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Daily Life in Greece
While Athens was home to some of the greatest philosophers, artists and poets of the day, most Athenians were farmers, labors, artisans or slaves. During the classic period in Athens, there were about 150,000 citizens, of which 43,000 were adult males holding true political power. In addition, there were 35,000 foreign residents who had limited responsibilities and protection. At the bottom of the social scale, there were some 100,000 slaves.
Agriculture was important in Athens. But what was produced was insufficient to meet the needs of the population. So trade developed as an important and necessary element of the Athenian economy. Craftsman were also key in Athenian society and Athens was leading producer of pottery during this period.
The nuclear family was also a vital component of Athenian social structure. Athenian laws required that to be recognized as a citizen, one must be the offspring of two Athenian citizens who were legally married.
Women were excluded from most aspects of religious life. They also could not own property beyond personal items. Woman generally remained at home out of public sight.
Meet the Greeks!Daily Life in Ancient Greece
Men: Daily life in ancient Greece was centered on the home. Men moved freely. They left home each day to work in the fields or in the town. They might visit a barber shop, where they heard the latest gossip and news. They came home expecting the house to be clean, the kids to be tidy, and dinner ready to be served. Free men were citizens. They could vote. They could argue. They could move their family from one Greek city-state to another.
Women, Children, Slaves: Women, children, and slaves were not citizens. Most Greek women could not leave their home, even to visit a neighbor, unless they had their husband's permission. But in the home, women were in charge. Wealthy women had slaves to do their chores for them. Slaves might even do the shopping and raise the kids. But, provided their husbands allowed them to do, most women enjoyed going to the marketplace, visiting a temple in the center of town, and doing household chores like cooking meals and making clothes for their family.
Kids went to school until they were 18. After that, most had two years of military school. Growing up, they had pets and toys. They played all kinds of games, especially games of strength and endurance. Both girls and boys helped with chores.
Sparta: Daily life in most of the hundreds of Greek city-states, like Athens, Corinth, Megara, and Argos, was similar. The exception was Sparta. In Sparta, women were warriors. Women did not ask their husband's permission to do anything. Men lived in barracks. Women lived in homes. Women ran businesses. They worked in the fields. Girls, as well as boys, went to school. The Spartans were warriors. Great works of art were common in ancient Greece. But no great works of art came out of Sparta. Warriors came out of Sparta. In times of war, you wanted Sparta on your side!
Religion: Everyone in ancient Greece was deeply religious. Every day, they thanked and worshiped their many gods.
A living history and art museum
Beyond icons, the common people had an appreciation for non-religious art, since they were surrounded by secular works from ancient Greece and Rome in the city's forums, squares, colonnaded streets and the famous Hippodrome. The statues in the city were masterpieces by the most famous artists of antiquity that had been gathered up and brought to the city by Constantine and his immediate successors. As the Roman world became Christian temples were closed. Their cult statues of Zeus, Hera and Aphrodite came to Constantinople where they were put on public view. There were hundreds of churches and chapels crammed with beautiful things that people saw everyday. With so much to see in every quarter of the city, people took them for granted, although they could be very superstitious about this statue or that column, giving them supernatural powers over the fate of the city. The educated citizens of Constantinople cared about their history and the many famous and beautiful things to be found there. The Hippodrome was lined with dozens of statues, columns and other things the common people saw when they were at the races or games in the stadium. Sitting in the stands and crunching on snacks they would discuss the myths associated with the statues of men, beasts and giant insects which were placed along the spina - which ran down the center of the race track. No matter what your level of education or how rich you were Byzantines had an appreciation for art and beautiful things. They were also great followers of sport, fashion and stars of the theater.
The city of Constantinople was said to have been built on seven hills, just like ancient Rome. Many of the most important monuments were built along the high spine of the city and could be seen from just about everywhere. Byzantium was dominated by great columns which towered above the city that were crowned by statues and crosses. Some of these marble columns were wrapped in spiraling bands of sculpture glorifying the achievements of emperors. The column of Justinian was built by him right outside Hagia Sophia. It was as tall as the great dome and was crowned by a giant gilded statue of the emperor facing east in military gear on horseback. The tradition of erecting columns continued into 13th century. The Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus set up a column with a bronze statue of himself offering a model of the city to the Archangel Michael outside of the Church of the Holy Apostles. Soon after its erection the statue fell from the column in n earthquake and it was put back on its column by his son, Andronikos II. We don't know if it was a new creation or assembled from bits of other statues.
