A law of Solon prohibited school being open before sunrise or after sunset to prevent the boys being exposed to the moral dangers of the deserted streets.

But whether there were fixed hours for gymnastics and for music, and what they were, we can only conjecture. Nor do we know whether the wrestling schools and the music schools were completely separate. The subjects were certainly taught in different rooms and by different teachers, and very probably the schools were quiet distinct. But it is not unlikely that they came to be situated in the same locality. This is suggested by the close connection of the gymnasia with intellectual culture at a later period. In any case, it must not be thought that all work and no play made Charicles a dull boy. As the palestras were generally surrounded by spacious grounds, it may be assumed that a considerable part of the time was occupied with play under proper supervision.

Most of our common games were played in Athens, and the Greek educators had quite sound notions about their educational values.

No special provision was made at this period for the moral and intellectual education of the older boys. Sometimes about fourteen or fifteen, the sons of the wealthier citizens were transferred from the palestra to the gymnasium, and subjected for two years to a more advanced courses of physical exercises under the expert care of a paid tribe. They were now permitted to be present at the law courts. How effective might be the informal education got from this participation in adult aff airs will be evident when the character of the Athenian youth’s environment is considered. As he went along the street he saw on every side product of the noblest art the world has known. Day by day he might hear the discussion of men of apt speech and wide experience on political questions, in the settlement of which they had a personal share; and in the settlement of take his appointed place in the theatre of Dionysus, and witness from morning to night the performance of the tragedies presented in competition for the prize given annually for tragic poetry. Surely there never was an age that made a richer or more varied appeal to the adolescent. Here, if ever, life itself was the real educator.

At the end of two or three years of this intermediate training, when he had reached the age of eighteen, the free-born Athenian youth was entered on the temple of Athens on his initiation reveals the spirit of the ephebiate. It ran as follows: “ I will never disgrace my sacred arms, nor desert my comrade in the ranks. I will fi ght for temples and for public poverty, whether alone or with my fellows. I will obey the magistrates and observe the existing laws, and those the people may hereafter make. If anyone tries to overthrow or disobey the ordinances, I will resist him in their defense, whether alone or with my fellows.


I will honour the temples and the religion of my forefathers. So help me, Aglauros, Enyalios, Ares, Zeus,

Thallo, Auxo and Hegemone” The ordinary education now came completely to a stop, and for a year the ephebus had to labour hard in company with all youths of his own age leaning the use of arms and the various military movements, and practicing gymnastics under teachers and a censor appointed by the State. At the end of this year of training, he received a spear and a shield from the patrol force that guarded the frontiers and kept smugglers and brigands in check.

But there were occasional periods of relaxation for the ephebi in the midst of their strenuous training.

A special place was reserved for them in the theater, and they were frequently called on to take part in the religious processions on the feast-days of the gods. Their varied occupations in the latter function are immortalized on the wonderful Parthenon frieze. The ephebic training, it may be added, went on without change till Athens fell under the power of Macedonia.

The New Education

The new education was the inevitable result of the profound economic and political charges that came over the Athenian State during the first half of the fifth Century B.C. Before this time the Athenians had been mainly an agricultural community, but the great extension of trade following on the endeavor of Themistocles to make Athens the greatest maritime power in Greece called into being a new class of wealthy merchants, to dispute the claim of the landed aristocracy who had previously been the rulers. The fi nal outcome of the confl icts between them was the establishment of a democracy in which every free-born citizen, whether rich or poor, had an equal share. Then came the life-and death struggle with Persia, from which Athens emerged with great glory and with added power. With doubted wisdom and justice, she seized the opportunity to convert the league of allied States, by means of which the victory had been won, into an empire on which she imposed her will.

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