counter create hit The Education of Cyrus - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The Education of Cyrus

Availability: Ready to download

Xenophon's masterpiece, The Education of Cyrus, is a work that was admired by Machiavelli for its lessons on leadership. Also known as the Cyropaedia, this philosophical novel is loosely based on the accomplishments of Cyrus the Great, founder of the vast Persian Empire that later became the archrival of the Greeks in the classical age. It offers an extraordinary portrait Xenophon's masterpiece, The Education of Cyrus, is a work that was admired by Machiavelli for its lessons on leadership. Also known as the Cyropaedia, this philosophical novel is loosely based on the accomplishments of Cyrus the Great, founder of the vast Persian Empire that later became the archrival of the Greeks in the classical age. It offers an extraordinary portrait of political ambition, talent, and their ultimate limits. The writings of Xenophon are increasingly recognized as important works of political philosophy. In The Education of Cyrus, Xenophon confronts the vexing problem of political instability by exploring the character and behavior of the ruler. Impressive though his successes are, however, Cyrus is also examined in the larger human context, in which love, honor, greed, revenge, folly, piety, and the search for wisdom all have important parts to play. Wayne Ambler's translation captures the charm and drama of the work while also achieving great accuracy. His introduction, annotations, and glossary help the reader to appreciate both the engaging story itself and the volume's contributions to philosophy.


Compare

Xenophon's masterpiece, The Education of Cyrus, is a work that was admired by Machiavelli for its lessons on leadership. Also known as the Cyropaedia, this philosophical novel is loosely based on the accomplishments of Cyrus the Great, founder of the vast Persian Empire that later became the archrival of the Greeks in the classical age. It offers an extraordinary portrait Xenophon's masterpiece, The Education of Cyrus, is a work that was admired by Machiavelli for its lessons on leadership. Also known as the Cyropaedia, this philosophical novel is loosely based on the accomplishments of Cyrus the Great, founder of the vast Persian Empire that later became the archrival of the Greeks in the classical age. It offers an extraordinary portrait of political ambition, talent, and their ultimate limits. The writings of Xenophon are increasingly recognized as important works of political philosophy. In The Education of Cyrus, Xenophon confronts the vexing problem of political instability by exploring the character and behavior of the ruler. Impressive though his successes are, however, Cyrus is also examined in the larger human context, in which love, honor, greed, revenge, folly, piety, and the search for wisdom all have important parts to play. Wayne Ambler's translation captures the charm and drama of the work while also achieving great accuracy. His introduction, annotations, and glossary help the reader to appreciate both the engaging story itself and the volume's contributions to philosophy.

30 review for The Education of Cyrus

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    I could not disagree with KC's review of this work more strongly. Cyrus is not meant to be a hero for the reader, although on first blush he is very attractive. Instead, Xenophon intends to point us, ever-so subtly, to Socrates and his teachings (the speech Cambyses gives to Cyrus on the way out of Persia, the teacher of Tigranes, etc., etc.). Indeed, I believe the title alludes neither to the education Cyrus received nor the education he gave. Instead, it refers to the education Cyrus lacks: th I could not disagree with KC's review of this work more strongly. Cyrus is not meant to be a hero for the reader, although on first blush he is very attractive. Instead, Xenophon intends to point us, ever-so subtly, to Socrates and his teachings (the speech Cambyses gives to Cyrus on the way out of Persia, the teacher of Tigranes, etc., etc.). Indeed, I believe the title alludes neither to the education Cyrus received nor the education he gave. Instead, it refers to the education Cyrus lacks: the Socratic education. This book does not discuss atoms, gravity, genes, etc., etc. because it concerns itself with the human things. Indeed, the frequent mention of the gods in the Education is prefaced by the fact that Cyrus interpreted his own signs from the gods, so as always to get favorable prophesies. In its search of the human things, Xenophon's work is subtle, beautiful, and deep. Moreover, KC's review is remarkably ironic in its reference to The Prince. In The Prince, Machiavelli chastises Scipio for reaching the very same conclusion as KC does about the Education of Cyrus. Scipio too thinks Cyrus a sterling example, and this leads to his eventual downfall. Machiavelli points this out so that we may know how to read not only the ancient books, but The Prince as well. The Education of Cyrus is an utterly serious look at the life of action in its highest form, as well as the inherent deficiencies of this life when viewed within the larger context of the philosophical life. The issues surrounding the question of what the best sort of life one may live continues to be relevant and meaningful in a way that atoms and gravity never will. When paired with the Socratic works of Xenophon, the Education of Cyrus offers a distinct presentation by which to judge what the best life is, and how we might live it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    How to use people instrumentally