Daily Life & Religion in Ancient Greece
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History of Greece: Hellenistic
The Hellenistic Age marks the transformation of Greek society from the localized and introverted city-states to an open, cosmopolitan, and at times exuberant culture that permeated the entire eastern Mediterranean, and Southwest Asia. While the Hellenistic world incorporated a number of different people, Greek thinking, mores, and way of life dominated the public affairs of the time. All aspects of culture took a Greek hue, with the Greek language being established as the official language of the Hellenistic world. The art and literature of the era were transformed accordingly. Instead of the previous preoccupation with the Ideal, Hellenistic art focused on the Real. Depictions of man in both art and literature revolved around exuberant, and often amusing themes that for the most part explored the daily life and the emotional world of humans, gods, and heroes alike.
The autonomy of individual cities of the Classical era gave way to the will of the large kingdoms that were led by one ruler. As Alexander left no apparent heir, his generals controlled the empire. They fought common enemies and against each other as they attempted to establish their power, and eventually, three major kingdoms emerged through the strife that followed the death of Alexander in 323 BCE and persisted for the most part over the next three hundred years.
Egypt and parts of the Middle East came under the rule of Ptolemy, Seleucus controlled Syria and the remnants of the Persian Empire, while Macedonia, Thrace, and parts of northern Asia Minor came under the hegemony of Antigonus and his son Demetrius. Several smaller kingdoms were established at various times, in Hellenistic Greece. Notably, the Attalid kingdom was formed around Pergamum in eastern Asia Minor, and the independent kingdom of Bactria was created after Diodotos led a rebellion of Greeks there against Seleucid rule. Most of the classical Greek cities south of Thessaly and on the southern shores of the Black Sea remained independent.
Several Greek cities became dominant in the Hellenistic era. City-states of the classical Greece like Athens, Corinth, Thebes, Miletus, and Syracuse continued to flourish, while others emerged as major centers throughout the kingdoms. Pergamum, Ephesus, Antioch, Damascus, and Trapezus are few of the cities whose reputations have survived to our day. None were more influential than Alexandria of Egypt however. Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great himself in 331 BCE and very quickly became the center of commerce and culture of the Hellenistic world under the Ptolemies. Alexandria hosted the tomb of Alexander the Great, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the faros (lighthouse) of Alexandria, and the famed Library of Alexandria that aspired to host the entire knowledge of the known world.
Many famous thinkers and artists of the Hellenistic era created works that remained influential for centuries. Schools of thought like the Stoics, the Skeptics, and the Epicurians continued the substantial philosophical tradition of Greece, while art, literature, and poetry reached new heights of innovation and development through the work of Kalimachus, Apollonious of Rhodes, Menander, and Theocritos. The sculptures and canons of Polykleitos remained influential and were copied throughout the Hellenistic and Roman Eras, and even centuries later during the Italian Renaissance. Great works of art were created during the Hellenistic Era. In Architecture, the classical styles were further refined and augmented with new ideas like the Corinthian order which was first used on the exterior of the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens. Public buildings and monuments were constructed on larger scale in more ambitious configuration and complexity. The Mausoleum of Pergamum, merged architectural space and sculpture by the placement of heroic sculptures in the close proximity of a grand staircase.
Hellenistic Greece became a time of substantial maturity of the sciences. In geometry, Euclid&rsquos elements became the standard all the way up to the 20th c. CE., and the work of Archimedes on mathematics along with his practical inventions became influential and legendary. Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth within 1500 miles by simultaneously measuring the shadow of two vertical sticks placed one in Alexandria and one in Syene. The fact that the earth was a sphere was common knowledge in the Hellenistic world.
The Hellenistic age was by no means free of conflict, even after the major kingdoms were established. Challenges to the Hellenistic kingdoms appeared from internal conflict and new external enemies. The size of the empire made securing it next to impossible, and life outside the orderly large cities was filled with danger from bandits and pirates. Internal strife and revolutions caused the borders of the kingdoms to be shifted several times as the rulers of the major and minor kingdoms engaged in continuous conflict. At the same time serious threats to the Hellenistic world came from external threats. A Celtic people, the Gauls invaded Macedonia and reached southern Greece in 279 BCE attempting to plunder the treasure of Delphi, which was miraculously saved (Pausanias, 20). Eventually, Attalus defeated the Gauls after they crossed into Asia Minor.
