History of Education
by Levi Seeley
1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse










COPYRIGHT, 1899, 1904, BY


Entered at Stationers' Hall.



The importance of a knowledge of the history of education was never so fully recognized as at the present time. Normal schools and teachers' colleges give this subject a prominent place in their professional courses, superintendents require candidates for certificates to pass examination in it, and familiarity with it is an essential part of the equipment of every well-informed teacher. The history of education portrays the theories and methods of the past, warns of error and indicates established truth, shows difficulties surmounted, and encourages the teacher of to-day by examples of heroism and consecration on the part of educators whose labors for their fellow-men we discuss. To the teacher this study is a constant help in the schoolroom, the trials of which are met with the added strength and inspiration from contact with great teachers of the past.

No text-book can be said to contain the last word upon any subject. Least of all can such a claim be made for a history of education, which aims to trace the intellectual development of the human race and to indicate the means and processes of that evolution. Any individuals or factors materially contributing thereto deserve a place in educational history. As to which of these factors is the most important, that is a question of choice, upon which, doubtless, many will differ with the author. Some educators, whose claims to consideration are unquestioned, have been reluctantly omitted on account of the limitations of this work.

On the other hand, many teachers lack time for exhaustive study of such a subject. This book is designed to furnish all the material that can be reasonably demanded for any state, county, or city teacher's certificate. It also provides sufficient subject-matter for classes in normal schools and colleges and for reading circles. The material offered can be mastered in a half-year's class work, but, by using the references, a full year can be well employed. For those who desire to make a more extended study of particular topics, the author gives such authorities as years of careful research have shown to be most valuable. Every investigator knows the labor involved in finding suitable material. To spare the reader something of that labor, the literature is given at the beginning of each chapter. By following the collateral readings thus suggested, this book will be found suitable for the most advanced classes.

The plan of references embraces three features: (1) literature at the beginning of each chapter; (2) foot references to special citations; and (3) a general bibliography in the Appendix. In the first two, titles are sometimes abbreviated because of their frequent repetition. In case of doubt the reader should refer to the general bibliography, in which all the authorities cited are arranged alphabetically, with full titles.

To get the greatest value from this study, classes should be required to keep a notebook which should follow some uniform plan. I suggest the following as such outline: (1) historical and geographical; (2) home life; (3) physical, religious, and aesthetic education; (4) elementary and higher education; (5) summary of lessons taught; (6) educators: (a) life, (b) writings, (c) pedagogical teachings. Of course each teacher will modify this outline to suit his own ideals. Such notebook will be found to be of value not only in review, but also in fixing the subject-matter in the mind of the student.

It is generally conceded that the plan of an historical work should be based upon the evolution of civilization. In common with other recent writers on educational history, the author accepts the general plan of Karl Schmidt in his "Geschichte der Paedagogik," the most comprehensive work on this subject that has yet appeared. But the specific plan, which involves the most important and vital characteristics of this book, is the author's own. The details of this specific plan embrace a study of the history and environment, of the internal, social, political, and religious conditions of the people, without which there can be no accurate conception of their education.

Our civilization had its inception in that of ancient Egypt, and thence its logical development must be traced. If desirable the teacher can omit the chapters on China, India, Persia, and Israel. It will be found, however, that the lessons taught by these countries, though negative in character, are intensely interesting to students, and most instructive and impressive. These countries are also admirably illustrative of the plan employed in the book, and thereby prepare the way for later work. That plan is more fully set forth in the Introduction, a careful study of which is recommended to both teacher and student.

The author wishes to acknowledge his appreciation of the valuable assistance in the preparation of this volume rendered by Dr. Elias F. Carr of the New Jersey Normal School, and Professor W. J. Morrison of the Brooklyn Training School for Teachers.



I have taken advantage of the necessary reprinting of the book to make certain changes and additions, and to correct a few errors which were found to exist. An attempt has been made to note the recent changes that have taken place, especially in the French and English school systems.

L. S.


The continued and hearty reception which teachers are giving this book has led me to desire to make still further improvements in it. Accordingly, I have added brief sketches of the Sophists, Plutarch, Marcus Aurelius, Rollin, and Jacotot. The space available is all too limited to warrant such treatment as the subjects deserve. All that can be expected is that the reader may become interested and seek further information from special sources. An appendix is added in which the National Educational Association, the National Bureau of Education, the Quincy Movement, the Herbartian Movement, Child Study, Parents' Meetings, Manual Training, and Material Improvements in Schools are each given a brief consideration.

L. S.




1. Purpose of the history of education. 2. Plan of study. 3. The study of great educators. 4. Modern systems of education. 5. General outline.



1. Geography and history. 2. The home. 3. The elementary school. 4. Higher education. 5. Degrees. 6. Examinations. 7. Criticism of Chinese education. 8. Confucius.



1. Geography and history. 2. The caste system. 3. The home. 4. The elementary school. 5. Higher education. 6. Criticism of Hindu education. 7. Buddha.



1. Geography and history. 2. The home. 3. The State education. 4. Criticism of Persian education. 5. Zoroaster.



1. Geography and history. 2. The home. 3. The Jewish school. 4. Esteem for the teachers. 5. The Schools of the Rabbis. 6. Criticism of Jewish education. 7. The Talmud.



1. Geography and history. 2. The caste system. 3. The home. 4. Education. 5. Criticism of Egyptian education. 6. General summary of oriental education.



1. Geography and history. 2. Manners and customs. 3. The Olympian games.



1. Historical. 2. The difference in spirit between Athens and Sparta. 3. The home. 4. Education. 5. The Sophists. 6. Criticism of Athenian education.



1. Socrates,—life, method, death. 2. Plato,—life, his "Republic," scheme and aim of education. 3. Aristotle,—life, pedagogy, estimate of him.



1. Historical. 2. The home. 3. Education. 4. Criticism of Spartan education. 5. Lycurgus. 6. Pythagoras.



1. The Age of Augustus. 2. Geography and history. 3. The home. 4. Education,—elementary, secondary, higher. 5. Criticism of Roman education.



1. Cicero,—life, philosophy, pedagogy. 2. Seneca,—the teacher of Nero, great orator, writer, etc., pedagogical writings. 3. Quintilian,—his school, his "Institutes of Oratory," pedagogical principles. 4. Plutarch and Marcus Aurelius.



1. General view. 2. New principles introduced by Christianity. 3. Importance of the individual. 4. Obstacles which the early Christians had to meet. 5. Slow growth of Christian education.



1. Life and character. 2. Impression which Christ made. 3. His work as a teacher. 4. An example of pedagogical practice.



1. The period covered. 2. The connection of the Church with education. 3. The monasteries. 4. Influence of the crusades. 5. Of the Teutonic peoples.



