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likewise. The music-teachers also, pursuing the same line, try to
inculcate self-control (o-w^poo-uvij) and to prevent the boys from fall-
ing into mischief. In addition to this, when they have learnt to
play on the lyre, their masters teach them other poems, written by
great lyric poets, making them sing them and play the accompani-
ments to them, and compelling them to work into their souls the
rhythms and melodies of them, so that they may grow in gentle-
ness, and, having their natures timed and tuned, may be fitted to
speak and act. The truth is, the whole life of man needs timing


and tuning. Furthermore, in addition to all this, parents send
their sons to the physical trainer, in order that their bodies may be
improved and rendered capable of seconding a noble intent, and
they themselves not be forced, from physical deterioration, to play
the coward in war or other (serious) matters. And those who can
best afford to give this education, give most of it, and these are the
richest people. Their sons go earliest to school and leave it latest.
And when the boys leave school, the State insists that they shall
learn the laws and live according to them, and not according to
their own caprice. . . . And if any one transgresses these laws, the
State punishes him. . . . Seeing that so much attention is devoted
to virtue, both in the family and in the State, do you wonder,
Socrates, and question whether virtue be something that can be
taught ? Surely you ought not to wonder at this, but rather to
wonder if it could not be taught. PLATO, Protagoras (words of
Protagoras) .

"Isn't it true, Lysis," said I, "that your parents love you very
much?" "To be sure," said he. "Then they would wish you
to be as happy as possible? " " Of course," said he. " And do
you think a person is happy who is a slave, and is not allowed to do
anything he desires?" "I don't, indeed," said he. "Then, if
your father and mother love you and wish you to be happy, they
endeavor by every means in their power to make you happy."
" To be sure they do," said he. " Then they allow you to do any-
thing you please, and never chide you, or prevent you from doing
what you desire." "By Jove! they do, Socrates : they prevent me
from doing a great many things." " What do you mean," said I;
" they wish you to be happy, and yet prevent you from doing what
you wish ? Let us take an example : If you want to ride iii one of
your father's chariots, and to hold the reins, when it is competing
in a race, won't they allow you, or will they prevent you?"
"By Jove! no: they would not allow me," said he. "But why
should they? There is a charioteer, who is hired by my father."
" What do you mean ? They allow a hired man, rather than you, to
do what he likes with the horses, and pay him a salary besides ? "
" And why not ? " said he. " Well then, I suppose they allow you
to manage the mule-team, and if you wanted to take the whip and
whip it, they would permit you." " How could they? " said he.
" What ? " said I : "is nobody allowed to whip it? " " Of course,"
he said ; " the muleteer." "A slave or a free man ? " "A slave,"
said he. "And so it seems they think more of a slave than of


their son, and entrust their property to him rather than to you, and
allow him to do what he pleases, whereas they prevent you. But,
farther, tell me this. Do they allow you to manage yourself, or do
they not even trust you to that extent? " " How trust me? " said
he. " Then does some one manage you? " " Yes, my pedagogue
here," said he. " But he is surely not a slave? " "Of course he
is, our slave," said he. "Is it not strange," said I, "that a free-
man should be governed by a slave ? But, to continue, what is
this pedagogue doing when he governs you? " "Taking me to a
teacher, or something of the kind," he said. " And these teachers,
it cannot be that they too govern you?" "To any extent."
" So then your father likes to set over you a host of masters and
managers ; but, of course, when you go home to your mother, she
lets you do what you like, in order to make you happy, either with
the threads or the loom, when she is weaving does she not? She
surely doesn't in the least prevent you from handling the batten, or
the comb, or any of the instruments used in spinning." And he,
laughing, said : " By Jove, Socrates ; she not only prevents me, but
I should be beaten if I touched them." " By Hercules," said I,
" isn't it true that you have done some wrong to your father and
mother?" "By Jove, not I," he said. "But for what reason,
then, do they so anxiously prevent you from being happy, and
doing what you please, and maintain you the whole day in servi-
tude to some one or another, and without power to do almost any-
thing you like. It seems, indeed, that you derive no advantage
from all this wealth, but anybody manages it rather than you, nor
from your body, nobly born as it is, but some one else shepherds it
and takes care of it. But you govern nothing, Lysis, and do noth-
ing that you desire." "The reason, Socrates," he said, "is, that
I am not of age." PLATO, Lysis.