At the time of Hellenistic Era, Rome had risen to a formidable power and by 200 BCE occupied not only Italy, but also the entire coastal Adriatic Sea and Illyria. During the second Punic War (218 - 201 BCE) when Hannibal of Carthage managed to establish a successful campaign against the Romans in Italy, Philip V of Macedon allied with him and annexed Illyria, starting thus a series of wars with Rome that led to the eventual annexation of Greece by the Romans. In the end, large part of the Hellenistic kingdoms disintegrated by constant incursions by tribes of the fringes, many parts were simply given to Rome through the will of deceased rulers, and others won brief independence by revolution. In 31 BCE Octavian (later Augustus) defeated the rulers of Egypt Anthony and Cleopatra in the naval battle of Actium, and completed the demise of the Hellenistic Era.
The battle of Actium is considered the pivotal moment that defines the end of Ancient Greece. After the battle of Actium, the entire Hellenic world became subject to Rome. Greece in the next two thousand years was to undergo a series of conquests that made its people subjects of numerous powers and did not gain its self-determination until the 19th C. CE.
Daily Life In Ancient Greece – Facts For Kids
Just like Greece today, Ancient Greece had a warm and dry climate. Its major industries were farming, fishing, and trade.
The Ancient Greeks worshipped gods and goddesses and had large, beautiful temples dedicated to them. The temples had stone columns and statues.
Most Ancient Greeks lived in villages or in the countryside. Because most crops didn’t grow well in Greece and resources were scarce, many Ancient Greeks were poor.
What did Ancient Greek houses look like?
Ancient Greek houses were built around an outdoor courtyard or garden. The courtyard was often used as a play area for children. It sometimes contained a well for water and an altar for worshipping the gods.
The rooms of the house surrounded the courtyard. These included bedrooms and sometimes a workroom or storeroom.
Some houses also had a room called the andron, where the men of the house would entertain male guests and business associates.
Walls were built from wood and mud bricks. They had either no windows or very small windows. The windows didn’t have any glass, but they did have wooden shutters to keep out the hot sun.
Most Greek homes didn’t have much furniture, and some didn’t have bathrooms. People sat on simple wooden chairs and stools. Most people washed at public baths, in nearby streams, or with water from a small bucket.
The homes of wealthy Ancient Greeks were decorated with colorful tiles and paintings. Rich people had private baths at home and used perfumed oil to keep their skin soft and fragrant.
The Ancient Greeks slept on beds stuffed with grass, feathers, or wool. Since the only light was from oil lamps and candles, most Ancient Greeks went to bed as soon as it got dark outside.
What jobs did people have in Ancient Greece?
Most Ancient Greeks were farmers, fishermen, or merchants. There were also scholars, soldiers, artists, scientists, and philosophers. Some Ancient Greeks were teachers, craftsmen, or government workers too.
All these occupations were meant for men. Women were usually homemakers who took care of the children and cooked meals.
What did Ancient Greeks do for fun?
One popular pastime in Ancient Greece was theatre. People sat in large, open-air theatres to watch plays. They had festivals, played music, and danced.
The Ancient Greeks also loved sports. This included hunted, fishing, swimming, and various ball games. In some parts of Greece, people enjoyed bull-jumping (leaping over a charging bull).
Ancient Greek children played with dolls made of wood, wax, clay, or rags. They also played with small pottery figures, yo-yos, hoops, rattles, and balls.
A game called “knucklebones” was similar to the game of jacks but was played with the ankle-bones of sheep or goats. Children played an early form of marbles using nuts.
Did Ancient Greek children go to school?
Different Greek cities and towns had different types of school systems, but most Ancient Greek boys did attend school.
They usually started school around age seven and finished when they were 18. Boys learned reading, math, writing, and sometimes philosophy, government, and how to play a musical instrument.
In some cities, boys had two years of military school after they turned 18.
Girls were taught at home. If their mother could read and write, she often taught her daughters to read and write as well. If not, she still taught them to cook, sew, and run a household.
In Sparta, girls did go to school outside of the home. Spartan girls were athletic and knew how to fight, wrestle, and use weapons.
