Popular Science Monthly/Volume 53/October 1898/Young Greek Boys and Old Greek Schools
|YOUNG GREEK BOYS AND OLD GREEK SCHOOLS.|
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, the evidence of the classic authors, and the researches of the archæologists are the sole means of enlightenment. Naturally enough, the most desirable information, the common everyday facts, are difficult to obtain.
A training of the youth, at one time military in its nature and very similar to the German system, was required of the grown-up youth or ephebi. These requirements were hung up in bronze or carved in stone to be read by the Greeks, not yet favored with the printing press. These announcements were continued even after the compulsory military service had been discarded and other studies had taken their place. These enactments, together with the Parthenon frieze procession, furnish us almost our only information of the Greek college system proper.
Plato and Aristotle, in their ideal "states," have given us some knowledge of a reliable nature; though we can not depend on them any more than we could twenty centuries hence on Bellamy's Looking Backward as a mirror of nineteenth-century life. In his Protagoras, however, Plato's account of the Greek boy's training is both clear and practical. The comic poets furnish us more valuable information, though party spirit and satire oftentimes make the "find" doubtful. Herodotus, Xenophon, and Pausanias yield by far the most valuable intelligence that we derive from written evidence.
The vase paintings, gems, urns, and temple friezes which the excavator of to-day is continually bringing to light in great numbers are a most sure and interesting source of information. Athens Sparta, Mycenae, the islands of the Greek seas, and even Italy have produced many a powerful witness from their buried past.
As the education of a child begins with the very first admonition in its infancy and ends only with the grave, a few hints about the Grecian baby may not be amiss. On the fifth or seventh day the infant went through the ceremony of purification. This was called the "run-around day," because at that time the child was carried several times around the burning altar. The family on this day enjoyed a festive meal; the doors were decorated with wool for a girl and with a crown of olive for a boy. On the tenth day the young hopeful was named; a sacrifice was made, and another feast was held. At this time the infant was given presents of metal and clay, and the mother received painted vases from relatives and friends. The classic baby was not unlike that little monarch of to-day—the joy and the terror of his subjects. The mother's love was as great and the helpless innocence of the child as powerful then as now. The scene in the sixth book of the Iliad, where Hector's infant screams with fright at the fluttering plume on his father's helmet, and the hero lays it on the ground to embrace the boy; and the affection and motherly anxiety of the Lament of Andromache, have touched the sympathy of the centuries. In Herodotus's story of the infant Cypselus, the baby's smile turns the hired assassins from murder to pity, and destroys their courage till, passing him on from man to man, they leave the child unharmed. Euripides represents Iphigenia bringing her infant brother Orestes to plead for her, though she is already doomed to the sacrifice, a more powerful appeal to the feelings than the most studied eloquence.
Whooping-cough, measles, scarlatina, and mumps are not spoken of, but that other modern necessity—sleeplessness, walking the night with child in arms—had reached a high degree of cultivation. The Grecian husband, lord of his household, relegated crying child and martyred mother to a separate sleeping room, while he slept "far from the madding crowd." The unpractical old bachelor Plato, in his ideal Republic, urges that two or three stout nurses should always be in readiness to carry about infants, because they gain so much spirit and endurance by this treatment.
The antique cradle was a flat swing of basket work, as seen in a British Museum terra-cotta relief, in which the infant Bacchus is being carried. Another kind of cradle, in the form of a shoe, also made of basket work, was provided with handles, allowing it to be carried or suspended by ropes and rocked. In the opening scene of Theocritus's Little Hercules, Alcmena uses the bronze shield of the slain Pterelaus as a cradle for the infant hero and his brother; and as she rocks the mighty arm she sings the little lullaby so charmingly paraphrased by Tennyson in the cradle song in The Princess. Nurses and governesses of native birth were often employed by the rich. The highest tone, however, had created a demand for the Spartan nurse, her treatment insuring the child the greatest physical endurance. Archytas, the philosopher, has received deserved praise as the inventor of the rattle, which has saved so much in fret and furniture.
