Schools in Ancient Athens (boys only)

In 432 BC, when the ancient story in The Boy with Two Heads is set, the sons of citizens in Athens went to school almost every day, usually accompanied by a tutor or boy slave.

The schools seem to have been private, often in a complex of buildings where physical training also took place. 

There would usually have been many more boys
 training than in this picture*
The boys spent at least as much time at these gymnasiums or 'palaestrae' as they did at other lessons. Slacking or cheating was punished with a whip or a stick.

There the boys took part in:

-  Fitness training and practice for long jump, discus, javelin, and running, often to music. 

-  Weapons practice with wooden or blunted weapons

-  Hand to hand fighting of various kinds, including boxing, wrestling and the pankration.

Their other lessons would include:

from an Attic red figure kylix signed by Douris,
about 480 BC**
-  Reading
-  Writing
-  Mathematics
-  Music (double flutes and lyres)
-  Debating
-  Poetry (stories were learned by heart and usually told in verse, like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey).

They used wooden tablets coated in wax for writing on with a stylus. 

I have found no mention of formal training at school for drawing or painting, in spite of so many of the walls, floors, crockery pieces, weapons and other artefacts being highly decorated.

* from Leon & Melite: Daily life in ancient Athens, published by the N P Goulandris Foundation.
** in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California.

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