Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/833

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YOUNG GREEK BOYS AND OLD GREEK SCHOOLS.

YOUNG GREEK BOYS AND OLD GREEK SCHOOLS.
By FREDERIC E. WHITAKER, M. A.,

INSTRUCTOR OF GREEK AT BROWN UNIVERSITY.

FROM the little tot who cries for the moon to the Edisons and the Huxleys, from the tattooed savage to the inventor of the wonder-working telegraph, all mankind lives to learn and to transmit its knowledge. New conditions permit improved and more ingenious methods, it is true. The Egyptian conjurer with his character written bark in pure water solution has given place to the learned physician with his thousands invested in brain and apparatus. Yet some provision has always been made for the rearing of the young. First, the mere satisfying of his wants; then a training in the arts of war; then the arts of peace, husbandry and agriculture; and at last the fine arts, oratory, painting, architecture, sculpture, and music.

Under the stimulus and guise of religion most of the humanities reached a high stage of perfection in the East; thence the torch of civilization and knowledge was borne to its empire in the West. The Indian, Persian, Phœnician, and Egyptian legacies in the course of time became the inheritance of Greece. How little Hellas improved the dowries of her elders the world can attest—her Demosthenes, the world orator; her Zeuxis and Apelles, the possessors of those lost arts of coloring; her Pheidias, the inimitable modeler; her Socrates, the logician of history; and her Homer, holding by conquest the imperial right to the kingdom of literature.

History is the story of the hits and misses of the world. The simple and early developments of education are much the same among all peoples. The problems that perplex us to-day were troublesome to the earlier civilizations, and, though the principles by which they solved them may seem to differ from ours, we are such slaves to educational aristocracies that anything that will help free us from the bonds of present jealousy and prejudice, though hoary with age, should be eagerly welcomed.

Egypt and Persia contributed most largely to Grecian learning. Egypt's portion, enriched by all the royal patronage of the Ptolemies and learned Pharaohs, came a polished gem ready for its rich setting. To the Nile-land more than to any other did this classic people owe the great debt. And yet hardly less was contributed from the Persian store—that old Asiatic education so uniquely described by Herodotus, "to shoot, to ride, and to tell the truth."

It may be interesting to know from what sources we derive our scanty knowledge of Greek schools and education. The inscriptions,