The exposure of children to inclement weather, cold, and fatigue was as strongly advocated by the ancient pure-air enthusiast as by the modern theorist, and generally led to the same result—the destruction of the weak and sickly. Yet this outcome was not at all unpopular, especially at Sparta, where physical vigor, not intellectual prestige, was required. The custom of exposing sickly or deformed children to the wild beasts on the mountains was practiced throughout Greece, and advocated by the greatest moralists. Though the horror of the practice can hardly be reconciled to our Christian training, there is a justification, or rather explanation, all powerful, when judged by the standards of long ago. The father had absolute power of life and death over the child. The state could only in extreme cases interfere with the disposal of the children, and then only when its interests were impaired. A strong state with mighty warriors was a more effective argument than a sickly family. Then, too, the lack of commercial pursuits among the upper-class Greeks made their seeming cruelty only prudence or at the most selfishness. Socrates, comparing the feelings of his pupils, when reasoned out of their darling errors, to the anger of the young mother when her firstborn is torn from her, furnishes almost the only adverse mention of this practice.
The time at which children shall begin school was as perplexing a question to the ancients as to us. Some educators argued that the child's introduction to books should not begin before the seventh year; the really vital point that some are too young at seven while others are too old was, as now, skillfully lost sight of. Hence the carelessness and indulgence of parents often left an unoccupied period between infancy and school days, which the boy or girl employed in sports—those unconscious educators of the young. There is hardly any modern sport that was not in vogue in ancient Greece. Hopping on one foot, top-splitting, ball playing (both with football and some systematic game with small ball), playing at king, taking prisoners, and catching the knuckle bones of animals on the back of the hand—our jackstones—busied the younger boys and girls. A game is described exactly like the modern Canadian game of "lacrosse." The real, wide-awake boy, however, indulged in beetle-flying, by means of a long thread tied to its tail, sometimes varying the sport by attaching a lighted wax taper—a game still practiced in the country and frequently the cause of extensive fires. This last game might be compared to young America's harmless amusement of tying lighted firecrackers to a kitten's tail. Throwing dice was a favorite pastime with the young as well as with the old. The best throw—three sixes—was called the "Venus" throw; the lowest—three ones—the "dog" or "wine" throw; this last throw evidently meant liquid refreshment for the company. Among the false dice in the Royal Museum at Berlin there are a number "loaded," and some on which the four occurs twice. The Italian game of morra was known to the ancients. The two players, opening their clinched hands with lightning speed, cried out the number of fingers instantaneously. From vase painting and written evidence we have conclusive proof that cock-fighting was indulged in by old and young. Themistocles, after the victory over the Persians, made provision for annual festivities of this sort. The birds were fed on garlic, before their fights, to increase their fierceness. Metal spurs were used, and wagers made on the result, the same as in our refined nineteenth century.
The extraordinary care that the Grecian boy received in his formative years made his moral training more effective than that inculcated by the most careful of modern parents. His general education, coupled with skillful and continuous physical instruction, produced a moral cultivation very similar and fully as strict as that the Christian father deems necessary for his daughters. A pedagogue, generally an old and trusted slave, led the boys to school and called for them after it closed, carried the books, looked out for the little boys, kept the older ones from fighting and falling into bad company, and had a general oversight of their conduct and street form. He was by no means a schoolmaster or even a private tutor, not even being allowed to enter the schoolroom. Oftentimes ignorant in the extreme, he was chosen simply because of his loyalty to the family, and sometimes, I fear, because he was unfit for any other occupation. Though the butt of the boys' ridicule, and bitterly assailed by the comic poets and low wits of the day, he did an incalculable service in preventing vicious companionships and keeping pure the minds of those intrusted to his charge.
The child was never sent off to boarding school, but boys attended the day school; town life prevailed; besides, that sentiment that zealously guarded the boy's purity with a pedagogue from his sixth to his sixteenth year could brook no intermission of personal oversight. Education was essentially private, the state having jurisdiction simply over the moral and not the professional standing of the teacher. Though the Greek as well as the Roman school opened very early in the morning, there appears to have been an afternoon session. By a law of Solon, the schools were not allowed to open before sunrise or to hold their sessions after sunset. A state fine refused admission to all except teacher and pupils; the false display of the unpractical public examination day was thus avoided. Outside of music and athletics there were no competitive examinations. The classical schoolman refused promotion for lifeless knowledge, and with keen insight into the real essentials of education demanded a living grasp of the subject. Every respectable town had its school. The large cities furnished their schools with all the necessities and many of the ornaments. The poorer towns often held their recitations in the open air, and when the hot weather came on took advantage of the colonnades and shade of public buildings. A similar custom at the celebrated Winchester school in England gave rise to the "cloister term."
