Background information 11


Athenian education


Boys of 7 and up were sent to school. They were accompanied by a paidagogos - a slave from their home who would supervise their learning. They learned reading, writing, and arithmetic from a teacher called a grammatistes.


Girls did not attend school and were taught in the home. They would have been instructed in traditional female occupations such as weaving and spinning.

Spartan education

Education based around military need.

From age 7 Spartan boys lived in barracks away from their families. All citizen adult men belonged to syskania or messes. These were small groups meeting and dining communally in individual men's houses.

Study programme for boys:

7 - 17
dancing and singing
18 - 19
survival techniques
20 - 29
rigorous military indoctrination


A modified form of physical training for Spartan girls focused on gymnastics and choral song and dance. The goal of a Spartan woman's training was to make her the mother of warriors.


Books are expensive and rare. Education is oral.

Gymnasia date to at least the 6th century BC. It was a centre for providing instruction on sport. They also became centres of learning.

In Athens two famous philosophical schools were set up in direct association with famous old gymnasia, the Academy and the Lyceum.

Academy - started by Plato

Lyceum - started by Aristotle.