The year is 403 BCE. The Athenian philosopher Xenophon finds himself with an army of Greeks marching to what is now Turkey. Their mission: to aid the Persian pretender Cyrus in a war against his brother Artaxerxes. At a great battle, Cyrus is killed & his army destroyed—except for the Greeks holding his right flank. Xenophon & the Greeks are now stranded in the heaThe year is 403 BCE. The Athenian philosopher Xenophon finds himself with an army of Greeks marching to what is now Turkey. Their mission: to aid the Persian pretender Cyrus in a war against his brother Artaxerxes. At a great battle, Cyrus is killed & his army destroyed—except for the Greeks holding his right flank. Xenophon & the Greeks are now stranded in the heart of the Persian Empire, outnumbered a hundred to one. The story of Xenophon's march to escape the Persian noose is an intensely personal & human tale, replete with clashes of arms & desperate hardships. It's also the tale of two civilizations at mortal odds with each other. With their turbulent mix of anarchy & democracy, Xenophon's men resembled a mobile Greek city, cutting both a military & a cultural slash through the Persian Empire. Tho Xenophon's journey would end badly, his experience in the East would prove invaluable for those who followed, for 60 years later, the Greeks would return to Persia under Alexander. John Prevas brings this epoch-shaping story to life with a compelling narrative vivified by his personal retracing of much of the route trod by Xenophon & his men in one of history's great adventures....
|Title||:||Xenophon's March: Into the Lair of the Persian Lion|
|Number of Pages||:||236 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Xenophon's March: Into the Lair of the Persian Lion Reviews
John Prevas’ historical account of Xenophon’s March is not only the best book I’ve read this year but has quickly become one of my top favorite books of all time. The author does a fantastic job engaging the reader in reliving Xenophon’s courageous military retreat from the most hostile forces and circumstances imaginable. John Prevas’ book reminded me of an important historical lesson that as people we must continue to learn from the past in order to make more informed and educated decisions in the future. Xenophon was a student of Socrates, and was born in Athens around 430 B.C. to a wealthy family. He was convinced by his friend Pronexus to participate in the military expedition led by Cyrus the younger against his older brother, Artaxerxes. Xenophon was a philosopher, historian, solder, and mercenary. After a bitter civil war between Sparta and the Greek city-states, including Athens, Greece was politically and economically devastated. Professional warriors chose to contract themselves out as mercenaries in order to maintain a living. Artaxerxes II was the king of the Persian Empire which was the dominant ruling institution at the time and had engaged in several conflicts with the Greeks in the years prior. Cyrus was the younger brother of Artaxerxes and wanted to kill his brother in an attempt to take his throne. Cyrus recruited approximately 14,000 Greek mercenaries known as the “Ten Thousand” in search of employment in addition to a number of loyal Persian forces. Lured by the promise of a decent wage, a new home, and provisions from victory, the mercenaries participated in the Campaign in 401 B.C. However, when word broke out that Cyrus was attempting to take the throne for himself, the Greeks refused to continue. They would eventually be persuaded by the Spartan general Clearchus to proceed with the expedition.When Cyrus died in battle the Persian general and statesmen, Tissaphernes, attempted to make a truce with the Greek mercenaries and invited General Clearchus among three other generals and many captains to a peace conference involving a lavish dinner. Once the officers arrived, the doors closed, and all were slaughtered.The mercenaries then found themselves afraid and leaderless in a hostile territory 1200 miles away from home. The cries and desperation of the mercenaries were answered when Xenophon emerged and agreed to become their leader and take them back home to the Greek mainland. What happened next became one of the most grueling and terrifying journeys back home across the Armenian mountains in the cold of winter. Under constant threat from the Persians and barbaric tribes along the way, Xenophon utilized his intellect, experience, and wisdom to protect his army, negotiate treatise, and deal with betrayal. Additionally, Xenophon and the mercenaries had to endure the constant depletion of resources and provisions. Under constant scrutiny by his fellow soldiers who would not hesitate to vote and have him executed for lack of leadership, Xenophon endured a leadership crusade to bring hope in the midst of chaos, despair, and uncertainty. After his retirement from military service, Xenophon lived in peace with his family for two and a half decades before political tensions forced him to relocate to Corinth where he died at the approximate age of 76. During his retirement, Xenophon wrote many works of literature, history, philosophy, biographical accounts, as well as manuals on horsemanship and hunting.
Xenophon is a pretty fascinating dude. I began my relationship with him the same way anyone else might, by reading Anabasis. I actually wish I had read John Prevas's book around the same time since it's fun to read primary and secondary sources side-by-side. (And yes, I do realize the term "fun" is a relative one.)The information in Prevas's book isn't new to me, but it certainly gives a new landscape to Xenophon's own version of the story. The black and white inserts help one to visualize the land Xenophon lead the Ten Thousand through, and of course I can never get enough of looking at photographs of Greek and Persian ruins. Eventually I'll need to move on to Hellenica A History of My Times, and after reading the Epilogue by Prevas I'm interested in hunting down information on Sophaenetus of Stymphalus, one of the oldest generals in the expedition. Apparently he and Xenophon weren't real tight and basically leaves Xenophon out of his entire account. Xenophon, on the other hand, mentions him in his account, but does not speak particularly highly of him. Oh, such cattiness.
In 401 B.C., Xenophon joined a band of Spartan & Greek mercanaries who fought for Cyrus, the younger brother of the Persian king, as he rebelled against his brother. They marched from Asia Minor (modern Turkey) to just west of Baghdad. The Greeks routed the Persians facing them but Cyrus was killed in the battle.A Persian trick resulted in the murder of all but one of the Greek generals. Xenophon was made a general and commanded the rear guard as the Greeks fought their way through the Persians and hostile tribes north to the Black Sea and then west to the Bosporus (modern day Istanbul).The early chapters inform the reader about the wars between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire, Greek & Persian politics and military tactics, including the Phalanx, which made the Greek infantry the best soldiers of the age.This book is well worth reading.
I would skip this and read the Anabasis itself...but if you were completely devoid of any background to Greek history, you could do a lot worse than this book. If it wasn't for the insights to the terrain the 10,000 crossed and a number of interesting photos from the authors own journeys, I would give it 3 starts. I found terms like "Oriental Despot" to be a little dated, but was happy he didn't give short shrift to all the raping, pillaging and enslaving the 10,000 did on its way home.
This book is a popular retelling of Xenophon's Anabasis by a classicist who essayed to travel the route described in the text. Although the effort probably deserves a filmed documentary like In the Steps of Alexander, none has been made to my knowledge.
This was a great book. Great history and written in a way everyone can understand and enjoy.
Accomplished, and well-written. My only reservation is that Xenophon shows up halfway through.