Xenophon, aka Xenophon of Athens

Xenophon, aka Xenophon of Athens
355 B.C.

Greek Historian, Soldier, Mercenary and Student of Socrates

Author Quotes

No human being will ever know the truth, for even if they happened to say it by chance, they would not know they had done so.

The Divinity is so great, and of such a character, that He both sees and hears all things, is omnipotent, and attends to all things at once.

To quote a dictum of Simon, what a horse does under compulsion he does blindly, and his performance is no more beautiful than would be that of a ballet-dancer taught by whip and goad.

Again, if there is prospect of danger on the march, a prudent general can hardly show his wisdom better than by sending out advanced patrols in front of the ordinary exploring parties to reconnoitre every inch of ground

For what the horse does under compulsion, as Simon also observes, is done without understanding; and there is no beauty in it either, any more than if one should whip and spur a dancer.

In my experience, men who respond to good fortune with modesty and kindness are harder to find than those who face adversity with courage. For in the very nature of things, success tends to create pride and blindness in the hearts of men, while suffering teaches them to be patient and strong.

On making prisoners of our generals, they expected that we should perish from want of direction and order. It is incumbent, therefore, on our present commanders to be far more vigilant than our former ones, and on those under command to be far more orderly, and more obedient to their officers, at present than they were before...On the very day that such resolution is passed, they will see before them ten thousand Clearchuses instead of one.

The earth also kindly teaches men justice, at least such as are able to learn; for it is those who treat her best that she recompenses with the most numerous benefits.

Agriculture for an honorable and high-minded man, is the best of all occupations or arts by which men procure the means of living.

From one who returns our affection, glances of the eye, for instance, are pleasing, questions are pleasing, answers are pleasing, and little contentions and resentments are the most pleasing and fascinating of all.

In whom the love of honor and praise is innate, are those who are elevated most above the brutes, and who are justly named men, and not merely human beings.

Pleasure is what nearly all cavalry training involves. It is the closest a man can get, as far as I know, to flying, and that is something people long to be able to do.

The equipment for dogs are collars, leashes, and girths. Let the collars be soft as well as broad, that they may not wear off the dog's hair. Let the leashes have loops for the hand attached to them, but nothing else; for those who form the collars out of the leashes do not manage well for their dogs. Let the girths have broad bands, that they may not gall their flanks; and let there be iron points stitched into them that they may protect the breeds.

All mankind look forward with pleasure to festival days, except kings; for their tables, being always supplied with abundance, admit of no addition on festive occasions; so that, first of all, in the pleasure derived from anticipation they are decidedly inferior to private individuals.

He is a wise man who knows what is wise.

It appears to me that not only what is done by honorable and virtuous men in the serious transactions of life is worthy of record, but also what they do in their hours of amusement.

Policy goes beyond strength, and contrivance before action; hence it is that direction is left to the commander, and execution to the soldier, who is not to ask Why? but to do what he is commanded.

The first duty is to sacrifice to the gods and pray them to grant you the thought,words, and deeds likely to render your command most pleasing to the gods and bring yourself, your friends, and your city the fullest measure of affection and glory and advantage

Anything forced is not beautiful.

He neglected not his own body, and praised not those that neglected theirs. In like manner, he blamed the custom of some who eat too much, and afterwards use violent exercises; but he approved of eating till nature be satisfied, and of a moderate exercise after it, believing that method to be an advantage to health, and proper to unbend and divert the mind.

It is common opinion among us in regard to beauty and wisdom that there is an honorable and a shameful way of bestowing them. For to offer one?s beauty for money to all comers is called prostitution; but we think it virtuous to become friendly with a lover who is known to be a man of honor. So is it with wisdom. Those who offer it to all comers for money are known as sophists, prostitutors of wisdom.

Pray to God, at the beginning of all thy works, that so thou mayest bring them all to a good ending.

The gods give nothing really good and beautiful without labor.

As a person, therefore, would have no enjoyment of drinking, if he had not previously known thirst, so he who is unacquainted with the longings of love has no experience of the most ravishing pleasures.

He who eats with most pleasure is he who least requires sauce.

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

Greek Historian, Soldier, Mercenary and Student of Socrates