1. The catechumen schools. 2. Chrysostom. 3. Basil the Great. 4. The catechetical schools. 5. Clement of Alexandria. 6. Origen.



1. General discussion. 2. Tertullian. 3. Saint Augustine. 4. Augustine's pedagogy.



1. Monasteries. 2. The Benedictines. 3. The seven liberal arts. 4. Summary of benefits conferred by the monasteries.



1. Its character. 2. Its influence. 3. Summary of its benefits.



1. History, character, and purpose. 2. Personal education. 3. General educational plans. 4. Summary of Charlemagne's work.



1. History and character. 2. Educational work.



1. Character of the knights. 2. Three periods into which their education was divided. 3. Education of women. 4. Criticism of feudal education.



1. Causes of the crusades. 2. The most important crusades. 3. Summary of their educational value.



1. What led to their establishment. 2. The most important early universities. 3. Their privileges. 4. Their influence.



1. History of Mohammedanism. 2. The five Moslem precepts. 3. Education. 4. What the Mohammedans accomplished for science. 5. General summary of education during the Middle Ages.



1. The great revival. 2. Principles proclaimed. 3. The movement in Italy. 4. In Germany. 5. Summary of the benefits of the Renaissance to education.



1. Revival of the classics their purpose. 2. Dante. 3. Petrarch. 4. Boccaccio. 5. Agricola. 6. Reuchlin. 7. Erasmus. 8. Pedagogy of Erasmus.



1. Conditions at the beginning of the sixteenth century. 2. The invention of printing. 3. The rulers of the leading countries. 4. Intellectual conditions. 5. Luther. 6. Luther's pedagogy. 7. Melanchthon.



1. Sturm. 2. The Gymnasium at Strasburg. 3. The celebrated course of study. 4. Trotzendorf. 5. Neander.



1. The order. 2. Loyola. 3. Growth of the society. 4. Jesuit education. 5. Use of emulation. 6. Estimate of their educational work. 7. Summary. 8. The Port Royalists.



1. Roger Ascham. 2. Double translating. 3. Rabelais. 4. First appearance of realism in instruction. 5. Montaigne. 6. Summary of progress during the sixteenth century.



1. Political and historical conditions. 2. The educational situation. 3. Compulsory education. 4. The Innovators.



1. Bacon. 2. The inductive method. 3. Ratke. 4. His pedagogy. 5. Comenius. 6. The "Orbis Pictus." 7. Summary of his work. 8. Milton. 9. Locke. 10. Fenelon. 11. His pedagogy. 12. La Salle and the brothers of the Christian schools. 13. Rollin. 14. Summary of the educational progress of the seventeenth century.



1. Pietism. 2. Francke. 3. The Institutions at Halle. 4. The training of teachers. 5. The Real-school.



1. The abolition of slavery. 2. The extension of political rights. 3. Science as an instrument of civilization. 4. Religious freedom.



1. Life. 2. Pedagogy. 3. The "Emile."



1. Life. 2. The Philanthropin. 3. Writings. 4. Jacotot.



1. Childhood. 2. Schooling. 3. Life purpose. 4. The Christian ministry. 5. The law. 6. Farming. 7. Marriage. 8. At Neuhof. 9. Authorship. 10. At Stanz. 11. At Burgdorf. 12. At Yverdon. 13. Summary of Pestalozzi's work.



1. Life. 2. As teacher. 3. His first school. 4. The kindergarten. 5. The "Education of Man."



1. Life. 2. Experience as a tutor. 3. As a university professor. 4. His practice school in the university. 5. Writings. 6. His pedagogical work. 7. Work of modern Herbartians.



1. Life. 2. Work as a statesman. 3. As an educator. 4. His Seventh Annual Report. 5. Love for the common schools.



1. Administration. 2. School attendance. 3. The schools. 4. Support of schools. 5. The teachers.



1. Administration. 2. School attendance. 3. The schools. 4. Support of schools. 5. The teachers.



1. Administration. 2. School attendance. 3. The schools. 4. Support of schools. 5. The teachers.



1. No national system. 2. State systems—Administration. 3. School attendance. 4. The schools. 5. Support of schools. 6. The teachers.



1. The National Educational Association. 2. The National Bureau of Education. 3. The Quincy Movement. 4. The Herbartian Movement. 5. Child Study. 6. Parents' Meetings. 7. Manual and Industrial Training. 8. Material Improvements.




The history of education begins with the childhood of the race, and traces its intellectual development step by step to the present time. As such history is academic in character, and furnishes information concerning the educational systems, methods, theories, and practices of the past, it should be placed early in the professional pedagogical course, to serve as the foundation for an improved educational science which profits by the experience of mankind. The history of education presents many of the great problems that have interested thoughtful men, shows how some of these have been solved, and points the way to the solution of others. It studies educational systems, selecting the good, and rejecting the bad, and introducing the student directly to the pedagogical questions that have influenced the world. For these reasons, the study of education should begin with its history.

Karl Schmidt says: "The history of the world is the history of the development of the human soul. The manner of this development is the same in the race as in the individual; the same law, because the same divine thought, rules in the individual, in a people, and in humanity. Humanity has, as the individual, its stages of progress, and it unfolds itself in them. The individual as a child is not a rational being; he becomes rational. The child has not yet the mastery over himself, but his environment is his master; he belongs not to himself, but to his surroundings. The oriental peoples are the child of humanity.... Classical antiquity represents the period of youth in the history of the world.... Christ is the type of perfected manhood. The history of the individual reflects and repeats the history of humanity, just as the history of humanity is a reflection of the history of the Cosmos, and the history of the Cosmos is an image of the life of God; all history, be it that of humanity or of the individual, of the starry heavens, or of the earth, is development of life toward God." "Where there is development, there is progress. Progress in history is only the more visible, audible, perceptible embodiment of God in humanity."[1]

In the study of the education of a people it is necessary first to become acquainted with their social, political, and religious life. To this end a knowledge of the geography and history of their country is often essential, because of the influence of climate, occupation, and environment, in shaping the character of a people. Examples of this influence are not wanting. The peculiar position of the Persians, surrounded on all sides by enemies, required a martial education as a preparation for defensive and offensive measures. Physical education was dominant among the Spartans, because of serfdom which involved the absolute control of the many by the few. No less striking are the effects of physical conditions upon all peoples in stimulating mental activity and in developing moral life, both of which processes are essential to true education. The intellectual product of the temperate zone differs from that of the torrid zone, the product of the country from that of the large city. For these reasons stress is here laid upon the geographical and historical conditions of the peoples considered.

