The Persian Expedition
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The Persian Expedition

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  2,723 ratings  ·  145 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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William
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
Palmyrah
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
Trevor
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
Henry Avila
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
Bruce
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
Darwin8u
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
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
Brad Hankinson
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.
Dave
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
Nemo
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
Bookcase Jim
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
Douglas
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
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
Kd0imh
Aka The Persian Expedition, Xenophon's account of how Cyrus the Younger led an army partly composed of Greek mercenaries is one of the most important surviving literary works of ancient days (4th century B.C.). It gives us an overview of the civilizations that existed in Asia Minor and their conflicts as the Greeks rose to prominence. Philip of Macedon was supposedly inspired by Xenophon's work to ponder leading expeditions against the Persians-- something Alexander the Great did with great succ...more
Dustin
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.
Dan
As Will Durant said, this has got to be one of the greatest adventure stories ever told. Which must be why it's been adapted into upwards of thirty literary, thriller, sci-fi and fantasy novels, not to mention a handful of movies. What a character in Xenophon, all of mercenary, statesmen, and philosopher, student of Socrates, rival of Plato. Having been written some 2400 years ago, his Anabasis reads a crisp and well paced as any modern thriller.
David Brimer
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
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.
Justin
Awesome account of a military expedition gone terribly wrong from the world's first grumpy tourist. Xenophon cared so little for Persia and Persians that we take "Xenophobia" from his name.
Emily
Not as boring as I thought it would be, but still not exciting. If you like accounts of ancient Greeks with funny names fighting each other it could be the read for you!
Monkey
I was prepared to be bored, but I found it to be engaging
Nick Klagge
This started out pretty good, but ended up disappointing. There were two things that had made me want to read it for a while. First, it is mentioned in one of the stories in Steinbeck's book "The Pastures of Heaven," wherein the father of one of the characters reads Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon every year. "Everything mankind is capable of is recorded in these three books," the father says. Second, the epigraph of one of the chapters of "Watership Down" (one of my favorite books) is from...more
Benji
This is one I liked from the first page till the last 90percent. Its rightfully famous for presenting a realistic depiction of the events that occurred, showing both the mistakes and the good things that the leaders do (especially commendable since the writer is the hero of the work). There's a solid emphasis on the victory always going to the person that honors the gods and keeps his word--though this is not every explicitly mentioned.

It reads like a movie script even though its millenia old....more
Helen
First let me admit to having read this in translation and not the original Greek. Someone who saw it in my handbag was about to be very impressed until I confessed to cheating.
Anyway, onto the book. This seems to me to be more a memoir than it is factual description of the events related. The introduction describes is as having been read some decades after the events related, and I think that is the appropriate mood in which to read it. There is too much that is no clear, or smiply omited for it...more
George-GZM
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 before, at the Marathon, Thermopylae and Plateea.

A few years before, I read Valerio Massimo Manfredi’s...more
Charles
An adventure tale from the world of Ancient Greece. Its a well told war yarn, and the pages turn themselves...

Xenophon writes the story in the third person despite having played a key role in the events of the story. This might be a convention of the day (I have no idea), but the narrative is very much told from his perspective.

There's a pattern in the story: First, Xenophon judiciously leads his fellow soldiers through harrowing straits. Once they are safe, they turn on him. Xenophon saves the...more
Stephanie
One of the standard texts of the modern Ancient Greek curriculum (usually read in the 3rd semester), this is an account of the Ten Thousand, written by one of the commanders of the expedition, Xenophon.

In brief, the Persian Prince Cyrus hired an army of 10,000 Greek mercenaries to help him stage a coup and claim the Imperial Throne of Persia. Cyrus died during a battle at Cunaxa (401 BCE), leaving the Greeks to fend for themselves. Desperate, they decide to march from Mesopotamia to the shores...more
Relstuart
This is the history written by the Greek Xenophon (translated into English) who lead an army of 10,000 Greeks out of a failed campaign from Babylon to the Black Sea surrounded almost the whole time by hostile attacking forces. It was a 5 month trek with many challenges and the success of the enterprise makes this a remarkable historical feat.

The text itself not only tells the bare facts of what happened but also includes some of the social life of the Greek soldier and gives you a look into the...more
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14805
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...more
More about Xenophon...
Hellenica: A History of My Times Conversations of Socrates The Education of Cyrus The Art of Horsemanship The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates

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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.” 7 likes
“Men, the enemy troops you can see are all that stands between us and the place we have for so long been determined to reach. We must find a way to eat them alive!” 1 likes
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