Between Thucydides and Polybius: The Golden Age of Greek Historiography

  Parmegianni, Giovanni. 2014. Between Thucydides and Polybius: The Golden Age of Greek Historiography. Hellenic Studies Series 64. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

5. The Use of Documents in Xenophon’s Hellenica

Cinzia Bearzot

The conference ‘L’uso dei documenti nella storiografia antica’ (Gubbio 22–24 maggio 2001), which presented findings of research conducted under the direction of Paolo Desideri, and the proceedings of which were published in 2003, highlighted the fact that ancient historians, although well aware of the rhetorical nature of historical writing, actually privileged the role of documentary sources. This paper originates from those conclusions, more recently echoed in a conference held in Rome at the Istituto Italiano per la Storia Antica (November 2007). [1]

1. Status quaestionis

2. Types of documents

My research on Thucydides highlighted the wide range of documents that the historian used: treaties, inscriptions, letters, laws and decrees, oracular responses, literary works, oaths, arbitrations, charters for the foundation of colonies, and lists of various kinds.


Unlike Thucydides, Xenophon rarely gives a full transcription of the text of the treaties; rather, he carefully paraphrases their clauses. These clauses are introduced by ἐφ᾽ ᾧ, as in the following passage, regarding the peace treaty (εἰρήνη) [12] imposed by Sparta on Athens in 404:

The Lacedaemonians . . . offered to make peace on these conditions (ἐποιοῦντο εἰρήνην ἐφ᾽ ᾧ): that the Athenians should destroy the long walls and the walls of Piraeus, surrender all their ships except twelve, allow their exiles to return, count the same people friends and enemies as the Lacedaemonians did, and follow the Lacedaemonians both by land and by sea wherever they should lead the way.

So, too, in his description of the reconciliation agreement (διαλλάσσω) between the Athenian democrats and the Three Thousand favored by King Pausanias in 403:

Xenophon Hellenica 2.4.38

Other examples are provided at 3.2.20 (a draft of a treaty between Derkyllidas and Tissaphernes, dated to 397), 4.8.14 (a draft of a treaty between Sparta and the Persians, which was discussed during the negotiations of winter 392/1), 5.3.26 (a peace treaty between Sparta and Olynthos, dated to 379), and 7.4.6–11 (a peace treaty between Thebes, Corinth, and Phlius, dated to 365).

The most interesting documents, however, are the ‘Common Peace’ treaties, from the King’s Peace to the Peace of Susa. Xenophon is the only author who fully transcribes the text of the King’s Peace, or the ‘Peace of Antalkidas’, as he calls it at 5.1.36. [15] The document, in fact, displays traits of two different document types, since it is a letter of the King containing the text of the peace treaty (εἰρήνη; cf. 5.1.33 and 6.5.2, σπονδαί):

Xenophon Hellenica 5.1.30–31

In this passage, the historian emphasizes that he is citing a written document (τὰ γεγραμμένα); he refers to γράμματα again at 5.1.32, and at 6.5.3 he says that the King had put in writing (ἔγραψεν) his claim “that the Greek cities, both small and great, should be left independent.” Furthermore, Xenophon mentions the seal of the royal letter (σημεῖα), which confirms its authenticity. Thus, he seems to be particularly interested in emphasizing the fact that his transcription refers to a written, certainly authentic document: he clearly ascribes to it a significant historiographical value. [

As for the peace of Athens of 371/0 (6.5.1–3, εἰρήνη, cf. 6.5.37), [22] Xenophon partially paraphrases the treaty’s content, which recalled the text of the King’s Peace (σπονδαί); the only clause that he retains is the stipulation that “both small and great cities alike should be independent,” just “as the King wrote.” The historian does, however, fully transcribe the text of the oath sworn by the Greeks who signed the treaty:

The Athenians . . . invited to Athens all the cities which wished to participate in the peace which the King had sent down. And when they had come together, they passed a resolution to take the following oath (ὀμόσαι τόνδε τὸν ὅρκον), in company with such as desired to share in the peace: “I will abide by the treaty (σπονδαί) which the King sent down, and by the decrees (ψηφίσματα) of the Athenians and their allies. And if anybody takes the field against any one of the cities which have sworn this oath, I will come to her aid with all my strength.” Now all the others were pleased with the oath; the Eleans only opposed it . . . But the Athenians and the others, after voting that both small and great cities alike should be independent, even as the King wrote, sent out the officers charged with administering the oath and directed them to administer it to the highest authorities in each city. And all took the oath except the Eleans.

