Dear fellow Xenophon readers:
Did you know…
that Spartiates (full Spartan male citizens) served in the army till they reached the age of sixty? (4.5.14c)
Book 4 concerns itself mostly with the land battles still raging in Greece itself. Agesilaos is recalled from Asia Minor to help Sparta neutralize various Greek city-states rebelling against Spartan hegemony in Greece (4.1-4.2). Greek city-states like Athens, Argos, Thebes, and Corinth are all being funded and encouraged by the Persian king to attack Sparta. Xenophon describes these conflicts at the Nemea River in the Peloponnese (4.2) and in Agesilaos’ march from the other direction through Boeotia and Thessaly (4.3). Much of the fighting between Sparta and the other Greeks in alliance in Book 4.4-5 centers around Corinth, which is tenaciously held under siege by the anti-Spartan alliance and which Sparta is not able to completely subdue. I always thought that the Spartans were able to conquer what they set their minds to. Now I am not so sure. As I have recently read through the Corinthian operations in Book 4, these quotes caught my attention.
“Some Spartans from the camp, holding their spears, were following as guards, and they were being closely watched by those present, for those who are fortunate and victorious always seem for some reason to be worth looking at.” (p. 149)(4.5.6)
“Now inasmuch as such a defeat was most unusual for the Spartans, there was much grieving throughout the army – except for those whose sons, fathers, or brothers had died in that battle: these men went around with beaming faces, delighting in their personal misfortune, as if they had been victors.” (p. 151) (4.5.10)
We will talk about these quotes (and other questions I plan to send out) on our next conference call on Monday May 10 @8pm EST.
*Also, check out one of our reader’s, Jim Janicki’s, interview on the Reading Odyssey website. He shares his experience with reading books through Reading Odyssey (he’s read quite a few with us so far) and how he applies his readings to his business and his life.*