The present state of the constitution is as follows: Citizenship is
a right of children whose parents are both of them citizens. Regis-
tration as member of a deme or township takes place when eigh-
teen years of age are completed. Before it takes place the towns-
men of the deme find a verdict on oath, firstly, whether they
believe the youth to be as old as the law requires, and if the ver-
dict is in the negative he returns to the ranks of the boys.
Secondly, the jury find whether he is freeborn and legitimate. If
the verdict is against him he appeals to the Heliaea, and the muni-
cipality delegate five of their body to accuse him of illegitimacy.
If he is found by the jurors to have been illegally proposed for the


register, the State sells him for a slave; if the judgment is given in
his favor, he must be registered as one of the municipality. Those
on the register are afterwards examined by the senate, and if any-
one is found not to be eighteen years old, a fine is imposed on the
municipality by which he was registered. After approbation, they
are called epheboi, or cadets, and the parents of all who belong to
a single tribe hold a meeting and, after being sworn, choose three
men of the tribe above forty years of age, whom they believe to
be of stainless character and fittest for the superintendence of
youth, and out of these the commons in ecclesia select one superin-
tendent for all of each tribe, and a governor of the whole body of
youths from the general body of the Athenians. These take them
in charge, and after visiting with them all the temples, march
down to Piraeus, where they garrison the north and south harbors,
Munychia and Acte. The commons also elect two gymnastic
trainers for them, and persons who teach them to fight in heavy
armor, to draw the bow, to throw the javelin, and to handle artil-
lery. Each of the ten commanders receives as pay a drachma
[about 20 cts.] per diem, and each of the cadets four obols [about
13 cts.]. Each commander draws the pay of the cadets of his own
tribe, buys with it the necessaries of life for the whole band (for
they mess together by tribes), and purveys for all their wants. The
first year is spent in military exercises. The second year the com-
mons meet in the theatre and the cadets, after displaying before
them their mastery in warlike evolutions, are each presented with
a shield and spear, and become mounted patrols of the frontier and
garrison the fortresses. They perform this service for two years,
wearing the equestrian cloak and enjoying immunity from civic
functions. During this period, to guard their military duties from
interruption, they can be parties to no action either as defendant or
plaintiff, except in suits respecting inheritance, or heiresses, or suc-
cessions to hereditary priesthoods. When the three years are com-
pleted they fall into the ordinary body of citizens. ARISTOTLE,
Constitution of Athens (Paste's Version, with slight alterations).

THAT perfect harmony between power and worth
at which the Athenian State aimed, was something
not easily attained or preserved. As far back as
its recorded history reaches, we find a struggle for


power going on between a party which possessed
more power than its worth justified, and a party which
possessed less; that is, between a party which, having
once been worthy, strove to hold power in virtue of
its past history, and one that claimed power in virtue
of the worth into which it was growing: in a word, a
struggle between declining aristocracy and growing
democracy. To the party in power, of course, this
seemed a rebellion against lawful authority and privi-
lege, and it did its best to suppress it. Hence came
the rigorous legislation of Draco; later the more con-
ciliatory, less out-spoken, but equally aristocratic
legislation of Solon; then the tyranny of Pisistratus,
lasting as long as he could hold the balance of power
between the contending parties ; then the constitution
of Clisthenes, with the breaking up of the old Athe-
nian* aristocratic system, the remodelling of the tribes,
the degradation of the Areopagus, and the definite
triumph of democracy. To complete the movement
and, as it were, to consecrate it, came the Persian
Wars, which mark the turning-point, the peripeteia,
in Athenian history and education. Whatever efforts
aristocracy makes to maintain itself after this, are
made in the name of, and under cover of a zeal for,

