of the larger lochos, while the former lochagos of the smaller lochos becomes hishupolochagos. (Because it seems that lochoi which suffered heavy casualties also tended to lose their lochagoi, such hupolochagoi need not have appeared in every amalgamated lochos.45 Indeed, one of the reasons for amalgamating twoweak lochoi might have been that one of the units hadlost its commanding officer.) It is certainly noteworthy that hupolochagoi make their lone appearance relatively late in theAnabasis, bywhich time thenumber of hoplites in thearmyhadfallen from more than tenthousand to about 8000.46 In theabsence of further direct evidence, however, this identification of them as sub-commanders of reformed lochoi mustremain tentative. To sumup:anacceptable answer tothequestion of lochos durability, therefore, lies between the extremes posited by Parke (noreorganization) andBoucher (constant reorganization). That is, while lochoi functioned effectively, there wasnoneed toreorganize themmerely tokeepeachunituptoa fixed strength. Nonetheless, if at somepoint a casualty-reduced lochos could nolonger function incombat, a process of lochos amalgamation might reorganize weakened units into stronger, effective ones. As wesawearlier, moreover, thehoplites of Cyrus’ mercenary force entered his service already organized into lochoi of onehundred men, or were restructured in this pattern soon after theyjoined Cyrus. These lochoi were the basis of the army’s formal organization throughout theAnabasis. A Cyrean hoplite, thus, could reasonably expect to serve in the same lochos throughout his time with the army. Barring his owndeath ordesertion, his volunteering for special duties in thepicked lochoi, as a slinger or cavalryman, orthe amalgamation of his lochos with another,

43 5.2.1: Xenophon leads “half of thearmy against theDrilae.” Intheattack that follows, peltasts andcampfollowers advance first (5.2.4–5), followed eventually bythehoplites (5.2.11). Xenophon implies that thetroops with himwere the six picked lochoi (5.2.11, a clear reference to

the rivalry between the lochagoi of the picked lochoi seen before at 4.7.11– 12), but then his description of the hoplite battle formation (5.2.13) seems to include notjust these six lochoi, but all the lochoi with which he left camp (5.2.4–5). 44 Xenophon’s tendency toemploy “theexact nameof a thing”: Higgins 1977: 8. See also Gautier 1911: 150–1. 45 Note thetwoexamples of heavy ortotal casualties in lochoi discussed above (1.2.25: Menon’s twolochoi; 4.2.17– 18: twoof three lochagoi killed along with the majority of their men). In contrast, Xenophon seems todepict thelochagos Hegesander’s survival despite theloss of most of his lochos as unusual, even questionable (6.2.5). 46 Hoplite strength: at Issus 11,500 (1.4.3); in Babylonia 10,400 (1.7.10); on the Colchian Mountain 8000 plus 1800 light troops (4.8.15); at Cerasus hoplites andlight troops total 8600 (5.3.3). See Parke 1933: 24–26, 41–42; Roy 1967: 298–302; Stronk 1995: 21–23.

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


the Cyrean hoplite most likely marched and fought with the same comrades for nearly twoyears. Those Cyreans whoafter Cunaxa – six months into the march – became slingers orhorsemen ormembers of a picked lochos hadjoined units scarcely less durable, andcould probably expect to serve with the same comrades in their newformations for the remaining eighteen months or so of the army’s existence. Tactical functions

Here is howanearly twentieth-century German military manual defines thetactical


By theterm tactical unit is meant thesmallest element of a body of troops capable of sustaining anaction independently, of performing a simple combat task, andtheelements of which (man andhorse) arepersonally known to theleader. Moreover, thetactical unit should be small enough to allow of its being controlled by the voice of a single leader. The basic unit of infantry is the company, from 200 to 250 menstrong in thelarger armies. It seems hardly practicable to exceed a strength of 150 men, as this is about the greatest number in which a relation based upon personal influence of the leader on his subordinates can still be obtained. For those unsatisfied with the hypothesis that Persian decimal organization influenced the size of theAnabasis lochos, this modern definition, set down in the last erawhentroops were still moved in close order onEuropean battlefields, provides another rationale for having one hundred-strong units. For the Cyrean hoplite lochos wasa tactical unit, able to manoeuvre independently of a massed phalanx in battle. In this it wasunlike all other classical Greek military formations, with the occasional exception of those of the Spartans. The tactical function of the lochos is evident throughout the Anabasis, but perhaps nowhere more explicitly than in the advice Xenophon gives before a battle with the Colchians (4.8.9– 13):

Atfirst theGreeks formed upagainst [the Colchians] as a phalanx, butthegenerals then decided to meet anddiscuss howto fight the engagement as well as possible. Xenophon said that they should give upthephalanx andform the loχους ὀρθίους ποι ῆσαι). “For the phalanx,” [he said], “will choi in column (λό quickly be broken up, as we shall find the [terrain] hard to traverse at some points andeasy atothers. Andthis will quickly cause discouragement, whenever those formed upas a phalanx see it broken up.It seems to methat, forming thelochoi incolumn andleaving spaces between them, weshould cover enough ground so that the outermost lochoi arebeyond thewings of theenemy. In this wayweshall outflank theenemy line, andfighting incolumn ourstrongest men will lead the way; for wherever there is aneasy path, there each lochagos will lead [his men]. Andit will not be easy for the enemy to get into the intervals, 47 Balck 1911: 32, 34–35.



with lochoi on this side andthat, andnot easy for them to cut apart a lochos

advancing in column. If anyof thelochoi is hard-pressed, its neighbour canaid it, andif one of the lochoi is able to make it upto the summit, not a single enemy will remain there anylonger”.