Xenophon Hellenica 6.5.1–3

The transcription of the oath gives us a significant piece of information, found nowhere else; the oath requires the observance not only of the terms “sent down by the King” in the letter of 386 but also of the ψηφίσματα “of the Athenians and their allies,” i.e. Aristotle’s Decree and the subsequent δόγματα approved by the synedrion of the Second Athenian League. Thus, by the terms of the peace of 371/0, the Athenians successfully proposed to all Greeks the concept of autonomy that they had specified in Aristotle’s Decree, taking advantage of the {94|95} crisis of Sparta. [
23] Xenophon’s decision to transcribe not the text of the treaty, which was clearly identical to that of 386, but the text of the oath suggests that his intention was to select the most important information. It is remarkable, however, that the historian, who notes the significance of Aristotle’s Decree for the history of the Common Peace, does not mention its ratification in 378/7. [24]

Finally, Xenophon gives a partial transcription of the Peace of Susa of 367, [25] reporting the clauses required by Pelopidas and granted by the King:

Pelopidas was therefore asked by the King what he desired to have written (γραφῆναι) for him; he replied that Messene should be independent of the Lacedaemonians and that the Athenians should draw up their ships on the land; that if they refused obedience in these points, the contracting parties were to make an expedition against them; and that if any city refused to join in such expedition, they were to proceed first of all against that city.

Xenophon Hellenica 7.1.36

It is noteworthy that at 7.1.37 another clause is mentioned, added (προσγεγραμμένα) because of the protestation of the Athenian ambassador, Leon. Moreover, this was probably not the only addition to the final text: in Plutarch’s account (Pelopidas 30.7), Pelopidas himself is said to have required, in addition to the autonomy of the Greeks and the repopulation of Messene, [
26] that “the Thebans should be regarded as the King’s hereditary friends.” The use of the verb, γραφῆναι (cf. also 7.1.37: γραφέντων δὲ τούτων), clearly indicates a written document, and this must be identified with the letter of the King (ἐπιστολή; τὰ γράμματα; τὰ γεγραμμένα) repeatedly mentioned at 7.1.39, with regard to the appeal for the Greeks to sign the peace:

When the Thebans had called together representatives from all the cities to hear the letter (ἐπιστολῆς) from the King, and the Persian who bore the document (τὰ γράμματα), having shown the King’s seal (τὴν βασιλέως σφραγῖδα), had read what was written therein (τὰ γεγραμμένα), although the Thebans directed those who desired to be friends of the King and themselves to swear to these provisions, the representatives from the cities replied that they had not been sent to {95|96} give their oaths, but to listen; and if the Thebans had any desire for oaths, they bade them send to the cities.

. . .

Inasmuch as those who had come together refused to take the oath at Thebes, the Thebans sent ambassadors to the cities and directed them to swear that they would act in accordance with the King’s letter (κατὰ τὰ βασιλέως γράμματα), believing that each one of the cities taken singly would hesitate to incur the hatred of themselves and the King at the same time. When, however, upon the arrival of the ambassadors at Corinth, their first stopping-place, the Corinthians resisted the proposal, and replied that they had no desire for oaths shared with the King, then other cities also followed suit, giving their answers in the same terms.

Xenophon Hellenica 7.1.39–40

Even in this case, it is noteworthy that Xenophon expressly underlines the written nature of the document and highlights its authenticity by mentioning its royal seal (σφραγίς). [


I have been able to identify 34 decrees in total, of which 19 are Athenian and three Spartan; the rest were approved by several political communities, by the Athenian or by the Peloponnesian League, for example, and even by members of illegal governments, such as the Thirty Tyrants or the Three Thousand. The terminology used by Xenophon privileges, instead of nouns of juridical nature, their corresponding verbs: ψήφισμα (6), δόγμα (3), γνώμη (2), but more often ψηφίζομαι and compounds (16), δοκέω and compounds (10), δίδωμι (1), and also expressions such as ψῆφον φέρειν (1) and ψῆφον δίδωμι (1).

