The Cambridge Companion to Xenephon

Book Review

Richard Brown, last updated: 26th October 2017

Michael A. Flower, (editor)

(Cambridge University Press), 2017,

520 pp, £ 26.99, paper, ISBN 978-1-107-65215-6.

Herodotus and Thucydides, though not household names, are probably known by most teachers of history, even if they are unlikely to have read or analysed their ‘Histories’. The same cannot be said of the philosopher and historian Xenophon of Athens.  Yet he has held a prominent place in literary and political culture from antiquity to the present and has been a favourite author of individuals as diverse as Machiavelli, Thomas Jefferson, and Leo Tolstoy. This Cambridge Companion fills an important gap in our understanding of Xenephon setting out the major problems and issues that are at stake in the study of his writings, while simultaneously pointing the way forward to newer methodologies, issues, and questions. Although Xenophon’s historical, philosophical, and technical works are usually studied in isolation because they belong to different modern genres, the emphasis here is on themes that cut across his large and varied body of writings.

This volume is accessible to students and general readers, including those previously unfamiliar with Xenophon, and will also be of interest to scholars in various fields. It assumes no previous familiarity with Xenophon’s writings.