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Document Details :

Title: From Hunting to Military Success
Subtitle: Battle Descriptions and Ideal Generalship in Xenophon's Cyropaedia
Author(s): WU, Tong
Journal: Ancient West & East
Volume: 18    Date: 2019   
Pages: 41-59
DOI: 10.2143/AWE.18.0.3287208

Abstract :
In the Cyropaedia, the 4th-century BC Greek author Xenophon, with his extensive political and military experiences in the Persian empire, introduces his thoughts on ideal leadership, which includes political, philosophical and military dimensions. In that work, the hero Cyrus is not a perfect commander by birth, but gradually becomes an invincible general by learning from his former experiences and actively inventing new approaches. Thus, with a scrutiny of the literary text arrangements and Cyrus’ different profiles in two important battle descriptions in the Cyropaedia, the present article sheds light on Xenophon’s frames of ideal generalship. According to Xenophon (and many of his Greek contemporaries), learning from τακτικά, i.e. the standardised principles of warfare, is basic but not adequate for ones to acquire a sound generalship. Therefore, facing new military developments and various tactical problems in the 4th century BC, a potential ideal general is supposed to have a flexible mind to apply or invent suitable approach for specific circumstances in the battlefield.

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