The decrees included with other documents in Xenophon’s account of the trial of the Arginousai strategoi (summer 406) in my opinion deserve particular attention (1.7). [30] The first “decree”, the so-called γνώμη of Kallixenos, must be considered (strictly speaking) a προβούλευμα; Xenophon fully transcribes it:

Then they called an Assembly, at which the Senate brought in its proposal (γνώμη), which Callixeinus had drafted in the following terms (εἰπόντος τήνδε): “Resolved, that since the Athenians have heard in the previous meeting of the Assembly both the accusers who brought charges against the generals and the generals speaking in their own defense, they do now one and all cast their votes by tribes; and that two urns be set at the voting-place of each tribe; and that in each tribe a herald proclaim that whoever adjudges the generals guilty, for not picking up the men who won the victory in the naval battle, shall cast his vote in the first urn, and whoever adjudges them not guilty, shall cast his vote in the second; and if they be adjudged guilty, that they {97|98} be punished with death and handed over to the Eleven, and that their property be confiscated and the tenth thereof belong to the goddess.”

Xenophon Hellenica 1.7.9–10

Kallixenos’s γνώμη, to which Xenophon alludes in other passages (1.7.12–15; 1.7.26, where the procedure requiring a single vote for all strategoi is considered unconstitutional; and 1.7.34), is very important for understanding the legal aspects of this trial, to which Xenophon attributes a paradigmatic value.

Particularly interesting is Xenophon’s reference to Aristotle’s Decree and to the δόγματα of the allies (ψηφίσματα) in the text of the oath sworn for the Peace of Athens in 371/0 mentioned above:

I will abide by the treaty (σπονδαί) which the King sent down, and by the decrees (ψηφίσματα) of the Athenians and their allies.

Xenophon Hellenica 6.5.2

It is noteworthy that Xenophon refers to Aristotle’s Decree (whose text was available in the corresponding inscription) in this passage only, only hinting at it by way of another document.



In the account of the Arginousai trial, Xenophon mentions two letters. The first is the letter (ἐπιστολή), exploited by Theramenes during the trial, that had been sent by the strategoi in order to exculpate themselves for the abandonment of the fallen and the survivors. Xenophon alludes to it as follows:

For as proof that the generals fastened the responsibility upon no person apart from themselves, Theramenes showed a letter which they had sent to the Senate and to the Assembly, in which they put the blame upon nothing but the storm.

Xenophon Hellenica 1.7.4

The other letter mentioned during the trial is of a different nature. In his speech in defense of the strategoi, Euryptolemos recalls that they had intended to send a letter (γράμματα) to the Athenian government in order to lay the blame on the trierarchs, but were dissuaded from doing so by Pericles the Younger and Diomedon: {100|101}

I accuse them [Pericles and Diomedon], because they persuaded their colleagues to change their purpose when they wanted to send a letter to the Senate and to you, in which they stated that they assigned to Theramenes and Thrasybulus, with forty-seven triremes, the duty of picking up the shipwrecked, and that they failed to perform this duty.

Xenophon Hellenica 1.7.17

This is no ‘actual’ letter but only a ‘planned’ one: a letter that could have been sent but never was. Evidently, this letter cannot correspond to the one exhibited by Theramenes, which blamed the storm after the battle and not the trierarchs; its contents, furthermore, are confirmed by the speech of the strategoi, reported by Xenophon at 1.7.5–6 in indirect form. Thus, it is noteworthy that Diodorus (13.101.2) writes that the letter that had actually been sent included charges made against the trierarchs: this was evidently the version promoted by Theramenes, as suggested by the speech that Xenophon ascribes to him at 2.3.35. We may, then, conclude that Xenophon’s reference to this document attempts to identify Theramenes as the man behind the trial against the strategoi; the historian had perhaps found this reference in the material assembled by Thucydides, always inclined to reveal the duplicity of the kothornos. Xenophon’s interest in the epistolary documents, in fact, seems connected with that of Thucydides, who cites 14 letters, eight of which are in the eighth book: O. Longo has appropriately emphasized the “prestige of the letter” in the Thucydidean work. [