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nolan Croce

    I support what the author is saying but it was extremely boring and difficult to pick out the good stuff. Like a crab leg and you have to pick the meat off.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    "Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." This was the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall during the feast of Belshazzar according to the Old Testament book of Daniel. The Education of Cyrus also contains an account of this event. My curiosity on this topic is what led me to read this book. While the prophet Daniel records what happened inside the walls of Babylonia, Xenophon records what took place outside the walls leading up to this particular conquest. While Xe "Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." This was the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall during the feast of Belshazzar according to the Old Testament book of Daniel. The Education of Cyrus also contains an account of this event. My curiosity on this topic is what led me to read this book. While the prophet Daniel records what happened inside the walls of Babylonia, Xenophon records what took place outside the walls leading up to this particular conquest. While Xenophon does not write of Daniel and the handwriting on the wall, he does, like Daniel, give an account of the arrogance, revelry, and then incredulity of the Babylonians as Cyrus and his soldiers successfully capture this powerful kingdom. As fascinating as it was to read this account from a Greek Historian, this book contains so much more that is also worthwhile. If Cyrus was indeed the kind of man portrayed by Xenophon, it is no wonder he was called 'The Great.' The way Cyrus motivated the soldiers, the way he trained them, the way he treated those conquered, the way he tried to inspire his men to virtue as opposed to forcing them to obey: Xenophon goes into detail about all of these things. In addition to Cyrus's rise to prominence, the Historian also writes about the education of Persian boys. There are also a couple of short love stories. P.S. That Cyrus allowed the Jews to return home and allowed for their religious freedom is also a testimony to his leadership. But that is another story. This is a book I will revisit.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard Tullberg

    Passer-by, I am Cyrus, who founded the Persian Empire, and was king of Asia. Grudge me not therefore this monument. An amazing book by the Greek historian Xenophon, student of Socrates. It was hard to stop reading, well into the night each segment ended with the beginning to the next. It's focus is not on the campaign, but the people and the conduct and resolve of the campaign. Every event has something for the reader to think about, to learn and take with them into their daily life and into the und Passer-by, I am Cyrus, who founded the Persian Empire, and was king of Asia. Grudge me not therefore this monument. An amazing book by the Greek historian Xenophon, student of Socrates. It was hard to stop reading, well into the night each segment ended with the beginning to the next. It's focus is not on the campaign, but the people and the conduct and resolve of the campaign. Every event has something for the reader to think about, to learn and take with them into their daily life and into the understanding of events well outside of their daily life such as war. How to gain respect and trust, how to treat prisoners of war, using diplomacy to spare the hardship of civilians and how to rule with virtue are some of the topics Cyrus the Great has to understand in order to forge this new empire. Instead of conquering people, forcing them by violence to do his bidding, he engages them with respect for their freedom to choose and forge alliances based on mutual understanding and give them as allies the benefit of partaking in the decision making. An easy read, short read, amazing read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    I have an abridged paperback that I can’t find on Goodreads; using this as a reminder that I’ve read the abridged but should track down the full text.

  7. 4 out of 5

    KC

    At some point in the past six months, I read a passing reference to Cyrus in a book review as having been favorable noted by Machiavelli. No matter, I noted it long enough to park in my Amazon shopping cart until it could come home. Eventually when I re-read The Prince, I may come back and include that reference here. I wasn’t impressed. As I get older and hopefully wiser, I have less and less patience with reading the ancients. Yes, humans are murderous and conniving, gracious and noble, sometim At some point in the past six months, I read a passing reference to Cyrus in a book review as having been favorable noted by Machiavelli. No matter, I noted it long enough to park in my Amazon shopping cart until it could come home. Eventually when I re-read The Prince, I may come back and include that reference here. I wasn’t impressed. As I get older and hopefully wiser, I have less and less patience with reading the ancients. Yes, humans are murderous and conniving, gracious and noble, sometimes all at once. However, every fifth grader should know more than an Aristotle or Augustine, literally. Xenophon is ever and finally ignorant of gravity, or genes, or germs just to stick with the letter ‘g’. Whatever insights into human nature the ancients gained and can share with us are forever leavened with fatal misunderstandings of the world, attributable to ill humors, the gods, and fates instead of electrons and Brownian motion. According to Xenophon, writing a hundred years after his reign, in the 5th century BC, Prince Cyrus grew up in a semi-Platonic society. The best and brightest (or at least the children of the well-to-do) were kept apart and drilled hours a day on their way to becoming full citizens, or peers. The King raised an army to answer the call of an ally, and chose his son Cyrus to lead. Cyrus first instructed the peers take several commoners under their wings to whip into shape for the campaign. Cyrus would cajole, bribe, and ferociously fight his way to uniting the middle east while giving all credit to the gods and fates and sacrifices – presumable goats I guess, not prisoners. The text never really states what is being sacrificed. Cyrus also democratically shared the spoils of his campaign with his troops, increasing their loyalty and determination. Here then is an ancient after Machiavelli’s lead heart. He carefully and completely attributed his meticulously planned successes to the whims of fate and the beneficence of the gods, and then grew into the comforts of his office until death, at which point his kingdom dissolved into the various factions he had united. Xenophon thought this a sterling example. Men with little will risk it to gain everything. A politician who can subvert the greed of others, thus multiplying his own, wins all. This can only be seen as noteworthy if contrasted with the essentialist absurdities of Plato. A shorter review might be that Thrasymachus was right and Socrates wrong. We will not succeed in a given fight if we are the most gracious or morally correct, but instead only if the most powerful. Strategic underdogs can win tactical victories through dash and daring but only because they won the field between the two competitors on the given day, not because they possessed the purest form of dash and dare. Two starts for describing phalanx warfare.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Antony Raj

