Xenophon on Leadership and Rebellion (Cyropaedia, 1.1-3)

“Consider how many democracies have been dissolved by people who wish to be governed in some other way than democracy and also how many monarchies and oligarchies are torn down by the people and how, of those who have attempted to rule as tyrants, some have quickly failed on their own while others who rule for any amount of time at all are a source of wonder, considered to be wise and lucky men. Expect to learn the same things in private homes: both masters who have more and those who have less, still are not able to rely on even a few to obey them for long.

[Xenophon extends the analogy to herdsmen and notes that animals rely on men and trust them against external threats…]

Men rise up against no one more readily than those they believe are trying to rule them. When we reflect on these facts, we conclude only that man naturally is better at governing all the other living things except for himself.”

῎Εννοιά ποθ’ ἡμῖν ἐγένετο ὅσαι δημοκρατίαι κατελύθησαν ὑπὸ τῶν ἄλλως πως βουλομένων πολιτεύεσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ ἐν δημοκρατίᾳ, ὅσαι τ’ αὖ μοναρχίαι, ὅσαι τε ὀλιγαρχίαι ἀνῄρηνται ἤδη ὑπὸ δήμων, καὶ ὅσοι τυραννεῖν ἐπιχειρήσαντες οἱ μὲν αὐτῶν καὶ ταχὺ πάμπαν κατελύθησαν, οἱ δὲ κἂν ὁποσονοῦν χρόνον ἄρχοντες διαγένωνται, θαυμάζονται ὡς σοφοί τε καὶ εὐτυχεῖς ἄνδρες γεγενημένοι. πολλοὺς δ’ ἐδοκοῦμεν καταμεμαθηκέναι καὶ ἐν ἰδίοις οἴκοις τοὺς μὲν ἔχοντας καὶ πλείονας οἰκέτας, τοὺς δὲ καὶ πάνυ ὀλίγους, καὶ ὅμως οὐδὲ τοῖς ὀλίγοις τούτοις πάνυ τι δυναμένους χρῆσθαι πειθομένοις τοὺς δεσπότας…

ἄνθρωποι δὲ ἐπ’ οὐδένας μᾶλλον συνίστανται ἢ ἐπὶ τούτους οὓς ἂν αἴσθωνται ἄρχειν αὑτῶν ἐπιχειροῦντας. ὅτε μὲν δὴ ταῦτα ἐνεθυμούμεθα, οὕτως ἐγιγνώσκομεν περὶ αὐτῶν, ὡς ἀνθρώπῳ πεφυκότι πάντων τῶν ἄλλων ῥᾷον εἴη ζῴων ἢ ἀνθρώπων ἄρχειν

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