But Xenophon’s interest in epistolary documents is equally clear in later books of the Hellenica, where he mentions letters of the Persian King, including the clauses of the King’s Peace and of the Peace of Susa. These two documents have already been discussed with regard to the corresponding peace treaties: here it should only be recalled that Xenophon fully transcribes the text of the first letter (5.1.30–31; he also alludes to it at 5.1.32 and at 6.5.2) while only referring to the second (7.1.39–40); in both cases, he stresses that the letter is read out and that it bears the royal seal in order to establish the authenticity of the document:

So that when Tiribazus ordered those to be present who desired to give ear to the peace which the King had sent down, all speedily presented themselves. And when they had come together, Tiribazus showed them the King’s seal and then read the writing. It ran as follows.

Xenophon Hellenica 5.1.30

When the Thebans had called together representatives from all the cities to hear the letter from the King, and the Persians who bore the document, having shown the King’s seal, had read what was written therein, although the Thebans directed those who desired to be friends of the King and themselves to swear to these provisions.

Xenophon Hellenica 7.1.39

Thus, just as with Thucydides, so too with Xenophon may we speak of the notable ‘documentary’ prestige of the letter, even though in the latter the range of documentary material is less wide. It is worth noting that the three letters of the Persian King are the sole documents whose authenticity is emphasized, although this may be a result of historical (rather than strictly historiographical) factors; that is to say, it is not (primarily) Xenophon who wants to assure his public that he is referring to authentic documents, but the King who wants to prove the authenticity of his message to the Greeks. {102|103}

Oracular responses

Xenophon mentions an oracle by Olympian Zeus for Agesipolis at 4.7.2. The response was uttered in the spring of 388 on the occasion of a military expedition against Argos; in the following paragraph the historian recalls the oracle of Delphic Apollo on the same issue, which he paraphrases as follows:

Now when Agesipolis learned that he was to lead the ban, and when the sacrifices which he offered at the frontier proved favorable, he went to Olympia and consulted the oracle of the god, asking whether it would be consistent with piety if he did not acknowledge the holy truce {103|104} claimed by the Argives; for, he urged, it was not when the appointed time came, but when the Lacedaemonians were about to invade their territory, that they pleaded the sacred months. And the god signified (ἐπεσήμαινεν) to him that it was consistent with piety for him not to acknowledge a holy truce which was pleaded unjustly. Then Agesipolis proceeded straight from there to Delphi and asked Apollo in his turn whether he also held the same opinion as his father Zeus in regard to the truce. And Apollo answered (ἀπεκρίνατο) that he did hold quite the same opinion.

Xenophon Hellenica 4.7.2

Each of the three responses mentioned above concern Sparta, as does the oracle at 6.4.7, a χρησμός uttered by an unknown source; the response was favorable to the Thebans and was applied to the battle of Leuctra. Its content is paraphrased as follows:

Besides this, they were also somewhat encouraged by the oracle which was reported —that the Lacedaemonians were destined to be defeated at the spot where stood the monument of the virgins, who are said to have killed themselves because they had been violated by certain Lacedaemonians. The Thebans accordingly decorated this monument before the battle.

Xenophon Hellenica 6.4.7

It is noteworthy that in this context Xenophon, after mentioning other portents that took place in Thebes (such as the opening of the temple doors and the disappearance of the weapons from Herakles’ temple), writes that “some, to be {104|105} sure, say that all these things were but devices (τεχνάσματα) of the leaders.” [
47] This episode, which also occurs in Diodorus’ account (15.52.2f.), is particularly impressive in Xenophon. Although his intention to accuse the Theban leaders of deceiving the people is fully understandable, the passage reveals a mistrust in omens that clashes with Xenophon’s general inclination to acknowledge divine intervention in history. For example, according to Xenophon, divine vengeance stemming from Sparta’s violation of the oaths of the King’s Peace in 382 causes the unexpected liberation of Thebes from Spartan occupation in 379 (5.4.1). [48] On the other hand, at 6.4.8 Xenophon writes that “in the battle, at any rate, everything turned out adversely for the Lacedaemonians, while for the other side everything went prosperously, even to the gifts of fortune”: that is, above and beyond the manipulation by the Theban leaders, the oracle retains some value in Xenophon’s eyes.



