Xenophon

, an illustrious philosopher, soldier, and historian, was an Athenian, the son of Gryllus, a person of high rank, and was born in the third year of the eightysecond Olympiad, or B. C. 450. Few particulars of his early life are known. Laertius tells us, that meeting Socrates in a narrow lane, after he was pretty well grown up, he stopped the philosopher with his staff; and asked him, “Where all kinds of meats were to be sold ?” To which Socrates made a serious answer: and then demanded of him, “Where it was that men were made good and virtuous?” At which Xenophon pausing, “Follow me, then,” said Socrates, “and learn:” from which time he became the disciple of that father of ancient wisdom.

He was one of Socrates’s most eminent scholars; but he did not excel in philosophy only; he was also famous for arms and military achievements. In the Peloponnesian war, he was personally engaged in the fight before Delium, the first year of the 89th Olympiad; in which the Bœotians overcame the Athenians. Here Xenophon, in the precipitation of flight, was unhorsed and thrown down; when Socrates, who having lost his horse was fighting on foot, took him upon his shoulders, and carried him many furlongs, till the enemy gave over the pursuit. This was the first essay of his military profession: afterwards he became known to the younger Cyrus, by means of Proxenus the Boeotian, who was favoured by that prince, and resided with him at Sardis. Proxenus, then Xenophon’s friend, wrote to Athens, to invite him to come to Cyrus. | Xenophon shewed his letters to Socrates, desiring -his advice. Socrates referred him to the oracle of Delphi, which Xenophon accordingly consulted: but, instead of asking whether he should go to Cyrus, he inquired how he should goto him; for which Socrates reprimanded him, yet advised him to go. Being arrived at the court of Cyrus, he acquired at least as great a share of his favour as Proxenus himself; and accompanied that prince in his expedition to Persia, when he took up arms against his brother Artaxerxes, who had succeeded his father Darius in the kingdom. Cyrus was killed: and Artaxerxes sent -the day after to the Grecians, that they should give up their arms. Xenophon answered Phalinus, who brought the order, “that they had nothing left but their arms and valour; that as long as they kept their arms they might use their valour; but, if they surrendered them, they should cease to be masters of themselves.” Phalinus replied, smiling, “Young man, you look and speak like a philosopher; but assure yourself, that your valour will not be a match for the king’s power.” Nevertheless, ten thousand of them determined to attempt a retreat, and actually effected it with Xenophon at their head, who brought them‘ from Persia to their own homes, remaining victorious over all who attempted to oppose his passage. The history of this expedition, which happened in the 4th year of the 94th Olympiad, was written by himself; and is still extant.

After this retreat, Xenophon went into Asia with Agesilaus, king of the Lacedemonians; to whom he delivered for a sum of money the soldiers of Cyrus, and by whom he was exceedingly beloved. Cicero says, that Xenophon instructed him; apd Plutarch, that by his advice Agesilaus sent his sons to be educated at Sparta. Agesilaus passed into Asia, the first year of the 96th Olympiad, and carried on the war successfully against the Persians; but the year after, was called home by the Lacedemonians, to assist his country, which was invaded by the Thebans and their allies, whom the Persian, with a view of drawing the war from his dominions, had corrupted. During the absence of Xenophon, the Athenians proclaimed a decree of banishment against him; some say, for his going to Agesilaus; others, because he took part against the king of Persia their friend, and followed Cyrus, who had assisted the Lacedemonians against them. Whatever was the reason, he was obliged to fly; and the Lacedemonians, to require | hint for Buffering in their cause, maintained him at the public charge. Then they built a town at Scilluntes in Elea, having driven the Ele.ans thence, and bestowed a fair house and lands upon Xenophon: upon which he left Agesilaus, and went thither, with his wife Philesia, and his two sons Diodorus and Qryllus. At this place of retirement, he employed himself in planting, hunting, and writing; and led a life truly philosophic, dividing his time between his friends, rural amusements, and letters.

