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youths, disdaining any other yoke than that of virtue, had to be supplied only with masters in valour, discretion, and justice, instead of masters in learning; (c) an example which Plato followed in his Laws.[1]

(a) The manner of their[2] teaching was to put questions to them of judgement of men and of actions; and if they condemned or praised this person or that act, they were required to give their reasons for what they said, and by this method they, at one and the same time, sharpened their understanding and learned the law. Astyages, in Xenophon, asks Cyrus to tell him about his last lesson.[3] “In our school,” he says, “there was a big boy who, having a small jacket, gave it to a schoolmate who was smaller than he, and took from him his jacket, which was larger. Our master having made me the judge of the disagreement, I decided that things should be left as they were, and that both boys seemed to be better provided for by this arrangement. Whereupon he pointed out to me that I had done wrong, for I had gone no further than to consider the suitableness, and justice ought before all else to have been satisfied, which demanded that no one should be constrained about what belonged to him.” And he says that he was flogged for this, just as we are in our village [schools] for forgetting the aorist of τύπτω. A schoolmaster of to-day[4] might harangue me at length in genere demonstrativo, before he could convince me that his system is equal to that one. They chose to shorten the way; and since learning, even when it is taken in a direct manner,[5] can teach us only discretion, loyalty, and resolution, they chose to put their children from the beginning in the midst of facts,[6] and to instruct them, not by hearsay, but by the test of action, shaping and moulding them vigorously, not by precepts and words alone, but chiefly by examples and works, to the end that knowledge should not be a thing lodged in the mind,[7] but its complexion and habit; that it should not be an acquisition, but

  1. Near the beginning.
  2. That is, the Persians’.
  3. See Cyropædeia, I, 3. It was the mother of Astyages who asked Cyrus the question.
  4. Mon regent.
  5. De droit fil.
  6. Au propre des effets.
  7. Afin que ce ne fut une science en leur ame.