What Were Teachers Called in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered what teachers were called in ancient times? Education has been valued for centuries, and the role of the teacher has evolved over time. Let’s take a look at what teachers were called in different cultures throughout history.

Ancient Egypt

In Ancient Egypt, teachers were known as “scribes.” Scribes were highly respected members of society who not only taught but also recorded important information and events. They passed down their knowledge of reading, writing, and mathematics to future generations.

Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, a teacher was called a “didaskalos.” This word literally translates to “teacher” or “instructor.”

Didaskalos were responsible for teaching subjects such as grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy. They played an important role in shaping the minds of young Greeks and preparing them for their future roles in society.


The Latin word for teacher is “magister,” which is where we get the modern-day word “master.” In ancient Rome, teachers were referred to as “ludimagistri” or “paedagogi.” Ludimagistri taught children up until the age of 12 while paedagogi were slaves who accompanied boys to school and ensured they behaved appropriately.


In ancient China, teachers were known as “shi” or “shifu.” The term shifu was used more commonly amongst apprentices or students learning a trade skill while shi referred to scholars and educators.

Education was highly valued in China with Confucianism playing a significant role in shaping education practices. Teachers held great respect in society due to their role in shaping young minds.


In India, teachers are referred to as “gurus.” The term guru translates to “teacher” or “guide.”

Gurus were highly respected and revered in society due to their role in imparting knowledge and guiding their students towards spiritual enlightenment. The relationship between a guru and student was seen as sacred.


Throughout history, teachers have held an important role in society. They have been referred to by different names and titles, but their purpose has remained the same – to educate and guide future generations. Today, teachers continue to inspire and shape the minds of young individuals, just as they have done for centuries.