Loving Humanity, Learning, and Being Honored: The Foundations of Leadership in Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus

  Sandridge, Norman B. 2012. Loving Humanity, Learning, and Being Honored: The Foundations of Leadership in Xenophon's Education of Cyrus. Hellenic Studies Series 55. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_SandridgeN.Loving_Humanity_Learning_and_Being_Honored.2012.

Chapter 3. On the Fundamentality of Philanthrôpia, Philomatheia, and Philotîmia

To determine the fundamentality of Cyrus’ superlative love of humanity, learning, and being honored, I mean to ask the following: to what extent are these three traits either the cause of other leadership traits or the foundation for them to be developed? Our starting point is Xenophon’s summary statement of Cyrus’ character where he says that Cyrus loved being honored so much that he would “undertake all risks and undergo all dangers for the sake of being praised” (1.2.1). Here I am interested to see where this relationship may apply for other derivative traits and to pin down as carefully as possible the nature of the association.

Before we begin, we must acknowledge two methodological difficulties with arguing that one leadership trait is “fundamental” while another is “derivative.” The first is a problem we discussed in the Introduction, that is, we are asking questions that Xenophon may not explicitly answer. With few exceptions, such as philoponia (the love of labor), Xenophon does not say that one quality of Cyrus causes, or paves the way, for another character trait. Thus, for us to assert that this causality exists will be speculative. It may seem overly simplistic or reductive, as though we are attributing undue sophistication to Xenophon as a leadership theorist, a sophistication that some scholars may be willing to claim while others may not. A way around this problem is to look at other works of Xenophon, or in some cases other Greek authors, where the association is made a more explicit. Another approach is to compare scenes in the Cyropaedia to discover either habitual associations or pointed antitheses (as in the case of Cyrus’ leadership and that of his uncle, Cyaxares). We will see many places where one fundamental characteristic is regularly associated with what I am calling a “derivative” trait. It will be our challenge to clarify this association.

A second problem we face is one of definition. It may be the case that we have defined Cyrus’ philanthrôpia, etc., in such broad terms that they become, of logical necessity, the “foundation” of plenty of other traits. For example, Cyrus’ {59|60} philanthrôpia might seem to subsume justice or gentleness. We even said as much when we said that Cyrus’ gentleness was part of his philanthrôpia in Chapter One (p. 23). We must be more careful here and guard against this tendency; we will endeavor in this chapter to clarify further what Xenophon means by gentleness (praotês). From here we may determine whether it is caused by, subsumed under, or otherwise distinct from his “love of humanity.” In the end, whether we call it a “derivative” trait or just another “facet” of Cyrus’ philanthrôpia is to some extent academic. The ultimate goal is to determine how good Xenophon’s Theory of Leadership is vis-à-vis Cyrus’ character.

Loveof Toil

We have noted that for Xenophon the desire to be honored results in a willingness, if not a desire, to work hard. On the face of it, this correlation is obvious: those who want something will work for it. But to what kinds of work is Xenophon referring? How exactly does work lead to honor and successful leadership?

In his study of ponos (“toil”) and ergon (“work”) in Xenophon’s Cynegeticus and Oeconomicus, Johnstone argues that Xenophon was interested in constructing “a style of living, which would justify and enhance the power of elites.” [1] For Johnstone ponos was an aristocratic and thus highly politicized value that marked out virtuous, practical, and aesthetically pleasing activity, such as hunting and overseeing an estate. [2] Johnstone sees the rise in the idealization of ponos in fourth-century Athens as a result of a decline in other social forms of aristocratic distinction, such as luxurious dress, private benefaction to the lower classes, and emphasis on aristocratic lineage, all of which were falling out of favor in Xenophon’s time because of the rise of democratic ideology. His remarks about the class significance of ponos capture well his position:

Xenophon sought to define the aristocrat by his toils. Far from being opposed to toil, leisure … made toil possible. Toil was the stylized, even ostentatious, version of aristocratic leisure, aesthetically and morally superior to the compulsory work of the ordinary person. The labour of the aristocrat was καλός, noble, beautiful, and it won for him virtue. These virtuous practices were concerned not just with the formation of the self … but essentially with the self as a member of a superior class. Through practices which denied pleasure and asserted self-control, elites would not only distinguish themselves from the populace, but {60|61} (so Xenophon hoped) moderate their own desires so as to control their competitive urges. Xenophon sought to guarantee the superiority of elites by reforming their culture.