There was always an altar to the Muses, the goddesses of learning, or busts of Mercury and various heroes, philosophers, and patriots as reminders to the boys. The master sat on a high seat; the boys sometimes on steplike benches, but usually on the ground round about him. The schools, except in occasional cases, do not seem to have been crowded. No furniture, as desks or tables, were used, such things being unknown in the country. The universal Eastern custom prevailed, while reading or writing, the book or roll of parchment was held on the knee. Water was kept for the thirsty boys. There seems to have been but one master—seldom any assistant—who, like the old pedant in The Deserted Village, was supposed to know everything.
In the lower schools, the "spare the rod, spoil the child" doctrine was a Median article of faith. Flogging seems to have been popular, or at least in great demand, in both Greek and Roman schools; even the learned Horace, in his epistles, says, "Well do I remember what Orbilius, good at flogging, told me when I was a little boy." In many late writers the severities of the schoolmasters are noted. In one of the Pompeian pictures is represented a schoolmaster flogging a boy held upon the shoulders of a second boy, while a third holds the victim by the heels. Though the ferule seems to have been the favorite instrument of castigation in the Roman school, Lucian and Plutarch have noted the use of the sandal in both domestic and scholastic corporeal correction. The sounds of woe prevalent in satirical pieces prove that Stoicism did not prevail among the whining schoolboys, though there is no reason to suppose that the penalties were any more severe than ours of two decades ago.
To the common-school education in the most brilliant age of Athenian glory—the time of Pericles—there were but three departments; no language course, as all barbarians were supposed to learn Greek, and no true Grecian would degrade himself by studying a foreign tongue. The so-called exact sciences had not yet obtained recognition. The three R's were letters, including reading, writing, counting, and learning of the poets; music, including singing and playing on the lyre; and gymnastics, which included dancing.
Probably at home or before the child knew its letters it was taught to repeat verses from the poets. The analytical mode of teaching the alphabet, by which a word is made to represent an object and then is resolved into its component letters, was not used. The individual letters were learned, and then put together to form syllables and words, called "syllableizing." To add interest, Callias wrote his so-called "grammatical tragedy" or poetical ABC book. Each one of the letters spoke in the prologue, while the chorus combined vowels and consonants into words. With a touch of humor, it seems to me, this old versifier has made the consonants, without sound, represent the male characters; but the vowels, which furnish sound for themselves and all the other letters, and are said to do much more talking, take the female parts. Remnants, discovered only a decade ago, prove the use of pictorial illustrations to teach young children. The subject chosen is, as usual, taken from Homer. One fragment represents the priest Chryses praying the king Agamemnon to ransom his daughter. Under the king, priest, and wagon-load of ransom we read the words "Agamemnon," "Chryses," "the Ransom." Not only correct pronunciation, but well-balanced intonation and rhythm, were demanded by the Greek ear. Reading aloud and learning the poets were great aids to this end. The children, and those who were older, were taught to recite verses from that—to them—inspired Greek Bible, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. The Greek required his son to memorize the great masters' poems, not only as an intellectual acquirement, but as an incentive to holy living; and so thorough was the training that Niceratus can say in Xenophon's Banquet, "Even now I could recite the whole Iliad and Odyssey." Both of these books, some eight hundred and fifty pages of close modern type, are claimed to have been handed down by sheer memory from father to son. Though such cultivation seems miraculous to us, whose memory powers have been weakened by writing and the printing press, a striking example of its probability is seen in the story circulated about the romantic marriage of the rich German merchant, the renowned Dr. Schliemann. The doctor once said, report has it, before a party of Athenians, that he would marry the first woman who could recite the Odyssey. One day a fair Greek girl appeared before him, unintroduced, asked if the promise was true, recited her Homer, secured her home, and a wife's share of one million dollars.