Was Ancient Greek life different for men and women?
While men received an education, most women didn’t. Women also couldn’t work in most jobs.
Men were expected to work and be involved in the public life of their city, but women were expected to live private lives taking care of the home.
Only males could be citizens with full political rights. In Ancient Greek cities that voted, only men could vote.
Things were different in Sparta. Spartan women needed to be strong so they could give birth to strong male warriors. They exercised outdoors like men and competed in athletic competitions.
Spartan women were known for being freer and more educated than other Greek women. Unlike women in other parts of Greece, they could own land, mingle with men, and express their opinions about politics and other public issues.
An advanced civilization
The Ancient Greeks were very advanced for their time. They lived in houses, worked jobs that still exist today, sent children to school, played sports and music, and attended plays and other performances.
Of course, they didn’t have any of the technology we have now. And except in Sparta, women did not have the rights women have today.
But in many ways, Ancient Greek daily life wasn’t too different from daily life in modern society.
Daily Life in Greece - History
C entered within a loose collection of city-states (often at war with one another), ancient Greek culture reached its pinnacle during the fourth century BC - an era described as its "Golden Age." Art, theater, music, poetry, philosophy, and political experiments such as democracy flourished. Greek influence stretched along the northern rim of the Mediterranean from the shores of Asia Minor to the Italian peninsula.
In Athens, society was male-dominated - only men could be citizens and only upper-class males enjoyed a formal education. Women had few political rights and were expected to remain in the home and bear children. Fully one quarter of the population was made up of slaves, usually prisoners captured during the many clashes that extended Greek influence overseas. These slaves provided much of the manpower that fueled the burgeoning economy, working in shipyards, quarries, mines, and as domestic servants.
Most homes were modest, windowless and wrapped around a courtyard. Furniture was rare. People spent the majority of the day out of doors enjoying the mild Mediterranean climate. The Greek diet was also modest, based largely on wine and bread. A typical day would start with bread dipped in wine, the same for lunch and a dinner of wine, fruits, vegetables and fish. Consumption of meat was reserved for special occasions such as religious holidays.
A Glimpse of the average day in Ancient Greece
Xenophon was a pupil of Socrates. Here, he describes the manner in which the ideal Greek aristocrat would pass the hours of a typical morning. Xenophon uses a literary device in which the story is supposed to be told by Socrates who is speaking with a friend by the name of Ischomachus. Socrates has asked his friend to describe how he spends his day. Ischomachus responds:
"Why, then, Socrates, my habit is to rise from bed betimes, when I may still expect to find at home this, that, or the other friend whom I may wish to see. Then, if anything has to be done in town, I set off to transact the business and make that my walk or if there is no business to transact in town, my serving boy leads on my horse to the farm I follow, and so make the country road my walk, which suits my purpose quite as well or better, Socrates, perhaps, than pacing up and down the colonnade [in the city]. Then when I have reached the farm, where mayhap some of my men are planting trees, or breaking fallow, sowing, or getting in the crops, I inspect their various labors with an eye to every detail, and whenever I can improve upon the present system, I introduce reform.
After this, usually I mount my horse and take a canter. I put him through his paces, suiting these, so far as possible, to those inevitable in war, - in other words, I avoid neither steep slope, nor sheer incline, neither trench nor runnel, only giving my uttermost heed the while so as not to lame my horse while exercising him. When that is over, the boy gives the horse a roll, and leads him homeward, taking at the same time from the country to town whatever we may chance to need. Meanwhile I am off for home, partly walking, partly running, and having reached home I take a bath and give myself a rub, - and then I breakfast, - a repast that leaves me neither hungry nor overfed, and will suffice me through the day."
Davis, William Stearns, Readings In Ancient History (1912) Freeman, Charles, The Greek Achievement (1999).
4 Slaves Had To Wear Chastity Belts
The Greeks didn&rsquot want their slaves to waste their time making love under the stars. If you were a slave in ancient Greece, there was a decent chance your owner would make you wear a chastity belt just to make sure.
Greek slaves would often have to endure something called infibulation. That meant that a metal ring would be wrapped around their genitals. It would seal them shut tightly enough that even getting excited would be painful, and it could only be taken off with a key.
If your master made you wear a chastity belt, you knew it could have been a lot worse. This was really just an alternative to becoming a eunuch.