For the same purpose we must study the home and the family, the foundations upon which the educational structure is built. The ancient Jew looked upon children as the gift of God, thereby teaching the great lesson of the divine mission of children and of the parents' responsibility for their welfare. This race has never neglected the home education, even when it became necessary to establish the school. The family was the nursery of education, and only when diversified duties made it no longer possible to train the children properly in the home was the school established. Even then the purpose of the school was but to give expression to demands which the home created. The spirit and purpose of the education of a people can be understood only when the discipline, the ideals, and the religion of the home are understood.

When we have learned the environment of a people, we are ready to study their elementary education. This takes us into the schoolroom, introduces us to the place where the school is held, indicates the course of study pursued, the discipline, methods of instruction, spirit and training of the teacher, as well as the results obtained. After this we are ready to consider the higher education, which completes the system and measures its efficiency.

Another task demanded of the student is to draw lessons from the educational systems studied, to note what can be applied to modern conditions, and to avoid the errors of the past. The product of a method, as shown in the character of the people pursuing it, is of great interest in estimating the value of a scheme of education.

Great movements have often been the outcome of the teachings of some individual who, inspired by a new idea, has consecrated his life to it. Through such men the world receives new and mighty impulses toward its enlightenment, civilization takes vast strides in its development, and man approaches nearer his final emancipation. Confucius, Socrates, Augustine, Charlemagne, Luther, Bacon, Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel, are names that suggest the uplifting of humanity and the betterment of the world. The study of the lives of these men, of their victories and their defeats, cannot fail to be an encouragement and a suggestive lesson to teachers of all lands and all times. The history of education must therefore consider the biographies of such men as well as their theories and their teachings.

Finally, modern systems of education are the outgrowth of the experiences of the past. They represent the results attained and indicate present educational conditions. Nothing can better summarize the total development reached, or better suggest lines of future progress than a comparative discussion of the leading school systems of the world. The last chapters of this book, therefore, are devoted to a study of the school systems of Germany, France, England, and America. These are typical, each being suggestive of certain phases of education, while one of them has largely influenced the education of several other countries. Each furnishes lessons valuable to the student of history. Although many practices in other countries may not be applicable to our conditions, the broad-minded, genuine patriot will not refuse to accept sound principles and good methods from whatever source derived.

It must not be forgotten that there is a vital distinction between Education and Schooling. Education takes into account all those forces which enter into the civilization and elevation of man, whether it be the home, the school, the state, the church, the influences of environment, or all these combined. It is a continuous process which begins at birth and ceases only at the end of life. By schooling we mean the educative process which is carried on during a limited period of the child's life under the guidance of teachers.

The school is a product of civilization. It became necessary because of the division of labor caused by the multiplication of the interests of mankind which made it impossible for the home to continue wholly to care for the training of its children. The history of education must not merely treat of the development of the school, but it must consider education in its broader meaning; that is, as a history of civilization. For this reason some of the great educators of the world who have not been school teachers, must receive consideration.


[1] "Geschichte der Paedagogik," Vol. I, pp. 1, 2.



Literature.Martin, The Chinese; Clarke, Ten Great Religions; Houghton, Women of the Orient; Doolittle, Social Life of the Chinese; Johonnot, Geographical Reader; Lord, Beacon Lights of History; Ballou, Due West and Footprints of Travel; Ploetz, Epitome of Universal History; Barnes, Studies in Education; Stoddard's Lectures; Pierre Leroy-Beaulieu, The Awakening of the East; McClure's Magazine, December, 1900, A Character Study of the Chinaman.

The civilization of the "Celestial Empire" is, with the possible exception of that of Egypt, the oldest in the world. And yet, it has contributed but little to the advancement of mankind. Their system of education has failed to stimulate national and individual progress, has fostered narrow egotism, and has excluded external suggestion. It is studied rather for its negative lessons, and therefore suggests practices which the student of education will do well to avoid. The result in China furnishes the best argument against a method of instruction that appeals solely to the memory. This alone is sufficient reason for a study of Chinese education, aside from its strange and unique characteristics which never fail to interest the reader.

Geography and History.—The Chinese Empire occupies a position on the eastern side of the Asiatic continent within about the same parallels of latitude as the United States, extending from twenty degrees latitude on the south to fifty-three degrees on the north. Its area is about four and a quarter million square miles, being somewhat larger than that of the United States. Its population is estimated at about six times that of our country. It has an abundance of rivers, intersected by numerous canals, which greatly facilitate internal commerce. Many parts of the country are densely populated. The people are largely engaged in agriculture. Tea and silk are the chief articles of export, while rice and millet form the principal food.

The Chinese belong to the Mongolian or yellow race. They are an industrious, frugal, and temperate people, though the opium habit is very general and is disastrous in its effects. Doubtless the overcrowded population, which has driven many to live in boats and in crowded apartments, has had much to do in molding the Chinese character. Until recently they have been slow to admit modern improvements and are conservative in the maintenance of their customs, religion, education, and social practices. Consequently they have for many centuries made but little progress. Their authentic history covers, according to extant records, a period of nearly four thousand years. The government is an absolute monarchy; the emperor is regarded as the father of all his people and has complete power over the lives of his subjects.

The Chinese language contains no alphabet; each symbol represents a different word; the substantives are indeclinable, and the verbs are without inflection. It thus becomes necessary in mastering the language to learn by rote a vast number of signs and characters,—a prodigious feat for the memory.

The religion most widespread among the Chinese is Buddhism (which was imported from India), though ancestor worship is still universal. Women are the principal worshipers, yet the Chinese believe that women have no souls. The belief in transmigration of souls is implicit, and this is used to keep woman in a most degraded condition. If a woman is obedient to her husband and his relatives, and is the mother of sons, she may hope to return to this world, in the future, as a man, and thus have a chance ultimately to reach Buddha's heaven. The belief in the transmigration of souls explains the vegetarian diet of the Buddhist. No zealous Buddhist will touch meat or even eggs, neither will he kill the smallest insect, lest he should thus inadvertently murder a relative.[2] The men care but little for any religion beyond a veneration for their ancestors.

