The World's First Online Collaborative Commentary to an Ancient Text
The Future of Reading Ancient Literature
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Cyrus’ Paradise is the world’s first comprehensive, online, collaborative commentary for a Classical text: Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus or Cyropaedia (more on Xenophon here and here). Cyrus’ Paradise features comments, multimedia (pictures, audio, video), bibliography, and grammatical and syntactical instruction from authorized users (for example, see here).
The Education of Cyrus (c. 365 BCE) is a narrative composed by Xenophon the Athenian, treating the life of the first king of the Persian Empire, Cyrus “the Great” (c. 600-530 BCE, more here), from his youth in the Persian educational system (agôgê) to his conquest of Babylon and establishment of one of the ancient world’s first large empires. Many throughout history have been interested in the Education of Cyrus, including Alexander “the Great”, the Roman general Scipio Africanus, Cicero, Machiavelli, Philip Sidney, and Thomas Jefferson, as well as several modern political scientists. In the past thirty years the work has seen a resurgence of scholarly interest, whether it is read as a handbook on leadership, a proto-novel, a relic of Achaemenid (early Persian) culture and Iranian folklore, a quasi-biography or history, a military treatise, an exploration of the emotions (e.g., romantic love, envy), or a philosophical engagement with many of the questions of childhood education, human psychology, justice, and the ideal society that were familiar to Athenians of the early fourth century like Plato and Isocrates.
As the descriptor “collaborative commentary” suggests, many people have been involved in bringing this site into being, and the numbers are growing; you can read more about them here. We welcome any questions and informed comments to any part of the site. If you are interested in becoming involved with the project in a more official capacity, please e-mail us.