What distinguishes tyrannical from legitimate political authority? In what follows, I hope to show that to the extent that classical political theory can shed light on this question, our analysis of the character of tyrannical rule is incomplete without an understanding of Xenophon's Education of Cyrus. For while Plato and Aristotle generally mute the ambition for individual political, supremacy in favor of virtuous citizenship within a small, self-governing community, the Education of Cyrus takes as its explicit theme how one supremely talented and aggressive ruler can satisfy his craving for recognition by improving the material welfare of millions.

The Journal of Politics

Newell, W. (1983). Tyranny and the Science of Ruling in Xenophon'S “Education of Cyrus“. The Journal of Politics, 45(4), 889–906. doi:10.2307/2130417