Did Alexander the Great read Xenophon?

McGroarty, Kieran (2006) Did Alexander the Great read Xenophon? Hermathena - A Trinity College Dublin Review , 181 (Winter). pp. 105-124. ISSN 0018-0750

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It has been assumed by writers, ancient and modern, that Xenophon’s literary output had a direct influence on Alexander the Great. But is there any evidence to prove that it did? In spite of the paucity of references to Xenophon in the surviving Alexander sources, many writers, both ancient and modern, have no doubts concerning the influence of Xenophon’s writings on Alexander. An extreme position is suggested by Eunapius, the sophist and historian born at Sardis c. AD 345, when he says in his Lives of the Sophists (VS I, 453): ‘Alexander the Great would not have become great if there had been no Xenophon’. However, Eunapius might mean little more than Alexander had heard of, and been inspired by, what Xenophon had done in Asia. We are looking for evidence that Alexander had read Xenophon; most modern literature is in no doubt that he did. Almost all the major monographs on Alexander, those by Wilcken, Robinson, Tarn, Hammond and Lane Fox, among others, take it for granted that Alexander had read and learned from Xenophon.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Alexander the Great; Xenophon.
Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > Ancient Classics
Item ID: 1224
Depositing User: Dr. Kieran McGroarty
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2009 09:45
Journal or Publication Title: Hermathena - A Trinity College Dublin Review
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Refereed: No

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