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from education, position, and power, are virtually ex-
cluded by their poverty, so that the government is
altogether in the hands of the rich, and is, in fact, an
aristocracy, while pretending to be a democracy :
hence, (5) Social distinctions are distinctions of
worth, which is just the Greek ideal.

There is, however, one point in the scheme which
shows that it is reactionary, directed against prevail-


ing tendencies. Not one word is said of the intel-
lectual side of education, of music or letters.'' It is
evident that Xenophon, himself a man of no mean
literary attainments, clearly saw the dangers to
Greek life and liberty involved in that exaggerated
devotion to literary and intellectual pursuits which
followed the teaching of the sophists and Socrates,
and that, in order to check this perilous tendency, he
drew up a scheme of education from which intellec-
tual and literary pursuits are altogether excluded, in
which justice takes the place of letters, and music is
not mentioned.

This suggests a curious inquiry in respect to his
Memoirs of Socrates. This work has generally been
regarded as giving us a more correct notion of the
real, living Socrates than the manifestly idealizing
works of Plato. But was not Xenophon, who could
not fail to see the future power of Socrates' influence,
as anxious as Plato to claim the prophet as the cham-
pion of his own views, and does not this fact deter-
mine the whole character of his work? Is it not a
romance, in the same sense that the Cyropcedia is, with
only this difference, that the facts of Socrates' life,
being fairly well known to those for whom Xenophon
was writing, could not be treated with the same free-
dom and disregard as those of Cyrus' life?
x Before we part with Xenophon, we must call atten-
tion to another treatise of his, in which he deals with
a subject that was then pressing for consideration
the education of women. While, as we have seen,
the ^Eolian states and even Dorian Sparta provided,
in some degree, for women's education, Athens appar-


ently, conceiving that woman had no duties outside
of the family, left her education entirely to the care
of that institution.^ The conservative Xenophon does
not depart from this view; but, seeing the moral evils
that were springing from the neglect of women and
their inability to be, in any sense, companions to
their cultured, or over-cultured, husbands, he lays
down in his (Economics a scheme for the education of
the young wife by her husband. ^ As this affords us an
admirable insight into the lives of Athenian girls and
women, better, indeed, than can be found elsewhere,
we cannot do better than transcribe the first part of it.
It takes the form of a conversation between Socrates
and a young husband, named Ischomachus (Strong
Fighter), and is reported by the former. Socrates
tells how, seeing Ischomachus sitting at leisure in a
certain portico, he entered into conversation with
him, paid him an acceptable compliment, and inquired,
how he came to be nearly always busy out of doors,
seeing that he evidently spent little time in the house.
Ischomachus replies :

" ' As to your inquiry, Socrates, it is true that I
never remain indoors. Nor need Ij for my wife is
fully able by herself to manage everything in the
house.' 'This again, Ischomachus,' said I, 'is some-
thing that I should like to ask you about, whether it
was you who taught your wife to be a good wife, or
whether she knew all her household duties when you
received her from her father and mother.' 'Well,
Socrates,' said he, 'what do you suppose she knew
when I took her, since she was hardly fifteen when
she came to me, and, during the whole of her life


before that, special care had been taken that she should
see, hear, and ask as little as possible. Indeed, don't
you think I ought to have been satisfied if, when
she came to me, she knew nothing but how to take
wool and turn it into a garment, and had seen nothing
but how tasks in spinning are assigned to maids? As
regards matters connected with eating and drinking,
of course she was extremely well educated when
she came, and this seems to me the chief education,
whether for a man or a woman.' 'In all other mat-
ters, Ischomachus, ' said I, 'you yourself instructed
your wife, so as to make her an excellent housewife.'
'To be sure,' said he, 'but not until I had first sacri-
ficed, and prayed that I might succeed in teaching her,
and she might succeed in learning, what was best for
both of us.' 'Then,' said I, 'your wife took part in
your sacrifice and in these prayers, did she not?'
'Certainly she did, 7 said Ischomachus, 'and solemnly
promised to the gods that she would be what she
ought to be, and showed every evidence of a disposi-
tion not to neglect what was taught her.' 'But do, I
beseech you, Ischomachus, explain to me,' said I,
'what was the first thing you set about teaching her?
I shall be more interested in hearing you tell that,
than if you told me all about the finest gymnastic or
equestrian exhibition.' And Ischomachus replied:
'What should I teach her? As soon as she could be
handled, and was tame enough to converse, I spoke
to her in some such way as this : Tell me, my dear,
have you ever considered why I took you as my wife,
and why your parents gave you to me? That it was
not because I could not find any one else to share my