    Those who dream to be the best leaders/people should pick up this book and complete it. Cyrus the great is not only one of the greatest kings lived in this world. He had great virtues, valour and he lived in his own principles. He stood strong for his values. He made great allies everywhere he went. He kept everyone under him very happy. He governed his whole empire with his own army. He stressed the fact in order to eat evening bread, you need to have worked to earn it through your hard work or Those who dream to be the best leaders/people should pick up this book and complete it. Cyrus the great is not only one of the greatest kings lived in this world. He had great virtues, valour and he lived in his own principles. He stood strong for his values. He made great allies everywhere he went. He kept everyone under him very happy. He governed his whole empire with his own army. He stressed the fact in order to eat evening bread, you need to have worked to earn it through your hard work or workout. His another interesting principle is that his army should have a strong discipline in order to succeed big time. He very much understood the fact unless he could give to his people, he didn't earn the right to question his people, that too in 500 BC. This book has whole of lot of lessons to aspiring leaders.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    I liked it. It felt a bit like a fantasy novel -- the plot was "boy rises from obscurity to greatness, via hard work, winning personality, and some opportune trickery, all while exploring strange lands and recruiting allies." Unlike most fantasy novels, though, Xenophon knew a lot about war, politics, and horses. It shows. It also has a very Platonic feel to it -- there are many long digressions about ethics, the good society, the nature of virtue, about the ideal life, and so forth. Unlike Socr I liked it. It felt a bit like a fantasy novel -- the plot was "boy rises from obscurity to greatness, via hard work, winning personality, and some opportune trickery, all while exploring strange lands and recruiting allies." Unlike most fantasy novels, though, Xenophon knew a lot about war, politics, and horses. It shows. It also has a very Platonic feel to it -- there are many long digressions about ethics, the good society, the nature of virtue, about the ideal life, and so forth. Unlike Socrates, Cyrus is a man of action. His goal is not to explain the good, it is to encourage it, using both persuasion and power. The ending feels very different from the body of the text -- the first seven books are about the rise of Cyrus, accomplished by his virtue; the last book is about his legacy and the creation of the Persian empire. The implication, particularly of the epilogue, seems to be that his virtue largely died with him -- "no sooner was he dead than his sons were at strife, cities and nations revolted, and all things began to decay" I thought the translator's remarks in the Gutenberg edition weren't particularly insightful or helpful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    It's . . . Okay. There's obvious value in Xenophon's base text, but Hedrick repeatedly harms the work. From his ham-handed attempts to "freshen" the language to his repeated insistence that Cyrus, a fifth-century Persian, was somehow a secret believer in a Judeo-Christian conception of God, to his treatment of the text as if Xenophon was writing about a real person rather than projecting his now beliefs about an idealized ruler onto Cyrus, Hedrick constantly makes the book worse. Even so, it rem It's . . . Okay. There's obvious value in Xenophon's base text, but Hedrick repeatedly harms the work. From his ham-handed attempts to "freshen" the language to his repeated insistence that Cyrus, a fifth-century Persian, was somehow a secret believer in a Judeo-Christian conception of God, to his treatment of the text as if Xenophon was writing about a real person rather than projecting his now beliefs about an idealized ruler onto Cyrus, Hedrick constantly makes the book worse. Even so, it remains a worthwhile read, though perhaps better to get Hedrick's subheadings in a list, as those are at least somewhat worthwhile, and bring those with you to a better translation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Xavier Shay

    call me a philistine but this is really just self-important white guy rambling. I mean yeah there's some basic wisdom in there - Cyrus seems pretty legit for the time - but nothing not covered by modern, better written books. As a historical item it's interesting, but not worth it unless you're really interested in a biased view of the times. call me a philistine but this is really just self-important white guy rambling. I mean yeah there's some basic wisdom in there - Cyrus seems pretty legit for the time - but nothing not covered by modern, better written books. As a historical item it's interesting, but not worth it unless you're really interested in a biased view of the times.

