Brennan, Shane. 2022. Xenophon’s Anabasis: A Socratic History. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Xenophon’s Anabasis has engaged and entertained readers from antiquity to the present day. Through his telling of the story of Cyrus the Younger’s attempt on the Persian throne and its aftermath, Xenophon integrates many of the prominent themes and concerns in his writings, including leadership, panhellenism, Sparta and apologia.
Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, Brennan offers a fresh reading of the text which originates in a broad-ranging consideration of Xenophon’s aims in writing the book some thirty years after the event. The central argument brings the presence of Socrates into relief and demonstrates how the author, representing himself in the story as a model pupil of the philosopher, perpetuates Socratic teachings and values through ‘Xenophon’s’ leadership. Ultimately, Anabasis is revealed to be a ‘Socratic history’, a narrative rooted in a historical event or period and in which the author embeds a reflection of the philosopher and his values.