Johnstone 2010:166

Johnstone’s characterization of ponos in the fourth century is no doubt true to some extent, but it is not entirely true for Xenophon’s Cyrus. Yes, ponos contributes to the leader’s (or the aristocrat’s) legitimacy. Leaders need to excel in toil because it will impress their followers, as Cambyses explains to Cyrus:

On campaigns, if they are in the summer, the leader must show that he can overcome the sun; and in the winter, the cold. If he goes through difficult paths, he must show he can overcome the toils. For all these things are conducive to his being loved by his followers.

Cyropaedia 1.6.25

And, as we saw in the last chapter, Cambyses emphasizes the mental aspect of toil:

You must understand this very well, that all the men you should count on to obey you, will count on you to take thought on their behalf. So don’t ever be careless, but during the night plan out what your followers will do when the day arrives and during the day plan out how the affairs of the night will be best.

Cyropaedia 1.6.42

This second example again illustrates the social importance of toil: followers expect it of their leaders (cf. Agesilaus 5.3). But Cambyses is also emphasizing toil as a practical necessity: leaders have to be responsible for and attentive to more things than their followers. Cyrus explains to his father that whereas the Medes think a ruler should surpass the followers in all manner of luxury and sleep, he believes that the ruler should excel others in forethought and enthusiasm for toil (1.6.8). He does not seem to be speaking strictly of ostentatious toil here any more than he could be speaking of ostentatious forethought. [
3] Xenophon’s Agesilaus seems to have thoroughly internalized this responsibility:

Through his activity he employed sleep not as his master but as his follower and, as far as his bed was concerned, if he did not have the {61|62} most insignificant one of all his comrades, he could not conceal his shame. For he thought that a leader should not surpass private citizens in softness but in endurance (karteria).

Agesilaus 5.2

Xenophon’s Cyrus conceives of toil as a means to prosperity both for leaders and followers, not as an end in itself or as a means to legitimacy. He explains to his men as they divide up the spoils of conquest:

Hereafter, too, we must be good men, knowing that obedience, endurance, and toil and danger in the opportune moment provide great pleasures and great benefits.

Cyropaedia 3.3.8

Besides being necessary for success, toil is demanding, dirty, and unglamorous. Persian youths endure heat and cold on the hunt as well as deprivation of food and water (1.2.10–11). In the Anabasis, Cyrus the Younger orders Persian nobles to dislodge some wagons from the mud, which they do in all haste while wearing their fancy clothes and jewelry. This exercise was, says Xenophon, an example of their discipline and orderliness (1.5.7–8). Xenophon himself chops wood in the snow, without a cloak, to inspire similar toil and endurance in his men (4.4.12).

Self-mastery, Self-restraint, and Endurance

Do philanthrôpia, philomatheia, and philotîmia somehow lead to a more restrained leader? In Xenophon, self-mastery (enkrateia) typically refers to a control over physical distractions, e.g. food, drink, hot, cold, and sleep, whereas self-restraint (sôphrosunê) refers to emotional distractions, with fear, anger, pity, and love being among the most potent. We may think of self-restraint and mastery as complements of philoponia, in the sense that they involve the strength not to engage in certain actions.

For Cyrus, self-restraint is learned in the Persian educational system and is thus presumably teachable. Youths learn self-restraint by observing their elders carry on in a moderate way (1.2.8). Accordingly, a good student should be able to learn it, the exceptional student even more so. Interestingly, so should a good teacher: Xenophon says that Cyrus became most accomplished at “self-mastery and the arts of exercise and war” by engaging in training his comrades (8.1.37). Insofar as restraint is something done in a public setting, we would expect the lover of honor to be able to possess more of it than others, just as he or she will toil more than others. As we observed above, the spotlight that shines on the leader lightens the burden; perhaps Xenophon means to imply that the same is true of restraint.

This is probably as far as we may go in drawing connections to Cyrus’ philotîmia, unless we assume that when Xenophon speaks of ponos, he means to include all forms of physical effort, from restraint to endurance to positive exertion. Finally, in pointing out a correlation between these traits, I am not saying that philotîmia is the only basis for becoming restrained. Xenophon has the stern Persian soldier Aglaïtadas explain that fathers teach sons self-restraint by making them cry, presumably by inducing fear (2.2.14). Tigranes argues, too, that someone can learn self-restraint through fear: his own father, he says, has learned to restrain himself first by being defeated in battle by Cyrus, the superior general, and then by being threatened with death (3.1.16-23). As we noted in the Introduction, Plato argues that an intense love of otherworldly wisdom {63|64} (philosophia) also renders someone restrained against the pleasures and experiences of the corporeal world (see Introduction pp. 12–13).


