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General Facts about Childhood • In Greece during its fifth century fifty percent of the Greek population was under 15. • The quality of child’s life depended on the family’s social class and the child’s gender. • No matter which social class they belonged to boys and girls did play. • Some of the toys they played with are similar to toys that exist today (Examples: dolls, yo-yos, hoops, seesaws, swings, and dice). • Infanticide was practiced in ancient Greece in the form of exposure. This culturally acceptable abandonment usually resulted in death of the child. This occurred more commonly to female offspring. • Most of what we know about childhood in ancient Greek culture comes from depictions of children in paintings found on vases and other artistic renderings. • All children lived and were educated by their mothers in the women’s quarters of a house until around the age of seven.
Boys in Ancient Greece • Boys left their mother’s care at the age of 7or 8 to begin their education under the care of a “Pedagogue”. This servant was a male slave or servant who accompanied the boy to his many lessons taught by tutors or teachers, until the age 15. • Boys were instructed in reading and writing using a soft wax tablet with a stylus that would cut words into the wax on one end, while mistakes were rubbed off by a softer end. • An abacus, a calculator of counting beads, was used in the instruction of arithmetic. • Around the age of 13, boys also took music lessons, learning to play instruments such as the lyre. • Physical Education was also taught by a separate teacher as they got older. This teacher helped develop the boys’ bodies and health through exercise.
Girls in Ancient Greece • Girls were often looked upon as a disappointing burden and liability by their fathers. • Girls did not go to school. • Girls were educated by their mothers for a future in domesticity. This education was limited to cooking, cleaning, sewing/textile making, dancing, and child rearing. • A girl’s life was one of seclusion. They rarely left the home and when they did it was usually for religious rituals, private rituals such as marriage or funerals, and also ceremonies celebrating their own rites of passage.
Women in Ancient Greece • Women married around the age of fifteen, in an arrangement made by their father, to a man twice their age. • A bride did not meet her husband until the day of her wedding. Love rarely figured into marriage. • The main goal of every wife was to provide a male heir for her husband. • A woman’s duty was to maintain the household, care for the children and obey her husband. • Women had few rights. They did not vote and were considered inferior to men physically, intellectually, and morally. • Their lives were very secluded and they spend most of their lives at home. • The women’s quarters were usually in the back of the house or on the second story of the home where they could be more easily managed by the man of the house.
Adolescence and Adulthood of Men in Ancient Greece • Education for most boys ended around the age of 15. Only the most wealthy boys continued their education beyond this age. • A continued education would involve the father sending his son to study under a “sophist” who would tutor them in philosophy and debate. • Boys became men at the in their mid-teens in a ceremony where their hair, which had been grown long, would be cut, and dedicated to one of the gods. • At the age of 18 young men became citizens of Athens and would leave for military duty, during which time they would learn the art of war (including archery, javelin throwing, the use of heavy armor and weapons.) • After his military service, young men were free to return to civic life where their life’s direction depended on the wealth of their family. • Men married around the age of thirty.
Children of Shopkeepers and Farmers, and Slave Children • The son’s of artisans and shopkeeper in ancient Grecian times would become an apprentice to their fathers when they reached a certain age, and he taught his son the skills of his trade. • The sons of farmers would work in the fields and learned these skills under the tutelage of his father. • A slave child, would became a slave, like his or her parents and went to work as servants with their father or another family.
Citation/Credit • Riechers, Maggie. "Growing Up in Ancient Greece." Humanities July-Aug 24 (2003): 30-33. • Adare, Sierra. "Everyday Life in Ancient Greece." Greece: The People 1999: 6-9. • http://www.ancientlives.co.uk/photo_7391092.html • http://chechar.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/nordic-invasion-precedes-rise-of-classical-civilization-1/ • http://www.crystalinks.com/romeclothing.html • http://factsanddetails.com/world.php?itemid=2009&subcatid=367 • http://aelflaed.homemail.com.au/doco/yoyo.html • http://www.greekshops.com/newsletters_archive/May_2011/ • http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=400067&partId=1 • http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=459006 • http://fashion.freezer3.net/ancient-greece-fashion/ • http://espacomulherancestral.com/25/ancient-greece-lifestyle • http://vincentshairdesign.blogspot.com/2011/08/ancient-greek-beauty-secrets-revealed.html • http://wps.ablongman.com/long_powell_cm_7/212/54492/13950150.cw/content/index.html • http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/slavery_01.shtml • http://emperorcolinus.blogspot.com/