|Text source||A. Markopoulos 1994, Ἀποσημειώσεις στον Λέοντα ΣΤ' τον Σοφό, in L. Bratzioti (ed.), Θυμίαμα στη μνήμη της Λασκαρίνας Μπούρα, Αθήνα, 193-201: 195|
|Text status||Text completely known|
|Editorial status||Not a critical text|
|Comment||The poem contains many allusions and coded references, which have led to several interpretations.
Lauxtermann (2003: 210-212): 'Κῦρος ὁ πρῶτος is Leo VI and Κῦρος ὁ νέος is Alexander. It is no secret that Leo VI suspected his younger brother Alexander, officially co-emperor, of plotting to take the throne (...). The book epigram tells him that his fears are justified. Beware of φιλαρχία. With all your φρόνησις, which makes you as wise as the legendary Cyrus the Elder, you will certainly know that your brother, Cyrus the Younger, is scheming against you. (...) In v. 26, the same young Cyrus who was killed because of his lack of prudence, is said to have devised a “wise strategy”, which, unfortunately, was thwarted by the cowardice of Clearchus. The word σοφόν refers to the wisdom of Leo VI. Whereas in the previous lines Κῦρος ὁ νέος symbolically stood for power-mad Alexander, here he quite unexpectedly changes masks and turns into the figure of Leo the Wise. (...) Can we identify “Clearchus”? Let us look at the Greek. The word ἀτολμία, which I translated as “cowardice”, literally means “lack of daring”. The most notorious instance of ἀτολμία displayed by any general during the reign of Leo VI is certainly that of Himerios in the summer of 904 when, as the commander of the Byzantine navy, he pursued the Arab fleet at a safe distance, but dared not engage the enemy into combat. (...) the sad result of his ἀτολμία was that the Arabs captured Thessalonica and sacked the city.' Based on these assumptions, Lauxtermann (2003: 212) dates the epigram to the autumn of 904.
Pérez Martín (2013: 826) objects that the poem is addressed to a young Leo and dates the poem to the year 886. Pérez Martín (2013: 826): 'the φιλαρχία which the poem denounces did not have to refer to the situation in 903 but to the permanent tension between the co-emperors. This does not explain why the author of the poem changes Artaxerxes to Cyrus the Great, but neither does the interpretation of Lauxtermann; nor does the identification of Klearchos with Himerios explain lines 24–26, because it would suggest that he supported Alexander’s ambitions, which is nowhere attested.'
Kaldellis (2015: 30-32) offers yet another way to decipher the poem: 'Lauxtermann postulates junior and senior “Cyruses,” i.e., emperors. But what if we shift this up by a generation, making Leon’s father (Basileios I) the elder Cyrus? The poem in fact calls this person “the first Cyrus,” and Basileios was the founder of his imperial dynasty just like Cyrus was. (...) As it happens, Leon, Basileios’ designated heir, was implicated in some kind of conspiracy against his father in the early 880s, for which he had been arrested and imprisoned for a substantial time (...). If the poem were composed in those circumstances, an allusion to Cyrus the Younger’s attack, driven by a lust for power, on a relative who is not his brother (as in the Anabasis) but a more senior “Cyrus” could be a coded reference to a plot by Leon against Basileios. (...) Unfortunately, while the fact of Leon’s imprisonment is not in doubt, our sources for the plot itself are meager, and mostly late or embellished. As a result, we cannot securely identify “Klearchos,” the instrument of Leon’s attack against Basileios whose “lack of daring” foiled the plan. We can retain Lauxtermann’s clever suggestion that “Klearchos” refers to a “Byzantine general,” but avoid one of the main challenges facing his interpretation (namely that “Klearchos” is being criticized for an event unrelated to the conflict between the two Cyruses). (...) One more problem remains, however, namely that the plan of Cyrus the Younger (= Leon), which Klearchos foiled through inaction, is called “wise” in v. 26 of the poem. In the Anabasis, Klearchos refuses to obey Cyrus’ order during the battle to cut across the lines and attack King Artaxerxes directly.36 Why is the plan called wise after Leon has already been reproached for it (and for his “lust for power”) earlier in the poem? It is possible that the adjective “wise” is being used ironically here. “For all your vaunted wisdom,” it would then be saying to Leon known as the Wise, “you still made that terrible mistake.”'
|Number of verses||30|
|Identification||Vassis ICB 2005, 564: "In Xenophontis Cyropaediam et in Leonem VI imp."|