Xenophon says that Persians learn justice (dikaiosunê) in their educational system in the same way that Greeks learn their alphabet (1.2.6). To become proficient in this trait, boys play the part of prosecutors and judges, bringing charges against one another and passing sentence according to the offense. They are particularly keen to prosecute acts of ingratitude, which they see as a path to shamefulness. Xenophon says that Cyrus excels all others in learning his lessons in justice or otherwise, because he learns so quickly. The ability to become a just person is teachable and thus derives at least in part from Cyrus’ love of learning.

But this does not seem to be the entire picture. In Plato, the Philosopher King is also said to be proficient in justice, not only because of his intelligence but because of his love of otherworldly wisdom. As we noted in the Introduction, Plato’s lover of wisdom does not care about material possessions and thus would not be interested in cheating others of them (pp. 12–13). Justice is each person doing his or her part according to what is fitting for the community. The implication is that as long as the Philosopher King is benefitting the community (and not seeking personal gain), then it is appropriate to apply the notion of what is fitting or just without consideration for what others believe or feel. This lack of consideration goes as far as fabricating “noble lies” like the Myth of Metals, wherein members of the community are instructed to let the rearing of children take place according to a pairing of the most suitable children with the most suitable parents (Republic 415a–c). This level of deception is not occasional, but chronic in a community where (it is assumed) some members are leaders and some are not, some may understand the true reason behind a political decision and others may never be capable of comprehending it.

Cyrus seems to have learned from his incomplete understanding of justice when he proposes the alliance of land-sharing between the Armenians and Chaldaeans. We may think of this scene as the counterpart to the Two Coats story. Here Cyrus carefully asks permission from both parties before confirming the treaty (3.2.17–24). To the Chaldaeans he says:

Would you like the opportunity to cultivate the Armenian land, as much of it as you wanted, on the condition that you pay as much as other Armenians?

When the Chaldaeans agree, Cyrus asks the Armenian king if he would be willing to let the Chaldaeans cultivate the untended land, to which he agrees. In reciprocal terms, he then requests a similar consent from the Chaldaeans to allow the Armenians to pasture their herds in their mountains—and then asks if this arrangement is agreeable to the Armenians. Nevertheless, the Chaldaeans and Armenians both stipulate that the mountains adjoining their two lands should not be occupied by either side (as they would feel mutually threatened), but that Cyrus should place a garrison there. Both sides then give their approval of the treaty. Both sides are then enthusiastic to build the fort for their common safety. Xenophon points out that the two nations shared the right of intermarriage and that the covenant is still intact in his day.

Again we see similar consideration when Cyrus plans to reward his comrades according to their performance in battle; here, too, he asks for their approval (2.3.4). Pheraulas approves of Cyrus as the distributor of the spoils because Cyrus is free from envy and takes more pleasure in benefiting others than himself (2.3.12). When Cyrus and his men have acquired spoils in their pursuit of the Assyrians, he insists that they wait for their allies to return in order to divide them fairly. Moreover, he insists that the allies be their own arbiters in the distribution, with mutual good will being the basis of their trust that the process will be fair (4.2.42, 4.5.44–45).

In short, justice for Cyrus is not simply about knowing what is fitting but also caring about the feelings and interests of others. It has an intellectual and sympathetic component; part of being fair is the desire to be fair. Indeed, Xenophon seems to agree with Aristotle, who says that just individuals need to have friendly feeling toward one another and that intense friendliness is characteristic of the just (Nicomachean Ethics 1155a26–28).


Contrary to Cyrus’ gentleness, the Armenian king envies Tigranes’ tutor (3.1.39) and the Assyrian king is murderously envious of his peers. After inviting the son of Gobryas on a hunting expedition, the Assyrian king is plagued with envy because the young man surpasses him by bringing down both a bear and a lion (cf. τὸν φθόνον,, As a result, he impulsively kills him. The king’s father expresses sympathy for Gobryas’ misfortune (, but his son shows no sympathy; neither does he try to make amends nor does he honor Gobryas’ son. Later, he has the noble Gadatas made into a eunuch because one of his concubines praised Gadatas’ beauty (5.2.28).