Ancient Greecefor Kids
Over two thousand five hundred (2,500+) years ago, ancient Greece was made up of many hundreds of Greek city-states, grouped together at the southern end of a very large peninsula that jutted out from Europe into the Mediterranean Sea. Smaller peninsulas stuck out from the main Greek peninsula, forming a great deal of natural coastline and many natural harbors. It's no wonder the Greeks were great sailors and fishermen!
The ancient Greeks believed in thousands of gods, goddesses, and magical creatures. They built temples to honor their gods. They prayed at home. They prayed all the time. Honoring their gods was part of their daily life and part of just about everything they did. That's because they believed their gods controlled the heavens and earth, and could interact with humans and cause all kinds of trouble!
A huge mountain range ran down the middle of the Greek peninsula. The people believed that the ancient Greek mystical world was ruled by a small group of powerful gods called the 12 Olympians, who lived at the top of the highest mountain, Mount Olympus. You could try to get to the top, but you'd never make it. The top of Mount Olympus was hidden in fog and snow and magic. When things had to be decided in the mythical world, the council met on Mount Olympus to discuss things, which was a very Greek thing to do - talk it over first, then go to war or get even!
The Greeks told wonderful myths about their gods. Poseidon, lord of the sea, could raise his hand and a new island would appear! Apollo brought up the sun every day, and his twin sister Artemis brought up the moon. Most of the gods avoided Ares. Nobody liked him much, but he was the god of war, so you had to keep him on your side if you could. The mighty Zeus, king of all the gods, probably caused more trouble than any of them, even more than Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The Greeks did not limit their myths to stories about the 12 Olympians. They told stories about nearly all the magical, mythical creatures in which they believed.
Many of their mythical beings looked like people, but some looked like monsters, because, well .. they were! Fortunately, the ancient Greeks found a way to beat monsters, nearly always with trickery and cleverness, two skills that were greatly admired by the ancient Greeks.
Ancient Greece was not a country. It was not an empire. It was a collection of over 1500 independent city-states, each with its own government and its own way of doing things. Some city-states, like ancient Corinth, were ruled by kings. Some, like the warrior city-state of Sparta, were ruled by council. Ancient Athens, the jewel of the ancient Greek city-states, experimented with an early form of democracy. The ancient Greeks were very loyal to their city-state.
The Greek city-states did, on occasion, team up against a common foe. They also went to war with each other, unless the Olympic Games were in progress . The Greeks invented the Olympics, and took the event quite seriously. Nearly all the ancient Greek city-states sent teams to participate. If two or more Greek city-states happen to be at war with each other when the game date arrived, war was halted for the duration of the games. The Greek Olympics were not the only games in ancient Greece - the Greeks loved competition of all sorts - but the Olympics were the most important. Every city-state wanted to brag that their athletics (their statues, their theatre, their fabrics) were the best!
The Greeks all spoke the same language, and they all loved to brag. To be fair, they had a great deal to brag about. The Greeks gave us so many gifts - gifts like the Olympics, democracy, the theatre, comedy, tragedy, the wheelbarrow, the alphabet, advances in medicine and science, architectural wonders like the ancient Greek columns, incredible myths, and tales of legends, heroes, and fables, to name a few. Theirs was a culture envied and copied by other ancient cultures.
Learn how the brave Greek hero Theseus escaped the maze, a trick you might find handy some day. Discover how the king of Corinth tricked the god of the underworld and got away with it! Meet Apollo's Oracle, where things are not always as they seem. Argue with Socrates, the great teacher. Join Hercules on 12 dangerous missions, battling evil monsters. Read Aesop's fables, a collection of very short stories that are still popular today.
Come meet the clever, creative, ancient Greeks, and enter a world of competition, trickery and myth.
The Education System in Ancient Greece
Sparta was one society in ancient Greece that believed in educating its girls.
(Image: John Steeple Davis/Public domain)
There is no clear evidence of any schools in the ancient Greek world before the fifth century B.C. It is believed that prior to this, education in Greece was provided mainly through private tutors. And only a handful of Greeks could afford to educate their sons even during the fifth century. The natives of Athens started their education around the age of seven. There is not much information about what type of people were teachers at that time. However, it looks like they didn’t enjoy much status and in all probability most of them were slaves.
