Imatges de pÓgina

quiet, and to have employed himself in composing those works which exalted him to be the rival of Plato in politics and biography, as well as of Thucydides in history. It is said that the emulation between the two disciples of Socrates occasioned a pitiable jealousy and alienation from each other; but Diogenes relates to the praise of Xenophon, that he gave to the world the history of Thucydides in the name of the author, when he might easily have made it his own. The list of his other works, given us by the same biographer, proves that we have been singularly fortunate in their preservation.

From this literary and rural enjoyment of peace and security, he was not to be tempted by the reversal of the decree against him, which passed on the change of Athenian politics some time after the battle of Leuctra. Athens was of all places the most dangerous for men in any way eminent, but especially for those who possessed property and talents; and in the continual changes of system which characterise the republics of Greece, the fickleness of the despotic mob, who had banished and recalled him, might at any moment confiscate his property and take away his life. When therefore the protection of Lacedæmon could no longer avail him, and the dissensions which agitated the

surrounding states rendered even the sacred territory insecure, he sent his family to Lepreum, and is related to have gone in person to Elis, to plead with the Eleians (now once more masters of Scillus) for immunity, on account of having accepted the fief from an hostile power. It appears that the prayer was readily granted, and that he returned in peace to the possession of his property; but whether the commotions of the times rendered a country residence less desirable, or the decline of life brought with it a disinclination for bodily exertion, he appears, in his latter years, to have lived principally at Corinth, in which place he died about the second year of the hundred and fifth Olympiad, 359 years B. C.

The simplicity and the elegance of Xenophon's diction have procured him the name of Athenian Muse, and the Bee of Greece; and they have induced Quintilian to say that the Graces dictated his language, and that the Goddess of Persuasion dwelt on his lips. His sentiments, as to the Divinity and religion, were the same as those of the venerable Socrates. He supported the immortality of the soul, and exhorted his friends to cultivate those virtues which insure the happiness of mankind, with all the zeal and fervor of a Christian.

He has been quoted as an instance of tenderness, and of resignation to Providence. As he was offering a sacrifice, he was informed that Gryllus, his eldest son, had been killed at the battle of Mantinea. On this he tore the garland from his head; but when he was told that his son had died like a Greek, and given a mortal wound to the enemy's general, he replaced the flowers on his head, and continued the sacrifice, exclaiming, that the pleasure he derived from the valor of his son was greater than the grief which his unfortunate death occasioned.

His character is best painted in his life and writings. He was brave, generous, and affectionate; punctual and vigilant on duty; sagacious and enterprising in command; prudent and eloquent in council; a sincere friend; a magnanimous adversary; a liberal and enlightened statesman. As an author he is above criticism; and the beauty of his style adorns every subject of which he has treated. As an historian he has been thought deficient in dates; but his candor and fairness are generally acknowleged; and his political wisdom and military science have assisted to form some of the ablest politicians and generals of succeeding times.


Head of Xenophon

Map of the Expedition of Cyrus and Retreat

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