Xenophon’s contrast between the ineffectiveness of a single unarticulated phalanx, andthe advantages of numerous lochoi in column emphasizes the ability of each lochos to move independently.48 Indeed, he stresses placing intervals between the lochoi, the opposite of the ideal unbroken hoplite phalanx. Outside of pitched battle, furthermore, hoplite units detached from themain army for flanking assaults or ambushes are almost always lochoi. For example, in the territory of the Carduchi, Xenophon leaves three lochagoi andtheir lochoi on a hill overlooking the march route of the army’s main body, while he proceeds with the rest of his troops to capture the next hill flanking the line of march (4.2.13). When lochoi are not assigned such missions, it is only because the force required is much smaller than a hundred men. Onthedescent to Trapezus, for instance, a Mysian soldier takes only ten Cretans with himto set a hasty ambush against pursuing natives (4.4.15– 16), while inArmenia Democrates of Temnos takes only a small detachment ona nighttime reconnaissance (5.2.9). Were the lochoi of theAnabasis army always able to manoeuvre independently, or didthey develop this tactical capability only in the course of their retreat, as they faced non-phalanx fighting conditions to which they were unaccustomed? It is usually assumed that Cyrus enlisted such a large body of hoplite mercenaries precisely because Persian armies werenotoriously deficient inheavy-armed infantry.49 When Cyrus wanted to display the capabilities of his Greek troops to the Cilician queen Epyaxa, hehadthemform asanunbroken phalanx forpitched battle (1.2.14– 18). And, in fact, the onecombat in which the Cyrean hoplites participated as employees of Cyrus (the battle of Cunaxa) sawthe Greeks fighting exactly in this manner, as a single unbroken line of hoplites composing theright flank of Cyrus’ army (1.8.14–20). Yet consider the missions which Cyrus’ hoplite mercenaries in Ionia might have undertaken before theyjoined his march up-country. Twomissions are securely attested: garrisoning thecoastal cities, andbesieging rebellious places like Miletus. A third mission, what wemight call anti-partisan operations or mountain warfare, is suggested by Cyrus’ initial pretence that the purpose of his expedition

48 On lochoi in column see Lammert andLammert 1923: 453; also Anderson 1970: 108–116. Several passages from the Cyropaedia reveal howdeeply Xenophon internalized the use of lochoi as tactical units. In the Cyropaedia the basic unit of Cyrus the Great’s imaginary army (still numbering 100 men) is called a taxis, rather than a lochos. When, however, Xenophon describes Cyrus’ battle with the Chaldaeans andwrites (Cyr.3.2.6) that Cyrus advanced with hisunits in column, heuses thephrase ὀρθίους ποι ησά µενος τοὺς λό χους, where logically he should have written ὀ ρ θίας ... τὰς τά ξεις. Miller’s 1914 Loeb translates lokhous here as“companies”, while elsewhere the same word comes out as “platoons”. See also Cyr. 2.2.9 (λό χος misrendered as“company”), 2.2.13 (λό χος andτά ξις correctly distinguished) and6.3.26, where Xenophon again writes λό χους when he apparently meant τά ξεις, andMiller translates “platoons”. 49 E.g. Georges 1994: 222.

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


wasto chastise the Pisidians.50 All of these missions would have required hoplites to domorethan simply fight pitched battles asa phalanx. Garrisons might have had to control internal unrest, perhaps by dispatching a lochos to the agora, another to the theatre. Sieges might be ended quickly by having a lochos or twoscale anun-

of city wall at night.51 Andthe ability of Cyrean hoplites operating inlochoi totake fortified mountain strongholds, like those of theDrilae andTaochi, appears repeatedly in theAnabasis itself. Indeed, while it is uncertain whatproportion of Cyrus’ troops hadfought in a hoplite phalanx battle before Cunaxa, it is probable that manyhadseen combat in other types of engagements.52 Thus, before themarch up-country began, a fair proportion of Cyrus’ troops wereprobably experienced in many of thetactics Xenophon claims as his owninnovations. The Cyreans whocame from outside Ionia quickly absorbed lochos tactics. Arcadians and Achaeans, whoformed about half thearmy, might already have hadsome exposure to similar techniques as a result of fighting in their ownmountainous homelands. This is nottodenythat Cyrus hired somanyhoplites precisely because hewanted a massed phalanx to supplement his usual Persian troop types nor to deny the symbolic power that possessing a body of Greek hoplites seems to have conveyed to local dynasts andPersian officials inAsia Minor.53 Butit is important to rememberthat manyof theGreek hoplite mercenaries whojoined thearmyof Cyrus knew more thanjust howto stand in a phalanx. They hadoperated in lochoi before, and were able to do so throughout the course of the army’s existence. The Cyrean lochos, in other words, always hada tactical function. guarded portion

