James McDonald to debunk myths around Xenophon during seminar


Renowned historian James McDonald is scheduled to host a seminar on March 16, 2023, at 7pm at the Mezzanine Level of the Greek Centre in Melbourne, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM).

The seminar aims to debunk myths surrounding the life of Xenophon, one of the major historians of ancient Greece.

Volumes have been written about Xenophon, the historian who continued the narrative of the Peloponnesian War where Thucydides left off, taking readers through the events of the fourth century BC and concluding with the Battle of Mantinea in 362.

Xenophon was a student of Socrates, dabbled in philosophy, and was one of the leaders of the Ten Thousand, who embarked on an ill-fated expedition to help Kyros the Younger take the Persian throne from his brother, Artaxerxes II.

Renowned historian James McDonald.

While Xenophon’s life was certainly eventful, much of what has been written about him has been invented, as evidenced by the 532-page life of Xenophon full of myths written by Édouard Delebecque in 1957.

Dr James McDonald, who has a long and impressive history in the study of Greek history, will seek to debunk some of the myths surrounding the life and works of Xenophon.

McDonald has an impressive academic background in Greek history, having convened Greek history at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University in the 1990s. He continues to edit Doug Kelly’s posthumous commentary on Xenophon’s Hellenika, with the second volume to be released in early 2024. The final volume, edited by Oxford academics Christopher Haddad and Ellen Ryan, will be released in 2025.

McDonald’s interests have varied significantly over the years. He wrote libretti for Nigel Butterley and is publishing a five-volume history of Canberra, with the first two volumes due to be released in early 2023. He currently works part-time as the Director of Board Relations and Constitutional Reform with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

The seminar, which will be in English, provides attendees with the opportunity to engage with McDonald and other participants.

Admission is free, and the event promises to be enlightening, as it seeks to unravel the myths surrounding the life of one of the major historians of ancient Greece.

Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the contributions of Xenophon to ancient Greek history and the extent of the myths that surround his life and works.

Full Details:

  • Date: Thursday 16 March 2023.
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Location: Greek Centre (Mezzanine, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne)
  • Admission: Free




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