History : Jul-Aug 2019
poet Sappho, active on the island of Lesbos in the seventh to sixth centuries b.c., composed about 10,000 lines, 600 of which have survived. The young women who surrounded her have sometimes been understood as her pupils, as if she were a formal teacher. It is more likely, how- ever, that the group was a literary coterie rather than a formal school. Going Global Many of the principles of paideia have been handed down through time and incorporated into learning institutions, a process that was largely enabled by the spread of Christianity. The fifth-century Christian thinker St. Augustine argued for the continued study of classical texts and the importance of rhetoric in education. Augustine believed eloquence and argument could help win souls for the church. His inclu- sive approach shaped medieval and Renaissance learning, which in turn has hugely influenced modern ideas about education. Despite the gulf of time and values that separate the world of classical Athens from schools in the 21st cen- tury, these debates still influence the way people think about education in the United States, Eu- rope, and many other parts of the world today. running, throwing the quoit, and casting the dart, to the end that the fruit they conceived might, in strong and healthy bodies, take firmer root and find better growth.” Although it is broadly accepted that girls in Athens and other parts of the Greek world were denied access to the teachings offered to boys, it does not mean they received no education at all. Historians believe girls were taught litera- ture and math, as well as dancing and gymnas- tics. Even so, a lack of documentation on women’s lives in classical Greece makes it hard to assess what kind of educational ex- perience many had. Some artworks de- pict female stu- dents: a fifth- century b.c . kylix depicts one carrying a tablet and stylus. An- other shows a girl reading from a papyrus. Some women found ways to excel. The great lyric BRITISH MUSEUM/RMN-GRAND PALAIS TWO YOUNG GIRLS ARE TAUGHT TO DANCE BY AN INSTRUCTRESS ON THE RIGHT. SIXTH-CENTURY B.C . HYDRIA (WATER VESSEL). BRITISH MUSEUM, LONDON A WOMAN WASHING HER HAIR IN A DETAIL FROM A FOURTH- CENTURY B.C . KRATER DEA/ALBUM AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN RAQUEL LÓPEZ HAS WRITTEN EXTENSIVELY ON CLASSICAL GREECE AND TEACHES ANCIENT HISTORY AT THE UNED UNIVERSITY, MADRID, SPAIN.