Polygamy is very generally practiced, the limit to the number of wives being determined by the ability to support them. Women usually become more religious as they advance in years, and they spend much time in worshiping in the temples. It is they who preserve the national religion and make most difficult the work of missionaries.[3]

The Home.—The wife exists only for the comfort of her husband. It is her duty to serve and obey him. If she abuses her husband, she receives one hundred stripes; but abuse from him is not a punishable offense. Instruction, at home as well as at school, is confined to boys. The birth of a boy is indicated by hanging a bow and arrow over the door; that of a girl, by a spindle and yarn. In naming the number of his children, the father counts only the boys. Boys are clothed in the finest material the family can afford; girls, in rags. Parents may destroy their children, but only girls are ever sacrificed. The mother can seldom read and write, her chief duty being to instill into her children the two cardinal Chinese virtues—politeness and obedience. The relation of parents and children is the highest and purest representation of the relation between the Creator and the creature, and to venerate the parents is the first and holiest of all duties, higher than the love of wife to husband, higher than the reverence for the emperor; therefore the emperor's father cannot be his subject.

To the Chinaman all other duties are included in filial duties. The bringing up of the children is left almost entirely to the mother. The training begins very early, and greatest stress from the first is laid upon obedience. Disobedience is a crime punishable by the father with death.

There are no illustrated children's books, no nursery rhymes to inspire the imagination, none of the bright and useful things so necessary to a happy childhood. The child grows up with but few playthings calculated to stimulate the powers of the mind.

The Elementary School.—At about six or seven years of age the child enters school. Sometimes a few parents unite to employ a teacher for their children. The government has no concern for the qualifications of the teacher; no license to teach is required, there is no governmental inspection or control, nor does the State assume any part of the expense of the school. Attendance is not compulsory, and yet male education is so universal that scarcely a boy can be found who does not enjoy opportunities for education. Charity schools are furnished by the wealthy for those who cannot afford to contribute toward the maintenance of a school.

There are no public schoolhouses. The school is sometimes held in the temple, sometimes in the home of the schoolmaster, and sometimes in the home of a wealthy patron. The furniture of the schoolroom consists of an altar consecrated to Confucius and the god of knowledge, a desk and a chair for the teacher, and the pupils' desks and stools, provided by the children themselves. No effort is made to render the room attractive.

The child is admitted the first time with much ceremony in order that the day may be one of pleasant memories. He also receives a new name, the name of his babyhood being dropped. Indeed, a change of name accompanies each new epoch of his life, as the time he takes a new degree, the day of his marriage, etc. Thus the boy enters upon his new work. The first years of study are devoted to reading, writing, and the elements of arithmetic, which studies complete the education of the majority of the pupils. No effort is made to interest the child; he is simply required to memorize and write as many as possible of the fifty thousand characters. Not until after the names of the characters have been learned by rote is there any effort to teach the meaning of the words which they represent. The child's writing, too, is mechanical, for the expression of thought is but a secondary consideration. Thought awakening is not encouraged in the Chinese course of education. Fear, not interest, is the motive which drives the child to study. Memory is the chief faculty to be cultivated, and each child vies with the others to make the most noise in study.

The teacher is greatly revered, only less so than the father. His discipline is rigid, the rod not being spared. There are no new methods to learn; the practice to-day is the same as that of hundreds of years ago; it consists simply in hearing what the children have learned by heart.

The second stage of study consists of translations from text-books and lessons in composition. This work brings some pleasure to the child, as it is a little less mechanical. The third stage consists of belles-lettres and essay writing. Only a few ever reach this stage, and the purpose of this advanced work is not intellectual development, or even the accumulation of knowledge, but to prepare for a position under the government, which can be reached by no other means. Even in these last two stages of study memory is the principal faculty brought into play. Without great exercise of this power the vast amount of material can never be mastered.

Higher Education.—There are no high schools, but men who have taken degrees gather about them young students, who are to devote themselves to study, and give them instruction in the Chinese classics and prepare them for the State examinations for degrees. Great attention is paid to style, and in order to cultivate a good style, students are required to commit to memory many of the productions of their classical authors. They write a great many essays and verses, which are criticised by their teachers. The attention is confined solely to the Chinese classics. The educated Chinaman is usually ignorant of any field of knowledge not embraced in his own literature.

There is in the royal library at Pekin a catalogue consisting of one hundred and twelve octavo volumes of three hundred pages each, containing the titles of twelve thousand works, with short extracts of their contents. These works treat of science, medicine, astronomy, and philosophy, while history has an especially rich literature. The Chinese knew how to observe the heavens four thousand years ago, and yet were unable to construct a calendar without the help of the Europeans. They invented gunpowder, the mariner's compass, porcelain, bells, playing cards, and the art of printing long before they were used in Europe, yet they lacked the ability to use these inventions as instruments to their advancement.

China is divided into provinces which are subdivided into districts. Candidates must pass three examinations in their own district and those who are successful receive the lowest degree, that of "Budding Intellect." Many thousands enter for this degree, but only about one per cent succeed in attaining it. The possession of this degree does not yet entitle the holder to a public office, but most of those who have secured it become teachers, physicians, lawyers, etc. Once in three years there is another examination for the second degree, called "Deserving of Promotion," conducted by an examiner sent from Pekin. A third examination is also held once every three years, in Pekin, and success in this is rewarded by the title "Fit for Office." Holders of the last two degrees are entitled to an appointment to some office, the highest aim of a Chinaman. All of these examinations are conducted with great strictness and fairness, no one being excluded. Thus every Chinese child of ability has the opportunity to reach the highest positions in the country.

There is a still higher degree called the "Forest of Pencils," which is open only to members of the Royal Academy, the Hanlin. The acquirement of this degree is the greatest honor to be attained; its possessor is highly esteemed, and may hold the highest offices in the country.

In 1905 an edict was promulgated abolishing the old system of examinations. This marks an epoch in Chinese educational history and will tend to place China in the line of modern political and industrial development.

Criticism of Chinese Education.—1. It is not under government control.

2. It has no interest beyond the boundaries of China, and regards no literature save the Chinese classics.

3. It is non-progressive, having made practically no improvement for many centuries.

4. It cultivates memory to the neglect of the other powers of the mind, and places more emphasis on the acquirement of knowledge than on the development of the human faculties.

5. It obtains its results through fear, not by awakening interest in or love for study.

6. Women are not embraced in the scheme of education.

7. It produces a conservative, untruthful, cunning, and non-progressive people.

8. It reaches practically all of the male sex, and there is opportunity for all to rise to the highest positions of honor, but its methods are so unnatural as to awaken little desire for education on the part of the young.

9. Its motive is debasing to the character.

CONFUCIUS (B.C. 550-478)

The name of Confucius is the one most revered among the Chinese. To him and his disciples are due not only the native religion, now supplanted by Buddhism, but also the language and literature. He began to teach in a private school at the age of twenty-two. He rejected no pupil of ability and ambition, but accepted none without these qualities. He said, "When I have presented one corner of a subject, and the pupil cannot make out the other three, I do not repeat the lesson." The following are extracts from the analects of Confucius:—

1. What you do not like when done to yourself, do not to others.

2. Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

3. To see what is right and not do it is want of courage.

4. Worship as if the Deity were present.

5. Three friendships are advantageous: friendship with the upright, friendship with the sincere, and friendship with the man of observation. Three are injurious: friendship with a man of spurious airs, friendship with the insinuatingly soft, and friendship with the glib-tongued.

