Xenophont In Pseudo-Xenophont’s Letters and in Fictional Letters of Socrates and Socratics

Keywords: Xenophon, Socrates, socratic, fictional letters, intertextuality


The aim of the analysis of the apocryphal correspondence of Pseudo-Xenophon, which tradition has given us with two independent paths—7 excerpts preserved in the Anthology by Stobaeus and 6 entire letters included in the Socratis et Socraticorum epistole (ed. R. Hercher)—is an attempt to delineate on their basis, a portrait of Xenophon, commonly accepted in the time of the Roman Empire. Pseudo-Xenophon letters clearly define the creator of Anabasis as the philosopher of Socratic, basically keeping silent about his historical work. They give us testimony to his thought, deeply rooted in Socratic ethics, focused on kalokagathia. Continuous pursuit of virtue through consistent improvement not only in pure ethics, but also in specific skills that are supposed to bring benefits, pointed to the key importance of paideia in Xenophont’s work as a pupil of Socrates. In these letters, the reference points are mostly ἐγκράτεια, καρτερία, ἀνδρεία, εὐσέβεια, φιλανθρωπία and finally σωφροσύνη, i.e. the virtues that form the core of Socratic ethics.


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