The aristocratic Athenian State was based upon
land-ownership, slavery, and the entire freedom of
the land-owning class from all but family and State
duties, from all need of engaging in productive indus-
try. So long as the chief wealth of the State consisted
in land and its produce, so long the population was
divided into two classes, the rich and the poor, and


so long the former had little difficulty in keeping all
power in its own hands. But no sooner did the growth
of commerce throw wealth into the hands of a class
that owned no land, and was not above engaging in
industry, than this class began to claim a share in
political power. There were now two wealthy classes,
standing opposed to each other, a proud, conservative
one, with "old wealth and worth," and a vain, radical
one, with new wealth and wants, both bidding for the
favor of the class that had little wealth, little worth,
and many wants, and thus making it feel its impor-
tance. Such is the origin of Athenian democracy. It
is the child of trade and productive industry. It owed
its final consecration to the Persian Wars, and espe-
cially to the battle of Salamis, in which Athens was
saved by her fleet, manned chiefly by marines (eTripdrai)
from the lower classes, the upper classes, as we have
seen, being trained only for land-service. Thus the
battle of Salamis was not only a victory of Greece over
Persia, but of foreign trade over home agriculture, of
democracy over aristocracy.

The fact that the Athenian democracy owed its
origin to trade determined, in great measure, its his-
tory and tendencies. One of its many results was
that it opened Athens to the influx of foreign men,
foreign ideas, and foreign habits, not to speak of for-
eign gods, all of which tended to break up the old
self-contained, carefully organized life of the people.
In no department were their effects sooner or more
clearly felt than in that of education. From about
the date of the battle of Salamis, when the youthful
Ionian, Anaxagoras, came to Athens, a succession of


men of " advanced " ideas in art and science sought a
field of action within her borders. Such a field, in-
deed, seemed purposely to have been left open for
them by the State, which had provided no means of
intellectual or moral education for its young citizens,
after they passed under its care (see p. 87). Nothing
was easier or more profitable than for these wise for-
eigners to constitute themselves public teachers, and
fill the place which the State had left vacant. The
State might occasionally object, and seek to punish
one or another of them for corrupting of the youth by
the promulgation of impious or otherwise dangerous
ideas, as it did in the case of Anaxagoras; but their
activity was too much in harmony with a tendency of
the time, a radical and individualistic tendency
inseparable from democracy, to be dispensed with
altogether. Hence it was that, within a few years
after the battle of Salamis, there flourished in Athens
a class of men unknown before within her boundaries,
a class of private professors, or "sophists," as they
called themselves, who undertook to teach theoretically
what the State had assumed could be taught only prac-
tically and by herself, viz., virtue and wisdom. Their
ideas were novel, striking, and radical, hence conge-
nial to a newly emancipated populace, vain of its recent
achievements, and contemptuous of all that savored of
the narrow, pious puritanism of the old time; their
premises were magnificent, and their fees high enough
to impose upon a class that always measures the
value of a thing by what it is asked to pay for it;
their method of teaching was such as to flatter the
vanity, and secure the favor, of both pupils and


parents. No wonder that their success was immediate
and their influence enormous.

From the days of Socrates to our own, 'sophist 7 has
been a term of reproach, and not altogether unjustly
so. Hegel, Grote, and Zeller have, indeed, shown
that the sophists did not deserve all the obloquy
which has attached itself to their name, inasmuch as
they were neither much better nor much worse than
any class of men who set up to teach new doctrines
for money, and, as wise economists, suit supply to
demand; nevertheless, it may be fairly enough said
that they largely contributed to demoralize Athens, by
encouraging irreverence for the very conceptions upon
which her polity was built, and by pandering to some
of the most selfish and individualistic tendencies of
democracy. If lib be said that they have their place
in the history of human evolution, as the heralds of
that higher view of life which allows the individual
a sphere of activities and interests outside of that
occupied by the State, this may at once and without
dimculty be admitted, without our being thereby
forced to regard them as noble men. Thp frq-jth i^

fhft spirit

of individualism; wlnVVi -py-p.s then QY pT ywhp> P g sprjJiLg
itsft1^a^i^^_fJTg^gjiirit, of nationalism or polity., and
which perhaps had to assert itself in an exaggerated
and destructive way, before the rightful claims of the
two could be manifested and harmonized. It is the
incorporation of this spirit of individualism into edu-
cation that cons t itut es_jhe^lNp w F. H y\ i o n . "

