To what extent do you think a boy’s education in Athens prepared him for life? Essay

In my opinion Athenians prepared their boys as best they could according to their needs. This education was meant to prepare him for any walk of life he may walk from being a soldier to a high ranking politician. His role as the future Kyrios would entail him to make sure his wife would run the domestic and economic affairs of the household. He would have also bought slaves from slave-markets and became the main representative at weddings, funerals and festivals. He must have been able to host symposia well as well. Their education was meant to provide them with the skills to do all these tasks.

The first person who would educate a boy is his father this would be done until the age of 7. From his father the boy he would learn skills such as how to treat the family members, maybe his trade or how to manage and run a farm estate out of the city. These practical skills were very important to a boy as he was growing up.

The paidagogos was there to discipline the boy with a cane if he was not behaving properly this would make the boy more focused don learning his lessons.

The next stage of education was going to the grammastistes. They first studied the Greek alphabet and learnt how to read and write they also learned basic numeracy. These were essential tools to be able to run a successful household. It also helped with patience because the style of learning was extremely monotonous and involved hours of practice for both reading and writing. If they succeeded in this and their parents were willing to pay for their education students studied the Iliad and the Odyssey which was very important because the Greeks believed that these pieces of literature taught very important moral lessons and taught their children how to be a true Greek. They might however struggled though because the class was filled with people of all different abilities and ages.

Two or three years later the boy began his musical education. His teacher for this subject was the kitharistes. Music was the mark of a well-educated man in Athens so it was very important for a boy to learn about music. Boys learn t how to play the kithara and maybe the aulos as well. This was because the Greeks believed if a man learnt how to play an instrument than he will become more cultured, controlled and overall a better person with more civilised people.

The Athenians employed a policy of conscription so at the age of 18 an Athenian boy must be in the army for 2 years at least. Therefore there physical education was extremely important as they wanted strong soldiers for their armies. The Paidotribes was the teacher for this type of education and this was done in a public funded gymnasium. Here they were taught many sports such as running, long jump, javelin, discus and combat sports (wrestling, boxing). The ATheniens believed that if you had a physicaly fit body you would have a mentally fit one to.

Higher education was important only for those who were rich and could afford the sophists’ fees. People who were going into politics would need to have this type of education because it taught the art of public speaking. In a democratic society such as Athens was this was very important as people listened to how well you put across your arguments.

So Athens prepared there boys very well (because of their education) because they educated them for every walk life from being a successful Kyrios to a soldier in an army. Everyone had a very balanced education.

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