The Education of Cyrus

The Education of Cyrus

Translated and Annotated by WAYNE AMBLER
Series: Agora Editions
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctt1287cj2
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Education of Cyrus
    Book Description:

    Xenophon's masterpiece,The Education of Cyrus, is a work that was admired by Machiavelli for its lessons on leadership. Also known as theCyropaedia, this philosophical novel is loosely based on the accomplishments of Cyrus the Great, founder of the vast Persian Empire that later became the archrival of the Greeks in the classical age. It offers an extraordinary portrait of political ambition, talent, and their ultimate limits.

    The writings of Xenophon are increasingly recognized as important works of political philosophy. InThe Education of Cyrus, Xenophon confronts the vexing problem of political instability by exploring the character and behavior of the ruler. Impressive though his successes are, however, Cyrus is also examined in the larger human context, in which love, honor, greed, revenge, folly, piety, and the search for wisdom all have important parts to play.

    Wayne Ambler's translation captures the charm and drama of the work while also achieving great accuracy. His introduction, annotations, and glossary help the reader to appreciate both the engaging story itself and the volume's contributions to philosophy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-7141-4
    Subjects: Philosophy, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Translator’s Note
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus
    (pp. 1-18)

    Xenophon’sEducation of Cyrusoffers its own introduction, one that helps turn the reader’s attention to the core issues of the book. It states a problem and proposes a solution, or at least a way of arriving at a solution. The problem is that because it is very difficult for human beings to rule over other human beings, political instability is a constant fact of life. But it turns out that there was once a certain Cyrus who was a successful ruler on a vast scale. Xenophon’s own introduction culminates in the bold suggestion that by studying what Cyrus did...

  5. The Education of Cyrus Xenophon

    • BOOK I
      (pp. 21-60)

      (1) This reflection once occurred to us: How many democracies have been brought down by those who wished the governing to be done in some way other than under a democracy; how many monarchies and how many oligarchies have been overthrown by the people;¹ and how many who have tried to establish tyrannies have, some of them, been at once brought down completely, while others, if they have continued ruling for any time at all, are admired as wise and fortunate men. We thought we also observed many in their very own private households—some indeed having many servants,...

    • BOOK II
      (pp. 61-84)

      (1) So engaged in a conversation like this, they arrived at the borders of Persia. When an eagle appeared to their right and went ahead of them, they prayed to the gods and heroes who occupy Persia to send them forth favorably and propitiously, and thus they crossed the borders.¹ After they crossed, they prayed again to the gods who occupy Media to receive them favorably and propitiously. After they did this and, as was to be expected, embraced each other, his father went back again into Persia, and Cyrus went into Media to Cyaxares.²

      (2) When Cyrus reached Cyaxares...

    • BOOK III
      (pp. 85-112)

      (1) Cyrus was involved in these things. When the Armenian heard from the messenger what Cyrus had said, he was stunned, as he reflected that he had been unjust in neglecting the tribute and in not sending the army. The greatest problem, which he especially feared, was that he was about to be discovered in the early stages of fortifying his palace so as to make it sufficient for armed resistance. (2) Hesitating because of all these things, he sent around to gather his own power, and at the same time he sent into the mountains his younger son Sabaris,...

    • BOOK IV
      (pp. 113-140)

      (1) Cyrus remained there a measured amount of time with his army and showed that they were ready to do battle if anyone should come out. When no one came out in opposition, he withdrew as far as seemed noble and encamped. After posting guards and sending scouts forward, he took a central position, called together his own soldiers, and spoke as follows: (2) “Persian men, first I praise the gods as much as is in my power, as do you all, I am sure, for we have obtained both victory and safety. For these [blessings], then, thank offerings to...

    • BOOK V
      (pp. 141-176)

      (1) This, then, is what they said and did, but Cyrus bade those he knew to be Cyaxares’ closest associates to receive and guard his things. “I accept with pleasure what you are giving me,” he said. “Whoever among you is especially in want of them may use them.”

      One of the Medes who was a lover of music said, “Indeed, Cyrus, at night I listened to the music girls who are now yours, and I did so with pleasure. If you give me one of them, I think I would enjoy more pleasure when I am on campaign than when...

    • BOOK VI
      (pp. 177-202)

      (1) So they spent the day like this, and after dinner they went to rest. All the allies arrived early on the next day at Cyaxares’ door. For as long as Cyaxares continued to adorn himself, he could hear that there was a great mob at his door. During this same time some of Cyrus’ friends presented Cadusians who begged him to remain, others Hyrcanians, another Sacians, and another Gobryas as well. Hystaspas led in Gadatas the eunuch, who also begged Cyrus to remain. (2) Here, then, knowing that Gadatas had long ago all but perished in fear that the...

    • BOOK VII
      (pp. 203-232)

      (1) After praying to the gods, they rejoined their companies,¹ and attendants brought in things to eat and drink to Cyrus and his followers while they were still at their sacrifices. Cyrus, standing just as he was, offered up the first fruits, had his dinner, and continued to share with whoever was in want. After both pouring a libation and praying, he drank, and the others who were around him did likewise. After this, he besought ancestral Zeus to be their leader and ally, and he got up on his horse and so ordered those around him. (2) All those...

    • BOOK VIII
      (pp. 233-278)

      (1) So Cyrus spoke like this. Chrysantas stood up after him and spoke as follows: “But even on other occasions, men, I have often reflected that a good ruler is no different from a good father. For fathers take forethought for their children so that they never lack the good things, and Cyrus seems to me now to be giving us the sort of advice from which we could especially pass our lives in happiness. Yet there is something he seems to me to have clarified less than should be the case, and I will try to teach those of...

  6. Glossary
    (pp. 279-286)
  7. Notes
    (pp. 287-302)
  8. Index
    (pp. 303-304)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 305-306)