ThisTspirit, as manifested in the sophists and their
teaching, directed itself against the old political spirit


in all the departments of life in religion, in politics,
in education. It discredited the old popular gods,
upon loyalty to whom the existence of the State had
been supposed to depend, substituting for them some
crude fancy like Vortex, or some bald abstraction like
Intellect. It encouraged the individual to seek his
end in his own pleasure, and to regard the State as
but a means to that end. It championed an educa-
tion in which these ideas occupied a prominent place.
[What the sophists actually taught the ambitious young
inen who sought their instruction, was self-assertion,
unscrupulousness, and a showy rhetoric, in whose
triumphal procession facts, fancies, and falsehoods
marched together in brilliant array. It is but fair to
them to say that, in their endeavor to instruct young
men in the art of specious oratory, they laid the foun-
dations of the art of rhetoric and the science of gram-
mar. So much, at least, the world owes to them.

Since it was to the young men, who, freed from the
discipline of home, pedagogue, school, and palaestra,
could be met with anywhere, in the street, the agora,
the gymnasium, that the sophists directed their chief
attention, it was of course these who first showed the
effects of their teaching. But their influence, falling
in, as it did, with the pronounced radical tendencies
of the time, soon made itself felt in all grades of edu-
cation, from the family to the university, in the form
of an irreverent, flippant, conceited rationalism, before
whose self-erected and self-corrupted tribunal every
institution in heaven and earth was to be tried. In
the schools this influence showed itself in various
ways : (1) in an increased attention to literature, and


especially to the formal side of it, (2) in the tendency
to substitute for the works of the old epic and lyric
poets the works of more recent writers tinged with
the new spirit, (3) in the introduction of new and
complicated instruments and kinds of music, (4) in
an increasing departure from the severe physical and
moral discipline of the old days. We now, for the
first time, hear of a teacher of literature, distinct from
the music master, of teachers who possessed no copy
of Homer (Alcibiades is said to have chastised such a
one), of flutes, citharas, and the like in use in schools,
of wildness and lewdness among boys of tender age.
In the palaestra the new spirit showed itself in a ten-
dency to substitute showy and unsystematic exercises
for the vigorous and graded exercises of the older
time, to sacrifice education to execution.

But, as already remarked, the new spirit showed
itself most clearly and hurtfully in the higher educa-
tion. The young men, instead of spending their time
in vigorous physical exercise in the gymnasia and open
country, began now to hang about the streets and
public places, listening to sophistic discussions, and
to attend the schools of the sophists, exercising their
tongues more than any other part of their bodies. The
effect of this soon showed itself in a decline of physi-
cal power, of endurance, courage, and manliness, and
in a strong tendency to luxury and other physical sins.
They now began to imagine for themselves a private
life, very far from coincident with that demanded
of a citizen, and to look upon the old citizen-life,
and its ideals, sanctions, and duties, with contempt or
pity, as something which they had learnt to rise above.


The glory and well-being of their country were no
longer their chief object of ambition. The dry rot of
individualism, which always seems to those affected
by it an evidence of health and manly vigor, was cor-
rupting their moral nature, and preparing the way
for the destruction of the State. For it was but too
natural that these young men, when they came to be
members of the State, should neglect its lessons and
claims, and, following the new teachings, live to them-
selves. Thus, just as the character of the " Old Edu-
cation " of Athens showed itself in the behavior of her
sons in the Persian Wars, so that of her " New Educa-
tion " showed itself fifty years later in the Peloponne-
sian War, that long and disastrous struggle which
wrecked Athens and Greece.

