Title[ edit ] Memorabilia is also known by its Latin title Commentarii and a variety of English translations Recollections, Memoirs, Conversations of Socrates, etc. The overall organization of the Memorabilia is not always easy to make out: Book I. After the direct defense of Socrates I. Books II and III are devoted largely to showing how Socrates benefited his family, friends, and various Athenians who came to him for advice. Book IV turns to a more detailed account of how Socrates educated one particular student, Euthydemus. It includes an early example possibly the earliest of the Argument from Design i.
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He did this by endowing a fictional version of the boyhood of Cyrus the Great , founder of the first Persian Empire , with the qualities of what Xenophon considered the ideal ruler. But Steven Hirsch writes, "Yet there are occasions when it can be confirmed from Oriental evidence that Xenophon is correct where Herodotus is wrong or lacks information. A case in point involves the ancestry of Cyrus.
Herodotus says that Cyrus led a rebellion against his maternal grandfather, Astyages king of Media, and defeated him, thereafter improbably keeping Astyages in his court for the remainder of his life Histories 1. The Medes were thus "reduced to subjection" 1. The Cyropaedia relates instead that Astyages died and was succeeded by his son Cyaxares II, the maternal uncle of Cyrus 1.
In the initial campaign against the Lydians, Babylonians and their allies, the Medians were led by Cyaxares and the Persians by Cyrus, who was crown prince of the Persians, since his father was still alive 4. Xenophon relates that at this time the Medes were the strongest of the kingdoms that opposed the Babylonians 1.
There is an echo of this statement, verifying Xenophon and contradicting Herodotus, in the Harran Stele, a document from the court of Nabonidus. There is no mention of the Persians, although according to Herodotus and the current consensus the Medians had been made "slaves" of the Persians several years previously.
It does not seem that Nabonidus would be completely misled about who his enemies were, or who was really in control over the Medes and Persians just one to three years before his kingdom fell to their armies. These show no distinction in official rank or status between the Persian and Median nobility. Although Olmstead followed the consensus view that Cyrus subjugated the Medes, he nevertheless wrote, "Medes were honored equally with Persians; they were employed in high office and were chosen to lead Persian armies.
Bas-reliefs of Persian soldiers together with Median soldiers are prevalent in Persepolis. The ones with rounded caps are Median. Both Herodotus 1. In the Nabonidus Chronicle , there is mention of the death of the wife of the king name not given within a month after the capture of Babylon. When Cyaxares died about two years later the Median kingdom passed peaceably to Cyrus, so that this would be the true beginning of the Medo-Persian Empire under just one monarch.
Persians as centaurs[ edit ] The Cyropaedia as a whole lavishes a great deal of praise on the first Persian emperor, Cyrus the Great , on account of his virtue and leadership quality, and it was through his greatness that the Persian Empire held together.
Thus this book is normally read as a positive treatise about Cyrus. However, following the lead of Leo Strauss , David Johnson suggests that there is a subtle but strong layer to the book in which Xenophon conveys criticism of not only the Persians but the Spartans and Athenians as well. He even goes so far to say that he desires that no Persian kalokagathos "noble and good man" literally, or simply "noble" ever be seen on foot but always on a horse, so much so that the Persians may actually seem to be centaurs 4.
His minister Chrysantas admires the centaurs for their dual nature, but also warns that the dual nature does not allow centaurs to fully enjoy or act as either one of their aspects in full 4. In labelling Persians as centaurs through the mouth of Cyrus, Xenophon plays upon the popular post-Persian-war propagandistic paradigm of using mythological imagery to represent the Greco-Persian conflict.
Examples of this include the wedding of the Lapiths , giantomachy, Trojan War , and Amazonomachy on the Parthenon frieze. Johnson reads even more deeply into the centaur label. He believes that the unstable dichotomy of man and horse found in a centaur is indicative of the unstable and unnatural alliance of Persian and Mede formulated by Cyrus.
He cites the regression of the Persians directly after the death of Cyrus as a result of this instability, a union made possible only through the impeccable character of Cyrus. The strength of Cyrus in holding the empire together is praiseworthy according to Xenophon.
However, the empire began to decline upon the death of Cyrus. By this example Xenophon sought to show that empires lacked stability and could only be maintained by a person of remarkable prowess, such as Cyrus.
Xenophon displays Cyrus as a lofty, temperate man. This is not to say that he was not a good ruler, but he is depicted as surreal and not subject to the foibles of other men. By showing that only someone who is almost beyond human could conduct such an enterprise as empire, Xenophon indirectly censures imperial design.
Thus he also reflects on the state of his own reality in an even more indirect fashion, using the example of the Persians to decry the attempts at empire made by Athens and Sparta. The manner in which this occurs seems also to be a subtle jab at democracy. Argument ensued as to how the spoils would now be split, and Cyrus enforced a meritocracy. Although empire emerges in this case, this is also a sequence of events associated with democracy. Through his dual critique of empire and democracy, Xenophon subtly relates his support of oligarchy.
Constitution of the Spartans[ edit ] Main article: Polity of the Lacedaemonians The Spartans wrote nothing about themselves, or if they did it is lost. Therefore, what we know about them comes exclusively from outsiders like Xenophon. The opening line reads: It occurred to me one day that Sparta, though among the most thinly populated of states, was evidently the most powerful and most celebrated city in Greece; and I fell to wondering how this could have happened.
But when I considered the institutions of the Spartans, I wondered no longer.
CONVERSATIONS OF SOCRATES XENOPHON PDF
He did this by endowing a fictional version of the boyhood of Cyrus the Great , founder of the first Persian Empire , with the qualities of what Xenophon considered the ideal ruler. But Steven Hirsch writes, "Yet there are occasions when it can be confirmed from Oriental evidence that Xenophon is correct where Herodotus is wrong or lacks information. A case in point involves the ancestry of Cyrus. Herodotus says that Cyrus led a rebellion against his maternal grandfather, Astyages king of Media, and defeated him, thereafter improbably keeping Astyages in his court for the remainder of his life Histories 1. The Medes were thus "reduced to subjection" 1. The Cyropaedia relates instead that Astyages died and was succeeded by his son Cyaxares II, the maternal uncle of Cyrus 1.
Conversations of Socrates
Socrates is basically the father of modern thinking. But this is only to say that not everyone is a genius. I did not feel bored off confused at any point, Socrates always seems to get to the point rather quickly, and makes his points well. And like all who exist within the realm of a mind, cenophon it was shared, written, adjudicated or kept privately, these thoughts are buried with their body when all is finishe This is a quick read. One sees the imprint of Socrates on the school of Stoicism that would come later.