The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates

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The Memorable Thoughts of

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Xenophon, Edited by Henry Morley, Translated by Edward Bysshe
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Title: The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates
Author: Xenophon
Editor: Henry Morley
Release Date: January 10, 2006 [eBook #17490]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)

Transcribed from the 1889 Cassell & Company edition by David Price,
email [email protected]


This translation of Xenophon's "Memorabilia of Socrates" was first
published in 1712, and is here printed from the revised edition of 1722.
Its author was Edward Bysshe, who had produced in 1702 "The Art of
English Poetry," a well-known work that was near its fifth edition when
its author published his translation of the "Memorabilia." This was a
translation that remained in good repute. There was another edition of it
in 1758. Bysshe translated the title of the book into "The Memorable
Things of Socrates." I have changed "Things" into "Thoughts," for
whether they be sayings or doings, the words and deeds of a wise man
are alike expressions of his thought.
Xenophon is said to have been, when young, a pupil of Socrates. Two
authorities have recorded that in the flight from the battle of Delium in
the year B.C. 424, when Xenophon fell from his horse, Socrates picked
him up and carried him on his back for a considerable distance. The
time of Xenophon's death is not known, but he was alive sixty-seven
years after the battle of Delium.
When Cyrus the Younger was preparing war against his brother
Artaxerxes Mnemon, King of Persia, Xenophon went with him. After
the death of Cyrus on the plains of Cunaxa, the barbarian auxiliaries

fled, and the Greeks were left to return as they could from the far
region between the Tigris and Euphrates. Xenophon had to take part in
the conduct of the retreat, and tells the story of it in his "Anabasis," a
history of the expedition of the younger Cyrus and of the retreat of the
Greeks. His return into Greece was in the year of the death of Socrates,
B.C. 399, but his association was now with the Spartans, with whom he
fought, B.C. 394, at Coroneia. Afterwards he settled, and lived for
about twenty years, at Scillus in Eleia with his wife and children. At
Scillus he wrote probably his "Anabasis" and some other of his books.
At last he was driven out by the Eleans. In the battle of Mantineia the
Spartans and Athenians fought as allies, and Xenophon's two sons were
in the battle; he had sent them to Athens as fellow-combatants from
Sparta. His banishment from Athens was repealed by change of times,
but it does not appear that he returned to Athens. He is said to have
lived, and perhaps died, at Corinth, after he had been driven from his
home at Scillus.
Xenophon was a philosophic man of action. He could make his value
felt in a council of war, take part in battle--one of his books is on the
duties of a commander of cavalry--and show himself good sportsman in
the hunting-field. He wrote a book upon the horse; a treatise also upon
dogs and hunting. He believed in God, thought earnestly about social
and political duties, and preferred Spartan institutions to those of
Athens. He wrote a life of his friend Agesilaus II., King of Sparta. He
found exercise for his energetic mind in writing many books. In writing
he was clear and to the point; his practical mind made his work
interesting. His "Anabasis" is a true story as delightful as a fiction; his
"Cyropaedia" is a fiction full of truths. He wrote "Hellenica," that
carried on the history of Greece from the point at which Thucydides
closed his history until the battle of Mantineia. He wrote a dialogue
between Hiero and Simonides upon the position of a king, and dealt
with the administration of the little realm of a man's household in his
"OEconomicus," a dialogue between Socrates and Critobulus, which
includes the praise of agriculture. He wrote also, like Plato, a
symposium, in which philosophers over their wine reason of love and
friendship, and he paints the character of Socrates.

But his best memorial of his old guide, philosopher, and friend is
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