Institute of Philosophy
of the Russian Academy of Sciences




  O. Chernyakhovskaya. Xenophon on Political Attitudes
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O. Chernyakhovskaya. Xenophon on Political Attitudes

In Xenophon’s Socrates’ opinion, the art of ruling is the greatest of all tekhnai because the task of any leader is to make the people he governs happy. First, the leader must possess specific knowledge so as to promote the material well-being of all the citizens and their peaceful life in the city. This necessary knowledge is only acquired through learning the art of ruling, as it is also the case with all other arts. On the other hand, since happiness lies in the moral perfection, so a good ruler can only be the one who is able to lead his subjects to virtue. This part of the ruler’s task in Xenophon’s Socratic works concerns only Socrates. In the Cyropaedia, however, qualities of both kinds concur in the figure of the ideal ruler. Even if the real Socrates had no political programme, then Xenophon conducts an experiment on his behalf: in the figure of Cyrus the Great, king of Persians, he attempts to combine Socrates’ purely speculative thought with the practical theory.