Book Review: Governing Oneself and Others: On Xenophon of Athens (A. V. Elliott Conference)


by Charlotte C. S. Thomas, editor

Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2024. Pp. viii, 215. Notes. $25.00 paper. ISBN: 0881469262

Xenophon on Educating Men to Virtue

In her introduction, Prof. Thomas (Mercer University), notes that Xenophon (430-354 BC) was “For centuries. . . a central figure in classical education, and then for much of the twentieth century he was hardly read at all,” and then points out that there has been a revival of interest in him in recent decades.

This collection of eight essays by several scholars concentrates on Xenophon’s writings about education, morality, self-control, and personal freedom.

Five of the eight papers address various aspects of Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus, a largely fictionalized look at the Persian king’s upbring, essentially an exposition of what Xenophon thought were best means of educating men to virtue.

Of the remaining essays, one looks at Xenophon as an historian, comparing him with the better known Thucydides, whose history of the conflict between Athens and Sparta he more or less continued with his Hellenica. The two final papers deal with philosophical and political ideas found in Xenophon’s Memorabilia and his Symposium.

Though none of the papers address possible lessons in leadership and morality in Xenophon’s greatest work, The Anabasis, Governing Oneself and Others is a worthwhile read for those seriously interested in Hellenic society in the “Golden Age.”




StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

Buy it at



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close