One of classical Greece’s most worldly
and lucid writers, Xenophon across his many works gave a restless
criticism of power: democratic, oligarchic and autocratic. From
military campaigns (in which he took part), through the great powers
of his day (Sparta, Persia, Athens) to modes of control within
the household, he observed intimately and often with partisan passion.
In this work a leading French Hellenist, Vincent Azoulay, analyses across Xenophon’s
diverse texts the techniques by which the Greek writer recommends that leaders
should manipulate. Through gifts and personal allure, though mystique, dazzling
appearance, exemplary behaviour, strategic absences – and occasional
terror, Xenophon analyses ways in which a powerful few might triumphantly replace
the erratic democracies and selfindulgent oligarchies of his day.
First published in French (in 2004) to international acclaim, this book is
here translated for the first time, revised and updated.