What do we know about education in Ancient Sparta?
the Spartan educational system represents (along with Athenian) one of two main pedagogical systems created during an era of classical Greece, and which exerted impact on formation and development of all Ancient Greek pedagogics. The image of the Spartan boy who with firmness was suffering inhuman pain from the young fox hidden in the bosom (and the died, but not given out feelings) on an equal basis with image of the fearless tsar Leonid who fell with the soldiers in Thermopylae, but did not give up to the Persian conquerors forever will remain in memory as an example of courage and firmness of the Spartan - the ideal soldier - the defender Otechestva. And let Ancient Sparta did not give to Greece any philosopher, any historian cannot reproach the homeland of the famous Spartan legislator Lycurgus that her soldiers at least once showed the back to the enemy.
One of the most famous Ancient Greek historians and biographers who immortalized glory of Spartan education is the author well-known “ Comparative biographies “ Plutarch.
What represents life and education of Spartans? Educational process in Sparta, according to Plutarch, began with the birth of the child and, in fact, did not depend on will of the father, - “ it brought it in “ to a leskh “ the place where the senior members of a fila who examined the child sat. If it was strong and healthy, it was given to feed to the father, having allocated it at the same time one of nine land plots, but weak and ugly children threw in “ apoteta “ an abyss near Tayget “.
When the child was seven years old, he together with other children got to special group - “ to an agel “ where children lived and ate together, and were accustomed to play and spend time with each other. Chief “ agela “ there was the one who was more quick-witted than others and more courageous in gymnastic exercises that indicates the dominating influence of physical training before intellectually - esthetic. However, as Plutarch, " writes; they studied reading and the letter, but as necessary, their other education pursued one aim: to win against implicit obedience, endurance and science “.
Education of girls in Sparta, according to the general tendency of development of this country, differed from education of boys a little. Physical force and endurance of girls were on the first place, they were trained in mother of future citizens - soldiers. Girls did gymnastics on an equal basis with boys, practised in run, discus throw, even to fight. As they had to participate in religious celebrations, taught them to singing and dances.
With age education of young Spartans became surovy: they were given a crew cut by hair, accustomed to go barefoot and to play together, as a rule, without clothes. They did not take heat baths and did not umashchatsya by aromas (except for several days in a year). All of them slept together on the beds made of the reed collected by own hands without the aid of a knife.
At this age to young men “ still other tutor, " was put; pedony “ from among the best, most worthy citizens, they chose from each agela always the cleverest and courageous in so-called “ Irena “ “. “ Irenami “ those who were more than a year above children`s age were called. Twenty-year-old led Iren over the subordinates in training battles and disposed of preparations for a lunch. Adult young men had to collect firewood, teenagers - vegetables. Everything that they brought, was stolen, Plutarch writes. “ One went for this purpose to gardens, others crept in a sessitiya, trying to show quite the cunning and care. Coming across without mercy beat with a lash as bad, awkward thief. If the case was represented, they stole also foods, and learned to attack on sleeping and bad watchmen. Who was caught in theft, that was beaten and forced to starve: the food of Spartans was very poor to force them to fight by own forces against deprivations and to make of them people courageous and cunning “.
As punished only those who came across, children tried as it is possible to hide the theft more carefully. Here is how Plutarch describes one such case: “... so, one of them, tell, stole a young fox and hid it at itself under a raincoat. The animal unstitched to him claws and teeth a stomach; but, without wishing to give itself, the boy fastened, did not die on the spot " yet;.
Before the end of training young Spartans had to pass one more test - it was so-called “ kriptiya “. The whole year the young man wandered on the mountains and dales, disappearing so that it could not be found, itself got to itself food, fell down a little and any hour was on the alert that nobody could track down and take him unawares. Having successfully left a kriptiya, the young Spartan could be allowed to participation in the joint meals of men accepted in Sparta - “ fitidiya “.
Except voyenno - physical training of young Spartans as future soldiers the considerable attention was paid to their moral development and ability to distinguish bad from good - as future citizens.
Young Spartans the thoughts caustically, but in a graceful form and in a few words - a lot of things accustomed to express. Forcing children to be silent long, them accustomed to give well-aimed, thoughtful answers: “ not knowing when to stop garrulity does conversation empty and silly “ - Plutarch notices about it.
In process of maturation and participation in military actions education of young people became not such strict any more - to them allowed to look after the hair, to decorate the weapon and a dress. Wearisome military exercises did excessive the gymnastics and other sports loading obligatory at earlier age.
Education of the Spartan did not stop with occurrence of majority and a ceremony of initiation, and continued to mature age. “ Nobody had the right to live as he wanted, on the contrary, the city resembled camp where strictly certain way of life and occupations which meant only the benefit of all was established. In general Spartans considered themselves belonging not to themselves personally, but to the fatherland “.
If to them it was not given other orders, Plutarch writes, they looked for children, taught them to something useful, or studied from old men. One of the main advantages provided by the Spartan legislator Lycurgus to the fellow citizens, according to Plutarch, consisted that at them was a lot of free time: “ it was strictly forbidden to be engaged in crafts in it, to save wealth that is accompanied by the mass of work and cares, no need existed it: already nobody envied wealth and paid to it attention. (...) Together with money, - Plutarch writes, - also any lawsuits disappeared in Sparta, of course. To neither self-interest, nor poverty there was more place, instead of them equal distribution of prosperity was, simplicity of life had the consequence carelessness. Dances, feasts, lunches, gymnastics, talk in people`s assemblies absorbed all their time when they were not in a campaign “.
Those who were not thirty more years old did not even go marketing; products were bought by their relatives and friends. Spartans spent big part of time in gimnasiya and “ leskha “ where they gathered for conversations with each other. “ Neither about monetary, nor about trade affairs there was never a speech, - the praise to a good act and censure - bad was the main subject of their conversation; but also it was given a playful, cheerful shape and, without offending anybody, served to correction of others and edified them “.
The main lines of education and life of Spartans according to Plutarch are that.]