Ta tou Xenophontos Hellenika : kai ho Agesilaos = : Xenophontis Graecorum res gestae : et Agesilaus
|Ta tou Xenophontos Hellenika|
Title page from Ta tou Xenophontos Hellenika, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.
|Published||Glasguae: R. et A. Foulis|
|Language||Greek and Latin|
|Volumes||4 volume set|
|Desc.||8vo (17 cm.)|
Xenophon (c.428-c.354 BCE) was an Athenian historian and disciple of Socrates who had a somewhat turbulent relationship with his home city. He was born into a wealthy family and supported the short-lived oligarchic government of Athens established in 411 BCE, which likely made it difficult for him when the democratic government was reinstated. In 401, Xenophon joined a mercenary army and went on an expedition with the newly deceased Persian king’s son and commander Cyrus the Younger who attempted to take the throne from his older brother. After the failure of that attempted coup and Cyrus’s death, Xenophon returned to Greece with the rest of Cyrus’s army, for whose "lawless behavior" Xenophon was made responsible until he impressed and joined the service of Spartan king Agesilaus in 396 BCE and fought on the Spartan side against Athens and Boeotia in 394. Either for this treachery or earlier incidents, Xenophon was exiled from Athens and his property confiscated. The Spartans gave him an estate near Olympia and the position of entertaining visiting Spartans. For the next twenty years he did just that, while also writing his many books. Xenophon was forced from Olympia and moved to Corinth in 371 BCE, then back to Athens in 366 BCE after all Athenians were banished from Corinth. (His exile from Athens was likely revoked around 368 BCE).
All known parts of the vast number of works that Xenophon produced have survived to the modern day. Most are in the three categories of "long (quasi-) historical narratives, Socratic texts, and technical treatises." This particular edition of Xenophon’s works contains his Hellenica and Agesilaus. The former is a chronological account of key military events from 411 BCE to 362 BCE contained in seven books. In these events, Xenophon combines historical narratives with starkly honest expositions of the shortcomings of different states, including Sparta. The latter work included in this volume is a posthumous biography of the Spartan king Agesilaus with whom Xenophon had a long and close relationship. Though the chronology is uneven and adds nothing about the king not already included in Hellenica, the work was crucial to the development of biography. Additionally, the list of principal virtues of “a perfectly good man” reveals Greek expectations and standards of the time.
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Xenophontis historia. 4.v. 8vo. Foulis and given by Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes. According to Philip Gaskell's bibliography, the Foulis Press published Xenophon's Hellenica and Agesilaus once, in 1762. Both Brown's Bibliography and George Wythe's Library on LibraryThing include this title as the one intended by Jefferson's notation. The Wolf Law Library purchased the 1762.
Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy
Bound in full brown calf with red calf labels to spine. Purchased from Schooner Books Ltd.
View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.
- M.C. Howatson, ed., "Xe'nophon in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
- M.C. Howatson, ed., "Cȳrus" in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
- G.L. Cawkwell, "Agesilaus and Sparta," The Classical Quarterly, n.s., 26, no. 1 (1976): 64.
- Howatson, "Xe'nophon.”
- John Roberts, ed., "Xenophon" in Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
- Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of The Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England : St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 248.
- Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
- LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on June 28, 2013.