At length, a war arising between the Eleans and Lacedemonians, the Eleans invaded Scilluntes with a great army; and) before the Lacedemonians came to their relief, seized on the house and lands of Xenophon. His sons, with some few servants, got away privately to Lepreus: Xenophon fled first to Elis, then to Lepreus to his sons, and lastly with them to Corinth, where he took a house, and continued the remainder of his life. During this time, the Argives, Arcadians, and Thebans, jointly opposed the Lacedemonians, and had almost oppressed them, when the Athenians made a public decree to succour them. Xenophoa sent his sons upon the expedition to Athens, to fight for the Lacedemonians; for they had been educated at Sparta, in the discipline of that place. This enmity ended in a great battle at Mantinea, in the 2d year of the 104th Olympiad when Epaminondas, the Theban general, though he had gained the victory, was yet slain by the hand of Gryllus. This Pausanias affirms to have been attested both by the Athenians and Thebans; but the glory was short-lived; for Gryllus himself fell in the same battle. The news of his death reached Xenophon, as he was sacrificing at Corinth, crowned with a garland; who immediately laid down the garland, and demanded in what manner he died? When being informed, that Gryllus vVas fighting in the midst of the enemy, and had slain many of them, he put on the garland again, and proceeded to sacrifice, without so much as shedding a tear, only saying, “I knew that I begot him mortal.

Xenophon, being extremely old, died at Corinth in the firstyear of the 105th Olympiad, or B. C. 360 leaving behind him many excellent works, of which a fine collection are happily come down to us. The principal of these are, the “Cyropeedia,” or the life, and discipline, and actions, of the elder Cyrus seven books of the “Expedition of the younger Cyrus into Persia, and of the retreat of the | ten thousand Greeks under himself;’‘ seven books of the” Grecian History“four books of the” Memorabilia“of Socrates, with the” Apologia Socratis.“Cicero tells us, probably grounding his opinion upon what he had read in the third book of Plato” de legibus,“that the” Cyropaedia“is not a real history, but only a moral fable; in which Xenophon meant to draw the picture of a great prince, without confining himself to truth, except in two or three great events, as the taking of Babylon, and the captivity of Croesus: and in this he has been pretty generally followed, though some have thought otherwise. The” Hellenica,“or seven books of Grecian history, are a continuation of Thucydides to forty-eight years farther; and here is recorded an instance of Xenophon’s integrity, who freely gave the public the writings of Thucydides, which he might either have suppressed, or made to pass as his own. The smaller pieces of Xenophon are,Agesilaus;“of which piece Cicero says,” that it alone surpasses all images and pictures in his praise;“” Oeeonomics“with which Cu cero was so delighted, that in his younger years he translated it, and when he was grown old, gave an honourable testimony of it. The other writings of Xenophon arej” The Republic of the Lacedemonians,“and” The Republic of the Athenians“” Symposium“” Hiero, or, of a Kingdom“*< Accounts of the Revenues, of Horses, of Horsemanship;” and “Epistles.

Xenophon strictly adhered to the principles of his master in action as well as opinion, and employed philosophy, not to furnish with the means of ostentation, but to qualify him for the offices of public and private life; and his integrity, piety, and moderation, proved how much he had profited by the precepU of his master. His whole military conduct discovered an admirable union of wisdom and valour; and his writings, at the same time that they have afforded, to all succeeding ages, one of the most perfect models of purity, simplicity, and harmony of language, abound with sentiments truly Socratic. Of all the disciples of Socrates, he is said, by a recent critic, to be the only one who had the good faith and good sense to report his master’s opinions accurately without addition or disguise. When he teaches, Xenophon is the most delightful of instructors; when he narrates, the most fascinating of all narrators. When he invents, he seasons his fictions with so much of his great master’s genuine philosophy, and so much of his own | exquisite taste, that it becomes impossible to decide, whether they are more instructive or more delightful when he speculates as a politician, it is with a good sense and sagacity, which soar above the prejudices of his fellow citizens, and distinguish with correctness, the institutions which lead to virtue and happiness, from those which allow and encourage depravity. The most imperfect of his works, the “Hellenica,” has yet many of the merits peculiar to the writer, and is, at the present day, an invaluable treasure.

The works of Xenophon have often been printed collectively by Junta, Florence, 3516, Gr. folio; by Aldus, Gr. at Venice, 1525, folio; by Henry Stephens, with a Latin version, in 1581, folio; by Wells, at Oxford, 1703, Gr. and Lat. in 5 vols. 8vo; and by Weisk, Lipsia?, Gr. 1798— 1802, 5 vols. 8vo. Separately have been published the “Cyropaedia,” Oxon. 1727, 4to, and 1736, 8vo; “Cyri Anabasis^’ Oxon. 1735, 4to, and 1747, 8vo” Memorabilia Socratis," Oxon. 1741, 8vo, and 1804, 2 vols. 8vo, &c.1