3. Subject matter of the documents

With regards to content, Thucydides and Xenophon are essentially interested in the same types of documents. Most of the documents cited have political relevance and refer to international relations; legal and religious documents are also well represented. Documents with administrative and economic interest, however, seem to be less relevant: we may recall in the former category the suspect list of the Thirty and the list of the ephors, probably interpolated; in the latter, the decree mentioned at 5.2.10, by which property was restored to those exiled from Phlius.

4. Form of citation

Xenophon’s preferred methods of citation are references and paraphrase, although it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two (the use of technical, formulaic expressions speaks in favor of the latter). We find few cases of full or partial transcription, about half the number in Thucydides.

The five cases of full transcription are the letter of the Spartan Hippocrates intercepted by the Athenians in 411 (1.1.23), which is introduced by λέγοντα τάδε; the γνώμη of Kallixenos (1.7.9–10) introduced by εἰπόντος τήνδε (γνώμην); the list of the Thirty Tyrants (2.3.2), introduced by καὶ ᾑρέθησαν οἵδε; the text of the King’s Peace (5.1.30–31), introduced by εἶχε δὲ ὧδε; and the oath of the Peace of Athens of 371/0 (6.5.1–3), introduced by τόνδε τὸν ὅρκον. To these documents we should add the (probably interpolated) list of the ephors mentioned above. {107|108}

Darius II’s appointment letter for Cyrus (1.4.3), introduced by ἐν ᾗ ἐνῆν καὶ τάδε, is surely partially transcribed, since the καὶ reveals that the original text was longer. A partial transcription must be supposed in other cases too, despite the fact that a similar introduction to the text is lacking: for Kannonos’ Decree (1.7.20), for the nomos on traitors and the impious (1.7.22), and also for the exchange of messages between Agesilaus and Tithraustes through ambassadors after the death of Tissaphernes in 395:

When this battle took place Tissaphernes chanced to be at Sardis, so that the Persians charged him with having betrayed them. Furthermore, the Persian King himself concluded that Tissaphernes was responsible for the bad turn his affairs were taking, and accordingly sent down Tithraustes and cut off his head. After he had done this, Tithraustes sent ambassadors to Agesilaus with this message: “Agesilaus, the man who was responsible for the trouble in your eyes and ours has received his punishment; and the King deems it fitting that you should sail back home, and that the cities in Asia, retaining their independence, should render him the ancient tribute.” When Agesilaus replied that he could not do this without the sanction of the authorities at home, Tithraustes said, “But at least, until you receive word from the city, go over into the territory of Pharnabazus, since it is I who have taken vengeance upon your enemy.” “Then, until I go there,” said Agesilaus, “give me provisions for the army.” Tithraustes accordingly gave him thirty talents; and he took it and set out for Pharnabazus’ province of Phrygia.

Xenophon Hellenica 3.4.25–26

Xenophon’s information about the content of these messages probably derives from Agesilaus, who was a protagonist in these events. [
58] In addition, the text of the Peace of Susa (7.1.36), containing only the clauses that, according to Xenophon, had been required by Pelopidas, is probably also partially transcribed; indeed, we know that there were other clauses, such as the one about the eternal friendship between the King and the Thebans, also required by Pelopidas, to which Plutarch refers (Pelopidas 30.7), and the one that was added (προσγεγραμμένα), according to Xenophon (7.1.37), in response to the Athenian Leon.

On the whole, we may conclude that Xenophon is less interested than Thucydides in transcribing documents: yet the documents he does transcribe {108|109} are often very important for our historical knowledge, such as the γνώμη of Kallixenos, the list of the Thirty Tyrants (if it is not interpolated), the text of the King’s Peace, and the oath of the Peace of Athens of 371/0.