6. Shall I tell you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to confess your ignorance.


[2] Mrs. E. E. Baldwin, Foochow, China.

[3] Houghton, "Women of the Orient," p. 14.



Literature.Marshman, History of India; Ragozin, Vedic India; Spofford, Library of Historical Characters; Butler, Land of the Veda; Houghton, Women of the Orient; Clarke, Ten Great Religions; Johonnot, Geographical Reader; Macaulay, Essays; Ballou, Footprints of Travel; Stoddard's Lectures; Encyclopaedia Britannica; Arnold, Light of Asia; Chamberlain, Education in India.

Geography and History.—India lies between the sixth and thirty-sixth parallels of north latitude. It is bordered on the north by the Himalayas and on the south by the Indian ocean. The climate in general is hot, which makes the natives indolent and accounts for their lack of enterprise. The country is very rich, the chief products being wheat, cotton, rice, opium, and tea. The area is about one and a half million square miles, and the population two hundred millions.

The early history of India is obscure, as the Brahmans, from religious scruples, have ever been opposed to historical records. It is certain that there was an aboriginal race which occupied the country from an unknown period, and that a branch of the Aryan[4] or Indo-Germanic race came to India and struggled for supremacy. The Aryans succeeded in reducing the natives to subjection or in driving them into the mountains. The comparatively pure descendants of these races are about equal in number in India, their mixed progeny composing the great mass of the Hindu population. The Sanskrit was their classic language, and the Veda their Bible.

The Caste System.—There are four great castes in India:—

1. The Brahmans, or highest caste, who are the priests, scholars, lawyers, physicians, teachers, etc. This order is highly reverenced by the lower castes, and its members are dignified, abstemious, and sedate. Their highest ideal is to bring their desires and appetites under complete control. They exercise great influence in the land.[5]

2. The warriors, who comprise the army and the office holders.

3. The merchants, mechanics, and farmers, who constitute the bone and sinew of India.

4. The servants, who receive no education excepting in matters of politeness and other things connected with their station in life.

Each caste must pay respect to the higher castes, and association with persons of a lower caste is considered a degradation. The English government of India does not interfere with the caste system, but it is gradually breaking down.

Besides the above-mentioned castes, there are tradesmen's castes which have grown up as new occupations have been introduced. Thus there is a potters' caste, a weavers' caste, a carpenters' caste, etc., each son following his father's trade. This accounts for the marvelous skill of the craftsmen of India in weaving carpets and fine muslins, in metal work, and other arts,—workmanship not equaled anywhere else in the world.

Brahmanism and Mohammedanism are the chief religions. Buddhism overran the country in the fifth and sixth centuries B.C., but it did not seem to be suited to the Hindus, and now it is found in its purity only in Ceylon. Unlike the Chinese, the Hindus are a very religious people. The Shastas[6] declare that "when in the presence of her husband, a woman must keep her eyes upon her master, and be ready to receive his commands. When he speaks, she must be quiet and listen to nothing besides. When he calls, she must leave everything else and attend upon him alone. A woman's husband is her god, her priest, and her religion. The most excellent work that she can perform is to gratify him with the strictest obedience."[7] The system of sale of girls at birth, for wives, of early betrothal and marriage, of perpetual widowhood under most degrading circumstances,[8] and the practice of polygamy make the condition of woman in India still worse than in China.

The English now rule the country with such wisdom and justice that the people are generally contented and loyal. Reforms have been introduced, commerce has been established, improvements have been made, and new life has been awakened. They have also established schools and universities; but as the purpose here is to give a picture of the caste education, the English system will not be described.

The Home.—Woman has no educational advantages in India, and she is regarded more as the servant than as the equal of her husband. She may never appear uninvited in the presence of any man except her husband. This has worked great hardships for her, especially in cases of sickness, as she can have no medical attendance unless a female medical missionary can be reached. This fact has opened a fertile field for missionary enterprise which has been a great blessing to Hindu women.

A member of a caste may marry in his own or in a lower caste; thus the Brahman may have four wives, the warrior three, the farmer two, and the servant one.

Parents love their children, and expect of them unquestioning obedience. Children are taught to love and honor their teachers even more than their parents. They are taught to reverence and respect older persons under all circumstances. Contrary to the Chinese idea of education, which is to prepare for this life, the Hindu idea is to prepare for the future life, and children in the home, from their earliest years, are trained with reference to this idea.

The Elementary School.—All teachers belong to the Brahman caste. They receive no salary, depending upon gifts for their support. They are mild in discipline, and generally humane in their treatment of their pupils. The instruction is given under trees in the open air on pleasant days, and in a tent or shed when the weather is bad. Instruction is given in reading, writing, and arithmetic, though religion constitutes the principal theme. Memorizing the holy sayings of Brahma occupies a large portion of the time. While the Chinaman worships nature and his ancestors, the Hindu worships Brahma. The cultivation of the memory is considered important, but by no means so essential as in the Chinese system.

The reading lessons are from the Veda. In writing, the child begins by forming characters in sand with his finger or a stick, then he writes upon leaves, and finally upon paper, with ink. The work in arithmetic is very elementary, being only such as will fit the learners for practical life. Servants and girls are excluded from even this limited education.

M. Ida Dean says: "How amused you would be if you could take a peep at a school in India taught by a native teacher. The school is often held in an open shed, and no pains whatever is taken to keep it clean. Often the rafters are festooned with cobwebs and dirt. Of furniture, save the teacher's low desk, there is none. The teacher uses a grass mat, while the boys sit cross-legged on the earthen floor. The teacher, in a singsong voice, reads a sentence which the boys shout after him. Then another sentence is read, which the pupils likewise shout in a singsong voice, while their bodies sway to and fro. This goes on until sentence after sentence is memorized. No one knows nor cares what he is saying. The teacher never explains. Neither teacher nor pupil is ever bothered by that troublesome and inquisitive little word why."

The castes are taught separately, and especial attention is given to such instruction as will fit them for their station in life. The highest virtues to be cultivated are politeness, patience, modesty, and truthfulness. Morning, noon, and evening there are impressive religious ceremonies in the school, and the pupils must throw themselves at the feet of their teacher with reverential respect. There is no theory of education among the Hindus, each teacher instructing as he pleases, according to historic custom. This precludes any considerable improvement in method or advance in the art of education. There is no authority to decide upon qualifications of teachers, the only essential requisite being that they shall belong to the Brahman caste.