bed, you know as well as I. ]STo, but because I was
anxious to find for myself, and your parents were
anxious to find for you, the most suitable partner in
home and offspring, .1 selected you, and your parents,
it seems, selected me, out of all possible matches.
If, then, God shall ever bless us with children, then
we will take the greatest care of them, and try to
give them the best possible education; for it will
prove a blessing to both of us to have the very best
of helpers and supports in our old age. But at pres-
ent we have this as our common home. And all that
I have, I pass over to the common stock, and all that
you have brought with you, you have added to the
same. Xor must we begin to count which of us has
contributed the larger number of things, but must
realize that whichever of us is the better partner con-
tributes the more valuable things. Then, Socrates,
my wife replied, and said : In what way can I cooper-
ate with you? What power have I? Everything
rests with you. My mother told me that my only
duty was to be dutiful. Assuredly, my dear, said I,
and my father told me the same thing. But it is
surely the duty of a dutiful husband and a dutiful
wife to act so that what they have may be improved
to the utmost, and by every fair and lawful means
increased to the utmost. And what do you find, said
my wife, that I can do towards helping you to build
up our house? Dear me! said I, whatever things the
gods have endowed you with the power to do, and the
law permits, try to do these to the best of j'our abil-
ity. And what are these? said she. It strikes me,
said I, that they are by no means the least important


things, unless it be true that in the hive the queen-
bee is entrusted with the least important functions.
Indeed, it seems to me, my dear, I continued, that
the very gods have yoked together this couple called
male and female with a very definite purpose, viz. to
be the source of the greatest mutual good to the yoke-
fellows. In the first place, this union exists in order
that living species may not die out, but be preserved
by propagation; in the second, the partners in this
union, at least in the case of human beings, obtain
through it the supports of their old age. Moreover,
human beings do not live, like animals, in the open
air, but obviously require roofs. And I am sure,
people who are going to have anything to bring under
a roof must have some one to do outdoor duties;
for, you see, ploughing, sowing, planting, herding,
are all outdoor employments, and it is from them
that we obtain all our supplies. On the other hand,
when the supplies have all been brought under cover,
there is needed some one to take care of them, and to
perform those duties which must be done indoors.
Among these are the rearing of children and the
preparation of food from the produce of the earth;
likewise the making of cloth out of wool. And, since
both these classes of duties, the outdoor and the
indoor, require labor and care, it seems to me, I said,
that God has constructed the nature of woman with a
special view to indoor employments and cares, and
that of man with a view to outdoor employments and
cares. For he has made both the body and the soul of
the man better able than those of the woman to bear
cold, heat, travelling, military service, and so has



assigned to him the outdoor employments. And, since
he has made the body of woman less able to endure
these things, he seems to me to have assigned to her
the indoor employments. Considering, moreover,
that he had made it woman's nature and duty to
nourish young children, he imparted to her a greater
love for babies than he did to man. And, inasmuch
as he had made it part of woman's duty to take care
of the income of the family, God, knowing that for
care-taking the soul is none the worse for being ready
to fear, bestowed upon woman a greater share of
fear than upon a man. On the other hand, knowing
that he who attends to the outdoor employments will
have to protect the family from wrong-doers, he
endowed him with a greater share of courage. And,
since both have to give and receive, he divided mem-
ory and carefulness between them, so that it would be
difficult to determine which of the sexes, the male or
the female, is the better equipped with these. And
the necessary self-denial he divided between them,
and made a decree that, whichever of the two, the
husband or the wife, was the superior, should be
rewarded with the larger share of this blessing. And
just because the nature of man and the nature of
woman are not both equally fitted for all tasks, the
two are the more dependent upon each other, and
their union is the more beneficial to them, because the
one is able to supply what the other lacks. And now,
said I, my dear, that we know the duties which God
has assigned to us respectively, it becomes each of
us to do our best, in order to perform these duties.
And the law, I continued, coincides with the divine