  12. 5 out of 5

    MM

    I can hardly imagine a better book on people management. A fundamental study of human relationships that will definitely survive for another 2000 years. Some of the bits may seem a little simplistic if you are particularly concerned about its application in today's world, but even these could serve as useful reference points when judging people's motives. Truly a masterpiece. I can hardly imagine a better book on people management. A fundamental study of human relationships that will definitely survive for another 2000 years. Some of the bits may seem a little simplistic if you are particularly concerned about its application in today's world, but even these could serve as useful reference points when judging people's motives. Truly a masterpiece.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    Providence College faculty reading group, Spring 2014

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vinni Dalpiccol

    https://medium.com/book-of-the-week/b... https://medium.com/book-of-the-week/b...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    cyrus is annoying and self-righteous and a bit of a douchebag lol

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sy. C

    Honestly this was pretty underwhelming. The classic works by von Clausewitz, Liddell Hart, Luttwak, etc. are far more lucid and instructive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Illiterate

    How should a despot rule? Virtuously, while making use of underhand tactics.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

    Cyrus the Great was the founder of the first Persian Empire, the one that was destroyed two centuries or so later by Alexander the Great. He was not only a great military leader who conquered a good part of Asia, but a wise and tolerant leader -- at least in the telling of Xenophon of Athens, a Greek soldier, author and student of Socrates. Xenophon wrote his book a century after Cyrus, and other than spending some months in Persia as a Greek mercenary, had little direct knowledge of Persia and Cyrus the Great was the founder of the first Persian Empire, the one that was destroyed two centuries or so later by Alexander the Great. He was not only a great military leader who conquered a good part of Asia, but a wise and tolerant leader -- at least in the telling of Xenophon of Athens, a Greek soldier, author and student of Socrates. Xenophon wrote his book a century after Cyrus, and other than spending some months in Persia as a Greek mercenary, had little direct knowledge of Persia and almost certainly no knowledge of the language. (Xenophon also wrote a book about his fighting days in Persia, called Anabaxis). Although Xenophon follows the broad outlines of the history of Cyrus' era, his book is essentially a piece of historical fiction. But it was fiction with a purpose, and that purpose was to lay out Xenophon's vision of an enlightened warrior-king. Larry Hedrick's version of Xenophon takes an original translation from the Greek published in 1906, and paraphrases it in modern idiomatic English, while taking considerable liberties with the text -- including adding in some material from the Bible about Cyrus freeing the Jews from their exile in Babylon and allowing them to return to Israel and Judea. He also changes the original text from the third person to the first, so that it reads as an autobiography instead of a history. The text is highly readable but is no masterpiece of elegant prose. If you're a purist, read the 1906 translation, and if you're a very scholarly purist, read it in the original Greek. I'm not much of a purist myself. A good part of the text consists of imagined dialogue between Cyrus and his father, and Cyrus and his troops, much of it dealing with advice on how to inspire, how to rule, how to lead, how to mislead the enemy, and sometimes just on how to deal with critical details such as military logistics. In between these flights of rhetoric, exhortation and advice-giving, we see Cyrus at war. One by one, he wins over some of the subject peoples of the Assyrian empire to the west and joins his forces to theirs. He then leads the armies of the Persians and their allies against the rest of the Assyrian empire. First, he deals with the Assyrians' ally King Croesus of Lydia and, having defeated him, rolls over the Phrygians and the Cappadocians. Only then, from a position of great strength, does he assault the Assyrian capital, Babylon. But he doesn't waste his strength on frontal assaults against the fortifications of the walled city. Instead, he diverts the flow of the Euphrates river that flows through the city, and then his army makes its way into the city along the muddy riverbed, quickly overcoming the city's defenders and killing the Assyrian king. And so was born the first great Persian Empire. The usual rendering in English of the title of Xenophon's book is Cyropaedia (meaning, "The Education of Cyrus") and was for several centuries a much-studied book in the West, both as a means of studying classical Greek and as a work of political theory disguised as a biography. Writers as varied as Rousseau, Montaigne, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were influenced by it. Most notably, it had a particularly marked effect on Machiavelli, who in effect created an updated vision of the enlightened warrior-prince, in his book The Prince. In Machiavelli's telling, virtue was mainly a means of gaining and keeping power, and was to be discarded in favor of deceit and deception when virtue no longer served that purpose. In a sense, Xenophon's book is similar, but places a much heavier stress on character, virtuous behavior and inspirational leadership, and reserves a much larger scope for them. Deception is only to be used against enemies, not against colleagues and fellow countrymen. Some sample quotations: "You must never arouse hopes you can't fulfill. When a leader arouses false expectations too often, he loses his power to inspire -- even when success is really within reach." "[Discipline] can result in the obedience of compulsion. There's a shorter way to a higher goal -- the goal of voluntary obedience ... But if people think that obedience will lead them to disaster, then nothing -- not punishments, no persuasion, not even bribes -- will get them to come along. For no sane man can be lured to his own destruction." " The more I'm persuaded of my own superiority and the high morale of my troops, the more I'm inclined to stand on my guard and make sure that I've thrown the enemy off balance. The if a leader wants to guarantee success, he has to outwit his opponent at every turn... I've trained you to be as honest as any man who ever lived, but if virtue serves to guide our actions with our friends and allies, every sort of trick can be used against our enemies." (Words of advice of to Cyrus from his father, King Cambyses) "I deeply believe that leaders, whatever their profession, are wrong to allow distinctions of rank to flourish within their organizations. Living together on equal terms helps people develop deeper bonds and creates a common conscience." "Leaders must always set the highest standard. In a summer campaign, leaders must always endure their share of the sun and the heat, and, in winter, the cold and frost. In all labors, leaders must prove tireless if they want to enjoy the trust of their followers." "Know yourself, O King, and then happiness will be yours."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Betawolf

