Xenophon

Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises
  • Hiero the Tyrant and Other Treatises

  • One of Socrates' Athenian disciples in his youth, Xenophon (c. 498-354 bc) fought as a mercenary commander in Cyrus the Younger's campaign to seize the Persian throne, and later wrote a wide range of works on history, politics and philosophy. These six treatises offer his informed insights into the nature of leadership. In the dialogue between the poet Simonides and Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, Xenophon provides a consummate consideration of the burdens of being an absolute dictator and the superior happiness of the private man. Elsewhere, his biography of King Agesilaus II of Sparta depicts the author's patron as a model of piety, justice, courage and wisdom, while other texts consider the essential qualities of the cavalry commander, analyse the skills of the horseman and the hunter, and advance a bold economic plan for democratic Athens.

Xenophon was born c.430BC, an Athenian gentleman. Whilst fighting for Greece, he was finally banished due to his devotion to Socrates and support for Sparta. Settling near Olympia under Spartan protection, he began to write his treatises, histories and biographies.