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Table of Contents > 2.6-2.7 Xenophon, Anabasis

2.6: Xenophon, Anabasis 2.6.28

This work describes an expedition of 13,000 Greek mercenaries, in which Xenophon was a commander, assisting the younger Cyrus in a campaign to overthrow his older brother, the Persian king (401-399 BCE). The following extract describes an unprincipled Thessalian officer named Menon.

While still at the peak of youth and beauty, he obtained from Aristippus24 the command of his mercenaries, and he got on very intimate terms with the barbarian Ariaios, because Ariaios enjoyed the company of beautiful youths; he himself, although beardless, had as his boy love Tharupas, whose beard was already grown.

2.7: Xenophon, Anabasis 7.4.7-11

[7] There was a certain Episthenes from Olynthus, a boy-lover, who, seeing a beautiful boy, just at the beginning of adolescence, holding a light Thracian shield and about to be put to death, ran up to Xenophon and appealed to him to come to the rescue of a beautiful boy. [8] So Xenophon went to Seuthes25 and pleaded with him not to kill the boy; he also told him about Episthenes' ways, how once he had put together a company thinking of nothing but whether they were beautiful, and how, fighting with them, he had shown himself a brave man. [9] But Seuthes replied by asking, "Episthenes, would you be willing to die in place of this boy?" So Episthenes stretched out his neck and said, "Strike, if the boy wishes and will be grateful to me." [10] Seuthes then asked the boy if he should strike Episthenes instead of him. The boy would not allow it but pleaded with him to kill neither of them. Then Episthenes, throwing his arms around the boy, said, "The time has come, Seuthes, for you to fight for the boy with me; for I won't give him up to you." [11] But Seuthes laughed the matter off.
This website makes available to the public the first two chapters of Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook of Basic Documents, edited by Thomas K. Hubbard and published by University of California Press in April 2003. The index also lists the rest of the sourcebook's contents; the book may be ordered at, list price $34.95 paperback. In addition, a file of close to 200 pertinent artistic images is assembled, including those published in the sourcebook and many others. Acknowledgement is made to University of California Press for permission to reproduce this material, as well as to the various museums that have granted permission to use their photographic images. Comments may be directed to Prof. Hubbard at