Xenophon, (434?–354 B.C.), a Greek historian, essayist, and soldier. He was born of a wealthy family in or near Athens, and became a pupil of Socrates. A fine horseman and hunter, the handsome Xenophon was more interested in adventure than in philosophy.

In 401 B.C. Xenophon joined an expedition led by Cyrus the Younger of Persia against his brother Artaxerxes II, the Persian king. In Cyrus' army were 10,000 Greek mercenaries. At Cunaxa, about 60 miles (100 km) north of Babylon, the Greeks threw back the Persians but Cyrus was killed. The Greek generals were slain by the Persians during a parley, and the leaderless troops began to panic.

Xenophon rallied them and they elected him a general. With firm and sometimes violent discipline, he led them more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from enemy territory back to Greece. In his most noted book, Anabasis ("Journey Upward"), Xenophon describes this remarkable retreat of the Ten Thousand. Later campaigns in Greece and Persia brought him wealth in war booty.

When he joined Sparta in war against Athens, the Athenians issued a decree of banishment against Xenophon. After the war, the decree was revoked, but apparently he never returned. He lived on his estate in Sparta and is thought to have died in Corinth.

Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates describes the philosopher's life, conversations, and ideas on morality. In many of his writings Xenophon reveals his own devotion to morality and religion. In Symposium ("Banquet") he shows Socrates as a wit and lover of lively entertainment. Cyropaedia is an idealized, partly imaginary account of Cyrus' youth, valued for its detailed account of Persian customs and military training. Hellenica is the only surviving history of Greece in the years 411–362 B.C. It contains many of Xenophon's anti-democratic political views, such as his preference for Spartan discipline to Athenian freedom. He also wrote essays on hunting and farming.