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Founded and Edited by G. STANLEY HALL.


MARCH, 1907.

No. 1.


By L. F. ANDERSON, Fellow in Education, Clark University.



The greater number of the tastes and pursuits that characterize us as a civilized people have been passed on to us, not from our German or Anglo-Saxon or Celtic forefathers but from a race that flourished two or three thousand years ago chiefly in the lands that lie within and about the Ægean Sea. Along with this civilization we have inherited from them the institution by which the sciences and arts which characterize it are handed down from generation to generation, the non-professional school. (Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, 1888, pp. 28 and 43.)

These people, the Greeks, were remarkable for their intellectual keenness and eagerness, and particularly for their exquisite sensitiveness to beauty and the consummate skill which enabled them to gratify it. But just as the Greeks were, on the whole, distinguished by these qualities from other races, so were the Athenians of the 4th and 5th centuries B. C., from the other Greeks. It is among the Athenians that that Greek culture which has remained the basis of the culture of all great subsequent civilizations of Europe, Asia Minor, Africa and America attained its highest development. And it is in the history of this people that we first find standing forth clearly the prototype of the modern elementary school. In stating this it is not forgotten that the school was not made, but grew, and that, in stages more or less embryonic, it is found earlier not

only among other Greek peoples but in the older civilizations of Egypt and the Orient to which the Greeks were so much indebted. Nevertheless, beyond the Athenian period of the 4th and 5th centuries the story of the school becomes relatively vague and discontinuous. On the other hand the clearly marked historical continuity between the Athenian schools and those of to-day and the similarities existing between these as to aim and course of study seem to distinguish the above-mentioned period as the most suitable at which to take up the story of the modern non-professional school.


The conditions in Athens during this period were exactly of such a character as to favor a remarkable efflorescence of human culture. Her irregularly indented shores gave access on almost every side to the Ægean whose waters afforded communication with alien civilizations and with numerous other Greek communities, which, in many instances, isolated by the mountains or by the sea, had maintained their independence. The smallness of these states conduced to their rapid political development toward a democracy which exercised in a high degree an intellectually stimulating influence upon the members of each. In speaking of the successive victories of the Athenians over the Boeotians Herodotus says, "Thus did the Athenians grow in strength. And we may find proof, not merely in this instance but everywhere else how valuable a thing freedom is; since even the Athenians while under a despot, were not superior in war to any of their surrounding neighbors, but so soon as they got rid of their despots, became by far the first of all." (V, 78.) The multiplicity of independent states alike in race and language resulted in that rich variety of social and political organization and of human endeavor that contributed much to the intellectual life of the Greeks.

These features of the political organization and geographical environment of the Athenians combined with the wealth and leisure of the upper class account in no small measure for the development of the brilliant civilization of the Periclean age amidst which existed the Greek schools concerning which we have most information.

The population of Athens was made up of three distinct classes: first, the native citizens (the wealthier among them being landholders) who jealously restricted to themselves all political privileges attaching to membership in the democracy: secondly, aliens largely engaged in industry and commerce; and thirdly, the slaves who constituted over 70% of the entire population. Amid this population there existed three classes of teachers and school for boys:-the Grammatist who taught

reading and writing in the elementary school, the Citharist who taught in the music school, and the Paedotribe who conducted the physical exercises in the palaestra. All classes seem to have had more or less instruction in elementary reading and writing. The music school seems in the time of Pericles to have become an institution giving secondary instruction and was attended for the most part by the children of the leisure classes.

The origin and development of these schools and the character of their courses of study will be in some measure explained if we note certain features of the social life of the early Greeks.


Music. It is difficult for us to appreciate the importance which the Greeks ascribed to the art of music, a composite of arts distinguished by us as poetry and music. (Plato, Republic, 376D.) It was a chief form of entertainment in the home (Plato, Lysis; Jowett's Trans. I, 56) and at social gatherings where the lyre was passed from hand to hand as each entertained the rest with a song. (Panofka, Bilder, d. antiken Lebens pl. 4, No. 5; Hibbert Lectures, 1888, p. 51). Not only were the Greeks peculiarly sensitive to the subtle beauties of tone and rhythm but they attached great importance to the content of their poetry. The writings of Plato, Aristotle and Demosthenes abound in quotations from the poets. To the Greeks the poet was a counsellor, an inspired prophet giving utterance to the wisdom of the ages. (Plato, Ion, 533-534) (Plato, Protagoras, 316D.) In poetry was embodied their theology (Herodotus 2, 53), their history and their science (Aristophanes, Frogs, 1030). Moreover, poetry performed much the same function among the Greeks as religion with us. (Plato, Republic 365E.) Christianity is with us so eminently a centre of moral influence that it is hard for us to realize that this was not so with the religion of the Greeks. Its main purpose was merely to enable men to avoid the anger of the gods. For that moral stimulus and direction that we seek in religion the Greek turned to poetry (Adams, Civilization During the Middle Ages, p. 53; Girard, L'éducation Athenienne, 141).