There are several reasons why Xenophon might have transcribed a document: his wish to clarify political or military events (the letter of Hippocrates) or trials (the γνώμη of Kallixenos) by citing documents that support his interpretation; his intention to furnish complete evidence (the list of the Thirty); his wish to emphasize the relevance of the κοινὴ εἰρήνη as a fundamental principle in fourth-century international law (the texts, fully or partially transcribed, of the common peaces); and, last, his interest in international relations, which also explains why treaties are the best attested type of document in the Hellenica.

5. Origins of information and authenticity of documents

Thucydides never states the origin of his information unless he cites a literary work (e.g. Homer and the ancient poets) or refers to inscriptions. In Xenophon, who cites neither epigraphical documents nor literary works in his Hellenica, such information about sources is almost completely lacking. There are cases of documents cited in speeches, however, such as the two decrees (of the Peloponnesian League and of the Thebans) mentioned by the Theban ambassadors who came to Athens in 395 (2.2.15) and the Olynthian decree on the alliance between Athens and Boeotia, recalled by Cleigenes of Acanthus in the Spartan speech of 382 (5.2.15). The word λέγεται, which introduces Xenophon’s reference to the Delphic oracle about Jason of Pherae (6.4.30), also seems to refer to an oral tradition. Sometimes (especially in the case of lists, letters, treaties) the use of the verb γράφω, γράφομαι, and their compounds may imply the availability, even through a public reading, of a written document; in fact, a public reading is expressly mentioned with reference to the clauses of common peace treaties (cf. 5.1.30 for the King’s Peace and 7.1.39 for the Peace of Susa). However, we can never exclude the mediation of eyewitnesses (Agesilaus or other Spartans; Athenian ambassadors).

6. Location of documents

In Thucydides the physical location of documents is implicitly clear only for inscriptions and literary works. For other types of documents, except where the historian does provide explicit information, it is very difficult to form an opinion. In Xenophon, who never refers either to inscriptions or to literary works, information on the location of documents is lacking: we may only suppose that some documents come from archives (for example, in the case of the documentary material regarding the Arginousai trial).

7. Conclusions

As I emphasized in my paper from 2003, Thucydides is specifically interested in “documents”, which he uses for historiographical and not merely decorative purposes. This historiographical interest is essentially confirmed in Xenophon, although the range of documents he considers is less broad than that of his predecessors, and he seems less inclined to transcribe documentary texts.

The prominence of international treaties and decrees, i.e. documents with political value, corresponds to the historiographical nature of the Hellenica; the treatment of other types of documents leads to the same conclusions (oaths mostly regard the undersigning of international treaties or civic agreements; all letters have an indisputable political value).

Finally, the scanty interest in oracles shown by the ‘pious’ Xenophon is remarkable: Thucydides, who is not usually considered to have been particularly interested in religious matters, pays much more attention to oracular responses.

On the whole, Xenophon appears to be less interested in documents than his predecessors. He uses documents but not as widely as Herodotus and Thucydides, who consider them more methodologically relevant. [63] J. K. Davies has pointed out a rising interest in documents in fourth-century historiography, particularly in the Athenian context, [64] where they are favored for various reasons, such as the revision of the Athenian corpus of laws, the increasing tendency to draw up lists, the imitation of Herodotus and Thucydides, and the interest in working on documents regarding Athens’ own past. Yet this does not seem to be the case in Xenophon. The corroboration of the historical narrative, which is typically the role of documents in Herodotus and Thucydides, depends in Xenophon on other methodological tools, such as authorial interventions and quotations of others’ opinions, as pointed out by V. Gray: these ‘tools’ are parsimoniously inserted in Xenophon’s work in compliance with programmatic and methodological principles, and are privileged over documents in order to increase the reliability of the historical reconstruction. [65] The special authoritativeness attributed to oral testimonies in comparison with written documents can probably be connected to the strictly contemporary nature of the Hellenica, since, as we have said, documents are more often used in the reconstruction of the distant past, while oral testimonies are preferred when reconstructing contemporary events. {111|}


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[ back ] 1. Moggi et al. 2007.