Given this prominent antithesis between the harsh envy of others and Cyrus’ own gentleness, we should attempt to pin down the association between gentleness and philanthrôpia more carefully. It would be hasty and oversimplified to conclude that philanthrôpia is the source of all forms of gentleness in a leader, however. A priori we could imagine several reasons why a leader might feel or show praotês: self-confidence, confidence that any rivals are too weak or fear-stricken to offer a viable threat, a personal desire for self-improvement through competition, a sense of fairness, the capacity to understand another’s perspective, or, finally, a fondness for others and the desire to benefit them directly (philanthrôpia). Many of these explanations would work for the examples we have seen in the Cyropaedia. Cyrus might be willing to compete with (and lose to) his age-mates at horseback riding because he knows it will help him improve (1.3.15). He might be willing to compete more formally in the horse race he himself sponsors in Babylon because he believes no one would dare to challenge him (8.3.25). He might be willing for his comrades to compete equally in the hunt because he is confident that he will be the best; if so, he is right. He might be willing to listen to counter-proposals from his men because he already enjoys their good will and is confident in his own ability to give sensible advice. He might be willing to listen to the plea of Tigranes for the Armenian king or to pardon Araspas’ advances on Pantheia because he has the intelligence {68|69} and empathy to take their perspectives and to comprehend the rationale for their behavior. [16] We could say that whereas Cyaxares is harsh and lacking in understanding (ὠμὸς καὶ ἀγνώμων), Cyrus is gentle and understanding (πρᾷός καὶ συγγνώμων). As we noted above, Persians are trained in the virtue of justice as part of their education system; in particular they are trained to hear cases and pass judgment on them (1.2.6). So, where does philanthrôpia figure into this picture?

Rather than being instinctual or natural, Cyrus’ praotês may involve some calculation, or at least may be part of a larger network of considerations. For example, in the case of his gentleness toward the Armenians (i.e. patiently listening to Tigranes’ defense of his father), Cyrus sets out to gain tribute from the Armenians; on top of that, he ends up controlling their entire army (2.4.12, 3.1.42). To punish the Armenians might be just, but their services as allies are of greater advantage. Similarly, by showing gentleness and understanding to Araspas Cyrus can use him as a spy on the Assyrians (6.1.39). In competition, whether hunting or riding, Cyrus’ gentleness wins him the affection and later the allegiance of his Medan friends.


In the previous Chapter, when I noted Cyrus’ eagerness to learn about military affairs, I suggested that philomatheia and epimeleia were nearly synonymous, or that epimeleia was the activity that a philomathês tends to engage in. In the Oeconomicus , Xenophon explains that epimeleia is an important virtue that may {69|70} be taught. Ischomachus explains to Socrates how it is that he teaches the overseers of his estate to be good at what they do (12.5). Both speakers acknowledge that it is not enough for the overseer to be loyal and well-meaning, and so Ischomachus explains that he also teaches attentiveness (epimeleia). Socrates doubts that anyone can be taught to be attentive, but Ischomachus says that it takes a certain kind of student. Those who are vulnerable to alcohol or sleep, he says, cannot be taught, as well as those who are desperately in love (i.e. those with minimal self-restraint and self-mastery). When Socrates doubts if the greedy would be good candidates to learn, Ischomachus claims that they are, as long as it is explained to them that attentiveness is profitable, though he acknowledges that such people are dangerous. Finally, Socrates asks how he teaches the person who is only a moderate lover of gain and free from other faults, to which Ischomachus replies:

Very easily, Socrates. For whenever I notice them being attentive, I both praise them and try to honor them, but whenever they are careless, I try to say or do whatever will sting them.

Oeconomicus 12.16

Ischomachus says further that he prefers lovers of honor to lovers of gain (philokerdeis). He prefers a man who is honest not only because it is profitable but because an honest man is eager for praise from him; the ambitious (philotîmoi), he says, are willing to toil however it is necessary, to take risks, and refrain from shameful gain (14.10). Ischomachus does not make the deduction, but he implies that the person who is highly loving of honor would also be highly attentive, assuming such a person saw opportunities to win honor by doing so. philomatheia and philotîmia, then, seem to work together to enhance epimeleia.