Yet Athens and her education were not allowed to
go to ruin without a struggle. The aristocratic party
long stuck to the old principles and tried to give them
effect; but, failing to understand the new circum-
stances and to take account of them, it erred in the
application of them, by seeking simply to restore the
old conditions. Individuals also exerted their best
efforts for the same end. ^Eschylus, who had fought
at Marathon, and who, more than any other Greek, was
endowed with the spirit of religion, interpreted the
old mythology in an ethical sense, and in this form
worked it into a series of dramas, whereby the history
and institutions of the Greek people were shown to be
due to a guiding Providence of inexorable justice,
rewarding each man according to his works, abhorring
proud homes "gilded with impurity of hands," and
dwelling with the pure and righteous, though housed


in the meanest cot. ^Eschylus thus became, not only
the father of Greek tragedy, but also the sublimest
moral teacher Greece ever possessed. For moral gran-
deur there is but one work in all literature that can
stand by the side of ^schylus' Oresteia, and that is
the Divine Comedy. Yet ^Eschylus was driven from
Athens on a charge of impiety, and died in exile.

But it was not the tragic drama alone that was
inspired and made a preacher of righteousness : in the
hands of Aristophanes, the comic drama exerted all its
power for the same end. For over thirty years this
inimitable humorist used the public theatre to lash
the follies, and hold up to contempt the wretched
leaders, of the Athenian populace, pointing out to his
countrymen the abyss of destruction that was yawn-
ing before them. The world has never seen such
earnest comedy, not even in the works of Moliere or
Beaumarchais. Yet it was all in vain. Long before
his death, Aristophanes was forbidden to hold up to
public scorn the degradation of his people.

Among the individual citizens who labored with all
their might to bring back Athens to her old worth
were two of very different character, endowments,
and position, the one laboring in the world of action,
the other in the world of thought. The first was
Pericles, who, seeing that democracy was the order
of the day, accepted it, and, by his personal character
and position, strove to guide it to worthy ends. In
order to encourage gymnastic exercises, particularly
among the sons of the newer families, he built the
Lyceum, in a grove sacred to Apollo, between Cynos-
arges and the city walls, as a gymnasium for them.


With a view to encouraging among them the study of
music, he built an odeon, or music-hall, under the
southeast end of the Acropolis. Both were mag-
nificent structures. What he did towards the com-
pletion of the great theatre for the encouragement of
dancing, we do not know; that this entered into his
plan, there can hardly be any doubt. But Pericles
was too wise a man to suppose that he could induce
his pleasure-seeking countrymen to subject themselves
to the old discipline, without offering them an object
calculated to rouse their ambition and call forth their
energy. This object was nothing less than a united
Greece, with Athens as its capital. How hard he
tried to make this object familiar to them, and to
render Athens worthy of the place he desired her to
occupy, is pathetically attested to this day by the
Propylsea and the Parthenon. On the frieze of the
latter is represented the solemn sacrifice that was to
cement the union of the Hellenic people, and place
it at the head of civilization. When degenerate
Greece resisted all his efforts to make her become one
peaceably, he tried to make her do so by force, and
the Peloponnesian War, started on a mere frivolous
pretext, was the result. He did not live long enough
to learn the outcome of this desperate attempt to wake
his countrymen to new moral and political life, and
it was well. If he had, he might have been forced to
recognize that he had been attempting an impossible
task, trying to erect a strong structure with rotten
timber, to make a noble State out of ignoble, selfish
men. Unfortunately, the example of his own private
life, in which he openly defied one of the laws of the


State, and tried to make concubinage (ercu/o^oris) re-
spectable, more than undid all the good he sought to
accomplish. The truth is, Pericles was himself too
deeply imbued with the three vices of his time
rationalism, self-indulgence, and love of show to be
able to see any true remedy for the evils that sprang
from them. What was needed was not letters, music,
gymnastics, dancing, or dream of empire, but some-
thing entirely different a new moral inspiration and

This, the second of the men to whom reference has
been made, Socrates, sought to supply. In the midst
of self-indulgence, he lived a life of poverty and
privation; in the midst of splendor and the worship
of outward beauty, he pursued simplicity and took
pleasure in his ugliness ; in the midst of self-assertive
rationalism and all-knowing sophistry, he professed
ignorance and submission to the gods.. The problem

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Online LibraryThomas DavidsonAristotle and ancient educational ideals → online text (page 7 of 17)