[ back ] 2. Bearzot 2003.

[ back ] 3. Davies 1996.

[ back ] 4. Rhodes 2007:60–61.

[ back ] 5. Zizza 2007:226–227n45; cf. Zizza 2012.

[ back ] 6. On Herodotus, see Biraschi 2003, as well as the papers in Biraschi et al. 2003:153–263; on Thucydides, see, besides Bearzot 2003, Porciani 2003.

[ back ] 7. See Canfora 1990:205–206.

[ back ] 8. On Herodotus, see Fabiani 2003; on Thucydides, Zizza 1999; Bearzot 2003:291f.

[ back ] 9. On considering literary works as “documents,” see Nicolai 2003.

[ back ] 10. For treaty-related terminology, see Santi Amantini 1979–1980, 1985, 1986, and 1996; for Xenophon in particular, see Santi Amantini 2000 (which looks at the semantic evolution of εἰρήνη, a term that acquires in Xenophon the meaning of ‘peace treaty’, in accordance with the general development of diplomatic language).

[ back ] 11. His transcription can be compared with the original epigraphical text, cf. Tod 72 = IG I3.83.

[ back ] 12. Cf. 2.2.19 (εἰρήνη; vb. σπένδομαι); 2.4.30 (παράσπονδον).

[ back ] 13. All translations of Xenophon are taken from Brownson 1985–1986. Xenophon’s information on the treaty of 404 must be compared with the rest of the tradition: see Bengtson 1962, nο. 211; Krentz 1989:185–186; Bearzot 1997:134f. In particular, it is noteworthy that Xenophon does not refer to the clause on πάτριος πολιτεία, mentioned by Aristotle (Constitution of the Athenians 34.2–3) and Diodorus (14.3.2). This is probably a deliberate choice, since the treaty would actually have employed the usual clause πολιτεύεσθαι κατὰ τὰ πάτρια, which simply indicated a non-interference warranty; this clause was consciously misinterpreted by oligarchical propaganda in order to convince the Athenian people that an oligarchical government, the πάτριος πολιτεία, had been imposed by the victorious Spartans on the defeated Athenians. Such propaganda, reflected in Aristotle and Diodorus, is ignored by Xenophon.

[ back ] 14. See Bengtson 1962, no. 213; Bearzot 1997:15f.

[ back ] 15. See Bengtson 1962, no. 242.

[ back ] 16. On the technical use of εἰρήνη as ‘peace treaty’ in this document, see Santi Amantini 2000:19. εἰρήνη is most often used by Xenophon to mean ‘peace treaty’; the term occurs less frequently with the meaning of ‘time or situation of peace’ (in contrast to ‘time or situation of war’) or ‘time or situation of peace’ (as a consequence of a formal treaty) or, finally, ‘peace negotiations’ (see Santi Amantini 2000:21–22).

[ back ] 17. On the correspondence between Xenophon’s text and the original document (in comparison with Diodorus’ paraphrase) and on the relation between the King’s letter and the treaty signed by the Greeks, see Jehne 1994:36–37.

[ back ] 18. See Bengtson 1962, no. 265.

[ back ] 19. See Bearzot 2002:109f.; Bearzot 2004:97f.

[ back ] 20. Bengtson 1962, no. 269.

[ back ] 21. Xenophon’s information on the Spartan peace congress of 371 might originate from Athenian ambassadors (cf. Riedinger 1993:539).

[ back ] 22. Bengtson 1962, no. 270.

[ back ] 23. Bearzot 2004:41f.

[ back ] 24. On this much-debated omission, see Sordi 1951:286f. (according to Xenophon, the league already existed during the Corinthian War; thus, the historian did not identify a turning point in the year 378/7); Riedinger 1991:47f.; Daverio Rocchi 2002:38–39; Jehne 2004.

[ back ] 25. See Bengtson 1962, no. 282.

[ back ] 26. Mentioned also by Diodorus (15.81.3) in the context of his eulogy of Pelopidas.

