What Was Education in Ancient Greece Like?

Education in ancient Greece was an essential aspect of life. It was believed that education was necessary to create a well-rounded individual who could contribute to society. In this article, we will explore what education was like in ancient Greece and how it has influenced modern education.

Ancient Greek Education System

The ancient Greek education system consisted of three parts: elementary education, secondary education, and higher education. Elementary education was provided in the form of “grammata” or letters. It taught the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic to children between the ages of 7 and 14.

Secondary education focused on physical training and music. Boys were taught wrestling, running, and other sports to develop their physical abilities. They also learned how to play various musical instruments such as the lyre.

Higher education was only available to boys who could afford it. They were taught rhetoric, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and other subjects by famous philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.

Role of Teachers

Teachers played a vital role in ancient Greek education. They were highly respected members of society and were responsible for shaping young minds. Teachers were expected not only to impart knowledge but also to instill values such as respect for authority and love for one’s country.

Role of Students

Students were expected to be obedient and respectful towards their teachers. They were required to memorize lengthy texts from famous philosophers such as Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey. Students also had to participate in debates where they would argue on various topics ranging from politics to ethics.

The Impact of Ancient Greek Education on Modern Education

The ancient Greek education system has had a significant impact on modern education systems worldwide. The focus on physical training has led to the inclusion of sports in school curriculums globally. The emphasis on critical thinking skills has led to the development of various educational philosophies such as the Montessori system.

The use of debates as a teaching tool has also influenced modern education systems. Debates are commonly used in schools and universities worldwide to teach critical thinking, public speaking, and argumentation skills.


In conclusion, ancient Greek education was focused on creating well-rounded individuals who could contribute to society. Teachers played a vital role in shaping young minds, and students were expected to be obedient and respectful. The ancient Greek education system has had a profound impact on modern education systems worldwide, with its emphasis on physical training, critical thinking, and debates.