Writing in ancient Greece was not for a long time considered a very important essential to the average man; probably being deemed servile, as the business writing was almost entirely confined to foreigners and slaves. In time, however, it came to be considered an ornament for the rich and people of leisure, though even the great orators and scholars employed private secretaries on almost every possible occasion. We must not think of the Greek boy as using pencil and slate or even pen and paper. The first companion of the schoolboy in his writing was the wax tablet—a thin, oblong board covered with wax; sometimes a single piece like our slate, and sometimes double, like the book slate of to-day. When two tablets were joined in this way they were provided with raised edges, to prevent the waxed surfaces from sticking together. The stylus was used to write upon the wax; it was a sharp-pointed instrument of metal or ivory, in shape much like our pencil, but with rounded end; the point cut through the wax, and the blunt end was used to erase and rub the wax smooth for future service; so this combination lacked none of the advantages of the slate and pencil. The master wrote words for the boys to copy, and often held beginners' hands; the letters were sometimes cut deep in the wax, so that the boy could easily trace them with his stylus. A set of wax tablets with verses from Menander, evidently the furnishing of a schoolmaster, has been found in a grave in Egypt. One of these tablets has the approval "Diligent."
Though the tablet was cheaper and more common in daily life, both papyrus bark and the hides of animals (parchment) were used. Herodotus mentions the use of paper made of the bark of the Egyptian papyrus plant called "Biblos," our Bible, which not only means, from its Greek use, "the Book," but farther back in its history is the name of this papyrus plant. The stalk, about three feet long, was cut lengthwise, and the different layers of bark, generally about twenty in number, were carefully severed with a pin and afterward plaited crosswise, pressed, and perforated with limewater till the required consistence was obtained. The finest paper was obtained from the innermost layer; the outer layer was used in making rope. The use of the hides of goats and sheep was fully as ancient, and differed from the papyrus in allowing writing on both sides, while the bark paper allowed it only on one side.
Pens of split and pointed reeds with black and red inks were used on the papers. Quintilian prefers the tablet and stylus, and objects to the pen and paper, as the frequent dipping into the ink tends to distract continuous thought—apparently a queer objection, but our greatest American essayist. Holmes, in his Over the Teacups, makes the same comparison between the steel pen and the stylographic: "And here let me pay the tribute which I owe to one of the humblest but most serviceable of my assistants, especially in poetical composition. Nothing seems more prosaic than the stylographic pen. It deprives the handwriting of its beauty and to some extent of its individual character. . . . But abuse it as much as you choose, there is nothing like it for the poet, for the imaginative writer. Many a fine flow of thought has been checked, perhaps arrested, by the ill behavior of a goose quill. Many an idea has escaped while the author was dipping his pen in the inkstand. But with the stylographic pen, in the hands of one who knows how to care for it and how to use it, unbroken rhythms and harmonious cadences are the natural products of the unimpeded flow of the fluid which is the vehicle of the author's thoughts and fancies. . . . Its movement over the paper is like the flight of a swallow, while the quill pen and the steel pen and the gold pen are all taking short, laborious journeys, and stopping to drink every few minutes."
The ancient book was made of parchment; sometimes attached to a wooden roller, but more often a simple roll, whence our word volume, the rolled or revolved thing. The title was a small tag attached to the roller or to the parchment itself. The volumes were kept in a round box which the pedagogue carried for the boy. This arrangement of the rolls in round boxes is still preserved in the Vatican Library at Rome.
The schoolboy's arithmetic consisted of the science of abstract numbers—regarded as especially difficult and seldom acquired by the ordinary man—and the art of reckoning, common to the pursuits of everyday life. The Athenians, who had obtained a wide reputation as bankers, must have acquired proficiency in the keeping of accounts. To the science of abstract numbers is due much of the architectural excellence of the Greek temples and public buildings, whose dimensions were based on some mathematical theory, and in at least one instance—the celebrated Temple of the Olympian Zeus—multiples of seven and five have been found to be the governing principle. The boy was taught to add, subtract, multiply, and divide; though the lack of our Arabic system of notation made the operation much more difficult than now. Mother Nature, here as everywhere, taught the first lesson. The pupil used his fingers in counting, and "counting by fives" came to be the fixed expression for all counting. The units were represented by the fingers, a bent or crooked finger having a fractional significance. Our old-fashioned word digits (fingers) is a telltale relic of this mode of reckoning. The time immemorial practice of counting by fives and multiples of five has survived to this day, and forms the basis of all calculation, pure and applied, and will maintain its sovereignty as long as mankind has fingers and toes.
