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Xenophon, a philosophical historian, and distinguished captain, was the son of Gryllus. He was horn at Athens, in the year 450 B. J. C, and at an early age joined the troops of Cyrus, who had revolted against his brother Artaxerxes Memnon. He was at the battle of Cunaxa, in which Cyrus perished. He there acquired considerable reputation. It was after this battle that the celebrated retreat of the 10,000 Greeks from Babylon to Trebisond was made; à retreat which Xenophon advised, at which he presided, and which he has described with wonderful interest. In this difficult and dangerous march, all the eloquence of Xenophon was necessary to encourage his exhausted soldiers, who, deprived of their general, found themselves at a distance of from five to six hundred leagues from Greece. On his arrival in Thrace, he united his army, then reduced to six thousand men, with the Lacedaemonian troops, who were about to engage, under the orders of Thimbron, the satraps of the Persian monarch, Tissaphernes and Pharnabazus.
In this war, the Lacedaemonians having frequently exchanged their general, found themselves at last under the command of Agesilaus, in the plains of Coronsea, in Bœotia, where, according to Xenophon, was fought the most arduous battle of his time. Xenophon was present in the engagement, and fought by the side of Agesilaus, who held him always in particular esteem. On the termination of the war, Xenophon retired with his two sons to Corinth, where he passed the remainder of his life. He died at the age of 90, in the year ЗбО B.J. C. JUDITH WITH THE HEAD OF HOLOFERNES.
The Lacedaemonians had given to Xenophon an estate adjoining the city of Elis: there, during the interval of peace, he composed his works, which have handed him down to posterity more than his warlike exploits, His Cyropœdia, an historical romance, presents a fine picture of the education and the virtues of a great prince; and his History of the Retreat of the Ten Thousand, a pre^ cious morsel of history, is written hy a general, who could say, et quorum pars magna fui. We have also of Xenophon particular treatises on historical subjects. He likewise wrote upon riding and hunting.
In the opinion of Cicero, which is conformable to tha^ of antiquity, the Muses seem to have spoken by the mouth of Xenophon. Quintilian says, that the Goddess, of Persuasion dwelt on the lips of this philosopher. He praises in him a sweetness remote from all affectatiqn, and which no affectation could attain.
This subject hae been often treated by professors in the art of painting. Judith holds in one hand the head of Holofernes, and in the other the sword of the warrior, with which she killed him. Her servant is beside her. Over their head is a red curtain. The back ground of the picture is brown.
Lanzi,an Italian author, relates a curious circumstance of this picture, which attracted considerable admiration upon its being exposed to public view. The figure of Judith presents a portrait of a lady who was under the protection of the painter. Her mother is represented in the person of the old woman, and Allori took the head of Holofernes from his own model, having previously suffered his beard to grow, for the purpose, for a considerable time.
This picture presents many beauties. If the figures have not the dignity of history, they are well painted, and ably coloured. The draperies are not happily executed, but are not devoid of richness and harmony. The robe of Judith is yellow, raised with gold; her mantle blue, and the lining red. The dress of the servant is white. The cushion, of which only a part is seen, is