Higher Education.—The Brahmans are the only educated class, although warriors attend their schools for the purpose of such study as is necessary in connection with their calling. The farmer caste, too, may attend the Brahman schools to learn the studies pertaining to their caste. They pursue in their schools the study of grammar, mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, medicine, law, literature, and religion. Many of them still speak their classic language, the Sanskrit. As their religion is based on philosophy, this study takes precedence over all others.

"The Hindus are believed to have originated the decimal system of arithmetical notation which has been transmitted to us through Arabian channels."[9]

The end of Hindu wisdom is to rise above all human suffering through knowledge. Wuttke says, "Christians pray, 'Thy Kingdom come'; the Chinese, 'Thy Kingdom remain'; the Hindus, 'Let whatever thou hast created pass away.'"

Criticism of Hindu Education.—1. It is not universal, a large part of the people being excluded from its benefits.

2. It is based on castes and the promulgation of the caste system, which is baneful.

3. It depends too much upon the cultivation of the memory.

4. It has no philosophy of education, and, therefore, is non-progressive.

5. It does not properly honor woman, and excludes her from its advantages.

6. It produces a dreamy, self-satisfied, indolent, selfish, and non-progressive people.

7. It makes the people self-reflective, which doubtless accounts for their profound philosophical and mathematical discoveries.


Buddha lived in the first half of the sixth century B.C. He sought to overthrow Brahmanism and taught that all men are brothers, that they should show friendship, kindness, pity, and love toward their fellow-men. His religion and his spirit approach nearer to Christianity than any other oriental faith, and doubtless his influence was great for the uplifting of the race, though it cannot be classed as technically educational. "Self-denial, virtuous life, suppression of all self-seeking, love for fellow-men," said he, "are cardinal virtues which bring blessedness to mankind." T. W. Rhys Davids says, "Buddha did not abolish castes, as no castes existed at his time." Had the spirit of his teaching prevailed, India would never have been cursed by this baneful system. Buddhism is a religion based on moral acts. In a corrupted form it has many millions of adherents in China, Tibet, Japan, and other countries; but it is found in its purity only in Ceylon.


[4] The Aryans are supposed to have originally occupied the country east of the Caspian Sea, though some authorities locate them north of it. The branches of this race are the Hindus, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Teutons, and Slavs. These branches are related in language and color, and the peoples that find their common origin in the Aryans represent a large part of the world's enterprise and progress.

[5] See article in Johonnot's "Geographical Reader," p. 197.

[6] A commentary on the sacred book, the Veda of the Hindus.

[7] Houghton, "Women of the Orient," p. 34.

[8] A betrothed girl becomes a widow upon the death of her promised husband even though she be only two or three years old and may never have seen him. She must always remain a widow, and as such is constantly humiliated.

[9] Williams, "History of Modern Education."

[10] See North American Review, Vol. 171, p. 517.



Literature.Benjamin, Story of Persia; Ragozin, The Story of Media, Babylon, and Persia; Rawlinson, The Seventh Great Oriental Monarchy; Myers, Ancient History; Clarke, Ten Great Religions; Lord, Beacon Lights of History; Fergusson, History of Architecture.

Geography and History.—Persia lies in the pathway of the great caravans which formerly carried on trade between Europe and India. It consists largely of a high plateau, surrounded by mountains. Large parts of the country are sandy and dry from lack of sufficient rain, and therefore are unproductive. The people are a branch of the Aryan race. They doubtless lived a nomadic life, and were obliged to be ever ready to defend themselves. Success in defense against the frequent assaults of their surrounding enemies stimulated them to become a nation of warriors. This fact had much to do in shaping their education. Cyrus the Great conquered Media and brought Persia to the summit of her greatness. The Persians boasted that they had become great by the sword, hence they cared but little for agriculture or manufactures. They levied tribute upon the nations they had subdued. Home production was therefore unnecessary, and they could devote all of their time to the art of war. About one fourth of the population are still classed as wandering tribes, and the nation is an aggregation rather than a unity of peoples.

The early Persians worshiped fire, and holy fires which only the Magi, or priests, were allowed to approach, were kept perpetually burning upon the mountain tops. The sun also was worshiped, the Persian kneeling with his face toward the east at sunrise in beatific joy. This worship may have been borrowed from the Egyptians, who were conquered by the Persians, and with whom they stood in close relations. In later times the religion of Zoroaster became the religion of the people.

The Home.—Wife and children were required to show the father great respect. Each morning the wife was expected to ask her husband nine times, "What do you wish me to do?" The teacher stood next to the father in the child's esteem. The child was kept at home under the care of the mother until seven years of age. An astrologer gave him a name and outlined his future destiny by reference to the stars. It was forbidden to tell him the difference between right and wrong before his fifth year. No corporal punishment was administered before his seventh year. The mother was greatly beloved by her children, though women were excluded from education. The position of woman was much higher than in either China or India. The chief training of children in the home was physical. Throwing, running, archery, riding, etc., were the principal employments of children. Absolute truthfulness and justice were early inculcated. A quick eye, a steady hand, accurate power of observation, and unwavering courage were qualities sought for in every child, and all of the training in the home, as well as in the later education, had for its aim the acquirement of these powers. Thus children were early taught to be self-reliant and fearless.

The State Education.—1. Persian education was national in character. After the seventh year the boy was taken from home and educated entirely by and for the State.

His training in the use of arms, in riding, and in other athletic exercises was continued. There were large public institutions in which the boys were quartered, and simplest food and clothing were given them. Besides the training for war, they were taught religious proverbs and prayers, and were led to practice truth and justice. This education continued until their fifteenth year. The teachers were men who had passed their fiftieth year, and who were chosen for virtue as well as knowledge, that they might serve as models to their pupils.

2. The second period of education consisted of a military training, which occupied the ten years between the age of fifteen and twenty-five.

3. The final period was that of the soldier, which continued till the fiftieth year, when the Persian could retire from the army with honor. The most competent were retained as teachers.

Reading and writing were taught to a limited degree, but the chief end of education was to prepare the citizen for war. The Magi were educated in astronomy, astrology, and alchemy, and many of the dervishes have ever been renowned for their acuteness, sense of justice, great powers of observation, and good judgment.

Criticism of the Persian Education.—1. The State robs the family of its inherent right to educate the children.

2. It neglects intellectual education, giving undue prominence to the physical and moral; and demands too great a part of the active life of man.

