(b Athens, c. 428/427 bc; d ?Athens, c. 354 bc).
Greek general, historian and writer . From a wealthy Athenian family, he became an enthusiastic follower of Socrates. Shortly before Socrates’ death, he left Athens. He served as a general under Cyrus in Asia Minor and later accepted the patronage of Sparta, where he settled and wrote most of his major works. His writings include histories (Hellenica, Anabasis) and narratives of Socrates’ philosophical activity (Memorabilia, Apology, Oeconomicus, Symposium).
Xenophon’s Memorabilia, written some time between 370 and 354 bc, includes two dialogues (III.x.1–8) between Socrates and contemporary artists. The historical status of the two conversations is unclear, but since Xenophon’s aim was to show that Socrates had made new beneficial contributions to the city, it may be assumed that the ideas expressed in the dialogues would have been found both correct and novel by Xenophon’s audience. In the first, Socrates asks the painter Parrhasios how he uses colour to represent (...