The Greek boy made straight marks for numbers; at first five lines (|||||) meant five, and then two lines at an angle—the outline of the hand outstretched in counting that number (V); two of these angles with their vertices together (X) meant ten. The higher numbers, as the hundreds and thousands, were represented by the initial letter of the word, as in the Roman system of to-day. The abacus and pebbles were used as an aid in computations with large numbers. The abacus, so called from its resemblance to the marble slab at the top of the Doric pillar, was said to have been introduced by Pythagoras, but was probably of Egyptian origin. There were several forms of the abacus, but the kind most common in the Greek schools was, in principle, exactly like the counting-frame "John Chinaman" uses when he reckons up our laundry bill. There were several straight furrows set with pebbles, a row for each of the orders of units, tens, hundreds, and so on: at the left side of each furrow there was a special division where each pebble meant five of its respective order. Thus 5,839 on the abacus would be—
|Hun.||º||º º º||C.|
|Tens.||º º º||X.|
|Ones.||º||º º º º||Units.|
Numbers were often represented by the letters of the alphabet; the first ten characters stood for the numbers from one to ten; the eleventh character signified twenty; the twelfth, thirty, and so on; eleven was represented by the letters for ten and one. Thus—
1, 2, 5 in the Greek notation is a', β', ε'; but 125 is ρκέ, in which
Geometry, though advocated by the philosophers as good discipline for boys too young for philosophical and political studies, was not taught in the common schools, but became a favorite study of the university scholars. Over the door of Plato's lecture room was written, "Let none ignorant of geometry enter here." The absence of the great number of compulsory studies which the modern boy is forced to taste, but seldom till his university course is enabled to digest, is a marked and praiseworthy feature of ordinary Greek schooling.
The importance assigned to music and gymnastics forms the most noticeable contrast between old Hellenic training and ours. Music in its strict sense was practically synonymous with culture, and not only gave color but formed the basis of the educational theory. Real music does not cease with the song or the performance on the instrument, but wields its subtle though powerful influence in making our lives in harmony or at discord with pure thought and noble action. When we speak of the influence of music we think of it as a recreation, but a pastime, indeed, which affords harmless amusements, and brings boys within the refining influence of their sisters and young lady friends, seldom anything more. The Greek thinker held that music not only had a refining influence, but that continuous playing of warlike tunes really made men warlike, and that passionate and voluptuous music made men passionate and voluptuous. The Grecian father was as particular about the kind of music his boy heard as we are about what our sons read. There are as many Captain Kidds and Red-Handed Rangers in music as in literature. Yet it is not the words, but the air or complexion of the piece, that forms the objectionable feature. The compositions of certain authors in a sad vein always make us mournful, while the productions of other artists have a melancholy spirit that brings heart-satisfying consolation in the greatest grief. One composer makes us laugh with childlike joy; another makes us weep. One brings out the divine in our nature; another brings out the fiend. Beethoven ennobles and Offenbach degrades. Though some airs are moral and others are immoral, the different effects of different music upon the mind can not be told in words, and therein consists its very danger; no explanation can be made, no warning given. "Home, Sweet Home," with its simple yet soul-stirring melody, frees men from their baser selves, and often turns them from intended crime, while the Mexican and Hungarian band music, which has become so popular of late, has exactly the opposite effect. The Gypsy bands, which at home are employed almost solely in playing for the National Dance, begin with a calm and grave measure, which, by gradually accelerated movements and flourishes, added to suit the players, at last reaches an intoxicating pitch of deliriously exciting complexities. Such music drives men to the beer gardens, not to the churches. Plato, the Grecian Moses, would have held up his hands in holy horror.
The Greek public put music under state control, as the Chinese of to-day are said to do. Though Chinese music may not be to our taste, it is at least simple and free from those eccentric ornamentations that mean danger to the youthful mind. Why should America proscribe obscene literature and exempt immoral and degrading music? The lyre was the principal instrument of school use. It was originally formed by stretching from seven to ten strings across the hollow tortoise shells which may be found ready for use in any of the Grecian rivers. It was used not only in song accompaniments, but was of special value in the reciting of the poets, giving rhythm and correct balance to the metre, and by its changing tones interpreting variations of feeling.
