What Was the Education Like in Ancient Greece?

Education in Ancient Greece was highly valued and considered essential for both men and women. Education was not only about acquiring knowledge but also about developing a well-rounded personality and character. In this article, we will explore what education was like in Ancient Greece.

General Overview

In Ancient Greece, education was primarily a private matter. Wealthy families would hire tutors or send their children to schools where they would receive a broad range of education. Education was not compulsory and only the privileged few could afford it.

Subjects Taught

The subjects taught in Ancient Greece were divided into two categories – the trivium and the quadrivium. The trivium covered grammar, rhetoric, and logic while the quadrivium covered arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Physical education was also an important aspect of education that included activities such as wrestling, running, javelin throwing, discus throwing, and boxing.

Teaching Methods

The teaching methods used in Ancient Greece were quite different from modern-day teaching methods. The main focus of education was on discussion and debate rather than rote learning. Teachers encouraged students to ask questions and develop their own ideas based on their understanding of the subject matter.

Education for Boys

In Ancient Greece, boys received more formal education than girls did. Boys from wealthy families were sent to schools where they received a comprehensive education that included reading, writing, mathematics, literature, music, poetry, philosophy, history, politics, public speaking as well as physical training.

Schools for Boys

Boys’ schools were called “gymnasiums” which derived its name from “gymnazo” which means “to exercise naked”. Students attended these schools between the ages of 6-14 years old before being sent to study under a philosopher at around 16 years old.

Education for Girls

In Ancient Greece, education for girls was not considered as important as it was for boys. Girls were taught by their mothers or female slaves at home and were mainly trained to become good wives and mothers.

Subjects Taught to Girls

Girls were generally taught to read and write, basic arithmetic, weaving, spinning, and other household skills. They were also taught about religion, mythology, and music.


In conclusion, education played a crucial role in Ancient Greece society. It was considered a privilege of the wealthy class and only a few could afford it.

Education was not just about gaining knowledge but also about developing well-rounded personalities. Boys’ education was more formal than girls’ education but both genders received some form of education. The teaching methods used in Ancient Greece emphasized discussion and debate which is very different from modern-day teaching methods.