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father was bound to teach his son at least to read and to swim, and the parent who had not done as much as this for his children had in old age no claim on them for support. Writing was learned at the same time with reading,* and to be ignorant of letters was a mark of the greatest disgrace. A man who was in this condition was regarded as wholly unworthy of the privileges of citizenship, and was branded with the ignominious epithet of "barbarian." In regard to education. the relation of Attica to Greece was very similar to that of New England in respect to the states of our confederacy. The intellectual superiority of the Athenians, however, was far more decided and striking than is that of New England. Athens was the school house of Greece. As the youth of New England now spread themselves through the country as teachers, so once the young men of Athens taught their less cultivated countrymen. So common was it to engage in teaching, that when a man had been long missing the proverbial expression was, "He is either dead or turned schoolmaster." The universal extent of education at Athens is indicated by a fact which occurred at one of the darkest periods in the history of that city. "In the time of the Peloponnessian war, Euripides was the favorite poet, not only in Greece but also in Sicily; hence many Athenian soldiers, after the unfortunate defeat in Sicily, were able to save their lives and improve their condition only by reciting to their masters the verses of Euripides. Besides, among those who were condemned to labor in the stone-quarries, the more cultivated were set at liberty by the Syracusan youth. How much intelligence and how much cultivation prevailed at that period among the common soldiers of the Athenians, we see not merely in this instance of the acquaintance of many with the tragedies of Euripides, but also in the fact that not a few of them were able to support themselves by instruction.‡
*Schwartz Erziehungslehre I: 374.
"A knowledge of writing became about the same time general; not to be able to write was at Athens a reproach of barbarism, (μήτε νᾶγν μήτε ράμματα—a proverbial mark of entire want of culture); institutions for instruction without doubt existed in great numbers."--Wachsmuths Hellenische Alterthumskunde II: 464, 16. (§ 141, 109.)
Cramers Geschichte der Erziehung I: 285.
Athens was not the only Grecian state in which the whole body of citizens was required to be educated. We read that Pittacus, the Mitylenean law-giver, enacted that if any one committed a crime through ignorance, he should be put on the same ground as if he had done it in a state of intoxication, (i. e.) he should suffer a double punishment.*
It belonged to the government to regulate the time which was devoted to education. At Sparta, where individual interests were not recognized, the whole life of the citizen was spent in the service of the state. But at Athens personal freedom was more regarded. The youth was held to be the property of the state only till his twentieth year, and for the remainder of his life the man was his own. Something was left at Athens to the parent, and private education was not suppressed. As there were no common means of support as at Sparta, the amount of education acquired, depended, of course, to some extent on the rank and ability of the family. But every citizen was expected to exhibit a certain degree of culture, and every parent was obliged to cause his son to be instructed not only in some liberal art or other useful calling, but also in the two great departments-the physical and the intellectual of a good education. The law which required all the citizens of Athens to be able to read or write, was supported by public sentiment. Instruction in these branches. was commenced at the age of seven, and was followed by thorough and long continued training in music and gymnastics. The schools were opened at sunrise, at which time the youth were required to be present with their luncheon, which was to be eaten at the proper hour under the palm trees, and after having spent the whole day in exercises either of body or of mind, were dismissed shortly before sunset. Seldom were they seen in the street without their teachers. At the age of eighteen, the young men, having made a public consecration of the long locks which had hitherto inarked them as the devotees of science and the arts, took the citizen's oath. "I will not disgrace the sacred weapons, I will reverence religion and fight for the laws,-I will leave my native land not in a worse but in a better state than that in which
So also the drunkard. Cramer 1: 252. † Cramer I: 245, 246.
I found it." After two years of probationary service in the militia, at twenty, education was complete.
It was the business of the state to watch over the morals of the youth, and to see that they were not corrupted either in doctrine or practice. The charge against Socrates was, not only that he had attacked the religion of the state, by encouraging the rejection of the national deities, but that, by teaching false doctrines, he corrupted the youth of Athens. With this notice of the relation which existed between education and the state, we proceed to sketch briefly some of the features of the education itself.