Piety is neither a virtue that boys study in the Persian agôgê nor is it part of Cyrus’ education at the court of his grandfather. Plutarch does say that the later Persian king, Artaxerxes II, learned the skill of the Magi from a priest who had been appointed to give him the traditional Persian education (Life of Artaxerxes 3.3). But Xenophon mentions neither the gods nor their worship until well into Chapter Five of Book One of the Cyropaedia. There he says that Cyrus, having selected his Persian comrades to join Cyaxares in his war against the Assyrians, consults the gods and does not march out until the omens were favorable (1.5.6). As a conclusion to his speech exhorting his men to fight with confidence, he assures them that he has not been inattentive to the gods (1.5.14). Though there {70|71} has been no mention of this practice thus far, he claims to have always set out with approval from the gods in matters both great and small.

Moreover, knowledge of religion for Xenophon, it would seem, is much like knowledge of farming, in that the information is readily available and comparatively unambiguous. Yet, few individuals make the effort to apply such knowledge vigilantly on all occasions. Often some character flaw gets in the way: for example, Herodotus’ Croesus is told that by invading the Persians he will destroy a mighty empire. As the oracle later explains to him, he had the opportunity to ask which empire he would destroy, but he neglected to, presumably because he was overconfident (Histories 1.19). In the Cyropaedia, Cyrus feels a similar temptation at the beginnings of his battles to presume favor from the gods, or to look for favor where there is none. Yet Xenophon has him check his impulses and pay attention.

The Aestheticsof Leadership

The love of beauty is a character trait that appears early in the Cyropaedia and then sporadically, but its importance resonates throughout the work. When Cyrus arrives in Media, his grandfather dresses him in the traditional Medan style and teaches him to ride, which Xenophon says he delights in doing because he is a lover of beauty (philokalos) and a lover of honor (1.3.2). What is beautiful (kalos) is often easily recognized as that which is expensive or fancy. In {73|74} battle Cyrus wears the finest armor (1.4.18, 7.1.2, cf. Abradatas, 6.4.1–4). When he comes to rule Babylon, he instructs his associates to adopt the Medan style of dress, with eyeliner and elevated shoes, in order to make themselves more distinguished and thus charm their subjects (8.1.40–41).

To get a better sense of the foundations of the love of beauty, we may consider other places where the term is used in Xenophon. For one, Cyrus on campaign sets up a series of contests among the different classes of soldier, beginning with the private, whom he says must excel in several different qualities:

ἰδιώτῃ μὲν ἑαυτὸν παρέχειν εὐπειθῆ τοῖς ἄρχουσι καὶ ἐθελόπονον καὶ φιλοκίνδυνον μετ’ εὐταξίας καὶ ἐπιστήμονα τῶν στρατιωτικῶν καὶ φιλόκαλον περὶ ὅπλα καὶ φιλότιμον ἐπὶ πᾶσι τοῖς τοιούτοις.

Cyropaedia 2.1.22 {74|75}

Later, when he defeats Croesus in battle, Cyrus incorporates him into his army after he sees the Lydians “priding themselves in the adornment” of their weapons, horses, and chariots. [
30] As we saw in the boy Cyrus and his fine clothes, we again see an association of the love of beauty with the love of honor. It would seem then that at least part of what it means to “love beauty” for Xenophon is to love being honored for one’s visual distinctiveness, that is, to be recognized as the visual embodiment of certain honorable virtues, such as promptness, restraint, or diligence.

Dillery shows that Cyrus, too, favors this love of order as a means to greater efficiency. Cyrus is raised in an educational system that is organized by tribe, age, and merit (1.2.4–16). As a leader, he encourages his subordinates to pick their troops not on the basis of native origin but on the basis of their excellence. He espouses the same general appreciation for order elsewhere in Xenophon: “things that are disorganized (ἀσύντακτα) are always troublesome until they are put in order” (4.5.37). He uses the analogy of a house that is better lacking {75|76} in slaves altogether than “disordered” by wicked ones (cf. ταραττόμενος, 2.2.26). He again follows Ischomachus in applying the analogy of the ordered household to the ordered army:

Cyrus thought that orderliness (euthêmosunê) was also a good practice in the household. For whenever someone needed something, it was clear from where it was necessary for him to go and take it. But he thought that orderliness in military groupings was far better.