Tactical subdivisions: pentekostys and enomotiai

In the fifth- andfourth-century Lacedaemonian system, lochoi were divided into smaller subunits, each with its ownofficers. In the Anabasis army, such tactical

subdivisions are directly attested only in the six picked lochoi formed when the retreating Cyreans first encountered rugged terrain (3.4.19–23):

Thereupon the Greeks discovered that [in difficult terrain] a hollow square is a poor formation when enemies are pursuing. For it is inevitable, when the corners of the square come together because of thenarrowing of a road, orwhena mountain [pass] or bridge compels it, that the hoplites are squeezed outof line andmaketheir waywithdifficulty, simultaneously being crowded together and confused, sothat being disordered they arehardly useful. Butwhenthecorners

50 Garrison duty: 1.1.6, 1.2.1; siege of Miletos: 1.1.7, 1.2.2; against the Pisidians: 1.2.1. 51 In243 Aratus of Sicyon took Acrocorinth, perhaps thestrongest of thethree “Fetters of Greece”, with a mere three hundred menby such a night assault (Plut. Arat. 18–23, Polyaen. 6.5). 52 Compare fourth-century Athenian military training fornon-phalanx operations: Ober 1985: 76– 77, 87–100; Xen. Mem. 3.5.25–27. This training, however, focused onthedefense of fortified strongholds, rather than onoffensive operations. 53 Symbolic power: theNereid monument atXanthos (Childs andDemargne 1989) ortheLimyra heroon (Borchhardt 1976); the hoplites of Cyrus’ (1.1.2) andAbrocomas’ bodyguard (1.3.20, 1.4.3). See also Couissin 1931: 42, Lendle 1995: 32–33.



draw back apart, it is inevitable that those who were previously crowded together are scattered, the space between the corners is left empty, andthat the menwhohave suffered these things are demoralized by the pursuing enemy. Andwhenever it might be necessary to cross a bridge or other such defile, each manhurries up,wanting tocross first, thereupon making a great opportunity for the enemy. When the generals understood these things, they formed six lochoi of onehundred meneach, andappointed lochagoi, andalso pentekonteres and enomotarchs. These [lochoi], whenever the corners of the square might draw together while marching, would remain behind, in order not to get entangled with the corners, andwould move along behind thecorners. Whenthe sides of the square drew back apart, they would fill upthe middle space [between the corners of the square], by lochos if this space were most narrow, bypentekostys, if it werewider, orif it were very wide, byenomotiai. Andif it werenecessary to cross some defile or bridge, they were not confused, but the lochoi crossed over in turn; and if any part of the phalanx might be in need, these lochoi would go there.

Although the exact numbers of a pentekostys or enomotia are notgiven in this passage, it seems logical that each of the six picked lochoi (100 men) wasdivided into two pentekostyes (literally “fifties,” but roughly translatable as “platoons,” of 50 meneach), each of which inturn comprised twoenomotiai (literally “sworn bands” buttranslatable as “sections” of 25 apiece).54 These tactical subdivisions are similar, butdonotexactly correspond to, subdivisions of the same name in the Spartan military system. Like all Cyrean hoplite lochoi, the six picked rearguard units could move as independent tactical units. Their pentekostys andenomotia subdivisions, however, allowed these epilektoi to deploy with a precision other lochoi lacked. Their primary function wasto safeguard the army during the crossing of defiles, as thepassage above clearly indicates. These lochoi arealso shown in action attheCentrites river crossing, where Xenophon hasthem wheel into line by enomotiai (that is, each lochos in a single line of four enomotiai across) in order to cover the crossing of the Cyrean non-combatants andbaggage.55 The tactical details are not as important as the recognition that these are the only passages in theAnabasis where Xenophon mentions these subdivisions of the lochos. Given the conclusions wehave already reached about the durability of the Cyrean lochos, it seems reasonable to assume that the six picked lochoi maintained their pentekostys and enomotia subdivisions throughout the retreat. They were, afterall, formed withthespecific goal of creating units which could manoeuvre more flexibly thantherest of thearmy. Butthere is nodirect evidence for similar subdivisions intheother Cyrean hoplite lochoi, norshould webetempted intheabsence of evidence to speculate thatpentekostyes andenomotiai existed in every lochos. For if every lochos could manoeuvre asefficiently asthepicked lochoi, thearmywould

54 SeeBrownson 1918/22: 472–475; Lendle 1995: 179–181. 55 4.3.26. 4.3.29 also mentions “file closers” (οὐ ραγού ς), probably enomotia (see Lendle 1995: 212–219).

