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Title: The self-education of Cyrus : a literary commentary on Book 1 of Xenophon's Cyropaedia
Author: Hogg, Graham Ian
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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The purpose of this thesis is to provide a literary commentary and analysis of the first book of Xenophon's Cyropaedia. The work has traditionally been regarded as an enigma, its subject matter being too diverse and its structure and purpose unclear. Moreover, in contrast with Xenophon's other works and other fourth-century prose literature, the text has been treated as being tedious and having little intrinsic worth. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of scholarly interest in the Cyropaedia. James Tatum's Xenophon's Imperial Fiction, Bodil Due's The Cyropaedia and Deborah Gera's Xenophon's Cyropaedia have broken new ground in analysing the work as a whole and bringing it into line with the rest of Xenophon's works. What is lacking in this re-evaluation of the Cyropaedia is a detailed literary commentary on the work. Previous commentaries have dealt primarily with grammar, syntax and textual criticism, or have examined the work as a valuable source for Persian history and ethnography. The thesis focuses on Book 1, approaching it not in terms of one particular genre but as a complex work drawing from all the branches of Greek literature as well as from the author's own knowledge and experiences gained during the course of a very eventful life. The commentary accordingly interprets the Cyropaedia in the context of earlier Greek literature, to show that Xenophon uses and refers back to the works of his literary predecessors to construct a work which is innovative rather than derivative. The importance of Book 1 lies in the way Xenophon introduces the themes and ideas which will be explored in the course of the remaining seven books. Xenophon's portrayal of Cyrus the child in the first book is not only remarkably vivid, it is also a very subtle examination of the successful leader in his youth, of how he seeks to educate himself through undergoing a wide range of experiences, and of the various tactics he uses to make his elders carry out his wishes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available