History Of Education In Ancient Greece


Today we are going to continue with the History of education in Ancient Greece within the series we are carrying out on how education has evolved through the main civilizations throughout history. These tickets will take us from Ancient Egypt to the present day.

Historical Situation

Greek civilization is one of the most influential in the history of mankind. From it came great characters that have endured through the centuries and still today are still very important. The contribution of these men remains a universal reference.

This fascinating civilization covers approximately 1200 a. C. until 145 BC It is considered as the cradle of Western civilization. It influenced all aspects of the later Roman Empire. So much that they copied practically all of them. In fact, many Greek works of art that we know today are Roman copies. This empire spread the Hellenic culture throughout Europe.

Greek civilization was also a very important basis for politics, education, philosophy, science and the western arts. It was eminently maritime and commercial. Due to the rugged Balkan relief, agricultural activity and internal communications were very difficult. On the other hand, its long coastline favored its expansion overseas. Fundamental periods in Greek education:

  • The heroic or chivalrous education.

Start with the same Greece. Therefore we are talking about Cretan culture. It was located in the eastern Mediterranean and reached a high degree of development.

Civic Education.

When Greece split in two, education went in different ways. On the one hand, Sparta and Crete were long considered models of politics and education. The state was concerned with such education given collectively. This was how teenagers were prepared for the tasks of adult life in the city.

Legislation on the school is known at the beginning of the 6th century BC It talked about the duties of parents, among other things, teaching reading and swimming. He also mentions the learning of a trade for the lower classes, and music, horse riding, gymnastics, hunting and philosophy for the wealthy. Sparta prioritized military education while Athens bases learning on philosophical and intellectual education. The difference between these two cities will always be preserved.

Humanistic education

Represented by Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Now the paideia appears (technique of preparing the child). Here young people are taught from childhood to adolescence.

At this time there were different periods of education in Ancient Greece, such as the arena, characterized by the initiation in gymnastic and sports exercises; the didaskaleia, which taught reading and writing; the gym, where sports and philological education continued. When they turned 18 the children entered the ephebia, time of military education. In Athens it lasted two years while in Sparta there were twelve.

Hellenistic Education

Start with Alexander the Great and the paideia becomes encyclopedia. Education is now public, stop being private. Reading, writing and calculation become more important. And higher education arrives. Now apart from the military, the general and scientific culture also appears to a greater extent.

School Concept.

The first schools were born with financial contributions. You could distinguish between public and private instruction. That is, the one that was learned as a family and the one that was under the care of the polish. Gradually the schools became public, especially when the one who put the money was a monarch. Thanks to this fact there was an improvement in the conditions and social prestige for teachers.

The Figure of the Educator is Born

The first recognized educators were the sophists. But Homer is considered the first and greatest instructor and trainer of Ancient Greece. Socrates was the first spiritual educator. He taught through conversation and spoken word.

For the common people the first educators were parents, nurses and pedagogues. These were followed by the grammarian, the citarist and the gym teacher, in private schools open to the public. The laws, rights and duties of the citizen were taught in the Athens school.

History of Education in Ancient Greece

Education was transmitted through oral and written tradition. Great thinkers such as Socrates, Plato or Aristotle stand out from this era. In addition to being great thinkers, they also invented transcendental educational systems.

The Greeks prepared young people physically and intellectually so that they were later ready to lead the State and society. Years later these teachings were improving and specializing to develop the arts, teaching, philosophy, ideal aesthetics and gymnastic training.


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