Xenophon's Anabasis

A Socratic History

Shane Brennan

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Offers a novel reading of one of the ancient world’s most famous and celebrated texts
  • Provides interdisciplinary treatment drawing mainly but not only on historiographical and literary perspectives
  • Considers the concept of 'literary apologia' and the strategies that support it in Anabasis
  • Highlights the interconnectedness of Xenophon's writings
  • Offers a reexamination of Xenophon's exile from Athens
  • Underscores the author's apologetic Tendenz by highlighting the multiple apologetic strands in the text, most importantly those for Socrates and for Xenophon himself as the historical figure lying behind the character 'Xenophon' in the story

Xenophon’s Anabasis has engaged and entertained readers from antiquity to the present day. Through his telling of the story of Cyrus the Younger’s attempt on the Persian throne and its aftermath, Xenophon integrates many of the prominent themes and concerns in his writings, including leadership, panhellenism, Sparta and apologia.

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PrefaceAcknowledgementsNotesList of Illustrations and Tables


1. Xenophon the Athenian

2. Anabasis in Literary and Historiographical Context

3. Xenophon Didaskalos: Leaders and Leadership in Anabasis

4. Xenophon's Self-Defence

5. Socrates in Anabasis


Table A: Xenophon's Life and Times

Table B: Xenophon's Writings



Brennan’s major contribution to the ongoing assessment both of Xenophon himself and of his oeuvre is to have shown the various ways in which the influence of Socratic education on Xenophon is tangible throughout the Anabasis. [...] I find his a challenging and very worthwhile voice in the ongoing discussion of this sometimes elusive work... and Brennan has well served this constantly fascinating author.
Jan P. Stronk, The Journal of Hellenic Studies
Shane Brennan is Associate Professor of History and Classics at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. From 2016-22 he taught at the American University in Dubai, UAE, and from 2011-16 at Mardin Artuklu University in the south-east of Türkiye. He is co-editor of The Landmark Xenophon's Anabasis (Pantheon Books, 2021) and Turkey and the Politics of National Identity (IB Tauris, 2014) and author of In the Tracks of the Ten Thousand: A Journey on foot through Turkey, Syria and Iraq (Robert Hale, 2005).

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