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.
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.
Daily life in Ancient Greece is presented vividly in the live experience ‘Who killed Callimachos?’ one of the best things to do in Athens.