Apologia in Xenophon's Anabasis

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Apologia in Xenophon's Anabasis

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Title: Apologia in Xenophon's Anabasis
Author: Brennan, Shane Geoffrey
Advisor: Mitchell, StephenOgden, Daniel
Publisher: University of Exeter
Date Issued: 2011-01-06
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10036/3034
Abstract: Xenophon of Athens probably did not write his Anabasis until thirty years or more after the events which it describes. This remarkable gap, taken together with the absence of a prologue, the presence of a number of prominent themes and authorial concerns, and the complex literary construction of the work, has made the task of explaining it problematic. Situating the text in the context of Xenophon's later life and wide-ranging literary output, in this dissertation I argue that apologia is the defining element in the work. Through his elaborate narrative structure and representation of his own character, Xenophon is defending himself, his social class, and his teacher, Socrates. In Books 5 and 7 (of 7) he is occupied with a rigorous defence of his conduct on the retreat, answering charges of deceiving the soldiers, hubris, corruption, and mercenary service, while in Books 3 through to 7, he is defending the memory of Socrates. For from the point of his introduction into the text at the opening of Book 3, following the decapitation of the Greek High Command at the Greater Zab River, Xenophon the character is acting as a pupil of Socrates would have done had he found himself in similarly dire circumstances. His actions, counsel, and moral bearing during the course of the retreat are a testimony to the value of his teacher's training, and powerfully undermine the charges of impiety and corrupting the youth levelled against Socrates in 399. At the same time, the outstanding leadership performance on the retreat of Xenophon's character reflects on himself as the historical figure behind the exemplar. By highlighting its different forms and bringing out its pervasiveness, the dissertation demonstrates that apologia is the major factor in the formation of the text.
Type: Thesis or dissertation
Keywords: XenophonExpedition of CyrusGreeceIranAchaemenid EmpireHistoriographyAnatoliaAnabasis


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