Anabasis (Xenophon)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The anabasis in the manuscript Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, A 78 inf., Fol. 100r

The anabasis is the most famous historical work of the ancient Greek writer Xenophon , which was written around 370 BC. Was written. It mainly deals with the so-called "procession of ten thousand", the retreat of the Greek mercenaries whom the Achaemenid prince Cyrus the Younger recruited for the (ultimately unsuccessful) uprising against his older brother Artaxerxes II and led them to Mesopotamia . The title of the work is derived from this “upward march” (old Greek ἀνάβασις “Anabasis”) of the Greeks to Asia.

The Anabasis Xenophons consists of seven books. According to Plutarch , the author initially published the work under the code name Themistogenes of Syracuse . However, it is possible that a certain Themistogenes actually wrote a work similar to Xenophon, which has been lost, so that there is a mix-up with Plutarch (see Brill's New Jacoby , no. 108).

Cyrus the Younger and Artaxerxes were both sons of the Persian great king Darius II of the Achaemenid dynasty . After Dareios' death Artaxerxes was his successor and ascended the throne as Artaxerxes II . The ambitious Cyrus, on the other hand, had to be content with the administration of Asia Minor , where he acted as supreme commander. Ultimately, Cyrus planned an overthrow, gathered an army that consisted mainly of Greek mercenaries, and marched in the spring of 401 BC. Against his brother.

The route of the ten thousand

Xenophon described the train of ten thousand from the point of view of his personal participation. At first he accompanied the procession of the Greek mercenaries only as a war correspondent made known to Cyrus and taken on by him. Xenophon clearly sided with Cyrus in his work. After the death of Cyrus and the subsequent murder of the Greek military leaders during their negotiations with the Persians, however, he recognized the measures that were now required. His rhetorical skills were very useful to him, with which he brought the completely demoralized Greeks back to life , especially on the morning after the battle of Kunaxa . He was chosen - alongside Cheirisophos - to take command and then led the Greeks north to the saving shores of the Black Sea .

Xenophon vividly describes the withdrawal and the privations of the Greek mercenary army from Babylon through the highlands of Asia Minor to the Black Sea coast. Famous as a literary and historical topos for a rescue after long hardship, as the whole army on the last chain of hills before this coast in the exclamation Θάλαττα, θάλαττα ( Thálatta! Thálatta! - "the sea, the sea!", Xenophon, an. 4, 7, 24) broke out and suddenly began to walk. His reports on the country and its people, customs and traditions are also important for historians. These give an exact and detailed description of vegetation and animal life, so that they can still give biologists information about those times today.

Traditionally (and literally) Xenophon's Anabasis is the first work of Greek literature that students read because of its flawless Attic dialect and its transparent language; this role is comparable to Caesar's De bello Gallico in Latin class. The first translation into German took place around 1540.



Web links