As an account of the life of Cyrus II the Elder (see ), Cyropaedia is unlike any of the works mentioned above in being wholly focused on Persia. It is also more controversial than any of them because of the problematic historicity of its contents. The work (once greatly neglected, now much studied by Achaemenid specialists and classicists) presents itself as a historical case study on the question of what enables someone to exert authority over large numbers of people (Cyropaedia 1.1.1-2). This agenda has several consequences. One is a text whose pace, circumstantiality and profusion of conversation are more reminiscent of Socratic literature than historiography; the number of discrete episodes from Cyrus’s long life is very small for a work of 357 pages. Another is the final chapter, in which the extravagant depiction of a contrast between the morally and physically enfeebled mid-fourth century Persians and their ancestors provides a sort of corrective editorial gloss to the main text, stressing that the Persians from whom lessons might be learned are not contemporary ones. A third consequence is Xenophon’s choice of a radically un-Herodotean story line, in which Cyrus co-operates with the Median King against Assyria and its allies (including Lydia), wins an empire ruled from Babylon, acquires Media by marrying Cyaxares’ daughter, and dies in his bed of old age. Herodotus said that many stories were told of Cyrus (1.95), and Xenophon’s narrative may reflect things that could have been heard in Persian circles (Tuplin, 1997b), but it is understandable that few regard it as a valid alternative to Herodotus.
Unlike Oeconomicus, in which Persian details are somewhat tangential to the main theme (Greek estate management), the rest of Xenophon’s works consist of narratives in which Persians play a direct role.
XENOPHON (ca. 430-353 BCE), Greek historian and essayist from Athens, who served among the Greek mercenaries of Cyrus the Younger (see ) and then led them back home, a set of events which he described in the , one of his major works.
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Third President of the USA
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Paradoxically, Plutarch the man who was the biographer of many others, had no biographer except for a scant notice in Suidas. What we know of his life is reconstructed from casual references in his own works. Plutarch was apparently born of a wealthy family in Chaeronia in Boeotia, had two brothers, Timon and Lamprias, and a grandfather named Lamprias. His parents' names are uncertain. Some say his father's name was Autobulus, some say Nicarchus, and we do know of a great-grandfather named Nicarchus. Plutarch is believed to have had a liberal education at Athens, where he studied physics, rhetoric, mathematics, medicine, natural science, philosophy, Greek, and Latin literature in 66. Ammonius of Lamptrae, a Plato scholar with religious and Neoplatonic interests, may have been his tutor. To complete his education, Plutarch traveled extensively in Greece and Asia Minor and visited Alexandria, Egypt.
The Greek biographer, historian, essayist, and moralist Plutarch (ca. 46-ca. 120) has been described as one of the most influential writers who ever lived.