Ways and Means (Xenophon)

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Ways and Means (Greek: Πόροι ἢ περὶ Προσόδων, Poroi e peri Prosodon, "Revenues") was written in 354 BC and is believed to be the last work written by Xenophon.[1] This was shortly after Athens' defeat in the Social War and the collapse of the Second Athenian League, and the city was facing financial ruin.[2] Ways and Means is addressed to the Council of Five Hundred, and consists of suggestions to alleviate the economic situation in Athens at this time.[3] The Ways and Means proposes that Athens would be able to support itself without relying on the profits of war and empire.[4]

Ways and Means consists of 5 chapters. In chapter 1 Xenophon lists the qualities of Athens that make it qualified for large revenue. The qualities that Xenophon lists are that the seasons in Attica are mild, the land and the sea near it are productive, and Athens is not near the land of the barbarians.[5] In chapter 2, Xenophon suggests that Athens should increase the population of metics (foreigners without citizens' privileges who had to pay a tax for living in Athens) as a means of increasing revenue.


  1. ^ Xenophon the Athenian by W. E. Higgins (1977), p. 138
  2. ^ Economic and Social History of Ancient Greece by M. M. Austin (1980), p. 123
  3. ^ Xenophon, Scripta Minora. Loeb Classical Library. p. xxvii.
  4. ^ John Dillery. "Xenophon: The Small Works", in The Cambridge Companion to Xenophon. p. 217.
  5. ^ Ways and Means, Ch. 1, Xenophon

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