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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/803

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EDUCATION IN ANCIENT EGYPT.

ment is: All animals—horses, lions, dogs, hawks—can be tamed, and a certain animal from Ethiopia can he taught to speak and sing; why can not a young scribe he tamed in like manner? But since men and animals are not exactly one and the same thing, the teachers also used "moral suasion," as we would say. The pupil is constantly pursued with moral precepts and good advice. He is continually admonished to be diligent and obedient, lest he be beaten, for "a boy's ears are situated on his back."

Another principle of Egyptian pedagogics was that the pupils should be but scantily fed. Three rolls and two mugs of beer must suffice for a day, and these the boy's mother brings him every day, and she certainly never forgot to add some slight gift for the teacher. When in the times of the new empire (1530 to 1000 B.C.) Egypt became a military nation, she needed trained officers to lead her troops. These officers were looked upon as officials, as scribes, and their official title was "army-scribes." They were educated in a special school attached to one of the departments, which one we do not know, nor do we know what special course of training they went through.

These schools were maintained by the government for its own purposes; but there was also a large number of theological schools connected with the various temples, and each temple trained up its priests in its own peculiar doctrines. These temple schools seem to have held in ancient Egypt much the same position that the various theological seminaries hold here. There are cases on record showing that young men first graduated from one of the department schools before entering the temple school, and this may have been the regular course.

The ancient Egyptians were acquainted with the sciences of medicine, astronomy, and mathematics, and were good practical engineers and miners. Medicine was, of course, in a very crude and primitive state, though the "Papyrus Ebers" shows some knowledge of anatomy and pathology. Astronomy had been somewhat further advanced. The ancient Egyptians had discovered the zodiac, grouped the stars in constellations, and had devised a means, although crude, of determining the position of the various stars in the heavens; but they seem not to have distinguished the stars from the planets. Their mathematical knowledge was extremely crude and primitive. They could add and subtract, but multiplication and division were very cumbersome, owing to the fact that they could multiply only by 3, and that division resolved itself into the problem of finding by what number the divisor must be multiplied in order to produce the dividend. Of fractions they only knew those whose numerator is 1, except the fraction 23. Geometry and mensuration were also practiced. In their surveys they based their operations on the right-angled triangle.