3. It makes the highest aim of education to prepare for war, and therefore does not cultivate the arts of peace.

4. It excludes woman from the benefits of education.


Zoroaster, the founder of the Persian religion, was a great teacher. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but it is generally placed at about B.C. 600. The testimony of ancient classic literature confirms the belief that he was an historical person. A tablet unearthed in Greece contains an account of his life and his doctrines. Pliny says that he laughed on the day of his birth and that for thirty years he lived in the wilderness on cheese. He was the founder of the Magi priesthood, but did not teach the worship of fire.

His philosophy is dualistic. There are two spirits or principles that rule the universe. These are Ormuzd, the principle of light, and Ahriman, the principle of darkness. These two opposing principles are in constant conflict, each striving for the mastery. Man is the center of the conflict, but Ormuzd as his creator has the greater power over him. All influences are summoned to bring about the success of the good, and in the end it will surely prevail. No remission of sin is taught, but judgment is represented as a bridge over which those whose good deeds outweigh their evil deeds are allowed to pass to paradise: in case the evil deeds outweigh the good, the person is cast off forever; in case of a balance of good and evil deeds, there is another period of probation.

This dualism shows itself in nature as well as in the spiritual world. Order is opposed to lawlessness, truth to falsehood, life to death, good to evil. It is a religion in which the ideas of guilt and merit are carried out to the extreme. Zoroaster believed that he was the prophet chosen to promulgate these doctrines, and his influence as a teacher upon the Persian nation was unquestionably great. Persia is now a Mohammedan country.


[11] North American Review, Vol. 172, p. 132.



Literature.Hosmer, Story of the Jews; Clarke, Ten Great Religions; Durrell, New Life in Education; Myers, Ancient History; Stoddard's Lectures; Lord, Beacon Lights of History; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews; Morrison, The Jews under Roman Rule; Larned, History for Ready Reference; Hegel, Philosophy of History; Report of the United States Commissioner of Education, 1895; Peters, Justice to the Jew.

Geography and History.—The Jews were the ancient people of God, the "chosen people," whose history is recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures. They reached their greatest power and glory during the reigns of David and Solomon, and they occupied Palestine, with Jerusalem as their capital city. Within this small territory, some six thousand square miles in extent, have occurred some of the most important events of history, and the Jewish race has been the representative of God's purposes toward man. The Almighty communicated directly with his people, who were thus made acquainted with the divine will. The early Jews were nomadic in their habits, living in tents, and tending their flocks. The patriarch, who was at the head of a family or tribe, made laws for the people under him and governed them according to the command of God, whose representative he was. Because God directly or through the patriarch led and instructed the people, their education, like their government, is called theocratic.

The Jews lost their independence B.C. 63 in becoming subject to the Romans, and in A.D. 70 Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were dispersed. Since that time they have been wanderers on the face of the earth, and there is no part of the world where they are not to be found. They have maintained their racial characteristics with remarkable purity. They were an agricultural people until the Babylonian captivity, after which they became a commercial people. Persecutions, which have universally followed them, making the acquirement of fixed property unsafe, had much to do with this change.

The Home.—The Jewish family was the purest of antiquity. In general, monogamy was practiced, and the wife was regarded as the companion and equal of the husband. Children being accepted as the gift of God, the father stood in the same relation to his children as Jehovah stood to man. Therefore the father's highest aim was to bring up his children in the knowledge and service of the Lord. We have here the highest and best type of family training to be found in history, a characteristic that still holds in Jewish families wherever they exist, and that has contributed largely to the maintenance of the strong racial peculiarities of the Jews. The father taught his boys reading and writing, and the mother taught the girls household duties; but the latter were not entirely excluded from intellectual training.

Great attention was given to the rites and ceremonies of the tabernacle and the Jewish law. History was also taught as a means of stimulating patriotism. The Jewish child was early made acquainted with the Scriptures, and history, law, and prophecy became familiar to every Jew. As there were no schools, this was all done in the home by the parents. Religion was the central thought of all education, and preparation for the service of the tabernacle and the worship of God was early given to every child. Thus in an atmosphere of love and piety the Jew discharged his sacred duty with care and faithfulness. Obedience to the commands of parents, veneration for the aged, wholesome respect for their ancestors, and familiarity with the Jewish law were instilled into the minds of all children. Music and dancing were taught in every household, not for pleasure, but as a means of religious expression. By prayer and holy living, by precept and example, by word and deed, the father discharged the duty committed to him by God, leading his children by careful watchfulness toward the ideal manhood which was revealed to him by the teachings of Holy Writ.

There were no castes among the Hebrews, and the same kind of training was given to the children of rich and poor, high and low, alike. No other race of people has given such careful home training to its children, from earliest times to the present.

The Jewish School.—There were no elementary Jewish schools until after the destruction of the nation and the loss of their civil liberty. After the defeat at Jena the Prussians turned to education as the sole means of retrieving their national greatness; the same was true of the Austrians after the defeat of Sadowa, and of the French after the fall of the empire at Sedan. But the Jewish people had set this example eighteen centuries before. Dittes says, "If ever a people has demonstrated the power of education, it is the people of Israel."

The rabbis required, A.D. 64, that every community should support a school, and that attendance should be compulsory. This is the first instance of compulsory education on record. If a town was divided by a stream without a connecting bridge, a school was supported in each part. Not more than twenty-five pupils could be assigned to one teacher, and where the number was greater an assistant was employed. If there were forty pupils, there were two teachers. It will thus be seen that the Jews put into practice eighteen centuries ago a condition of things which, owing to the complexity of our civilization, is with us to-day largely an unrealized ideal.

Teachers were respected even more than parents, for it was held that parents prepared their children for the present, but teachers for the future. None but mature married men were employed as teachers. It was said that "he who learns of a young master is like a man who eats green grapes, and drinks wine fresh from the press; but he who has a master of mature years is like a man who eats ripe and delicious grapes, and drinks old wine."

The child entered school at six. Previous to that age physical exercise and bodily growth were to be the ends sought. "When he enters school," says the Talmud, "load him like an ox." Other authorities, however, encouraged giving him tasks according to his strength. The subjects taught were reading, writing, natural history, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. The Scriptures were taught to all the children, and all were versed in religious rites.

The methods were good and attractive, great effort being made to lead the children to understand, even though it might be necessary to repeat four hundred times. The discipline was humane. According to the Talmud, "children should be punished with one hand and caressed with two." Corporal punishment was administered only to children over eleven years of age.

The Schools of the Rabbis.—Karl Schmidt says: "Culture in a people begins with the creation of a literature and the use of writing." The oldest monument of writing among the Israelites is found in the tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments. Moses, David, Solomon, and Isaiah, and the other prophets were the founders of the Hebrew literature.