squad leaders within each

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


in thefirst place have experienced difficulty moving through defiles. Indeed, if any lochos, or group of lochoi, could act as a rearguard, it becomes difficult to understand whythegenerals would have created special lochoi at all. TheAnabasis reveals lochoi working efficiently astactical units in a variety of situations. It seems, therefore, that pentekostys and enomotia divisions were not necessary to the smooth functioning of a lochos, but rather that such subdivisions only enhanced the rapidity and precision with which a lochos could manoeuvre. Thegenerals didnotextend pentekostys andenomotia organization to every lochos in the army for the simple reason that complex close-order drill takes time to learn andpractice, andthe Cyreans during their retreat didnothave the time to spare.56 Whenthe army didhave time, ontherelatively leisurely march from Sardis to Tarsus, it evidently still didnot spend time drilling every lochos to move bypentekonever

stys and enomotia.57 The troops who formed the six picked lochoi must therefore have been mostly menwhoalready hadsome experience with complex close-order drill. These would likely have been mensuch as Dracontius the Spartan exile, who hadcertainly spent long hours practicing drill in the agoge, or Peloponnesian hoplites whomight previously have served with the Lacedaemonian army.58 Because the lochos without subdivisions wasan efficient (and sufficient) tactical unit from the beginning of the expedition, men with drill training were like Rhodians who knew how to sling. Both types of men were dispersed randomly throughout the army, their skills unrecognized until the need for them arose.59 Administrative functions

The lochos also constituted the basic formal administrative unit for the hoplite elements of theAnabasis army. Wehave already seen that the lochos wasanadministrative unit inthesense that units wererecruited andmustered bylochoi evenbefore the expedition began. Moreover, several essential non-combat functions, including marching, quartering and supply, were undertaken by each lochos in a largely, though notentirely, self-contained manner. Nomass of people can move long distances as anunformed mob. Norcan an army afford to march with its tactical units in disarray.60 In friendly territory, such 56 Note theamusing description in Cyr. 2.2.6–9 of thedifficulties experienced bya platoon commander trying to drill his troops for thefirst time.

57 Again, if the army hadin fact drilled all its troops to move bypentekostys andenomotiai, there would have been noneedfor the generals to form newlochoi with such subdivisions. 58 Dracontius: 4.8.26; 700 Peloponnesian hoplites perhaps sponsored bytheSpartan government: 1.4.3, 1.2.21 with Hell. 3.1.1. Although Hellenica specifies only naval aid, it is possible that the 700 hoplites were also a Spartan contribution. If so, some of these 700 could have been helot or other non-Spartiate hoplites (much like the few hundred mensent with Gylippus to Sicily in 415/4), whoplausibly could have been trained in close-order drill. 59 It is possible that some contingents, e.g. the700 Peloponnesian hoplites (1.4.3), contained disproportionately more mentrained in complex drill, andthus contributed more volunteers to the


six picked lochoi.

Compare Xenophon’s descriptions

of marching armies at Cyr. 6.3.25–34, Mem.3.17, Oec. 8.4–8.



disarray at best impedes the army’s progress and confuses its leaders. In hostile territory, to march in disorder invites ambush andcatastrophe. TheCyrean hoplites fought as lochoi; they also marched as lochoi, whether arranged in extended columnor hollow square. In the relative security andleisure of the period preceding Cunaxa, thearmymarched in anextended column, with lochoi strung outalong the march route, onebehind another.61 This would nothave been a single long line of lochoi in close-order array, but probably rather took the shape of a loose andextended column at least two lochoi wide.62 Inthedeceptive lull immediately before Cunaxa, though, this marching column nearly broke down. As Xenophon relates, after two days of heightened preparedness for battle (1.7.19– 1.8.3),

it seemed both to Cyrus andtheothers that [Artaxerxes] hadgiven uponfighting. Andon the third day [Cyrus] made his wayseated in his chariot andhad onlya fewtroops information ahead of him,while themassofhisarmymarched in disorder andmany of the soldiers’ weapons were being carried on wagons ....... [T]he stopping place for the day was almost reached andpack-animals whenPategyas, a trusted Persian of Cyrus’ staff, appeared riding full-speed on a lathered horse, andright away shouted to everyone he metthat the King was advancing with his army prepared for battle. Thereupon much confusion occurred, fortheGreeks andeveryone else thought hewould fall uponthemwhile they were in disarray. Thecarelessness of Cyrus andhistroops might havecost themthebattle, for(1.8.14):

atthis critical time thebarbarian [i.e. Artaxerxes’] army wasadvancing evenly, while the Greek force remained yet in the same place, forming its line out of

those still arriving.

Yet it seems that even inthis disorder, theGreek hoplites were still marching more or less as lochoi, for within a short time they were able to form their phalanx and begin the requisite preparatory rituals of sacrifice and passing the watchword (1.8.15– 17).

After Cunaxa, this carelessness was not repeated, andthe army on the march continued to consist of lochoi in column. For instance, after crossing the Phasis river, the Cyreans found that (4.6.5–6):

onthe crossing into a plain stood arrayed against them Chalybes, Taochi, and Phasiani. When Cheirisophus sawthe enemy at the pass, he halted while still 61 Lendle 1995: 162. 62 Assuming a lochos in column is five menacross andtwenty deep, andthat each manneeds about two metres of walking room, then adding extra space (ten metres per lochos) for pack animals, non-combatants, andintervals between lochoi, each lochos in column might occupy about fifty metres. If there were about 120 hoplite lochoi (1.8.10, 1.2.9, 1.2.25, 1.4.3: roughly 12,000 hoplites in the army), these would have stretched out for six kilometres (50 × 120 = 6000 m). Addto this length the several thousand non-hoplite troops, andCyrus’ ownPersian levies, andthe march column extends perhaps fifteen kilometres or more, an unmanageable length. It seems plausible, therefore, that the column wasmore than one lochos wide, to cut downthis length. See Engels 1978: 19–22 for calculations onlength of marching columns.

