Ancient Civilization Study Research Paper

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  • Subject: Teaching
  • Type: Research Paper
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Ancient Civilization Study

Education was an important aspect of Greek Civilization and played a significant role throughout the Hellenistic and Roman eras. During the Hellenistic period, sports education and education in gymnasium played a significant role in the lives of Greek youths as it was an important part of Greek culture. The goal of this paper is to analyze the Greek educational system.

Education in Ancient Greek Civilization

Education was an important aspect of Greek Civilization and played a significant role throughout the Hellenistic and Roman eras. In the fifth century B.C, education in Greece became democratized as it was primarily influenced by Isocrates, Plato and Sophists. During the Hellenistic period, sports education and education in gymnasium played a significant role in the lives of Greek youths as it was an important part of Greek culture. The goal of this paper is to analyze the Greek educational system in the lights of broad and diverse academic resources.

Overview of Greek Civilization

Ancient Greece lasted from 8 Th century B.C till 600 A.D. After this time, era of Early Middle Ages and Byzantine time started. Important periods of Greek Civilization included Classical Greece, which was the hub of art and culture and development during the 5 th and 4 th centuries B.C (Sienkewicz, 175). Greek culture focused on art, culture and architecture, as well as philosophy, which made a significant impact on Roman Civilization. Classical Greek period is considered to be the basis of Western culture.

Education System in Greece

Educational system had been divided in two types in Greece; formal and informal. The former was provided in public schools or in other cases, recruiting a tutor. The latter was provided by a tutor privately and was not paid education. In Ancient Greek culture, education was important as it represented personal identity. Furthermore, educational level determined the social and cultural significance and importance in Greek society. Education in Greek Civilization was private, with Sparta being an exception. The Hellenistic period saw the dawn of public schools (Marrou, 200). Education was primarily for males. Females did not receive any formal education in Ancient Greece. The goal of providing education to males concentrated on making them strong and efficient citizens. At the age of seven, male's offspring were sent to schools. In the case of Sparta, males received at the education at barracks. Teaching had been divided into three categories, Grammatistes, Kitharistes and Paedotribae, for arithmetic, music and dance and sports respectively (Downey bra, 338).

Formal Education for Men

Formal education was given to men and did not include females. In some cases, Greek laws had been formulated that did not allow slaves to get any type of education. A wealthy family had the opportunity to offer private tutors. Males were sent to private schools in order to obtain their education (Sienkewicz, 192). Private houses, which belonged to tutors, were used as private schools to provide education. Subjects taught by teachers included mathematics, music, reading and writing. When reaching the age of twelve, male students were engaged in active sports such as running and wrestling. In Athens, academies had been designed to educate men on the subject of science, culture, music and arts.

Education for Women

Informal education for females was provided by other females. The mother was primarily responsible for teaching her daughters to serve her father as well as her husband. Women were normally home makers and were involved in domestic chores. However, Spartan women received formal as well as physical education.

Greek education aimed at transforming the person entirely on basis of the mind, spirit and body. Differences in education were found from one region to another. For instance, military and physical education was important in Sparta, whereas in Athens, art, literature and dance were common (Mavrogenes, 691). Athenians were also engaged in studying natural sciences and social sciences as well as philosophy.

Educational System in Athens

In Athens, education was provided to children by hiring a tutor before reaching the age of seven. During this time, tutors concentrated on teaching morals to young children. At the age of seven, children were taught to read and write as well provided with basic arithmetic knowledge. After learning the ability to learn and read, children were taught to memorize poetries. Elementary education was available for poor as well as wealthy children. Formal elementary education was provided to children belonging to wealthy families (Downey bra, 335). They were either sent to public schools or received their education from private tutors. On the other hand, poor children were given informal education as they did not have adequate funds for formal education.


Greeks believed in physical education and therefore, boys received their physical education at the time when they received their elementary education. Paidotribe, a private teacher, was responsible for providing these boys physical education. After a certain time, they were sent to gymnasium. Physical education was important in order to enhance physical appearance, as part of military training and good health when reaching an old age.

Secondary Education

At the age of fourteen, boys had the opportunity to receive their secondary education. This school was permanent abode for receiving secondary education. In other cases, secondary education was provided by teachers such as Zeno of Elea, Anaxagoras and Sophists. Secondary education concentrated on teaching subjects such as astronomy, geometry, chemistry, biology and meteorology (Downey bra, 339). These subjects were important in Athens as it determined the intellectual capability of individuals and determining their social and intellectual status in Athenian society. Furthermore, intellectual and academic accomplishments assisted in gaining respect within the Athenian society. After completion of secondary education, boys had the opportunity to become engaged in military education as well as joining the military for two years. Music and dance also played a vital role in Athenian society (Mavrogenes, 692). Children were taught music and dance as well as playing of instruments at a young age.

Education System in Sparta

In Sparta, the prime focus was on military and physical training in order to become successful soldiers. In Sparta tradition, healthy male babies were allowed to live. The council had been appointed in Spartan society to determine the health of the baby. If the baby was found to be weak and had defects, the council would sentence him death by making his parents to abandon him.

Military Education

In Sparta, military education was important and therefore, their educational system was based on military boot camp, which was known as asagoge. Reading and writing were considered to be minor activities as the Spartans concentrated on producing a Spartan Phalanx, who was invincible and undefeatable. At the age of seven, boys were sent to barracks to receive their formal education. For five years, these young boys lived together as a family and would receive training from a military instructor (Mavrogenes, 694). The boys were trained to withstand hunger and minimal clothing in order to ensure that they develop the necessary skills required to learn in order to withstand a war. After the first stage of training, the secondary stage comprised of harsher punishment and active participation in sports. This was done in order to increase stamina and endurance. This stage comprised of mock battles, in which these men were trained to work as a team. Furthermore, these students were also taught dance and music. After the end of this stage, students were engaged in a quest to hunt down a Helot and to kill it.

After reaching the age of eighteen, students who had completed their education from agoge were given then title of ephebes. During this time, he would make a promise to protect and to remain loyal to Sparta. Furthermore, he would join another organization to continue his physical education, which would end after two years.

Spartan women also enjoyed formal education and were…

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