Lecture 3: Ancient
(Week 3, September 18 , 2013)
Why Study the Past:
Do we learn history only to see that we are better than others?
Why study old books or people from long ago?
Have we progressed far beyond them?
Perhaps the past was better and has had much to teach us.
People are now less motivated to learn about history because they believe we’ve excelled
Knowledge that has been lost or forgotten.
The origins of “The West”, but it has origins outside “The West”.
Although our origins are in ancient Greece, they got theirs from other civilizations:
Micanians, Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Persian,Africa and Malaysian.
Culture, beliefs, values, etc.
Influenced our language: philosophy, democracy, politics, psychology, pedagogy (“child”
and “lead to”), “ology?”, Latin (school “skhole”, leisure, spare time, not for idleness,
Luxury to learn.
Education by the state (both men and women).
Focus of education is training for war (discipline, stamina, fitness, technical abilities with
Defend the city because it could easily be overtaken
Military pervades all parts of daily life. Everyone to some extent was involved in the military.
Private tutorials (only males).
Focus of education was music, poetry, drama, dance, gymnastics and preparation for
Schooling for culture.
One of the first democracies.
People had to be able to lead, the need to contribute and participate.
Everyone would be on council sometime.
Problem with Spartan Education:
“The whole structure of their society is directed to securing one part only of virtue,
military prowess, as being valuable in the acquisition of power.
Hence, the Spartans prospered while at war but began to decline once they reached a
position of supremacy; they did not understand what being at peace meant and never
attached and importance to any other kind of training than training for war.”
Aristotle. “The Politics”, Book II.
Spartans are good at what they do but needed to expand on other important aspects of a
Schools in Ancient Greece:
Sophists and Rhetoricians.
People and schools and schools of thought.
What is a ‘School’?:
A‘School’offered education based on a particular set of beliefs or values.
Not just a school, but a way of life.
Both school and “school of thought”.
Relations between teachers and students were quite intimate (joining a family).
Therefore, long duration (10 years).
A) Music: inner harmony