intention, and unites man and woman. And, just as
God has made them partners in offspring, so the law
makes them partners in the household. And the law
sets its approval upon that difference of function
which God has signified by the difference of ability
which marks the sexes. For it is more respectable
for a woman to remain indoors than to spend her time
out of doors, and less respectable for a man to remain
indoors than to attend to outdoor concerns. And, if
any one acts in a manner at variance with this divine
ordination, it may be that his transgression does not
escape the notice of the gods, and that he is punished
for neglecting his own duties or performing those of
his wife. It appears to me, said I, that the queen-
bee also performs duties that are assigned to her by
God. And what duties, said my wife, does the queen-
bee perform, that have any resemblance to those
incumbent upon me? This, said I, that she remains
in the hive and does not allow the other bees to be
idle, but sends out those that have to work to their
business, and knows and receives what each brings
in, and takes care of it till it is needed for use. And
when the time for using comes, she distributes to each
her just share. Besides this, she attends to the con-
struction of the honey-combs that goes on indoors,
and sees that it is done properly and rapidly, and
carefully sees that the young swarm is properly
reared. And when it is old enough, and the young-
bees are fit for work, she sends them out, as a colony,
under the leadership of one of the old ones. And
will it be my duty, said my wife, to do these things?
Exactly so, said I, it will be your duty to remain


indoors, to send out together to their work those
whose duties lie out of doors, and to superintend those
who have to work indoors, to receive whatever is
brought in, to dispense whatever has to be paid out,
while the necessary surplus you must provide for, and
take care that the year's allowance be not spent in a
month. When wool is brought in to you, you must
see that it is turned into cloth; and when dried grain
conies, that it is properly prepared for food. There
is, however, one of your duties, said I, that will
perhaps seem somewhat disagreeable to you. When-
ever any one of the slaves is sick, you will have to
see that he is properly nursed, no matter who he is.
Indeed, said my wife, that will be a most pleasant
duty, if those who have been carefully nursed are go-
ing to be grateful and kindlier than they were before.
And I,' said Ischomachus, ' admiring her answer, con-
tinued: Don't you suppose, my dear, that by such
examples of care on the part of the queen of the hive
the bees are so disposed to her that, when she leaves,
none of them are willing to remain behind, but all
follow her? And my wife replied: I should be sur-
prised if the duties of headship did not fall to you
rather than to me. For my guardianship and disposal
of things in the house would be ridiculous, unless you
saw to it that something was brought in from without.
And my bringing-in would be ridiculous, said I, if
there were no one to take care of what I brought?
Don't you see, I said, how those who pour water into a
leaky barrel, as the expression is, are pitied, as wast-
ing their labour? And indeed, said my wife, they are
to be pitied, if they do that, There are other special


duties, said I, that are sure to become pleasant to
you; for example, when you take a raw hand at
weaving and turn her into an adept, and so double
her value to you, or when you take a raw hand at
managing and waiting and make her capable, reliable,
and serviceable, so that she acquires untold value, or
when you have it in your power to reward those male
slaves that are dutiful and useful to your family, or
to punish one who proves the opposite of this. But
the pleasantest thing of all will be, if you prove
superior to me, and make me your knight, and if you
need not fear that, as you advance in years, you will
forfeit respect in the house, but are sure that, as you
grow older, the better a partner you are to me, and
the better a mother to the children, the more highly
you will be respected in the house. For all that is
fair and good, said I, increases for men, as life
advances, not through beauties, but through virtues.
Such, Socrates, to the best of my recollection, was the
first conversation I had with my wife.' '