The syllabus included learning to read and write, physical training, and learning some musical instruments. For learning to write, students used a pen called a stylus with which they wrote on a wax tablet. Learning to memorize was a very important part of education in Greece. The Greek historian and philosopher Xenophon’s work called Symposium, has a character who says that his father made him learn the complete the Iliad and the Odyssey by heart. Both of them contained a total of 27,000 lines.Learning how to play musical instruments was an important part of boys’ education in ancient Greece. (Image: Unknown author/Public domain)
The lyre or kithara was one of the most liked musical instruments. It looked similar to a guitar. It is highly improbable that students were taught mathematics or drawing. Education in Greece was very limited. That is if we go by our standards. But still, they managed to learn enough to get by. In fact, the Athenian education system gave us such brilliant individuals as Pluto, Socrates, Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles who were really exceptional considering all the circumstances. Although it may be contended that their success might have been more because of the city in which they lived and less with the then education system.
This is a transcript from the video series The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World. Watch it now, on The Great Courses Plus.
Education of Boys in Ancient Greece
Boys of rich families in ancient Greece used to attend informal drinking parties.
It was an important part of growing up. (Image: Anselm Feuerbach / Public domain)
When boys of rich families attained the age of 16, they were sent for what can be called tertiary education. They were mainly taught rhetoric and philosophy. Whosoever wanted to make a name for himself in the society, learning these subjects was necessary for him. It was essential to learn the nuances of rhetoric if they wanted to speak in political assemblies or courts or if they wanted to be noticed at informal drinking parties which were called symposia.
One distasteful thing about growing up in Greece was that some Greeks accepted pederasty. The elite societies accepted the friendship between an older man and a young boy as perfectly fine, and some even appreciated it and more so if there was some teaching involved in it. Zeus himself was a pederast and this might have given more legitimacy to it. In fact, Zeus had abducted a young man named Ganymede as he wanted him to be his cupbearer on Mount Olympus. However, with time, the hostile attitude towards pederasty kept increasing. For example, in Athens, during the fifth century, pederasty was an offense for which the punishment was death.
Education of Girls in Ancient Greece
Girls were given the bare minimum education in Greece. Most of the girls were usually trained by their mothers on running the house and nothing beyond that. The thinking about educating girls at that time is aptly reflected in a line of a play by Menander which says, “He who teaches his wife to read and write does not do any good. Rather he is supplying poison to a snake.” What it meant was that it was better not to educate girls. Without education, they would cause less trouble.
Even people of Athens, who were supposed to be more knowledgeable than other Greek communities had the same thought process. Although some elite girls of Athens were kept in isolation at the sanctuary of —Artemis at Brauron—on the coast of Attica, where they performed religious rites, it can’t be said that they received education in the real sense of the word. Not much information is available regarding the education of girls in Greece, but it seems that some of them learned reading by default.
Perhaps the poetess Sappho was the only proof of girls’ education in Greece. She lived from the seventh century B.C. to sixth century B.C. She is considered to be connected with a school for young women on the island of Lesbos. Sappho was said to be attracted to some of her students but it can’t be said that she ever expressed it to them.
Education System in Ancient Sparta
Sparta was one society that educated its girls. Much of the information about Sparta has come mainly through Plutarch. A Spartan boy would leave his parents at the age of six and go under a state education system whose prime objective was to instill discipline and obedience. This system of education in Greece had all the bad qualities of a Victorian boarding school. So it resulted in turning the boys into bullies. Then at the age of 12, they were sent to barrack-like places where they were trained to steal without being caught.
When the boys were 16 years of age, they entered a military police kind of force which was called krupteia and were made to live in a jungle in Messenia. They were expected to fend for themselves and at the same time frighten what was called the helot population. Sparta is believed to have been a very conservative and rigid society.
So, we can see how heavily education in Greece was biased toward boys. While the elite class could afford higher and better education, others had to make do with basic knowledge only.
Common Questions about Education in Greece
In ancient Greece , only boys were allowed to be educated in schools. Girls were trained in housekeeping skills by their mothers. Very few people could afford to send their boys to schools.
Rhetoric was an important part of Greek education system because boys needed the training to speak in political assemblies, courts, or informal drinking parties.
School education in Greece during ancient times consisted mainly of learning to read and write poetry, sports, and learning to play musical instruments.