Xenophon's portrait is the only one other than Plato's to survive, and while it offers a very personal interpretation of Socratic thought, it also reveals much about the man and his philosophical views.
Plato and Xenophon: Apologies compares two key dialogues on the death of Socrates. Socrates was accused of impiety and corrupting the youth of ancient Athens and was tried, convicted, imprisoned, and executed. Both Plato and Xenophon make clear that the charges were not brought forward in the spirit of true piety, and that Socrates was a man of real virtue and beneficence. To this day, his trial and execution remain a mark upon the democracy that put him to death. These (...) dialogues underscore the limitations of democratic relativism and emphasize the nature of philosophy or the free mind. Plato’s Apology of Socrates is both poetry and an act of reformation, justifying the life of philosophy, challenging the authority of the pagan gods and heroes, and introducing Socrates as a heroic and even divine figure. In contrast, Xenophon’s Socrates is not dialectical and otherworldly, but makes a different appeal for philosophy. From Xenophon emerges the heroic tradition of Plutarch with its reflections on the virtues and vices of great historical men. Focus Philosophical Library translations are close to and are non-interpretative of the original text, with the notes and a glossary intending to provide the reader with some sense of the terms and the concepts as they were understood by Plato and Xenophon’s immediate audience. (shrink)
Mit einer Anschaulichkeit, die in der antiken Literatur ihresgleichen sucht, schildert Xenophon den abenteuerlichen Putschversuch des jungen persischen Prinzen Kyros gegen seinen Bruder, den Großkönig Artaxerxes II. Xenophon, selbst einer der Heerführer im Krieg 401 v. Chr., schildert packend die Vorgänge und beschreibt authentisch Land und Leute, Sitten und Bräuche. Damit legt er den Grundstein zur Memoirenliteratur: Caesars Gallischer Krieg oder Arrians Alexanderzug sind ohne Xenophon nicht denkbar.
Das grosse Geschichtswerk des Thukydides bricht ab um das Jahr 411. Hier setzt Xenophon, ein Schuler des Sokrates, ein. Seine "Hellenika" in sieben Buchern, die einzige vollstandig erhaltene Fortsetzung des Thukydides, ist die Darstellung der griechischen Geschichte vom letzten Teil des Peleponnesischen Krieges bis zur Schlacht von Mantinea im Jahre 362. Leitgedanke des Werkes ist der Aufstieg Spartas zur Hegemonialmacht und sein Niedergang. Die objektive Form des Berichterstattung des Thukydides wird zwar beibehalten, jedoch ohne strenge Chronologie und mit einer gewissen (...) Willkur der Stoffverteilung. Die sachkundige Beschreibung der Strategie und Kriegstechnik wird belebt durch zahlreiche eingelegte Reden und dramatisch gestaltete Einzelszenen.". (shrink)
_Publication postponed indefinitely _ This volume provides accurate and accessible translations of Xenophon's Socratic writings; a general Introduction that discusses Xenophon, Socrates and Socratic literature; short introductions to each individual work; annotation; and an index. An attractive text, not only for the study of the historical Socrates and Socratic thought, but also for courses dealing with the economic or social history of Athens in the Classical period.
The Symposium that Xenophon wrote has lived in the shadow of the more famous one by Plato, so much so that it has not received a full commentary in English for well over a hundred years. Yet it is a work as useful for its Greek as it is precious for its content. Socrates is the hero of each Symposium, but most of our understanding of him is usually owed to Plato; we risk assuming that his portrait of Socrates is (...) right. Xenophon saw the man differently: his picture is independent, and it is the only significant surviving alternative view. Moreover, the scene that Xenophon paints in his Symposium has a vigour and wit of its own. The work is a document of prime importance for the classical Greek society which we study most and know best: it is set at the male heart of it. Thirdly, Xenophon's Greek is lucid and unforced. The editor has been using the text for a number of years to help students bridge the gap between what they learn from their beginners' courses and the richer Greek of more fashionable texts. Hence an unprecedented amount of help with the language, and a large vocabulary, as well as the notes usual in this series on the content. (shrink)