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The Persian Expedition

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  4,728 Ratings  ·  219 Reviews
In The Persian Expedition, Xenophon, a young Athenian noble who sought his destiny abroad, provides an enthralling eyewitness account of the attempt by a Greek mercenary army - the Ten Thousand - to help Prince Cyrus overthrow his brother and take the Persian throne. When the Greeks were then betrayed by their Persian employers, they were forced to march home through hundr ...more
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Mike
The Persian Expedition (or The Anabasis, or The March Up Country) tells the story of an army of Greek mercenaries who ended up fighting for the losing side of a Persian civil war and must travel through hostile territory to return home. And this isn't a metter of just dialing up 10,000 Uber rides (besides, the surge fee would be enormous), they have to march through hundreds of miles of hostile territory with both natives and the Persian army seeking to block their way. They are completely on th ...more
William1
The book is an account of Prince Cyrus's attempt in 401 BCE to replace his brother Ataxerxes II on the Persian throne. The narrative moves at a nice clip though at the expense of detail. The Ten Thousand, as the Greek mercenaries are known, advance a thousand miles from Greek Sardis in Asia Minor to Babylon only to have Cyrus die in battle and leave them stranded. I am not a big reader of military histories. This subject interested me because I had liked Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian ...more
Trevor
Jul 31, 2008 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Xenophon has become a bit of a fascination of mine at the moment. I’ve started reading his Socratic Conversations – which I’ll review when I finish, but am finding remarkable – and then I found this as a talking book under the title The March of the Ten Thousand. I’ve just finished listening to this. Amazing story. A group of Greek mercenaries go off to raid, rape and pillage their way through Persia, when things go awry – seriously awry. All of the leaders are killed – one after being tortured ...more
Bernard Norcott-mahany
I figured it was about time that I finally read Xenophon's "Anabasis." When I was in HS, students studying Greek either learned enough Greek to do some Homer, more challenging, but more fun, or Xenophon, who has a limited vocabulary, focus and a plain style which makes him good for people learing basic Attic Greek.
That said, I would have to class this with Caesar's "Gallic Wars," which do the same for Latin (as a Latin student, I was prepped to read Caesar). For Caesar, the choice of a limited
...more
Alp Turgut
Kyros'un ağabeyi II. Artakserkes'le olan savaşında arkasına takılarak ona eşlik eden kitabın yazarı Xenophon ve önderliğindeki on binin (Hellen ordusu) geri dönüşünü sürükleyici ve destansı bir dille okuyucuya sunan "Anabasis: On Binler'in Dönüşü"nün (yaklaşık M.Ö. 370) Herodotus'un "Tarih"ine (yaklaşık M.Ö. 440) kıyasla daha az detay barındırması ve dilinin daha sade oluşu sebebiyle rahat okunabilen oldukça değerli bir tarihi eser olduğunu söylemeliyim. Özellikle Antik Yunan edebiyatını tamamla ...more
Darwin8u
Jan 28, 2012 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2013
Herodotus might have been the Father of History, but Xenophon was the cool, older brother. This one-time pupil of Socrates is one of those soldier/scholars who makes both intellectuals and warriors feel inadequate. 'The Persian Expedition' or 'March of the Ten Thousand' or 'Anabasis' (all depending on your version or translation) relates the story told by Xenophon of his experiences fighting with and leading the 10,000 Hellene mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger and the army's 3000+ mile marc ...more
Henry Avila
Jul 04, 2011 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Xenophon is an ambitious 20ish man from a prominent family in Athens. He agrees to his friend Proxenus urging to fight for Prince Cyrus,younger brother of Artaxerxes II , the Persian king in 401 B.C.With the end of the Peloponnesian War and Sparta's victory over Athens.The impoverished Greeks look to the Persian Empire for loot.Cyrus doesn't tell his foreign mercenaries, the 10,000,that he wants to replace his brother as king.The Greeks were recruited to defeat local enemies and make money. When ...more
Palmyrah
Sep 23, 2012 Palmyrah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The marched and fought their way right round Turkey! And a good chunk of Iraq, too! All the way from the Ionian coast to Mesopotamia — they got within fighting distance of Babylon – and then all the way back to the Bosporus (here's a map). They fought the Persians, the Kurds, the Armenians, the Thracians and anyone else who got in their way. And all they were doing was trying to get home.

It took them fifteen months. There were ten thousand of them to begin with and eight thousand left at the end
...more
Brad Hankinson
Jul 24, 2008 Brad Hankinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After I read the Anabasis (the March Upcountry), I almost immediately began writing my first novel based on the events of the first dozen pages. Xenophon's prose is sweet, his story captivating and I highly recommend it for any reader.
Todd N
Jul 15, 2014 Todd N rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Picked up at Moe’s on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley and read as a little break from Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century and as a diversion from last week's various news stories that were bumming me out. Them nutty ancient Greeks have a way of cheering me up.

Xenophon’s Anabasis was supposed to be one of the upcoming editions in the excellent Landmark Ancient Histories series, but there hasn’t been a new one of those in years.

