The Major Values Of Classical Greek Culture And How They Impacted On Concepts Of Childhood

940 words - 4 pages

Outline some of the major values of classical Greek culture and indicate how you think they impacted on concepts of childhood.

In this assignment I delve into classical Greek culture, the day to day activities, schooling, extra-curricular activities and general behavior of all classes regarding treatment, education and raising of children, in the context of how they then, And how they now have impacted on modern and past concepts of childhood.

In this assignment I will pay particular attention to the Spartan, Athenians and the Hebrew methods and values taken from ‘The Rise and Fall of Childhood’ by John Somerville (1982).

In the past education was a very uncertain thing. People ...view middle of the document...

Due to the records left regarding attitudes towards children which gave an easier understanding of their cultural heritage this distinctiveness falls to the Greeks and the Hebrews. In particular, Spartan child rearing principles. Various philosophers including Plato and Rousseau have cited it as an example of success of a hard line with children.

Strength and loyalty were both huge factors in Greek culture at this time.
Spartan customs had a lot to do with military preparedness and unthinking obedience to the state. (pg24, ch.2). Both boys and girls were trained with specific future roles in mind, boys that of a trained soldier and girls to be mothers of soldiers. During the 6th century the Spartan system was in its classic form. The sole goal of Spartan training was to develop boys from an early age as part of a military machine. It was no longer about individual effort but that of a group effort.

This molding began from a very early age. Spartan elders inspected every free born child at birth, to decide whether it would be allowed to live, whether it was worth it. This showed the states desire for perfection, strength and unity. The ‘successful’ children who passed this test were placed under the care of nurses until aged 7. No time was wasted and immediately these nurses began making Spartans of the infants. They were taught not to be afraid of the dark, or of being alone, to eat any type of food presented to them and not to cry. From the very beginning the children were not being allowed think as an individual but to learn from imitation. Infants were not allowed act naturally as infants, as they had to become a use to the state. Other Greeks remarked on how these infants were not swaddled as much inspiration had been taken from Egyptian culture...

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