    I don't even know how to classify this. Is it historical fiction? A treatise on government? Is it a hagiography or a satire? Does it answer Thucydides, or Plato, or Aeschylus? I've opted for 'biography' in my shelving system, but that decision comes with many asterisks. Certainly it's not striving for historical accuracy, but neither is it all conclusively fictitious -- for all we know, this is partly spun from tales told in Persia and Greece in Xenophon's time that may even be correct. What it I don't even know how to classify this. Is it historical fiction? A treatise on government? Is it a hagiography or a satire? Does it answer Thucydides, or Plato, or Aeschylus? I've opted for 'biography' in my shelving system, but that decision comes with many asterisks. Certainly it's not striving for historical accuracy, but neither is it all conclusively fictitious -- for all we know, this is partly spun from tales told in Persia and Greece in Xenophon's time that may even be correct. What it is, anyway, is Xenophon's story of Cyrus. Not, I hasten to add, Cyrus the Younger, the leader of the ill-fated expedition covered in Xenophon's Anabasis, whom Xenophon actually met and knew; this Cyropaedia is a biography of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, who died about 100 years before Xenophon was born. Given that it is difficult to always have a good king, there is a school of political thought that we should limit their powers, or replace the kings with assemblies of the people, as while these systems are less beneficial than a good king, they are less terrible than a bad one (and some in this school might even say that monarchy in itself is for some reason bad). The other school of thought is we should just teach princes to be good kings. This is a function of Cyropaedia -- to use an (extremely dubious) biography of Cyrus the Great as a way to illustrate the virtues of a good leader. Xenophon's Cyrus is bold yet always invites counsel, honourable yet possessed of fierce cunning, inspirationally majestic yet keenly attentive to the smallest details. He is generous with all his worldly goods, but rich beyond measure because of the friendship he inspires. The reason this doesn't become dull despite being an eight-volume book about kingly virtue is because Xenophon knows what the hell he's doing. The story he presents is pretty entertaining because it's a story that a restless young man might actually want to read. The main character grows and gains skills, there are lots of battle scenes, there's humorous conversation over drinks. Then there are practical discussions, of logistics, of how an army should be trained, of how to march in good order, how to arrange a camp, how to divide spoils. And scattered throughout all of this are just these occasional startling gems of philosophic insight and human detail. Xenophon describes and remedies the bystander effect; Cyrus and a random guardsman dive suddenly and casually into a debate on the nature of love; Cyaraxes makes passionately clear how kindness can be ill-service. There are powerful lines lurking in here, sermons mixed with strategy. It is, to be sure, not a real historical project, and it does not take a classicist's insight to notice that Cyrus is unlikely to have actually worshipped Zeus, or that much of the behaviour Xenophon attributes to the Persians is actually the behaviour of the Spartans. In many ways Xenophon's Cyrus is a hybrid, of the histories that Xenophon knew of the man, of the Spartan military machine that he bore arms alongside, and of Xenophon himself, as a military leader and orator with first-hand experience of the lands and peoples discussed. Among many others, giants such as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Gustavus Adolphus have counted Cyropaedia one of their favourite works. Good may be debated, but great leaders certainly. And what might each of them have thought, I wonder, of that humbling epilogue?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Helia