So when I saw a used Penguin edition for $6 I figured I could probably sl
...more
Данило Судин
"Анабазис" було написано майже 2,5 тисячі років тому. Стиль мислення, спосіб викладу думок з того часу змінився, а тому згаданий твір, як здається на перший погляд, мав би бути лише історіографічною цінністю - важливим першоджерелом для істориків Античності.

Проте таке враження є хибним. Звісно, "Анабазис" є історичним першоджерелом, але при його читанні про це згадуєш лише закривши книгу. Окрім інформації про народи Перської імперії, спосіб ведення бою греками, є один момент, який здається неймо
...more
Bookcase Jim
Oct 02, 2013 Bookcase Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anabasis is a Greek word for 'marching up' that has become synonymous with military retreat. Although it's a cracking tale of leadership and perseverance in the face of adversity, it's well worth the read for the sheer wealth of information on ancient customs and social mores.
We have a tendency to think that ancient man was a sort of imbecile, but in truth, it's amazing how little we've changed -if at all. Sure we (mostly) don't pillage, trade in slaves, or arbitrarily put people to death anymor
...more
Sherrie G
Jun 01, 2014 Sherrie G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A modern re-titling could be "The Adventures of Xenophon." I've given this 5 stars because the book is unique. It tells the autobiographical tale of Xenophon, then a twenty-something Athenian, student of Socrates, who joined a grand military campaign of Cyrus, son of Darius. Keeping his intentions secret from his ever-growing body of troops, Cyrus's goal is to de-throne his brother, Artaxerxes II, King of Persia. As Cyrus and his army traverse vast territory and engage in various military exploi ...more
R.M.F Brown
Jul 24, 2014 R.M.F Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The greatest adventure story in history

Little, if any proof of Socrates' life exists, reliant as we are on the writings of his two famous pupils: Plato and Xenophon, the former being revered as one of humanity's greatest thinkers, the latter remembered for his march home from Persia, the subject of which concerns this book.

And yet, the Persian expedition, or The Anabasis to give it its proper title, is no mere tale of adventure, a plethora of such tales was readily available in a country (Greec
...more
Nemo
Jan 19, 2013 Nemo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greco-roman, history
Anabasis (also rendered as The March of the Ten Thousand or The Persian Expedition) is a firsthand account of the Greeks' participation in Cyrus the Younger's revolt against his brother King Artaxerxes II, and their perilous return journey to the Black Sea after Cyrus' death in the Battle of Cunaxa.

Xenophon highlights the myriads of challenges a general faces in leading an army and carrying out a successful campaign. In addition to providing for a large army, commanding their respect and obedien
...more
Bruce
Aug 01, 2008 Bruce rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I finished Xenophon’s, The Persian Expedition. The work had been characterized to me in two ways: first, it was described as having been written in “easy” Greek, often used by British schoolboys as their primer when learning the Greek language, and whereas I did not read it in its original language I was nonetheless struck by its simple, indeed at times almost primitive, syntax, and I could not help but compare it with Caesar’s history, The Gallic Wars, often described in much the same way for e ...more
Lance
Oct 14, 2016 Lance rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
"please don't go away until you've heard me tell you the trouble I see just beginning to rear its ugly head in the army."

In this ancient manuscript which has amazingly survived from 370BC, Xenophon details the enlistment and retreat of several thousand Greek mercenaries in The Expedition of Cyrus. Xenophon was an eye-witness and general during this campaign, but chooses to write the narrative in third person, which I found a really interesting decision. I found that the perspective made Xenophon
...more
 CCAM&GZM
Jun 06, 2014 CCAM&GZM rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Given the name of our blog, I would like to introduce a book truly legendary: Anabasis by Xenophon. Stay calm, it is not a book of philosophy or a Greek tragedy. It is a history book, but you can read it like an adventures one. An adventure that took place about 2400 years ago, but what adventure it was! A march full of struggles and all kinds of hardships through a hostile territory. A story worthy of ancient Greek heroes, bold action that amounts to those made by their predecessors decades bef ...more
Dave
Feb 04, 2010 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, travel, classics
Gripping, fascinating story of highly disciplined Greek hoplites stranded in hostile territory far from home who must regroup and force their way through Kurdish territory. After the famous 'The Sea! the Sea!' moment, however, the book was considerably less interesting - the army begins to fracture and strain under lack of supplies and lack of real leadership (author Xenophon notwithstanding). It was a quick read, and a very enlightening one for me.

It also strikes a little bit of a chord with me
...more
Tony
Feb 22, 2016 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
THE PERSIAN EXPEDITION. Xenophon. ***.
This book, in the form of a diary – which many scholars think it was – tells of Xenophon’s takeover of a Greek army of about 10,000 troops and leading them on a retreat back to Greece. His promotion came as a result of the original leaders of the troops getting into a fight and killing each other. Lots of material here is very skimmable, telling of minor battles with a variety of tribes as the major force attempted to get back to their homeland. One of the p
...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Did anyone else think that the parallel between the story of the soldiers getting honey in on their journey that they had to eat for days until it was seen as "at least nourishment and medicine to the bones" was similar to manna in the old testament? Anyone else find that correlation amusing? On other matters Xenophon is a bit of a hoot for being somewhat self interested is he not? I found the writing very plain and easy to read. The story got boring in a few bits but had a lot of good moments a ...more
Douglas
Apr 30, 2010 Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wonderful book! I recommend it to those who are interested yet a bit intimidated by Classical literature. Xenophon moves at a fast pace yet the reader can still follow the story of ten thousand Greek soldiers seemingly trapped in the middle of Persia.

