Xenophon: Anabasis

Image result for xenophon the expedition of cyrus

I think one could write a dissertation arguing that Hollywood subconsciously stole all of their “behind enemy lines” from Xenophon.  He was in a mercenary band fighting for Cyrus the Younger. The army loses and the generals are treacherously slain. Finding themselves thousands of miles into enemy country and without a leader, Xenophon leads his men back to Greece, fighting battles the whole way.

The Cast

Xenophon: He writes about himself in 3rd Person.  He always seems to say the right thing at the right time.

Cyrus: The younger brother of King Artaxerxes II. His army probably could have won but he dies early in the battle.

Clearchus: Basically think of Sean Bean.  A noble general for the Greeks. In line with the Sean Bean character, he is betrayed and slain.

Meno: Another Greek leader and enemy of Xenophon.  Interestingly enough, this is the same Meno who appears in Plato’s dialogue of the same name.  It’s interesting to compare the two accounts.

While there is the legendary cry of “The Sea! The Sea!” the book doesn’t end on a high note.  As can be expected, the army begins to grumble at the very end (also at the same time when they are out of any real danger).  This reflects the essence of democracy and the mob.

I am not a military historian, but evidently Xenophon demonstrated that a lean and tactical force can inflict devastating losses on an army many times its size.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s