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


about thirty stadia [roughly five km]away, in order notto engage with theenemywhile still marching incolumn (κατὰ κέρας). Andhecommanded theother

officers to bring uptheir lochoi, so that the army could form into line of battle.

This passage clearly demonstrates the army marching by lochoi in column, and shows the importance of this march formation for efficient battle deployment. In open terrain such as the Mesopotamian plain where the army’s flanks were constantly threatened, the Cyreans adopted a hollow square formation, hoplites comprising the sides of the square, light troops andnon-combatants within it.63 In this formation as well, the lochos remained the basic marching unit. In more difficult terrain, where hills dominating the army’s route might need to be secured, several columns of lochoi might march in parallel (3.4.26–29). Thus varying terrain might change the formations in which the army marched. The hoplite lochos, nevertheless, remained thebuilding-block for these formations. Even whenthe enemy was nota native force buttheweather, mencontinued tomarch withtheir lochoi. During theblizzard in Armenia, for example, snow andwindcaused the army to string out along its route, so that lochoi reached the halting-place for the night haphazardly (4.5.4–6). When the day’s march ended, lochoi also billeted as units. If a large enough protected locale such as a local Persian noble’s estate presented itself, the whole army could encamp together, each lochos finding itself a place.64 Where shelter from the elements wasscattered over a wider area, each general might take charge of several lochoi andassociated light troops; these groupings areusually referred to as taxeis (roughly translatable as “battalions”).65 These taxeis didnot in any way supplant the administrative functions of a lochos; they seem instead merely to have been a convenient way of brigading several lochoi (plus associated light troops) together. A general’s taxis could be assigned a group of villages in which to quarter forthenight. Anepisode inthemountains of western Armenia reflects bothof these

billeting patterns:66

[T]hey arrived at a noble estate (βασίλεια) surrounded bymanyvillages full of provisions. After they camped there, there was much snow during the night, andin the morning it seemed right to disperse into quarters (δι ασκηνῆσαι) the units (τά ξεις) andthe generals according to villages. For there wasno enemy visible andit seemed to be safe because of the amount of snow.

Analarm during the night caused the generals to reassemble the entire army at the noble’s estate, butshortly thereafter thetroops were allowed toreturn to quarters in thevillages, only tobe summoned once more together whena reconnaissance party brought in prisoners whotold of animminent attack (4.4.14– 18) Onthis particular night, theCyreans cannot have gotmuch sleep, butwhatever rest each mandidget 63 3.2.35–36; Lendle 1995: 162–164. 64 Billeting in native settlements: Woronoff 1997: 11–17. 65 See e.g. 4.4.8. ForXenophon’s useof taxis as a name both for temporary groupings of hoplite lochoi andfor permanent non-hoplite units, see theAppendix to this paper. 66 4.4.7–9; also 4.5.22–24 (troops quartered inscattered villages); 7.3.15 (troops quarter bytaxis).



wastaken together with his lochos. We are reminded here of the literal translation of lokhos: “a group of fighting men who lie down together”. More direct evidence that lochoi regularly quartered as units is lacking in the Anabasis. Given what we have concluded about the durability of the lochos, andits evident function as a tactical andmarching unit, however, it is difficult to imagine that attheendof a daythelochos disintegrated asmenrandomly sought shelter here andthere, only tobereformed perfectly thenext morning. Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, animaginative account butonewhich nevertheless draws ontheauthor’s real experiences, supports this conclusion. Thearmyof theCyropaedia, forexample, is quartered by 100-man companies in single tents, each company living byitself.67 Andif Polyaenus canbetrusted, boththeSpartan andBoeotian armies inthetime ofEpaminondas encamped by formal units, by enomotiai in the case of the Spartans.68 Each lochos could also constitute a formal basis for its own logistical operations. That is, when Cyreans needed food or booty, they were able to undertake foraging expeditions formed in their lochoi. For example, onthe Euxine coast, the lochagos Cleaenetus ledhisownlochos, aswell asanother, against a difficult stronghold.69 This wasin manyways theweakest of thelochos’ administrative functions, for several reasons. First, in the pre-Cunaxa period, when Cyrus prepared regular markets at which his mercenaries could purchase provisions, soldiers seem to have madetheir foodpurchases asindividuals.70 Second, whenmarkets became unavailable in thepost-Cunaxa period, there existed noofficers in theAnabasis army who could function as quartermasters.71 Indeed, there existed little if any formal logistical organization at all in the post-Cunaxa period.72 Soldiers therefore were left to their owninitiative whenit came to obtaining thenecessities of life. Consequently, responsibility for finding supplies mayultimately have devolved onto informally collected groups of messmates (σύ σκηνοι) within each lochos.73

67 Cyr.2.1.25; also Anderson 1970: 245 and335 n. 62; see further discussion of this passage below (p. 307f.).

68 Polyaen.2.3.11; seealso Anderson 1970: 241. Asnoted earlier, sources other thantheAnabasis must be deployed with caution when assessing Cyrean lochos organization. Nonetheless, this Polyaenus passage at least provides an instance of roughly similar billeting practices in two near-contemporary Greek armies.