But the gymnasium, in our sense, is the one great respect in which Greek education for the boy differs most from ours. The Greeks, as no other nation of antiquity, believed in physical training and continuous and complete bodily development. They held that gymnastics not only meant health with its attendant happiness, but that the absence of them made the coward and the loafer. The running race was of value not only because the Greeks attacked the enemy on the run, but because the consciousness of bodily strength gives a boldness of spirit and a clearness of intellect that make hardships endurable and loyalty supreme. Sparta made physical excellence paramount to all else; to her, strength of limb and elasticity of movement meant mighty warriors and national supremacy. At Athens physical and intellectual training were given equal attention, though brain was always superior to brawn. The national games at the great festivals, which crowned the victors with divine honors, kept religion and sports so intimately connected that obedience to the gods could not be separated from devotion to the state and duty to one's self.
Though American rush and push have made our country first in the contest of the nations, hurry may be the bane as well as the boon of our civilization. Bodily weakness and hereditary disease have followed in the wake of material wealth and intellectual vigor. Generations of overworked and unexercised men have left us the legacy of shattered nerves and enfeebled hearts; with characteristic vigor we press on till a little extra strain on this already overstrained system destroys the life that a little daily exercise might have saved for years of usefulness.
At the first school day the physical training in the palæstra, under special instructors, was begun, and never ceased till old age called a halt. The palæstra was for boys, and was purely a private enterprise, while the gymnasium was under state control and frequented by the youth and older men. No outsiders were allowed at either the boys' or men's gymnasium. Every day the boy was trained in one or more of the so-called "five exercises," which included leaping, running, throwing the discus, casting the spear, and wrestling. Bars of iron with knobs at the ends like our dumb-bells were used to aid in leaping. Before wrestling, the body was well rubbed with olive oil, to which sand was added to afford a good hold. A flesh-scraper removed the oil after the contest. Boxing, and boxing and wrestling combined, were deemed necessary only for the professional athlete, and were not taught to boys, as likely to disfigure their faces and create quarrels and ill will. Outside of Sparta we hear very little of outdoor sports, as hunting and riding, but probably owing to the fact that elsewhere Greek life was essentially "town life." Boys are always attended by overseers in their games, and seem never to have indulged in those sports in which they elect and obey their own leader and fight out their own battles. In all the schoolboy's physical training the motto was "Health, not display."
Unfortunately, the Greek schoolmaster, at least in the common schools, was neither held in high repute nor very well paid. The teacher's income depended on the number of pupils enrolled; though the tuition was probably due monthly, there was great irregularity in its payment. Demosthenes, in the noted case against his guardians, accuses them of letting his teachers go unpaid during the whole of his minority. Lucian, in his satires, describes kings as beggars or primary schoolmasters in the lower world. A comic writer is quoted as saying, "The man is either dead or teaching the alphabet." Orators and noted men accuse each other of having followed this profession. Horace's master Orbilius wrote an autobiography under the title of "The Man acquainted with Grief." The great university teachers, however, were held in high regard, and their pay was oftentimes enormous. Though Plato, the rich savant, worked for love, and gave his services to his pupils, the professor's chair in late Athenian glory often paid a twenty-thousand-dollar salary. Gorgias, the great rhetorician, is said to have received one hundred thousand dollars a year for his lectures. The philosophers did not believe in bartering their bread and salt for empty praise.
When Pericles, in his famous funeral oration, reminded his Athenian hearers that their city was a school of Greece, and that the indestructible monuments of their greatness, all over the world, would make their people the admiration not only of their generation but of all posterity, he unconsciously uttered words richer in prophecy than the oracle itself; for not only did Athens become the leader of Greece, first in literature, art, invention, and social progress, but for centuries she has led the nations of the world in all that civilization and cultivation deem greatest and best. The physical, intellectual, and moral superiority which the old Greek school could justly claim as its own, though but a few pages from the history of the nation's service to mankind, formed the basis of that university system which was not only the first in the world, but was gifted with philosophers of such power and artists of such renown that every branch of science and aesthetics, which we deem so much our own, is eagerly seeking for the mystic wand which will bring to view those arts, long lost, but not yet despaired of. The chemist searching and seeking with tireless experiment for the art of tempering copper; the economist spending time and intellect on the various monetary questions; the advocate of equal rights for equal sexes; the statesman studying trade policies and race problems; and the sculptor striving by his colored statues to get nearer Nature's self, are but working out again the problems whose solution constitutes the treasures of little Athens, queen of reason, arts, and letters, and whose influence on the civilization of the future is as yet unsearchable. The ivory palaces, bright with gold, have indeed fallen to decay, but frankincense and myrrh still exhale their everlasting perfume amid the beauteous ruins.