[ back ] 27. Xenophon’s information might come from the Athenian ambassador Leon, who was anti-Theban (cf. 7.1.33 and 7.1.37–38); cf. Bearzot 2012.

[ back ] 28. Rhodes 2007:61.

[ back ] 29. See Daverio Rocchi 2002:23f. On the terminology for diplomatic relations in Xenophon, see Orsi 2002; on the notion of “what is just” and “what is advantageous” in international relations, see Orsi 2004.

[ back ] 30. For bibliography on the Arginousai trial see Tuci 2002; see also Burckhardt 2000; Giovannini 2002.

[ back ] 31. That this is in fact a partial transcription may be conjectured from the use of formulaic expressions.

[ back ] 32. An allusion is in Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 1089–1090; see Lévy 1990:153–154.

[ back ] 33. Lavelle 1988.

[ back ] 34. Mentioned also by [Plutarch] Lives of the Ten Orators 833e–f: τὸν νόμον, ὃς κεῖται περὶ τῶν προδόντων. cf. Harrison 2001:56–57.

[ back ] 35. Lévy 1990:146f.; Daverio Rocchi 2002:34–35.

[ back ] 36. See Sordi 1950:43f., who thinks that Xenophon’s “documentary” precision could derive from Thucydidean material.

[ back ] 37. “If any state undertook an expedition against any other while his army was in the field, he (Agesilaus) said that his first act would be to go against that state, in accordance with the resolution of the allies (κατὰ τὸ δόγμα τῶν συμμάχων ).”

[ back ] 38. The text is cited by Andocides De Mysteriis 90; cf. Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 39.6.

[ back ] 39. For this and other sources, see Krentz 1989:101.

[ back ] 40. Longo 1978:524f.

[ back ] 41. Krentz 1989:126.

[ back ] 42. For pertinent evidence, see Tuplin 1993:215; see also Sordi 1951:336f.; Dillery 1995:182f.

[ back ] 43. Cf. Pausanias 3.8.9 and Justin 6.2.5, expressly speaking of Delphian Apollo.

[ back ] 44. A variant is provided by the ἀρχαία μαντεία on the “lame kingship”, mentioned by Diodorus 11.50.4; see Krentz 1995:177–178.

[ back ] 45. Bearzot 1993:113–114.

[ back ] 46. Riedinger 1991:249.

[ back ] 47. Lanzillotta 1984; Bearzot 1993:106f. (with other sources on this episode).

[ back ] 48. For other examples, see Riedinger 1991:250f.

[ back ] 49. On the Olympic crisis of 420, see Bearzot 2013.

[ back ] 50. Bearzot 2004:69–70. On the knowledge of Thessalian affairs by Xenophon, see Sordi 1988; Sordi 2001.

[ back ] 51. Westlake 1977.

[ back ] 52. Sordi 1951:282f.

[ back ] 53. Krentz 1995:189f.; Rhodes 2007:61.

[ back ] 54. Németh 2006:13f.,91f.

[ back ] 55. Krentz 1989:192.

[ back ] 56. “And the Lacedaemonians granted them Lysander as vice-admiral, but made Aracus admiral; for it was contrary to their law for a man to hold the office of admiral twice.” See Krentz 1989:134.

[ back ] 57. Krentz 1989:137, considers Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 37.1 more accurate in referring to the text of the law, in accordance with the use of the term autokrator instead of kyrios.

[ back ] 58. For other sources see Krentz 1995:192–193.

[ back ] 59. Krentz 1989:125.

[ back ] 60. Zizza 2007:226–227n45; Zizza 2012.

[ back ] 61. See Krentz 1989:6; Krentz 1995:5; Marincola 1997:69; Rhodes 2007:60. On the use of documents as methodological tools of non-contemporary history, see Marincola 1997:103f.

[ back ] 62. Zizza 2007:229f.

[ back ] 63. Cf. Thucydides 7.8.2, where the use of a written document—a letter—in its original form is considered a possible corrective for the limitations of oral testimonies, which are conditioned by witnesses’ acuteness, memory and bias.

[ back ] 64. Davies 1996:36–37.

[ back ] 65. Gray 2003:111–123.