69 5.1.7; see Lendle 1995: 298. Cleaenetus underestimated the defences of the place, andwas killed along with many of his men. 70 1.2.18; also 1.5.6–7: soldiers complain about price-gouging by merchants during the desert

march between Corsote andPylae. 71 In Cyropaedia, Xenophon provides theElder Cyrus’ army with quartermasters (2.1.31: ὑπηρέ τας) andcompany cooks (2.2.2: µά γε ι ρος), butalso appoints five menperplatoon to chastise those menwhodonotprepare sufficient provisions (4.2.34–47: provisions gathered bycompany). This imaginary logistical structure maywell reflect anattempt byXenophon toremedy the real logistical deficiencies heremembered from his experience with theCyreans. 72 Thelogistical problems of theCyrean retreat highlight thePersian ability adequately to supply large numbers of troops on extended campaigns. Before Cunaxa, the Persian supply system took care of theGreeks; whenit wasremoved after Cunaxa, theGreeks were confounded. 73 A topic which I discuss in a forthcoming monograph.

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


After the army successfully reached the Euxine coast, at anyrate, the generals madesome attempt toregulate soldiers’ foraging. AsXenophon says totheCyreans (5.1.6):

it is necessary to obtain provisions from hostile territory; for there is neither a sufficient market nordowehave themeans with which to purchase [anything]. Buttheterritory is hostile, andthere is a danger that many will be destroyed, if youmarch outfor provisions unsupervised andunguarded. So I think that you should seize provisions in foraging parties, and certainly not roam about, so that youall maykeep safe, andthat we [the generals] should supervise these operations.

Xenophon goes on to impose several further restrictions on the size, preparations, andtargets of foraging parties. These regulations on foraging do not specifically mention the lochos. It is, however, possible that Xenophon’s emphasis ontheneed for well-organized andequipped Beutezüge strengthened the administrative function of the lochos as a basis for obtaining supplies. Also, it maybe that some lochagoi were more scrupulous than others in providing provisions for their men. Perhaps these lochoi undertook foraging expeditions as lochoi, while other less wellprepared units left the question of supplies to their component mess groups. The fighting withdrawal from the Drilae metropolis, in fact, suggests that lochos commanders on this occasion delegated some of their hoplites to carry out newly-acquired supplies, while keeping behind others as a rear guard (5.2.21).

Social functions Although informal mess groups probably existed within each lochos, thedurability of the hoplite lochos andits functions as a tactical andadministrative unit made it likely that a Cyrean hoplite marched andfought with the same lochos-mates for nearly twoyears. It with good reason, then, that Lendle considers the lochoi “die stabilsten Kameradschaften der Armee” .74The lochos thus represented the basic formal structure through which the Cyrean hoplite’s social life in the army was mediated. In plainer words, the lochos contained his closest friends andcomrades, themenwith whomhe lived dayandnight. Xenophon himself strongly emphasized the social functions of a lochos-sized unit. Consider this lengthy passage fromtheCyropaedia, which because of itsunique content bears quoting in full. Here, the fictional Cyrus the Great, having recruited his army, begins to organize andtrain his men:75

74 Lendle 1995: 298. 75 Cyr. 2.1.25–28 (tr. Miller, modified). As we have noted repeatedly, in Cyropaedia the one hundred strong unit is designated a taxis, while a lochos numbers only twenty-five. This difference in terminology does notchange thefact that Xenophon here is talking about a unit of one hundred men, the same size as the Anabasis lochos. Xenophon’s words here find echoes in Onasander 24.1 andIliad 2.362.



Heprepared tents for them, in number, as many as there were company commanders; in size, each sufficient to accommodate a company. The size of a company wasonehundred men.Thusindeed they quartered bycompany; forin tenting together they seemed to [Cyrus] to gain an advantage for the coming

struggle in this fashion: that seeing each other being fed (τρε φοµένους) equally, there existed nopretext of unjust discrimination that would permit some to be less brave than others in the face of the enemy. They also seemed to himto benefit from quartering together in respect of becoming acquainted with each other. Andin getting acquainted with each other, he thought, a feeling of considerateness (τὸ αἰ σχύ νε σθαι) wasmore likely to arise inthem all, while those whoare unacquainted seem somehow more indifferent, like people whenthey are in the dark. Hethought also that their quartering together helped them not a little to gain a perfect acquaintance with their positions. Forthecompany commanders hadthecompanies under them in as perfect order as when a company wasmarching single file, andthe lieutenants their platoons, andthe sergeants andcorporals their squads in the same way. Hethought, moreover, that such perfect acquaintance with their places in the line wasexceedingly helpful both to prevent their being thrown into confusion andto restore order sooner in case they should be thrown into confusion; just as in the case of stones andtimbers which must be fitted together readily, no matter in howgreat confusion they maychance tohave beenthrown down, if they have theguide-marks to make it plain inwhatplace each of thembelongs. Andfinally, hethought that comradeship would be encouraged by their eating together; for he hadoften observed that even animals that were fed together had a marvellous yearning for one another, if anyoneseparated them.

