One of Norman Sandridge’s projects as an Visiting Faculty Fellow was to work with Duke philosophy professor Joshua Sosin to improve Cyrus’ Paradise, a collaborative online commentary to Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus or Cyropaedia. Cyrus’ Paradise features comments, multimedia, bibliography, and grammatical and syntactical instruction from authorized users. Housed and maintained by Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., the site is the product of a creative collaboration between Sandridge, David Carlisle, and Allen Romano, with crucial consultation from many others.
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 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.