Who is Xenophon?

This article aims to establish the primary texts which are attributed to Xenophon. Xenophon is commonly believed to have lived in the 4th century BC. He was a soldier and a statesman.

There is a papyrus fragment of his in Vienna which has been dated to the 3rd century AD. As the study of papyrology was not seriously established until the 19th century, this 3rd AD dating may be incorrect. There is no information in (1) about this specific papyrus fragment beyond the fragment being held in the National library in Vienna labeled as Π.

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The surviving primary documents which contain Anabasis are;

1 – (F) – Vatican gr. 1335 – written in the 10-11th centuries

2 – (M) – Venice, Marcianus graecus 590 – w. 12th-13th cc.

3 – (C) – Paris, BNF gr. 1640 – w. 9th-10th cc.

The surviving primary documents which contain Hellenica are;

1 – (B) – Paris BNF graecus 1738. – written in the 14th century

2 – (M) – Milan, Ambrosian A 4. – w. 14th c.

3 – (D) – Paris BNF graecus 1642 – w. 15th c.

4 – (V) – Venice, Marcianus gr. 368 – w. 14th-15th cc.

5 – (C) – Paris BNF gr. 2080 – w. 15th c.

6 – (F) – Leiden university library, Perizonianus 6 – w. 15th c.

The first text was printed by E. Boninus in 1516 at the Junta press in Florence.

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As we can see, the earliest primary sources for Xenophon were written no earlier than 800AD-900AD (by traditional historical view). This is some 1200-1300 years after he supposedly lived. The majority of them were written after 1300, some 1600 years later.

Could these works be creations of more recent authors?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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[1] – http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/manuscripts/greek_classics.htm#Xenophon

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