Most analyses of theCyropaedia have granted this passage only fleeting scrutiny.76 But Xenophon’s words here deserve close attention. For while he is describing an imaginary andidealized Persian army, wehave already observed that much of the Cyropaedia may well reflect Xenophon’s actual experiences with the Cyreans.77 Therefore, if theidealized features of theimaginary Persian armycanbe lifted from the passage, there mayremain a statement perhaps equally applicable to the real lochoi of the Anabasis. First, thesoldiers of a Cyrean lochos didnotactually all sleep ina single tent. In fact, before beginning itsretreat, thearmyburned ordiscarded notonly itstents, but other superfluous baggage as well.78 Second, as wehave seen already, tactical sub-

76 Due 1989: 112discusses only grammatical features of Cyr. 2.1.25; Gera 1993: 72 n. 153merely mentions theepisode. Bielschowsky 1869: 32 briefly recognizes thesignificance of this passage.

77 Seee.g. Cyr. 1.6.43: Xenophon makes oneof Cyrus’ advisors tell theprince there is “noneedto go over the tactical lessons” which have been reviewed elsewhere; this maywell represent an intertextual reference to theAnabasis. 78 3.2.27–28; seealso 3.3.1. That tents large enough tohouse onehundred mencould indeed exist is implied by this passage, although the size of the actual Anabasis tents remains unknown. Such a large tent would, though, seem rather impracticable. Thelargest tent inGreek literature mustbe thePersian tent captured at Plataea (Hdt. 9.70). Its “forest of columns” ortent poles is

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis


divisions of the sort mentioned in this long passage almost certainly existed only in the six picked lochoi of the actual Anabasis army. Third, as wehave also noticed, Xenophon gives the units of the Cyropaedia a well-organized logistical system which includes regulated messing by company, whereas the weakness of logistical function in the actual Anabasis lochoi tended to make informal mess groups more important for the Cyreans.79 Fourth, this passage represents a sort of “best of all possible worlds” scenario. Intheactual Anabasis army, withperhaps morethanone hundred different lochoi, social relations would necessarily differ from lochos to lochos. That is, in some lochoi mensimply got along better than in others. Nevertheless, themenof each Cyrean lochos in effect lived inthe same tent, even if there wasno actual tent housing them. The lochos could therefore plausibly have performed much the same social functions as does the company (taxis) in this Cyro-

paedia passage. Using this passage as an analogy, then, it appears that the Cyrean lochos performed several essential social functions. To begin with, the lochos gave each hoplite aninstitutional identity, as a member of a distinct formal unit.80 In identifying with their lochos, soldiers came to identify with the others in their unit. Cyreans whobelonged to thesame lochos, therefore, maywell have come to understand the value of shared action, and hence to identify their own interest with that of the group.81 Identification with a lochos fostered a code of conduct based on equality andcourage.82 Intheimaginary units of the Cyropaedia, menarefedsimilar rations andthus do not shirk their duties. This worked slightly differently in the Anabasis lochoi, where the absence of logistical preparation meant some might eat better than others. Nevertheless, the men of a lochos strove to follow a group code by proving their bravery to their comrades andtheir leaders.83 Because they kneweach other, the menof a lochos were also likely to have greater consideration for each other, just as in Cyrus theGreat’s imaginary Persian units. TheCyrean hoplite who said to have provided inspiration for the fifth century “Odeum of Pericles” directly adjoining the Theatre of Dionysus at Athens (Plut.Per.13.11 ff.; Miller 1997: 218–242). The mercenary commander Iphicrates made his soldiers discard their tents andsleep in two-man lean-to shelters, but the size of the discarded tents is not given; see Polyaen. 3.9.19 as well as Anderson 1970: 62 and287 n. 105. The verb συ σκηνέ ω (LSJ s.v.) in anycase, need not literally mean “encamp in or share a tent,” butbecomes the general term for troops quartering together, even without tents.

79 Theimplication (Cyr. 2.1.25) of “they sawoneanother fed(τρε φοµένους) in a similar way”is that thecompany wasserved by anappointed cook, mentioned explicitly in Cyr. 2.2.2. 80 For a comparable situation in early modern andmodern European standing armies see Kellett

81 82 83

1982: 44. Such institutional identity could well have been strengthened if each lochos possessed its ownbanner, shield insignia ordistinctive σ ά λπιγξ (trumpet) call. Xenophon unfortunately provides noinformation regarding anyof these intheAnabasis. IntheCyropaedia, units andofficers dohave banners, butthese are used either to show troops where to find their baggage (6.3.4) or to mark officers’ tents in camp (8.5.13). Onstandards see Anderson 1970: 82– 83 andPritchett 1994: 118 n.11. On shield-emblems see Wheeler 1991: 140. On the σάλπιγξ see Krentz 1991: 117–118. Value of shared action: Smith 1990: 154–155. Roughly similar to that operative in thepolis phalanx: Wheeler 1991: 140, 143ff. Leaders andmenincite each other to bravery: 5.2.13, 21–22.