In the early period of Grecian history, the education of the Greeks was almost entirely physical. Aside from a few of the most prominent and useful virtues, such as courage, fortitude, and piety, the body was the great object of attention. The reason of this is obvious. Among all uncivilized nations, physical strength is of much greater importance than in a more advanced state of society. With them martial prowess is the highest virtue. Deeds of arms—of arms wielded by the hands-decide the most important questions. Bodily strength, skill in the use of weapons, swiftness of foot, these are the things by which among such a people, property is acquired and held, honor and power secured, and life itself preserved. These are therefore regarded with respect and admiration, and if we add the power of eloquent speaking, we shall have the chief objects aimed at in the education of the early Greeks. To the Greeks of the heroic age, Hercules was the ideal of a perfect man. The aim of the educators of that period, has been concisely and elegantly summed up by Homer, in his statement of the view with which Peleus committed his son to the instruction of Phoenix. The line to which we refer has been translated by Cicero, “Ut illum efficeret oratorem verborum, actoremque rerum”—that he might make Achilles in language an orator, and in deeds, a hero.* We hear nothing in Homer of reading and writing. But as civilization advanced in Greece, we observe a remarkable difference in respect to systematic education between the principal tribes into which its inhabitants were divided.
* De Oratore III : 15. μύθων τε ρητῆρ ἔμεναι, πρηκτῆρά σε ἔργων. II. IX: 442, 443, 485.
The Dorians, adhering to the primitive ideas of the object of education, aimed at the development of the bodily powers. The design of Lycurgus was to form and perpetuate in the Spartans a nation of heroes. And he accomplished his object. But his heroes, like the demi-gods of Homer, were rarely able to say their letters. The Ionic race on the other hand, not neglecting physical education, connected with it intellectual culture. The Athenians attempted to develope in due proportion all the powers of the man. Every citizen was to be instructed in the two great branches of education, music and gymnastics. In regard to physical training, the difference between the Spartan and Athenian education consisted in the fact, that in the Spartan system gymnastic exercises, which with them had special reference to war, constituted nearly the whole of education, and were extended through the lives of the citizens; whereas among the Athenians, gymnastics were used chiefly for purposes of discipline, and when all the bodily powers had been fully developed, were discontinued.* The principal objects aimed at by the Athenians in bodily discipline, were health, strength, and beauty. In securing these ends two classes of means were used. The first, which may be included under the head dietetics, consisted in a proper care of the organic powers of life by a suitable attention to food, sleep, cleanliness, clothing, and the like. Gymnastics constituted the other set of means. These were designed to act upon the muscular system, and were regarded not only at Athens, but in all Greece, as of so much importance that they gave name if not to education itself, at least to the places where it was acquired. At a certain age, the youth of Athens were sent to the Gymnasia, and committed to teachers, whose business it was to develope their bodily powers by gymnastic exercises. These exercises were such as wrestling, boxing, running, leaping, swimming, riding, driving the chariot, ball-playing, and the like. In all these, the object was the union of swiftness and strength. There were at Athens several famous gymnasia devoted to
* The training of the Athletæ excepted; also such exeras were regarded as promotive of health or suitable for amusement. Cramer's Geschichte der Erziehung I: 292.
† Wachmuth's Hellenische Alterthumskunde II: 19. (§110.)
these exercises. Such were the Ptolemæum, the Academy, the Odeum, the Cynosarges, and the Lyceum. In these gymnasia, at a later period, when bodily exercises were less valued, lectures were delivered. In the Lyceum the Sophists wrangled, and in the Ptolemæum Cicero heard Antiochus of Askalon.
Passing from the subject of physical to that of intellectual education, we find that the Athenian system consisted of an admirable combination of development with instruction. The distinction between education in the strict sense, and instruction, is obvious. The one draws out and cultivates the faculties, the other communicates knowledge. In every good system education and instruction, like twin sisters, will go hand in hand. This was the case at Athens. Among the Spartans instruction was for the most part passed over. To form the physical powers and to strengthen the judgment, were with them the objects to be accomplished. But the Athenian system, while in the training both of the body and the mind, it aimed at the development of the powers of the man, embraced a great variety of objects of instruction. In their schools were taught reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar, arithmetic, geography, geometry, astronomy, logic, rhetoric, ethics, history, the laws, politics, and in the time of Aristotle, design. As the nation advanced in civilization, refinement, and wealth, the subjects of study, and the ratio of instruction to development constantly increased. The study began by requiring its citizens to read and write, and if in its encouragements to education it aimed at utility, it was not that utility which leaves out of view taste and refinement; for Pericles while at the head of the government carried the fine arts by his patronage to the highest perfection. In early times science in its higher forms was not cultivated. Practical politics constituted the central point of all knowledge. It was not literary productions therefore, or scientific investigations which were then most highly valued, but oratory as the great means of diffusing knowledge. But the universal ability to read and write could not but give an impulse to science. The seed sown by Solon sprang up and brought forth fruit. As the power of Athens was increased and her dominions extended, new sources of knowledge and new subjects of investigation presented themselves. Learned men flocked to Athens, and students resorted thither in great