Xenophon was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary and student of Socrates. He was known for writing about the history of his own lifetime; in fact all we know about him is from his own writings.
He was born around 430BC, near Athens to a wealthy equestrian family.
Little is known about him until 401BC. At this time he joined the army of the Persian Prince, Cyrus the Younger in his failed campaign to take the Persian throne from his older brother King Artaxerxes II.
His work, Anabasis, is the record of the entire expedition while with Cyrus’ army.
Cyrus was killed at the Battle of Cunaxa and following this at a peace conference, 5 generals were betrayed and executed. This left the mercenaries without leadership.
Xenophon was elected to be one of the new leaders, and the remaining mercenaries battled their way back to Greece.
Xenophon was then recruited into the Spartan army under General Thibron. He service in the army at this time related to the final episode of the Anabasis.
In later life, in Greece, Xenophon fought under Spartan King Agesilaus II at the Battle of Coronea in 394BC.
Fighting for the Spartans against his homeland caused him to be banished from Athens. This may or may not have been revoked following his son’s death while fighting for Athens at the Battle of Mantinea.
He continued to have a close association with the Spartans for the remainder of his life and they gave him property in the small village of Scillus near Olympia.
He was to die around 354BC either in Athens or Corinth.