The Anabasis: Or, Expedition of Cyrus, and the Memorabilis of Socrates

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Harper, 1863 - Iran - 518 pages
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The Anabasis is a highly entertaining read. The translation is sufficient for even a casual reader to pick up and absorb. If one can get over the preconceived notion of a dusty ancient text, one is in for a real treat: imagine trying to assemble a mercenary army to retake your father's throne from your traitorous brother. Imagine trying to do this in foreign nations with animals and plant life you've never seen before. This is all covered in the perspective not of the vengeful Cyrus nor even a general in his army, but that of a writer who was persuaded to tag along by his friend, a soldier.
The telling goes light on the recounting of military detail and focuses on the interpersonal relationships of everyone involved. It also recounts with wide-eyed marvel the strange new monsters they encounter, such as the donkey, the ostrich (impossible to catch, and therefore probably inedible), and the kestrel. Xenophon also takes a moment to focus on the character of Cyrus, what made him memorable and outstanding among men.



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Page x - That not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle, but to know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom...
Page 265 - CHESNEY— THE EXPEDITION FOR THE SURVEY OF THE RIVERS EUPHRATES and TIGRIS, carried on by order of the British Government, in the Years 1835, 1836, and 1837.
Page 507 - ... affair, but was of service in the most important matters to those who enjoyed his society; so temperate that he never preferred pleasure to virtue; so wise, that he never erred in distinguishing better from worse; needing no counsel from others, but being sufficient in himself to discriminate between them; so able to explain and settle such questions by argument; and...
Page 476 - Is it then for their ignorance of working in brass that they receive this appellation?
Page xi - ... may perhaps make us wiser, but this not only answers that end, but makes us better .too. Hence it was that the oracle pronounced Socrates the wisest of all men living, because he judiciously made choice of human nature for the object of his thoughts ; an inquiry into which as much exceeds all other learning, as it is of more consequence to adjust the true nature and measures of right and wrong, than to settle the distances of the planets, and compute the times of their circumvolutions.
Page 38 - To those who showed ability for war, it is acknowledged that he paid distinguished honor. His first war was with the Pisidians and Mysians ; and, marching in person into these countries, he made those, whom he saw voluntarily hazarding their lives in his service, governors over the territory that he subdued, and distinguished them with rewards in other ways.
Page 38 - Yet no one could with truth say this of him, that he suffered the criminal or unjust to deride his authority ; for he of all men inflicted punishment most unsparingly ; and there were often to be seen, along the most frequented roads, men deprived of their feet, or hands, or eyes ; so that in Cyrus's dominions, it was possible for any one, Greek or Barbarian, who did no wrong, to travel without fear whithersoever he pleased, and having with him whatever might suit his convenience.
Page 404 - the number of their other possessions, although they might be very numerous, but of their friends, though but few, they were not only ignorant of the number, but even when they attempted to reckon it to such as asked them, they set aside again some that they had previously counted among their friends; so little did they allow their friends to occupy their thoughts. Yet in comparison with what possession, of all others, would not a good friend appear far more valuable?" "As to the value of other things,"...
Page 125 - Hence they proceeded three days' journey through a desert tract of country, a distance of fifteen parasangs, to the river Euphrates, and passed it without being wet higher than the middle. The sources of the river were said not to be far off. 3. From hence they advanced three days...
Page 39 - Whatever presents any one sent him of articles of personal ornament, whether for warlike accouterment or merely for dress, concerning these, they said, he used to remark that he could not decorate his own person with them all, but that he thought friends well equipped were the greatest ornament a man...

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