Top positive review
Enjoyable, but requires perseverance
on 27 June 2017
“History of our times” (or “Hellenica”) by Xenophon tells the story of the war in Greece between 411 to 362 BC. A less well-known period in Classical Greece, it can be summarised as the decline and fall of the Greek system of city states. Or alternatively, as the prelude to the rise of the Macedonians under Phillips II and his son Alexander the Great. The known world would never be the same again. Participant of and eye-witness to many of the important moments in this chaotic and violent period, “Hellenica” is a mix between history, and Xenophon’s memoirs, political views and moral convictions.
Rather than repeat what has already been written in some of the excellent reviews here I will simply say that I found the “History of our times” enjoyable but hard going at times. Besides some great stories and keen observations, the endless list of names of people, battles and places requires perseverance. This is not helped by the poor maps at the back of the book. I therefore recommend to read the story in short bursts in combination with additional background reading.
All in all, as a major primary source of an important period, and with an excellent introduction by George Cawkwell, I can recommend Xenophon’s “History of our times” to anyone interested in Classical Greece.