The Straussian Reception of Xenophon's Cyropaedia

William Henry Furness Altman


In 1948, Leo Strauss wrote about Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: “This work has never been studied by modern historians with even a small fraction of the care and concentration it merits and which is needed if it is to disclose its meaning.” Thanks in part to his students, this is no longer true, and this article reviews the Straussian reception of the Cyropaediabetween 1969 and 2015. But it begins with Strauss, who could scarcely have recognized the difficulties involved in disclosing “its meaning” unless that meaning had disclosed itself to him, and it is the elusive nature of that disclosure that has given his students the interpretive freedom to reach conclusions that are sometimes diametrically if not explicitly opposed to Strauss’s own. An investigation of those differences sheds light on both Strauss and his followers, and also on the distinction between Strauss’s interpretive methods and his political philosophy. No less importantly, such an investigation also helps us to better understand Xenophon’s Cyropaedia


Xenophon, Cyropaedia, Leo Strauss

Texto completo:



Ambler, Wayne. “Introduction” to Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus. Translated and Annotated by Wayne Ambler, 1-18. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001.

Bartlett, Robert C. “How to Rule the World: An Introduction to Xenophon’s The Education of Cyrus.” American Political Science Review 109 (2015), 143-154.

Bruell, Christopher. “Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus.” Ph.D dissertation: University of Chicago, 1969.

———. “Xenophon.” In Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey (eds.), History of Political Philosophy, third edition, 90-117. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Danzig, Gabriel. “Big Boys, Little Boys: Justice and Law in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and Memorabilia.” Polis 26 (2009), 242-266.

———. “The Best of the Achaemenids: Benevolence, Self-Interest and the ‘Ironic’ Reading of Cyropaedia.” In Fiona Hobden and Christopher Tuplin (eds.), Xenophon: Ethical Principles and Historical Enquiry, 499-539. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012.

Due, Bodil. The Cyropaedia: Xenophon’s Aims and Methods. Aarhus: Aahrhus University Press, 1989.

Farber, Joel. “The Cyropaedia and Hellenistic Kingship.” American Journal of Philology 100 (1979), 496-514.

Faulkner, Robert. The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

Field, Laura K. “Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: Educating our Political Hopes.” Journal of Politics 74 (2012), 723-738.

Gera, Deborah Levine. Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: Style, Genre, and Literary Technique. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.

Glenn, Gary D. “Cyrus’ Corruption of Aristocracy.” In W. T. Braithewaite, J. A. Murley, and R. L. Stone (eds.), Law and Philosophy: The Practice of Theory, volume 1, 146-163. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1992.

Higgins, W. E. Xenophon the Athenian: The Problem of the Individual and the Society of the Polis. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1977.

Minowitz, Peter. Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Other Straussians Against Shadia Drury and Other Accusers. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2009.

Nadon, Christopher. “From Republic to Empire: Political Revolution and the Common Good in Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus.” American Political Science Review 90 (1996), 361-374.

———. Xenophon’s Prince: Republic and Empire in the Cyropaedia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

Newell, Waller. R. “Tyranny and the Science of Ruling in Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus.” Journal of Politics 45 (1983), 889-906.

———. “Machiavelli and Xenophon on Princely Rule: A Double-Edged Encounter.” Journal of Politics 50 (1988), 108-130.

———. Tyranny: A New Interpretation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Pangle, Thomas L. The Socratic Way of Life: Xenophon’s Memorabilia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.

———. “Socrates in the Context of Xenophon’s Political Writings” in P. A. Vander Waerdt (ed.), The Socratic Movement, 127-150. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Rasmussen, Paul J. Excellence Unleashed: Machiavelli’s Critique of Xenophon and the Moral Foundations of Politics. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2009.

Ray, John. “The Education of Cyrus as Xenophon’s ‘Statesman.’” Interpretation 19 (1992), 225-242.

Reisert, Joseph. “Xenophon on Gentlemanliness and Friendship.” In Sharon R. Krause and Mary Ann McGrail (eds.), The Arts of Rule: Essays in Honor of Harvey C. Mansfield, 23-41. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2009.

———. “Ambition and Corruption in Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus.” Polis 26 (2009), 296-315.

Rubin, Leslie. G. “Love and Politics in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia.” Interpretation 16 (1989), 391-413.

Strauss, Leo. “On Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus” (1938). In J. A. Colen and S. Minkov (eds.), Toward Natural Right and History: Lectures and Essays by Leo Strauss, 1937-1946, 138-146. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.

———. “The Spirit of Sparta or the Taste of Xenophon.” Social Research 6 (1939), 502-536.

———. “On Classical Political Philosophy” (1945). In Strauss, What is Political Philosophy? And Other Studies, 78-94. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1959.

———. On Tyranny; An Interpretation of Xenophon’s Hiero, with a Foreword by Alvin Johnson. New York: Political Science Classics, 1948.

———. “Restatement on Xenophon’s Hiero.” In On Tyranny, 177-212.

———. Thoughts on Machiavelli. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1958.

———. “Relativism.” In Thomas L. Pangle (ed.), The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism; An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss, 13-26. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

———. The City and Man. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1964.

———. “Greek Historians.” Review of Metaphysics 21 (1968), 656-666.

———. Xenophon’s Socratic Discourse: An Interpretation of the Oeconomicus [originally published in 1970]. Preface by Allan Bloom, Foreword by Christopher Bruell, with a new, literal translation of the Oeconomicus by Carnes Lord. South Bend, IL: St. Augustine’s Press, 1998.

———. Xenophon’s Socrates [originally published in 1972]. Foreword by Christopher Bruell. South Bend, IL: St. Augustine’s Press, 1998.

———. On Tyranny; Revised and Expanded Edition; Including the Strauss-Kojève Correspondence. Edited by Victor Gourevitch and Michael S. Roth. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

———. Gesammelte Schriften, Band 3; Hobbes’ politische Wissenschaft und zugehörige Schriften—Briefe. Edited by Heinrich Meier, with the editorial assistance of Wiebke Meier. Stuttgart and Weimar: J. B. Metzler, 2002.

Tamiolaki, Melina. “Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: Tentative Answers to an Enigma.” In Michael A. Flower (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Xenophon, 174-194. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

———. “Being or Appearing Virtuous? The Challenges of Leadership in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia.” In Gaze, Vision, and Visuality in Ancient Greek Literature, eds. Alexandros Kampakoglou and Anna Novokhatko, 308-30. Berlin and Boston: de Gruyter, 2018.

———. “Straussian Readings of the Cyropaedia. Challenges and Controversies.” Forthcoming in B. Jacobs and R. Rollinger (eds.) Xenophon’s Cyropaedia. Proceedings of a Conference Held at Marburg in Honour of Christopher Tuplin, December 1-2, 2017. Leipzig: Harrassowitz.

Tanguay, Daniel. Leo Strauss; An Intellectual Biography. Translated by Christopher Nadon. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

Tatum, James. Xenophon’s Imperial Fiction, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989.

Voegelin, Eric. “On Tyranny” [a review of On Tyranny. An Interpretation of Xenophon’s Hiero by Leo Strauss]. Review of Politics 11 (1949), 241-244.

Xenophon. Xenophontis Opera Omnia, five volumes. Edited by E. C. Marchant. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900-1920.

———. The Education of Cyrus. Translated and Annotated by Wayne Ambler. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001.

———. The Shorter Writings. Edited by Gregory A. McBrayer. Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 2018.

Zuckert, Catherine H. and Michael P. The Truth About Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008.



  • Não há apontamentos.

Direitos autorais 2021 William Henry Furness Altman