Xenophon’s 10,000 Mercenaries

Xenophon’s Anabasis tells the story of 10,000 elite Greek mercenaries who are left isolated on the losing side of a Persian civil war and fight their way across the mountain tribes of Anatolia to reach the safety of the Black Sea coast. The history of this march in 401 BC was the original story of swashbuckling adventure against the odds and was said to have inspired Philip of Macedon to take on the Persians. T.E. Lawrence had the book in his camel bag during the Arab revolt of 1916. And more recently, transplanted to the gangs of New York, it became the Warriors video game.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

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