“The Anabasis by Cyrus” by Xenophon

The dictionary article defines anabasis as “a march from the coast into the interior, like that of Cyrus the Younger against Artaxerxes II, described by Xenophon in his historical work Anabasis (379–371) (Dictionary 1). Thus “Anabasis” is an account by the ancient writer and soldier Xenophon, which depicts the long journey of Cyrus the Younger from the Asia Minor to the gates of Babylon, where he was going to fight with the troops of his brother. The story is told by a great writer and soldier Xenophon, who managed to depict all the details of the battles and journeys:

“The “Anabasis of Cyrus,” tells a memorable tale. It recounts how a small band of Greek mercenaries marched from the coast of Asia Minor (in 401 B. C.), through the deserts of Arabia, and up to the gates of Babylon to meet in battle the Great King of Persia” (Xenophon 1).

Then one of the most powerful men on that territory, who had a growing desire of vanquishing his brother, tried to fulfill this purpose. It is still surprising how such a small army of only ten thousand warriors could win the greatest battle. This victory was a significant one. Nevertheless the victory over an enemy in one battle does not mean that the whole war will be won. Thus the general of Persian army, Cyrus the Younger, was killed in the battle, which was aimed at overthrowing his elder brother and rival to the throne. Then the part of the great army managed to reach the Black Sea after having undergone numerous hardships and dangerous adventures.

Thus the story represents the memories of the great commanding officer of the large army which was aimed at returning the throne back to Cyrus the Younger, as he thought that he would inherit the throne and all the power of the great King of Persia. Cyrus was too self-confident and did not take into account that his brother could step on the throne. After that, he had to gather an army of ten thousand Greek mercenaries. Xenophon “accompanied this army in a private capacity, and who, in its moment of greatest need, after most of Greek generals had been treacherously murdered, rose to fill the void and to provide the decisive leadership that saves the Greeks and secured his fame” (Xenophon 1).

Xenophon was a professional writer and a soldier as well. The “Anabasis” narrates a story of a journey from one side of the world to another, fulfilled by the army which numbered about ten thousand Greek mercenaries. Xenophon accompanied the great army of Cyrus the Younger which consisted of ten thousand hired Greek mercenaries. Cyrus wanted to seize the throne from his brother Artaxerxes II who got it from their father Darius II, king of Persia.

Xenophon wrote this account after already being there, as he wanted to tell everyone about their victory, about the greatest journey which took place on that territory. Xenophon was one of the leaders that led the army after the death of their prince, Cyrus the Younger. Xenophon possessed “wisdom, leadership, and general indispensability” (Finley 382); these features of the great commander are described in the “Anabasis”.

The “Anabasis” written by soldier and writer Xenophon is a great piece of literature, which represents the historical events of ancient times. This book is of great importance for people who study history, literature, Greek language, as it represents the significant value of different historical events, especially written by those who were present during those events. As Xenophon was one of the leaders in the long journey held by the prince Cyrus the Younger, it represents the facts and descriptions of that battle.

Works Cited

Dictionary.com. An Ask.com Service. 2009. Dictionary.com, LLC. Web.

Xenophon, and Wayne Ambler, and Eric Buzzetti. The Anabasis by Cyrus. USA: Cornell University Press, 2008.

Finley, I. Moses. The Portable Greek Historians. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.

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