Xenophon, aka Xenophon of Athens

Xenophon, aka Xenophon of Athens
355 B.C.

Greek Historian, Soldier, Mercenary and Student of Socrates

Author Quotes

When, lithe of limb, she danced the Pyrrhic, loud clapping followed; and the Paphlagonians asked, If these women fought by their side in battle? to which they answered, To be sure, it was the women who routed the great King, and drove him out of camp. So ended the night.

Wherever magistrates were appointed from among those who complied with the injunctions of the laws, Socrates considered the government to be an aristocracy.

Yet is it more honorable, and just, and upright, and pleasing, to treasure in the memory good acts than bad.

You are well aware that it is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods' gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them. I have noticed this point too, my friends, that in soldiering the people whose one aim is to keep alive usually find a wretched and dishonorable death, while the people who, realizing that death is the common lot of all men, make it their endeavor to die with honor, somehow seem more often to reach old age and to have a happier life when they are alive. These are facts which you too should realize (our situation demands it) and should show that you yourselves are brave men and should call on the rest to do likewise.

You should take [dogs] to hunt on different grounds at different times, in order that you may experience varieties in the chase, and that you yourself may become acquainted with the country.

Your leader is only one man, I heard my voice say. His strength is no more supernatural than your own, nor is his virtue, and by himself he could never preserve the good things that belong by right to everyone. To govern well, he must have your help?the help of his true, trustworthy friends. You must forever be worthy of his trust, and you must raise up true friends of your own, to help you carry your own burdens. And it is love that must bind all of us together.

To take from enemies against their will, I consider to be one of the highest gratifications; but favours from objects of affection give us most pleasure when they bestow them voluntarily.

Truly, men often fail to understand their own weaknesses, I said neutrally, and their lack of self-knowledge can bring terrible disasters down on their own heads.

We feel a greater pride in conversing with those who are superior to us in honor, than with those who are on a level with us.

We ought to give good examples to our children, because if they see no uncomeliness, they shall be forced to follow goodness and virtue.

What am I lying here for?...We are lying here as though we had a chance of enjoying a quiet time...Am I waiting until I become a little older?

When a horse wants to display himself...he lifts his neck up high and flexes his poll haughtily, and picks his legs up freely, and keeps his tail up.

When the dogs are tired with running, and it is late in the day, the hunter may still continue to seek for the hare, which will also be tired, leaving nothing unexamined of all that the earth produces or has upon it, making frequent turnings about, that the animal may not escape him (for it lies in a small space, and sometimes shrinks from leaving it through weariness and terror), leading forward the dogs, animating them, cheering such as are docile with many words of encouragement, such as are intractable with but few, and such as are of an intermediate character with a moderate number, until he either kills the hare by tracking it, or drive it into the nets.

When the inhabitants of a free city have overcome the enemy in the field, it is not easy to express the pleasure which they feel in putting their opponents to flight, as well as in pursuing and making havoc of them.

When the interests of mankind are at stake, they will obey with joy the man whom they believe to be wiser than themselves.

When the puppies are born, we must leave them with the mother, and not put them to another dog; for the nurture of strange dogs does not sufficiently contribute to growth; but the milk and breath of their mothers is good for them, and their caresses pleasing.

Death is the end of those who have done nothing to cause their names to live after them.

I made my people understand the crucial difference between modesty and self-control. The modest person, I told them, will do nothing blameworthy in the light of day, but a true paragon of self-control?which we all should strive to be?avoids unworthy actions even in the deepest secrecy of his private life.

Men, the enemy troops you can see are all that stands between us and the place we have for so long been determined to reach. We must find a way to eat them alive!

That the truly contented man is not the possessor of vast riches. The crown of happiness goes to the person who has the skill to gain money fairly, use it honorably, and not mistake gold for a god of power and light.

The true test of a leader is whether his followers will adhere to his cause from their own volition, enduring the most arduous hardships without being forced to do so, and remaining steadfast in the moments of greatest peril.

Every one of you is the leader.

If the campaign is in summer the general must show himself greedy for his share of the sun and the heat, and in winter for the cold and the frost, and in all labors for toil and fatigue. This will help to make him beloved of his followers.

Misleaders are slow to work hard but quick to act on greed. They convince their men that dishonest behavior leads to great wealth.

That... is the road to the obedience of compulsion. But there is a shorter way to a nobler goal, the obedience of the will. When the interests of mankind are at stake, they will obey with joy the man whom they believe to be wiser than themselves. You may prove this on all sides: you may see how the sick man will beg the doctor to tell him what he ought to do, how a whole ship's company will listen to the pilot.

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First Name
Xenophon, aka Xenophon of Athens
Birth Date
Death Date
355 B.C.

Greek Historian, Soldier, Mercenary and Student of Socrates