Ischomachus goes on and tells how, in subsequent
conversations, he taught his wife the value of order,
" how to have a place for everything, and everything
in -its place," how to train a servant, and how to
make herself attractive without the use of cosmetics
or fine clothes. But enough has been quoted to show
what the ideal family relation among the Athenians
was, and what education was thought fitting for girls
and women. v Just as the man was merged in the
citizen, so the woman, was merged in the housewife,
and they each received the education and training
demanded by their respective duties./ If Athenian


husbands had all been like Ischomachus, it is clear
that the lives of wives might have been very happy
and useful, and that harmony might have reigned in
the family. But, unfortunately, that was not very
often the case. Wives, being neglected, became lazy,
wasteful, self-indulgent, shrewish, and useless, while
their husbands, rinding them so, sought in immoral
relations with brilliant and cultivated hetcerce, or in
worse relations still, a coarse substitute for that satis-
faction which they ought to have sought and found in
their own homes. Thus there grew up a condition of
things which -could not fail to sap the moral founda-
tions of society, and which made thoughtful men turn
their attention to the question of woman's education
and sphere of duty.


All human laws are nourished by the one divine law; for it pre-
^vaileth as far as it listeth, and sufficeth for all and surviveth all.

Though reason is universal, the mass of men live as if they had
each a private wisdom of his own. Id.

ANTIGONE. . . . But him will I inter ;

And sweet 'twill be to die in such a deed,
And sweet will be my rest with him, the sweet,
When I have righteously offended here.
For longer time, methinks, have I to please
The dwellers in yon world than those in this ;
For I shall rest forever there. But thou,
Dishonor still what's honored of the gods.

SOPHOCLES, Antigone.

The circle that gathered round Isaiah and his household in these
evil days, holding themselves apart from their countrymen, treas-
uring the word of revelation, and waiting for Jehovah, were indeed,
as' Isaiah describes them, "signs and tokens in Israel from Jehovah
of hosts that dwelleth in Mount Zion." The formation of this little
community was a new thing in the history of religion. Till then no
one had dreamed of a fellowship of faith dissociated from all national
forms, maintained without the exercise of ritual services, bound
together by faith in the divine word alone. It was the birth of a
new era in the Old Testament religion, for it was the birth of the
conception of the Church, the first step in the emancipation of spir-
itual religion from the forms of political life, a step not less sig-
nificant that all its consequences were not seen till centuries had
passed away. W. ROBERTSON SMITH, Prophets of Israel.

Still at the prophets' feet the nations sit. LOWELL.



That which is to be known I shall declare, knowing which a
man attains immortality the beginningless Supreme Brahma that
is said to be neither Aught nor Naught. Bhagavad Gitd.

The only Metaphysics which really and immediately sustains
Ethics is one which is itself primarily ethical, and made of the staff

IN answer to the burning question, How can Athens
be brought back to moral life and strength? Socrates
had answered, " By finding a new moral sanction." He
had even gone further, and said: "This sanction is
to be found in correct thinking, in thinking whole
thoughts, which, because they are whole, are abso-
lutely true, being the very principles according to
which God governs the world." This is, obviously,
a mere formal answer. If it was to be of any real
service, three further questions had to be answered:
(1) How can whole thoughts be reached? (2) What
do they prove to be when they are reached? (3) How
can they be applied to the moral reorganization of
human life? Plato's philosophy is but an attempt to
answer these questions. It therefore naturally falls
into three divisions, (1) Dialectics, including Logic
and Theory of Knowledge, (2) Theoretics^ including
Metaphysics and Physics, (3) Practice, including
Ethics and Politics.