Cyropaedia 8.5.7

Xenophon explains that Cyrus assigned this preeminence to military organization because in war the dangers and chances for success are much greater. At its best, Cyrus’ army functions with greater coordination than a chorus, given its exceptional training and obedience to his commands (3.3.70). When his camp is conceived with good organization, it is easier for him to know who is and is not following orders (8.5.14). Outside of the army, Cyrus draws the greatest benefit from orderliness when he applies both the Persian system of education and military organization (suntaxis) to his government by dividing everyone into units of ten, with each administrator overseeing ten men below him on down the chain of command (8.1.14).

In his Funeral Oration in the Histories of Thucydides, which is the first extant use of the philokal– stem, Pericles says of his fellow Athenians, “we are lovers of beauty with a purpose” (Φιλοκαλοῦμέν … μετ’ εὐτελείας, 2.40.1). For Xenophon, and perhaps for Thucydides, the purpose of beauty (or order) was to charm, intimidate, and impress others. It was also a means to efficiency and to facilitate the leader’s grasp of a situation, whether an array of troops in battle formation or satraps in imperial administration. We may think of the love of organization that Cyrus shows as a necessary component of his love of learning: since it is important for a leader to have the kind of mind that maintains a hyper-attentiveness to all things, such a leader must also have the proclivity to organize all these data-points into a “beautiful” unity. Here again we see the extent to which the love of learning in Xenophon does not involve brilliance, cleverness, or invention, so much as a careful attention to all that is knowable, from the gods and from friends, guided by an orderly arrangement of the operation and all the information therein.


Cyrus’ superlative love of humanity, love of learning, and love of being honored seem conducive to several other traits central to his success as a leader. The love {76|77} of honor seems to do the most work, giving the leader the motivation to pay more attention, take greater risks, toil harder, endure more, and sacrifice love and other conveniences of the body. In some cases, a derivative trait may arise from the coordination of two fundamental traits: the love of learning and the love of humanity seem to produce a more just and gentle Cyrus; and the love of honor and the love of learning seem to make him more pious and loving of beauty (order).

While these superlative “loves” may be conducive to these other traits, they are not the only cause of them, as we have noted in several places. A leader might behave gently not out of a love for humanity so much as out of self-confidence or out of a desire to seem merciful. Similarly, a leader might show restraint not out of a desire to win honor but, according to Plato’s Socrates, because the emotions and the pleasures of the body hold no interest compared to understanding the Forms.

As I stressed at the outset of this chapter, such an approach to the fundamentality of Xenophon’s Theory of Leadership is of necessity conjectural, and can become reductive and simplistic. With few exceptions (like the love of honor producing the love of toil), Xenophon never says that philanthrôpia, etc. are the more fundamental traits. He does say that they are features of Cyrus’ soul, and he does repeatedly talk about “derivative” traits in associative ways, both of which facts invite us to explore how Xenophon may have conceived of leadership characteristics in fundamental and derivative ways. {77|}


[ back ] 1. Johnstone 2010:137.

[ back ] 2. For the role of this ideal in the founders of the American Constitution, see Wulf 2011.

[ back ] 3. For examples of the leader’s greater burden of concern elsewhere in Greek literature see Chapter Four pp. 94–96.

[ back ] 4. Xenophon’s Agesilaus seems to have had something of this principle in mind when he made it a policy never to sleep in a private house when he traveled but rather in a temple (where the gods would be watching) or in a public place where everyone could witness his sôphrosunê (Agesilaus 5.7). As we have already seen, Cyrus is very adept at preempting what would be considered less than virtuous behavior, e.g. when he refuses to gaze on Pantheia or when he checks his greedy impulse by distributing his wealth to friends (Chapter Two pp. 55–56).

[ back ] 5. Cf. Danzig (forthcoming):13–17 on Cyrus’ benevolent deception of his uncle Cyaxares.

[ back ] 6. On the similarity to this scene and Socrates’ discussions of justice in the Memorabilia, see Gera 1993:74–75.

[ back ] 7. Danzig 2010:278–279.

[ back ] 8. Cf. Konstan 2007:216. On the Persian king’s reputation for justice in Greek culture, cf. Hirsh 1985:7–8.