The earliest poets must have recited their own compositions and in later times, "The lyric and dramatic poets taught with their own lips the delivery of their compositions and so prominently did this business of teaching present itself to the view of the public that the name Didaskalia, by which dramatic composition was commonly designated, derived from thence its origin." (Grote, Hist. of Greece, II, 186.) The thoughts

of the early philosophers were usually published in poetic form and Xenophanes, even in attacking the older poetry as teaching serious and harmful errors expresses himself in verse. (Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, I, 155,158.)

Again, music, like gymnastic had become intimately associated with the religion of the Greeks. It became an important part of the religious ceremonies in which it was incumbent upon all to join. Thus, "There existed a multitude of sanctuaries in the Greek land" says Curtius, "whence issued forth an impulse toward mental culture and popular exercise of the mental powers. Thus in the land of Arcadia, Artemis Hymnia was from a primitive age highly venerated by all Arcadians. Her feasts were celebrated with songs and from her temple went forth those ordinances which made the cultivation of music incumbent as a sacred duty upon all the inhabitants of the land." (Curtius, History of Greece, II, 29.)

The importance of music in religion and as a means of entertainment in the public and private social life of the time together with its intrinsic worth, embodying as it did, often in supremely beautiful form, the most precious of the culture possessions of the race go far toward explaining why music was the first of the liberal arts to be made an object of systematic study by the Greeks and why the earliest of the institutions which grew up among them for the systematic instruction of the young were music schools.

The Declamation and Exposition of the Rhapsodes. A function similar to that performed by the teacher in the music school was performed for the general public outside of the school by the rhapsodes. In order that their hearers might better appreciate the poems which they recited, the rhapsodes were accustomed to preface their performances with explanations. "Very true, Socrates," says the rhapsode, Ion, in Plato (Ion, 530 C), "interpretation has certainly been the most laborious part of my art; and I believe myself able to speak about Homer better than any man; and that neither Metrodorus of Lampsacus, nor Stesimbrotus of Thasos, nor Glaucon nor any one else who ever was had as good ideas about Homer as I have or as many."

The Professional Teaching of Reading and Writing by the Scribe. The establishment among the Greeks of schools for the teaching of reading and writing could scarcely have occurred otherwise than as a result of the growth among them of an appreciation of the value of the art of letters. According to Curtius for a long time they despised the written as compared with the living spoken word. Nevertheless its advantages even in the study of literature were too great to be overlooked, and a course in the reading and writing school of the

grammatist became preparatory to that in music. Girard says, "In spite of this anteriority of music it was not with it. . . that education began. The child received musical instruction only when he had learned to read and write." (L'éd. Ath., 162.) In the earliest stages of the introduction of the art of letters into a society it is usually practiced professionally by scribes. Hence these would naturally be the first teachers of the art. That the profession of the Greek elementary teacher is an outgrowth of that of the scribe seems to be indicated by the fact that he is called by the same name, grammatistes, i. e., scribe. The word is used in this latter sense in Herodotus 2, 28; 3, 123 and elsewhere. Jowett translates Charmides, 161 D as follows: "And does the scribe write or read or teach you boys to write or read your names only?" Desmosthenes speaks of the two functions of scribe and teacher as being exercised by members of the same family. (Embassy, p. 194 (Bohn). In Diogenes Laertius X, IV, we learn that Protagoras from being a scribe became an elementary teacher.

There were writing schools for the poor as well as for the rich. The work of the music schools being of a more purely cultural character these institutions were attended for the most part by the comparatively well to do classes. Plato makes Protagoras say after describing the school work in music. "This is what is done by those that have the means, and those that have the means are the rich; their children begin to go to school soonest and leave off latest." (Protagoras, 326, C.)

Military Training and the Sacrificial Games. The third of the institutions which existed among the Athenians for the training of the young, the palaestra or school for physical training, is one that has not been handed down to later times. It seems to have had its origin in the military training of citizens so necessary to the security of the primitive state. In Plato's Laws (633 A), the Athenian stranger asks, "Tell me ... were not first the syssitia and secondly the gymnasia invented by your legislator with a view to war?" The reply is "Yes." This is the view held by Lucian writing in the second century A. D. He has Solon state its purpose to Anacharsis, the Scythian thus, "If ever our young men have need to make use of their skill in armor they are already experienced. It is certainly very evident that a person so trained, upon grasping an enemy will more quickly trip and throw him. ... We provide all these exercises for our youth my friend, in anticipation of a contest in arms, and from the fact that they have been thus fully trained we think that we have for our service better men." (Anacharsis, Rep. Com. of Ed., 1897-1898, I, 583-584; also Curtius, Hist. of Greece, II, 28.) The custom was no doubt made more permanent through the fact that these

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