| Famous Men of Greece|
|by John H. Haaren|
|Attractive biographical sketches of thirty-five of the most prominent characters in the history of ancient Greece, from legendary times to its fall in 146 B.C. Each story is told in a clear, simple manner, and is well calculated to awaken and stimulate the youthful imagination. Ages 9-12 |
 ONE day as Socrates was walking through a narrow street in
Athens he met a young man who was remarkably handsome.
Socrates stretched out his staff so that the young man had
"Where can bread be found?" asked the philosopher.
The young man's manner was modest and pleasing as he told
Socrates where to buy bread.
"And where can wine be found?" asked the philosopher.
With the same pleasant manner the young man told Socrates
where to get wine.
"And where can the good and the noble be found?" asked the
The young man was puzzled and unable to answer.
"Follow me and learn," said the philosopher. The young man
obeyed and from that time forward was the pupil and friend
of Socrates. He was called Xenophon, a name that afterward
became famous among the Greeks.
 The king of Persia at that time was Artaxerxes. He had
a younger brother named Cyrus, who was the governor of some
provinces of Asia Minor, which belonged to Persia. Cyrus
thought that he had a better right to the throne than
Artaxerxes and he determined to seize it.
The Persians had helped the Spartans in the Peloponnesian
War, and Cyrus had found out what splendid fighters the
Greeks were. He knew, also, that many of them had become so
used to fighting that they did not like a life of peace and
were willing to fight for any one who would pay them. He
decided, therefore, to get the Greeks to help him to fight
for the throne of Persia, and he sent to several Greek
states to invite soldiers to join him, promising them great
rewards if he succeeded.
Xenophon had a friend who was going with Cyrus and who
advised Xenophon to go too. Xenophon talked the matter over
with Socrates who told him to ask the oracle at Delphi what
to do. So Xenophon went to Delphi, but as he had made up his
mind to go on the expedition he did not ask the oracle
whether he should go or not. He only asked to what gods he
should sacrifice before he set out. After sacrificing as
the oracle advised he started for Sardis, in Asia Minor, and
reached that city just in time to join the expedition.
DELPHI AS IT LOOKS TO-DAY
 Eleven thousand Greeks from different states had entered the
service of Cyrus; so that with his Persian forces, 100,000
strong, he had an army of 111,000 men. Xenophon was not a
general, or even a soldier, in this army. He seems to have
gone with his friend, hoping that some opening would be made
There was a magnificent road from Sardis to
 Susa, Artaxerxes' capital. But even upon the best of roads an army
of a hundred thousand men, most of whom were on foot, had to
move slowly. Cyrus' troops went about fifteen miles a day,
and it took them six months to reach a place called
Cunaxa, about seventy miles from Babylon.
Here they found Artaxerxes at the head of an army of nearly
a million men. The troops of the Persian king advanced with
a great shout, thinking that the noise made by thousands of
men shouting would terrify the Greeks. But the Greeks only
raised their warcry—"Victory!"—and steadily advanced,
overcoming everything that was opposed to them.
Unfortunately, Cyrus went into the battle himself at the
head of his Persian forces. Seeing his brother, he rushed
forward, exclaiming, "I see the man," and wounded Artaxerxes
with a javelin.
He himself, however, was quickly killed by the soldiers of
Artaxerxes. As soon as their leader had fallen Cyrus'
Persian soldiers lost heart and fled.
THE Greeks were now in a terrible plight. They were six months'
march from Sardis and opposed by an army a hundred times the
size of their own.
In the battle of Cunaxa they had so thoroughly beaten the
Persians that Artaxerxes and his men
 were afraid of them and decided to get rid of them by
treachery. The Persian commander-in-chief,
Tissaphernes, therefore invited the Greek generals to a friendly meeting
and promised to furnish them guides and provisions, so that
they might return safely to Greece. The generals, never
suspecting foul play, went to the Persian camp. There they
were all put to death.
The Greeks were now greatly alarmed. The night following
the assassination of the generals was one of terror. Not a
fire was lit, even for the cooking of the supper. All slept
with arms at their sides while the sentries listened to
catch the slightest sound.
Xenophon spent the night in thinking what was best to do.
It was clear to him that some one must be chosen by the
Greeks as their leader and that they all must stand by one
another. He felt sure that if this were done there would be
a good chance of getting home safely. In the morning he
told his thoughts and hopes to others of the Greeks, who
were greatly cheered by what he said. Although he had held
no office in the army before, he was now made one of its
The shortest way to get out of the kingdom of Persia was to
go to the Euxine, now called the Black Sea, which lay many
hundred miles to the north
 beyond rugged mountains. At one of the ports on the shore
of that sea the Greeks hoped to find ships in which they
might sail to Greece.
The march was at once begun. All sorts of hardships were
met with. There were snow-storms and bitter north winds; it
was sometimes hard to get enough food; the mountain tribes,
through whose land the army had to march, were often
unfriendly and rolled rocks down the mountain slopes upon
At last, however, the shores of the Euxine were reached. The
Greeks, since the murder of their generals, had marched for
five months in an enemy's
 territory. They had drawn supplies from the country and had
lost but few of their men. The retreat was in fact a
Xenophon returned to Greece, but he did not go back to
Athens. During some of the time that he had followed a
soldier's fortune he had fought with the Spartans against
Athens and the Athenians had passed a sentence of exile
He went to Sparta, and soon afterward settled on an estate
in Elis. "Xenophon's farm" is still pointed out to visitors to
Greece. He passed about twenty years quietly in hunting,
writing, and entertaining his friends with stories of his
life as a soldier on faraway battlefields.
From notes which he made he wrote a history called the
Anabasis, or "March up," which is an account of Cyrus'
march up to Babylon and of the retreat of the Greeks.
Owing to political troubles Xenophon finally had to leave
his pleasant home in Elis. He went to Corinth, where it is
supposed that he died.
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