[ back ] 9. Cf. πραῢς ἀστοῖς, οὐ φθονέων ἀγαθοῖς, ξεί- | νοις δὲ θαυμαστὸς πατήρ, Pythian Odes 3.71–72. Cf. the gentle words and hospitality of the would-be king, Jason (μειλιχίοισι λόγοις, Pythian Odes 4.127).

[ back ] 10. Cf. φιλάνθρωπος ἦν καὶ πρᾷος καὶ τοῖς ἁμαρτάνουσι συγγνωμονικός, Athenian Constitution 16.2.4. Pisitratus’ philanthrôpia was manifested in the loans he made to poorer farmers; his motive, according to Aristotle, does not seem to have been to improve the well-being of the poorer Athenians per se, so much as to keep them out of the city and thus out of politics.

[ back ] 11. Cyropaedia Cyrus also rewards the gentleness of one taxiarch ( This is only the third instance of the noun, praotês, in Xenophon; the two others describe Agesilaus and Cyrus.

[ back ] 12. Cf. οὐδ’ ὁπωστιοῦν φθονερῶς, Cf. Cyrus as one who judges without envy (,

[ back ] 13. Cyropaedia 4.5.24, 6.2.24, 6.2.39, 6.3.36, 6.4.19, 7.5.7, 7.5.37, 8.3.2. Plato also praises this feature of Cyrus’ non-envious leadership (Laws 694b).

[ back ] 14. Cyropaedia 1.3.8–11. In presenting this rivalry with Sacas, Xenophon may be alluding to an alternate version of Cyrus’ rise to power as the faithful cupbearer of Astyages (Cook 26).

[ back ] 15. Cf. τὴν ὠμότητα, The usage of omotês to describe Cyaxares here is the only occurrence in Xenophon, though the Spartan commander Clearchus is similarly harsh and has a similarly hard time commanding the obedience of his followers (cf. ἀεὶ χαλεπὸς ἦν καὶ ὠμός, Anabasis

[ back ] 16. In praising Cyrus’ praotês the Armenians also praise his wisdom (sophia) (3.1.41).

[ back ] 17. Danzig (forthcoming):8–9 makes the valuable point that Cyrus learns from his father that the best way to appear to be something is actually to be it. Thus we could infer the same for philanthrôpia: the best way to base one’s legitimacy as a leader on friendship is to enjoy making friends.

[ back ] 18. Gera 1993:54–59.

[ back ] 19. Gera 1993:58.

[ back ] 20. The one exception is the dream Cyrus receives at the end of his life that foretells his death (8.7.2).

[ back ] 21. Gera 1993:59.

[ back ] 22. Gera 1993:59.

[ back ] 23. Gera 1993:284.

[ back ] 24. Cyropaedia 3.3.21–22. Cyrus is as mindful of what he owes to his fatherland as to the gods (4.5.17).

[ back ] 25. For this theme in the Hellenica, see Dillery 1995:242.

[ back ] 26. For the importance of abiding by one’s oaths in the Memorabilia and Hellenica, cf. Dillery 1995:183–185.

[ back ] 27. In his discussion of Persian decline, Xenophon specifically links the good reputation (doxa) to be had with piety and associates impiety (asebeia) with injustice (adikia) (8.8.2–7).

[ back ] 28. Cyropaedia 3.3.6, 8.3.4; cf. Anabasis 1.9.23, Hieron 11.2.1.

[ back ] 29. Though I am not focusing on what Xenophon calls Cyrus’ one superlative physical trait, beauty (Cyropaedia 1.2.1), it is interesting to note that Critobulus in Xenophon’s Symposium argues that a beautiful general would be capable of making his followers more “lovers of toil” and “lovers of beauty” in dangerous situations (4.15). Cyrus’ beauty may partly explain his effect on his followers here.

[ back ] 30. Cf. καλλωπιζομένους, Xenophon says contemporary Persians shamefully take pride in adorning themselves with as many drinking cups as possible (Cyropaedia 8.8.18).

[ back ] 31. Breebaart 1983:120 notes the form that this “arrangement” takes: “Xenophon was primarily interested in the administrative channeling of monarchical virtue to all subjects. This implies that he had to pay more attention to ‘technical’ means, allowing the virtues of the commander to reach all subjects, than to the constitutional pattern of the state. The articulation of peacetime monarchy turned on an efficient administrative structure of spreading ‘virtue’, not on constitutional principles or delimitation of rights.”

[ back ] 32. Dillery 1995:31–35, 252.