Xenophon's Mirror of Princes: Reading the Reflections

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9780199563814: Xenophon's Mirror of Princes: Reading the Reflections

Xenophon is perhaps best known as the leader of the Ten Thousand on the Anabasis, the famous march of the Greek army through hostile territory to the Black Sea. However, he was also a prolific author, and in this study Vivienne J. Gray focuses upon the ways in which his literary practices shape images of leadership in his narrative works. Gray surveys the views on leadership that Xenophon credits to Socrates, and illustrates in detail his construction of leadership models through the close examination of selected narratives in works such as Anabasis and Cyropaedia. The techniques include the creation of patterned narratives, as well as allusions to the writings of Homer and Herodotus. Gray takes issue with the school of thought that finds hidden subversion beneath Xenophon's surface praise of leaders.

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Vivienne J. Gray is Professor of Classics and Ancient History, The University of Auckland.

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"This is the most important book on Xenophon in many years, the product of a sustained and deep engagement with his texts. Its many close readings deserve serious consideration and provide an indispensable basis for future conversations about the author in all of the many areas his encyclopedic output occupies."--Richard Fernando Buxton, Classical Journal


"This book is both important and engaging. Gray has established Xenophon as a major thinker and a writer of genuine sophistication, a man who reflected deeply on what makes for a successful human organization and the qualities that suit a person to lead such an organization - be it household, polis, army, or empire. Gray's Xenophon is a writer who says what he means, and means his message to be useful. Readers who have been exasperated by neo-Straussian readings of any text will be refreshed by the drubbing herein administered. Readers sympathetic to such readings will find Gray's the arguments to answer, for many years to come." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review


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