    Please just look at the original publication year. That publication year is almost miraculous, I love it. Cyropaedia is categorized as a philosophy book, written by Xenophon to use historical characters to showcase his opinions on generalship and honor and gallantry. Ergo it is a rather preachy kind of book. I’m not a fan of those. However, the names of cities and places, civilizations, and the kings are historical, and that part, I enjoy. Assyrians, Hyrcanians, the Medes, and the Persians were d Please just look at the original publication year. That publication year is almost miraculous, I love it. Cyropaedia is categorized as a philosophy book, written by Xenophon to use historical characters to showcase his opinions on generalship and honor and gallantry. Ergo it is a rather preachy kind of book. I’m not a fan of those. However, the names of cities and places, civilizations, and the kings are historical, and that part, I enjoy. Assyrians, Hyrcanians, the Medes, and the Persians were discussed. Two points stood out to me. That Cyrus kept praying to the god Zeus, and that he had meticulous methods to treat his slaves. Worshiping Olympian gods, and keeping slaves goes against much of what I have been taught about Cyrus the Great. But this is just the beginning, I think I will learn more about him in the following year. The Greeks, after all, were the enemy of Persians. Why bother portray them as honorable, and indeed why bother with accuracy in the telling of their tale? Greek values come through by and large. For example, the orderly way that a Greek chorus would perform in a play, and how the army would benefit from copying the method. “And when they were all out of range, they halted and reformed their ranks, better than any chorus could have done, every man of them knowing exactly where he ought to be.” That soldiers were given prizes to recite plays was a fun fact I had learned only days before. This paragraph captured my attention in that it mentions places I have been to and it makes me feel the weight of history (I would love to visit them again after reading this). Time passes, but the land stays the same. “Then, seeing that all was got together, he set out for that campaign of his, on which, the story says, he subdued the nations from the borders of Syria as far as the Red Sea, after that there followed, we are told, the expedition against Egypt and its conquest. From that time forward his empire was bounded on the east by the Red Sea, on the north by the Euxine, on the west by Cyprus and Egypt, and towards the south, by Ethiopia. Of these outlying districts, some were scarcely habitable, owing to heat or cold, drought or excessive rain. But Cyrus himself always lived at the centre of his dominions, seven months in Babylon during the winter season, where the land is warm and sunny, three months at Susa in the spring, and during the height of summer in Ecbatana, so that for him, it was springtime all the year.” In conclusion, nice read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Only understood this book because of Ambler's intro. Highly recommend reading that before or after you finish. The whole time I was reading it I was pretty convinced that Cyrus was a pretty great king, because he seemed to care about virtue and doing right by his subjects. I was under the impression that Xenophon wrote this as to give Socrates' philosopher king trope a real life example. But I was wrong, and even without the introduction, it is pretty clear that Cyrus falls into greed at the end Only understood this book because of Ambler's intro. Highly recommend reading that before or after you finish. The whole time I was reading it I was pretty convinced that Cyrus was a pretty great king, because he seemed to care about virtue and doing right by his subjects. I was under the impression that Xenophon wrote this as to give Socrates' philosopher king trope a real life example. But I was wrong, and even without the introduction, it is pretty clear that Cyrus falls into greed at the end of the book, which results in the fracturing of his empire. The introduction clarified that this was apparent even early in the book. Like the Milgram marshmellow experimenters, Cyrus still desires wealth/power/etc, he is just really good at playing the long game. Xenophon's thesis is thus that even this behavior in the long run leads to ruin. I'm not sure if he was a stoic, but I think like Socrates and the stoics, he would have agreed with the idea that virtue is the sole good. A ruler has to care about virtue above all else, and this "politicking" for power, wealth, etc, is not a stable foundation for a state. There was also a thread of Marxist analysis in here. One of Cyrus's key innovations is the meritocracy, which elevates the lower classes out of poverty if they are competent. But like the other good things that Cyrus wrought, they do not last after his death, because he does not have a virtuous philosophy of rulership. The history in this book was weird, and totally inaccurate (at least if you are taking the histories as true). The conflict between Media and Persia does not exist, the war with Lydia is far less interesting, as is the siege of Babylon. Cyrus also dies in a completely different way according to Herodotus, who claims he was killed by Tomyris of the Massagetae. It's no wonder the two historians choose a different method of death to fit their narrative. Herodotus's central thrust is not to mess with the gods, and thus Cyrus, who conquered too much of the world, had to die for his greed. Xenophon, who thinks Cyrus's biggest flaw is lack of inherent virtue, of course has to have him die indolently in vice. I would certainly be interested in learning more about the historiography of this book. I know Machiavelli references it in the prince, but I wonder if Alexander read it and/or the histories. Contrasting the two tales of Cyrus' life has been super interesting to me, and I can imagine that it would be even more so to someone who was in a position to rule.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Xenophon was a friend whose loyalty and narrative skills exceeded those of Doctor Watson, the boon companion of Sherlock Holmes. He wrote “Hellenica” to complete the “History of the Peloponnesian Wars” of his friend Thucydides. His “Apology” [of Socrates] is as good as that of Plato. In the “Cyropaedia” one finds a brilliant defense of Cyrus the Younger whom Xenophon served a mercenary. Because some passages seem highly improbable, some commentators have labelled the work to be a novel. In fact, Xenophon was a friend whose loyalty and narrative skills exceeded those of Doctor Watson, the boon companion of Sherlock Holmes. He wrote “Hellenica” to complete the “History of the Peloponnesian Wars” of his friend Thucydides. His “Apology” [of Socrates] is as good as that of Plato. In the “Cyropaedia” one finds a brilliant defense of Cyrus the Younger whom Xenophon served a mercenary. Because some passages seem highly improbable, some commentators have labelled the work to be a novel. In fact, it should be regarded as an important historical record written by a highly partisan observer.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Akita

