He that makes himself famous by his eloquence, justice or arms illustrates his extraction, let it be never so mean; and gives inestimable reputation to his parents. We should never have heard of Sophroniscus, but for his son, Socrates; nor of Ariosto and Gryllus, if it had not been for Xenophon and Plato.
Seneca the Younger
The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru. At last, some curious traveler from Lima will visit England and give a description of the ruins of St Paul s, like the editions of Balbec and Palmyra.
Xenophon tells us that Socrates never neglected the body and did not praise those who did. We can imagine that it was because the physical body-volatile, unseen, and implicated in an automatized natural world-could seem so daemonic that entrusting life, both biological life and ethical life, to its dynamics could seem like ceding control of the human.
In other words if a man is armed, then one pretty much has to take his opinions into account. One can see how this worked at its starkest in Xenophon's Anabasis, which tells the story of an army of Greek mercenaries who suddenly find themselves leaderless and lost in the middle of Persia. They elect new officers, and then hold a collective vote to decide what to do next. In a case like this, even if the vote was 60/40, everyone could see the balance of forces and what would happen if things actually came to blows. Every vote was, in a real sense, a conquest.