identified with the comrades of his lochos might also heighten his sense of identity against outsiders, including hoplites in other lochoi, non-hoplites, non-combatants, andnatives. Indeed, because theCyrean hoplite spent themajority of histime marching andfighting in physical collocation with the rest of his lochos, the chances that he might have acquaintances or friends in other lochoi seem slim.84 A single word, λοχίτης (“lochos-mate”), encapsulates the social functions of theCyrean lochos. During a dispute ontheBlack Sea coast, Xenophon’s friend the lochagos Agasias of Stymphalus chances upon a soldier who has been arrested by thetrouble-making Laconian perioikos Dexippus (6.6.5ff.). “Because Agasias happened tobethere,” Xenophon recalls, “hefreed theman,fortheonebeing ledaway washis lochitês” (6.6.7). Literally, λοχίτης means someone of the same lochos; it connotes someone whois also a fellow-soldier andcomrade.85 When Agasias is called upontojustify his actions, he denies that anyone else directed himto rescue the soldier, saying that “when I sawa worthy man, oneof myownlochitai, being ledawaybyDexippus, it seemed to metobe anoutrage; andI rescued him, I admit it”(6.6.17). Agasias initially didnotevenknowwhythesoldier wasbeing arrested; what he didknow, andwhat counted, wasthat the manwasa member of his own lochos. Xenophon is the only classical historian whouses theterm λοχίτης. It appears also in the Cyropaedia, where a young recruit calls the menof his unit λοχίτας, again as a means of identifying with his comrades.86 In the rest of Greek literature, λοχίτης appears only four other times. Three of these instances areintragedy, where the term is employed to describe the armed followers or attendants of a king87 – a use which probably reflects the Homeric meaning of lochos as a sworn band of warriors. Thefourth instance appears inPlutarch, whoinhisAristides (17.2) relates howthe Spartiate officer Amompharetus andhis menrefused to fall back with the rest of theGreek army toward Plataea: [Amompharetus] said that he would not abandon his formation, but that, remaining in the same place along with his ownlochitai, he would stand against Mardonius.

Plutarch here employs theterm in muchthesame wayXenophon didfive centuries earlier, to show a soldier emphasizing corporate identity with his comrades in a

84 A manwholeft his original lochos to fight in one of the picked lochoi might perhaps retain friends in his original unit. Given the exigencies of life during the retreat, though, he would have little free time in which to visit them, norwould he even see these oldfriends unless his newlochos andhis original lochos happened to be arrayed near each other in battle or onthe march.

85 Crosby 1873: 80; Vollbrecht 1899: 138; LSJ s.v. λοχι σµό ς. 86 Cyr.2.2.7. Although a lochos here equals only twenty-five men, this does notchange the fact that theyoung recruit uses theterm to identify himself with theother members of a formal unit. 87 Aesch. Ag.1650: Aegisthus commands his spearmen εἶα δή , φίλοι λοχῖ ται, τοὖ ργον οὐχ ἑκὰς τό δε (“hothere, mytrusty pikes, advance” [tr. Lattimore]); id.Choeph. 768: thechorus asks the oldnurse εἰ ξὺν λοχίταις εἴ τε µονοστι βῆ (“with attendants oralone?”); Soph. OT750: Oedipusasks Jocasta about Laius’ entourage, πολλοὺς ἔχων ἄνδρας λοχίτας, οἷ ἀνὴρ ἀρχηγέτης (“a train of armed attendants with him, like a prince” [tr. Storr]). ᾽

The lochos in Xenophon’s Anabasis

formal unit.88 The greatest social function chitai of its members.


of the lochos, then, wasthat it made lo-

The lochagos

At the head of every lochos stood its commander, the lochagos. It is appealing to imagine himas Archilochus’ stout, bandy-legged captain of mercenaries, feet and spear planted firmly onthe ground (fr. 114 West = Dio Chrysostom 33.17). Many men, veterans of long mercenary service in Ionia orelsewhere, were already lochagoiwhenthey first joined thearmy of Cyrus. Others began ascommon soldiers but rose to become officers in the course of the army’s retreat.89 A lochagos might be appointed bythearmy’s generals, orperhaps selected bythemembers of hislochos, to fill a vacant captaincy.90 The lochagos stood in the ranks with his menandled thempersonally inbattle.91 Heshared a strong bondwithhismen,mediated through the institution of the lochos; the incident between Agasias andDexippus indicates this. Thebest lochagoi spurred their mentofight well, andthey knewwhich of their menwere the most competent.92 Furthermore, lochagoi themselves competed amongst each other, setting anexample for their units, as an incident in the land of the Taochi reveals. During an attack ona fortified stronghold, Callimachus andhis lochos managed to find cover in a stand of trees below the stronghold’s walls. Callimachus hit upon a wayto get thedefenders to deplete the store of rocks they were hurling downonthe Cyreans. He dashed quickly back andforth from the safety of the trees, each time precipitating another shower of missiles from the defenders of the stronghold. “But when Agasias,” writes Xenophon (4.7.11– 12):

sawthat what Callimachus was doing wasbeing seen by the entire army, he feared that theother would bethefirst to maketherunacross to the stronghold; so without asking Aristonymus of Methydrium or Euryloch