    The writing style is too heavy. Thanks, but no thanks. The writing style is too heavy. Thanks, but no thanks.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shuai Ye

    It's amazing how Xenophon managed to describe someone who's not his ideal King and revealed the King's true personality with all the charismatic features shown. Judging from the things he've done, Cyrus is truly The Great. But judging from how he did things, he's cold-hearted, sophisticated, and ambitious, like some people said, 'using people as instruments'. Cyrus's attitude toward his uncle is the most fascinating part. Even before he march to Medes, his ambition of establishing empire by himse It's amazing how Xenophon managed to describe someone who's not his ideal King and revealed the King's true personality with all the charismatic features shown. Judging from the things he've done, Cyrus is truly The Great. But judging from how he did things, he's cold-hearted, sophisticated, and ambitious, like some people said, 'using people as instruments'. Cyrus's attitude toward his uncle is the most fascinating part. Even before he march to Medes, his ambition of establishing empire by himself couldn't be hidden from his father. When he got there claiming offering help, he view Syazarees's army as some resources he could take to enrich his own. And he did, then criticizing Syazarees by implying his opinions to generals. He's so arrogant, mean, and also skeptical about Syazarees's ability. He felt shameful when Syazarees pointed it out, but not for what he've done, but what he've shown. Cyrus seems to be like a Japanese who cares appearance more than inner virtue. Normal person get satisfied with normal things: food, drink, money, love. For Cyrus, he would never be satisfied without fame and praise. His kingdom is not the most stable one for an ordinary king to rule -- and will easily collapse if not. He didn't let any chance to show his own ability go, unless his time and energy were limited. Xenophon didn't comment on anything. Moreover, he used all good words for all the great things Cyrus did. Still, his opinion is all there, cold-faced in deep beneath the paragraphs.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josh Moore

    -Some what worried about the translation, language seems almost simplistic. In the forward L. Hendrick mentions cleaning up the plot and changing from the third to the first person viewpoint. Especially the last seems like a massive change, might change the whole tone of the book which does come across as sanctimonious (suspiciously Zig Ziglar - ish). -according to the introduction this is and edited version of a translation by Henry Graham Dakyns in 1906 -also in the introduction L. Hendrick see -Some what worried about the translation, language seems almost simplistic. In the forward L. Hendrick mentions cleaning up the plot and changing from the third to the first person viewpoint. Especially the last seems like a massive change, might change the whole tone of the book which does come across as sanctimonious (suspiciously Zig Ziglar - ish). -according to the introduction this is and edited version of a translation by Henry Graham Dakyns in 1906 -also in the introduction L. Hendrick seems to think that Machiavelli was serious. Have read in several places that he was actually sarcastic and was simply misinterpreted by assorted fascists etc. Seems like an odd thing for the editor not to know. Or, if he disagreed with that consensus, then it would be something that needed explaining. (Should read 'The Prince' --- maybe after I'm done with 'Meditations'?) -still well worth reading. -would be worth finding other translations also a historical biography of the real Cyrus the Great (must have been a pretty amazing guy, at least in the PR department, his natural enemies are holding him up as example of the perfect man/leader) -how monotheistic were the ancient Greek/Persians? The book makes many references to a supreme 'Father God'. Does this actually reflect religious beliefs of the time or is this just the editor speaking

