Xenophon's Retreat

Robin Waterfield
Faber Members pay only £14.39 for this title. Sign up for free during checkout to get your discount.
Proceed to Checkout
ISBN 9780571223831 Format Hardback
Published 21/09/2006 Length 272 pages

About Book

This is the epic story of a band of Greek mercenaries stranded in Persia, forced to fight their way home across deadly terrain.

It is 401 BC. In battle at Cunaxa on the River Euphrates, the Persian king Artaxerxes II defeats a challenge to his throne by his brother Cyrus the Younger. Among the slain Cyrus' s troops are a contingent of Greek mercenaries, known as The Ten Thousand. In the wake of the defeat, Xenophon, a former pupil of Socrates, is elected a general and must lead the men on a fraught journey back to Greece - a journey of hundreds of miles, north from modern-day Iraq into the mountains of Kurdistan and Armenia, and down to the coast of the Black Sea, fighting all the way, harried on all sides by Persian forces, wild mountain tribesmen, and a bitter winter...

In Robin Wakefield's telling, this epic journey - which climaxed with a soon-to-be-legendary cry, 'The sea, the sea!' - is a gripping adventure full of drama, human interest, strong characters, pathos, and triumph. More than that, the events so described occur on the cusp of the change from the age of democracy to that of empire. For the tale begins with Aristotle and the school of Athens but ends with the invasion of Greece by Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great. Xenophon's retreat symbolises that of the Greek world, and tells us something more of the West's ceaseless preoccupation with the gulf between Europe and the Middle East.

  • About Robin Waterfield

    Robin Waterfield's previous book for Faber was Xenophon's Retreat. In 2005 he published a new translation of Xenophon's Anabasis as Xenophon: The Expedition of Cyrus. He is also the author of Athens: A History and has translated works by Euripides, Plutarch, Herodotus, Aristotle, and Plato, as well as other works by Xenophon.

    More Info