It's fascinating to see how Greek forces operate. Western civilization seems to have been influenced the most by Roman military tradition with its chain of command from supreme commanders to soldiers. The Greeks, however, were very democratic, even
...more
Jesse
Jun 09, 2010 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cyrus the Younger versus Artaxerxes - a tantalizing match-up for any age's military fancy. Xenophon loses Cyrus somewhere near Babylon and has to lead his ten thousand through the hostile deserts of Asia. This is the original "Let's get the hell outta' here!" tale. In addition, it is a splendid insight into the military travails, comradeship, and diplomacy experienced before the Hellenistic Age. For fun, count how many times Xenophon says he can't talk about something because it would offend the ...more
Scott
May 03, 2016 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The introduction (this review is of the Penguin Classics Rex Warner translation with an introduction by George Cawkwell) makes it clear that Xenophon probably inflated his role in the events portrayed. So this may be the first (though certainly not the last) recorded instance of an old soldier spicing up his wartime reminiscences with a healthy dollop of lies.

Whether it’s fictionalized or not, it makes for a good read, at least up until the last 10 or so pages. They sort of devolve into Xenopho
...more
Christopher
Jan 02, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very readable account of the ten thousand Greek mercenaries who unwittingly accompanied Cyrus the Younger into Persia as told by the man who would come to be the leader of the Greeks after defeat at the Battle of Cunaxa. Xenophon's simple style makes for an enjoyable, light read that is equal parts adventure and horror. The best part of the account, however, are the details on ancient society, culture, and warfare that are interspersed throughout the march.
Dustin
Aug 20, 2008 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow...Xenophon was apparently single-handedly to thank for the Greeks making their way out of Persia. Any speech by anyone else in the book is about a paragraph long...while he writes himself responding in 10 minute monologues. It reads more like what someone wishes they could have said the day *after* a confrontation.

All in all, my main reason for reading this is because I knew it was the basis for the classic 80s movie 'The Warriors.' Personally, I like the Warriors better.
David Brimer
Jul 19, 2013 David Brimer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was quite the good adventure story. In fact, it is hard to believe the events actually happened, considering the outlandish adventure that Xenophon and the others Greeks were set upon when Cyrus led them into the heart of Persia under false pretenses. The translation was swift and read quite easily. Not the most profound ancient work, but alot of fun to read none the less!
Jeremy
Apr 23, 2008 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this, not as a history book, but as a Greek translation project. What's interesting is that the story shows the strength of the Democratic way of operating. No other army would have remained in force after their leaders were assassinated. And yet the Greeks managed to do it.
Abdul Hamid
Mar 10, 2014 Abdul Hamid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent.
Glenn
Sep 08, 2015 Glenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent mixture of war and adventure. Also, I found it to be one of the most accessible reads in Greek military history.
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Xenophon (Ancient Greek Ξενοφῶν, Modern Greek "Ξενοφών", "Ξενοφώντας"; ca. 431 – 355 BC), son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, was a soldier, mercenary and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates. He is known for his writings on the history of his own times, preserving the sayings of Socrates, and the life of ancient Greece.

Historical and biographical works
Anabasis (or The Persian Expediti
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“You are well aware that it is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods' gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them. I have noticed this point too, my friends, that in soldiering the people whose one aim is to keep alive usually find a wretched and dishonorable death, while the people who, realizing that death is the common lot of all men, make it their endeavour to die with honour, somehow seem more often to reach old age and to have a happier life when they are alive. These are facts which you too should realize (our situation demands it) and should show that you yourselves are brave men and should call on the rest to do likewise.” 13 likes
“When, in the course of their march, they came upon a friendly population, these would entertain them with exhibitions of fatted children belonging to the wealthy classes, fed up on boiled chestnuts until they were as white as white can be, of skin plump and delicate, and very nearly as broad as they were long, with their backs variegated and their breasts tattooed with patterns of all sorts of flowers. They sought after the women in the Hellenic army, and would fain have laid with them openly in broad daylight, for that was their custom. The whole community, male and female alike, were fair-complexioned and white-skinned. It was agreed that this was the most barbaric and outlandish people that they had passed through on the whole expedition, and the furthest removed from the Hellenic customs, doing in a crowd precisely what other people would prefer to do in solitude, and when alone behaving exactly as others would behave in company, talking to themselves and laughing at their own expense, standing still and then again capering about, wherever they might chance to be, without rhyme or reason, as if their sole business were to show off to the rest of the world.” 2 likes
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