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    From http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/reading/ Amazing. Cyrus was pretty awesome. His insights about leadership have “inspired great men from Julius Caesar to Benjamin Franklin to Lawrence of Arabia.” Peter Drucker called this book — Xenophon’s biography of Cryus — “the best book on leadership.” You’ll learn about Cyrus’ various campaigns as he conquers Babylon. While the story is old, the leadership lessons are as relevant today as they were then. Among other things “Xenophon shows you how to con From http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/reading/ Amazing. Cyrus was pretty awesome. His insights about leadership have “inspired great men from Julius Caesar to Benjamin Franklin to Lawrence of Arabia.” Peter Drucker called this book — Xenophon’s biography of Cryus — “the best book on leadership.” You’ll learn about Cyrus’ various campaigns as he conquers Babylon. While the story is old, the leadership lessons are as relevant today as they were then. Among other things “Xenophon shows you how to conduct meetings, become an expert negotiator, deal efficiently with allies, communicate by appealing to the self-interest of your followers, encourage the highest standards of performance, ensure your organization has the benefit of specialists, and prove that your words will be backed by your deeds.”

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I decided to read it after seeing a TED video on the Cyrus cylinder. A remarkable document containing the first human rights. It was issued after he captured Babylon. Cyrus let the Jews return to Israel, and is the only foreign ruler to be honored in the Bible. I wanted to reed more about Cyrus and the Persians. He created the first true empire. And therefore ranks as high as Alexander the Great. Perhaps more so. I didn't learn as much about Cyrua the Great as I did about what Xenophon thought I decided to read it after seeing a TED video on the Cyrus cylinder. A remarkable document containing the first human rights. It was issued after he captured Babylon. Cyrus let the Jews return to Israel, and is the only foreign ruler to be honored in the Bible. I wanted to reed more about Cyrus and the Persians. He created the first true empire. And therefore ranks as high as Alexander the Great. Perhaps more so. I didn't learn as much about Cyrua the Great as I did about what Xenophon thought what characteristics a good ruler should have. The book popular up until the 19th century. Thomas Jefferson owned two copies of Cyropedia.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    This book may be the world's first leadership manual. At 2500 years old, there are obviously also things lost or gained in translation. This review is of the 2006 edition, edited by Larry Hedrick. Plenty has been said already about this book as a self-help or business manual. I was surprised by the military focus of the writing - easily two thirds of the book covers the logistics of the battles that Cyrus fought. The latter part of the book, when he is managing the peace in his empire, is likely This book may be the world's first leadership manual. At 2500 years old, there are obviously also things lost or gained in translation. This review is of the 2006 edition, edited by Larry Hedrick. Plenty has been said already about this book as a self-help or business manual. I was surprised by the military focus of the writing - easily two thirds of the book covers the logistics of the battles that Cyrus fought. The latter part of the book, when he is managing the peace in his empire, is likely most relevant for today's audience. Its modern corollary is probably The Goal - the goal today is to make money, just as it was then; it's just the methods that have changed.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Usually books that are based from ancient writings tend to bore me. No offense to old history books, scriptures, etc, but they aren't exactly page turners. They have great meaning and teach lessons, but for the most part, they aren't too gripping. I loved this book because it is based off of Xenophon's ancient writings on Cyrus, but has been compiled in such a way that it really is exciting and eventful. It was a breath of fresh air to learn about a historical figure without the effort of wading Usually books that are based from ancient writings tend to bore me. No offense to old history books, scriptures, etc, but they aren't exactly page turners. They have great meaning and teach lessons, but for the most part, they aren't too gripping. I loved this book because it is based off of Xenophon's ancient writings on Cyrus, but has been compiled in such a way that it really is exciting and eventful. It was a breath of fresh air to learn about a historical figure without the effort of wading through some dry, 1000+ page book that seem to dominate this category.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zach Landau

    This is a very short (one day) read, and an inspirational story of leadership, strategy, social mastery, and benevolence. The message is still poignant today. I particularly liked the structure of the book. Rather than being broken into simple chapters, each aspect of the biography story-arc is preempted by a relevant adage. In this way, the reader is able to approach each few-hundred-word aspect of Cyrus' thoughts and actions with an understanding of his motives. I ordered a few copies and sent t This is a very short (one day) read, and an inspirational story of leadership, strategy, social mastery, and benevolence. The message is still poignant today. I particularly liked the structure of the book. Rather than being broken into simple chapters, each aspect of the biography story-arc is preempted by a relevant adage. In this way, the reader is able to approach each few-hundred-word aspect of Cyrus' thoughts and actions with an understanding of his motives. I ordered a few copies and sent them to friends in the Military, started new careers, endeavoring in business, etc.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.