It is obvious that any attempt to reform society on
Socratic principles must proceed, not from society it-
self, but from some person or persons in whom these
principles are realized, and who act upon it from
without. These persons will be the philosophers or,
rather, the sages. Two distinct questions, therefore,
present themselves at the outset : (1) How does a man


"become a sage ? (2) How can the sage organize human
life, and secure a succession of sages to continue his
work after him? To the first of these questions, dia-
lectics gives the answer; to the second, practics;
while theoretics exhibits to us at once the origin and
the end, that is, the meaning, of all existence, the
human included.-"" In the teaching of Plato we find,
for the first time recognized and exhibited, the extra-
civic or super-civic man, the man who is not a mere
fragment of a social whole, completely subordinated
to it, but who, standing above society, moulds it in
accordance with ideas derived from a higher source.
Forecasts of this man, indeed, we find in all Greek
literature from Homer down, in Heraclitus, Sopho-
cles, etc., and especially, as we have seen, in Pythag-
oras ; but it is now for the first time that he finds
full expression, and tries to play a conscious part. In
him we have the promise of the future Church.

But to return to the first of our two questions, How
does a man become a sage? We found the answer to
be, By the dialectic method. Of this, however, not all
men have the inclination to avail themselves, but only
a chosen few, to whom the gods have granted the in-
spiration of Love (epws) a longing akin to madness
(IMLVM), kindled by physical beauty, but tending to the
Supreme Good. This good, as we shall see, consists
in the vision (fcwpia) of eternal truth, of being, as it
is. The few men who are blessed with this love
are the divinely appointed reformers and guides of
mankind, the well-being of which depends upon sub-
mission to them. The dialectic method is the process
by which the inspired mind rises from the beauty of


physical things, which are always particulars, to the
beauty of spiritual things, which are always uni-
versals, and finally to the beauty of the Supreme
Good, which is The Universal. The man who has
reached this last, and who sees its relation to all other
universals, so that they form together a correlated
whole, sees all truth, and is the sage. What we call
universals Plato called "ideas" (iSeat= forms or spe-
cies). These ideas he regards as genera, as numbers,
as active powers, and as substances, the highest of
which is God.

Two things are especially notable in connection with
this theory : (1) that it involves that Oriental ascetic
view of life which makes men turn away from the
sensible world, and seek their end and happiness in
the colorless world of thought; (2) that it suggests a
view of the nature of God which comes perilously near
to Oriental pantheism. Plato, indeed, nowhere denies
personality of God; but neither does he affirm it, and
he certainly leaves the impression that the Supreme
Being is a force acting according to a numerical ratio
or law. It would be difficult to overestimate the in-
fluence of these two views upon the subsequent course
of Greek education and life. The former suggested to
the super-civic man a sphere of activity which he could
flatter himself was superior to the civic, viz. a sphere
of contemplation; while the second, by blurring, or
rather ignoring, the essential elements of personality
in God, viz. consciousness, choice, and will, left no
place for a truly religious or moral life. This explains
why Platonism, while it has inspired no great civic
movement, has played such a determining part in


ecclesiasticism, and why, nevertheless, the Church
for ages was compelled to fight the tendencies of it,
which it did in great measure under the aegis of Plato's
stern critic, Aristotle.

We are now ready to take up our second question :
How can the sage organize human life, and secure a
succession of sages to continue his work after him?
Plato has given two widely different answers to this
question, in his two most extensive works, (1) the
Republic, written in his earlier life, when he was
under the influence of Heraclitus, Parmenides, and
Socrates, and stood in a negative attitude toward the
real world of history, (2) the Laws, written toward
the end of his life, when he became reconciled, in
part at least, to the real world and its traditional
beliefs, and found satisfaction and inspiration in the
teachings of 'Pythagoras. His change of allegiance
is shown by the fact that in the Laivs, and in them
alone, Socrates does not appear as a character. We
shall speak first of the Republic, and then point out
wherein the Laws differs from it.

When Plato wrote his Republic, he was deeply im-
pressed with the evils and dangers of the social order
in which he lived. This impression, which was that
of every serious man of the time, had in his case prob-
ably been deepened by the teaching and the tragic
death of Socrates. The dangers were, obviously, the
demoralization of Athenian men and women, and the
consequent weakening and dissolution of the social
bonds. The evils, as he saw them, were (1) the de-
fective education of children, (2) the neglect of women.

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Online LibraryThomas DavidsonAristotle and ancient educational ideals → online text (page 9 of 17)