Among the instrumentalities of higher education were the Schools of the Prophets, which taught philosophy, medicine, poetry, history, and law to the sons of prophets and priests, and of leading families. These schools were influential in stimulating the production of the historical, poetical, and prophetic books of the Old Testament.

But more important as direct means of higher education were the Schools of the Rabbis. These sprang up in Alexandria, Babylon, and Jerusalem in the early centuries of the Christian era. They were private institutions founded by celebrated teachers. Doubtless it was in such a school as this that St. Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. The principal subjects studied were theology and law,—politics, history, mathematics and science being excluded. The collection of the sayings and discussions was begun in the second century A.D. and afterward took form in the Talmud.

Criticism of Jewish Education.—1. It exalted the home and insisted on the control of children by their parents.

2. It gave to woman an honored place in the home.

3. It gave an intelligent interpretation of the school and its functions. In regard to school attendance, the number of pupils under one teacher, the respect due to teachers, the course of study, and many other matters, it showed practical wisdom.

4. It taught obedience, patriotism, and religion.

5. It provided only for Jewish children.

6. It was mild and generally wise in discipline, though mistaken in forbidding corporal punishment before the eleventh year, while admitting its use after that.

7. It developed an honest, intelligent, progressive, God-fearing people.

8. It produced some of the greatest poets and historians of the world.


This book, as we have seen, is the outgrowth of the discussions of the rabbis, whose sayings, collected from the second to the sixth century A.D., are herein contained. It proclaims with great minuteness rules of life which the faithful Jew still rigidly observes. It has aided in perpetuating Jewish laws, ceremonies, customs, and religion, and has been the most potent means of preserving the national and racial characteristics of the Jews for nearly two thousand years. Driven from one country to another, they have always carried the Talmud with them and have been guided and kept united by its teachings. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the study of the Talmud has been revived, not only among the Jews, but also among Christians and students of all classes.


1. Even if the gates of heaven are shut to prayer, they are open to tears.

2. Teach thy tongue to say, "I do not know."

3. If a word spoken in its time is worth one piece of money, silence is worth two.

4. Not the place honors the man, but the man the place.

5. The world is saved by the breath of school children.


[12] See Peters, "Justice to the Jew."



Literature.Maspero, Egyptian Archaeology; Wilkinson, The Ancient Egyptians; Stoddard's Lectures; Myers, Ancient History; Routledge, The Modern Wonders of the World; Johonnot, Geographical Reader; Edwards, A Thousand Miles up the Nile; Knox, Egypt and the Holy Land; Ballou, Due West; Clarke, Ten Great Religions; Ebers, Uarda; and Egyptian Princess; Curtis, Nile Notes of a Howadji.

Geography and History.—Egypt consists of a narrow strip of land about six hundred miles long, lying in the northeastern part of Africa. Its geographical importance is due to the river Nile, which flows through it, and which, by its annual overflow, enriches the soil, and makes one of the most productive portions of the globe. For many centuries reservoirs for the storage of water in time of the overflow, and irrigation canals for its later distribution, have secured the country against drought, and thus abundant harvests were always assured "independent of the seasons and the skies." This, with the mild climate and exceedingly rich soil, made food attainable with slight labor, furnishing an abundance, not only for its own population, but making Egypt the granary of the Mediterranean countries. We learn from the Scriptures, of the visits of the sons of Jacob to Egypt to buy corn of Joseph when famine existed in their own land. These conditions, which made living so cheap, were doubtless the main causes of the early settlement of the valley of the Nile, and the rapid increase in its population. In confirmation of the foregoing we have the testimony of Diodorus Siculus, a Greek writer, who visited Egypt nearly two thousand years ago. He tells us that the entire cost to bring up a child to manhood was not more than twenty drachmas (less than four dollars of our money).[13]

Of the antiquity of Egyptian history we have abundant evidence. Swinton says, "Egypt is the country in which we first find a government and political institutions established. Egypt itself may not have been the oldest nation, but Egyptian history is certainly the oldest history. Its monuments, records, and literature surpass in antiquity those of Chaldea and India, the two next oldest nations."[14] The records of the history of Egypt are found in abundance carved on her monuments, tombs, buildings, implements, etc. They were written in hieroglyphics, the meaning of which was unknown until the discovery of the "Rosetta stone," which furnished the key to their interpretation.

The ancient Egyptians excelled in mechanics and arts. It is doubtful whether to-day we know as much of certain sciences as they did four thousand years ago. Their applications of mechanics, engineering, dyeing, and embalming still remain to us "lost arts." The wisdom of the Egyptians was proverbial, and the great scholars of other countries made pilgrimages to Egypt to study philosophy, literature, law, and science.

The Caste System.—The caste system existed also in Egypt, but in no such strict sense as in India. The first and highest caste consisted of the priests, who represented the learning and wealth of the country. They owned one third of the land, upon which they paid no tax. They held all the offices, were the surveyors, engineers, teachers,—indeed, their caste alone furnished all the higher professions. They ruled the land with an iron hand. Concerning their influence, Swinton says, "The priests were the richest, most powerful, and most influential order. It must not be supposed, however, that the modern word 'priest' gives the true idea of this caste. Its members were not limited to religious offices; they formed an order comprising many occupations and professions. They were distributed all over the country, possessing exclusively the means of reading and writing, and the whole stock of medical and scientific knowledge. Their ascendency, both direct and indirect, over the minds of the people was immense, for they prescribed that minute religious ritual under which the life of every Egyptian, not excepting the king himself, was passed."[15]

The second caste consisted of the military class, who also belonged to the nobles. There was freer intercourse between the two higher castes than was possible in the Hindu system. It was not uncommon to find brothers belonging to different castes. Ampere found an inscription on a monument mentioning one son as a priest, another as governor of a province, and a third as superintendent of buildings. To each member of this caste was assigned a parcel of land (six and one half acres), which also was free from taxation. These two higher castes were especially privileged, and the gulf between them and the lower castes was very wide.

The third, or unprivileged caste was subdivided into three orders: (1) the farmers and boatmen; (2) the mechanics and tradespeople; and (3) the common laborers. Between these, also, there were bonds of common interest, though a decided difference between the orders was recognized.

The caste system may be outlined as follows:—

{ I. Priests, who represented the learning and wealth and { ruled the land. { Egyptian { II. Soldiers, who, though lower in caste than the priests, Castes. { yet associated with them. { {1. Farmers and boatmen, who ranked next. { III. {2. Mechanics and tradespeople, who ranked next. { {3. The common laborers.

The slaves were lower than the common laborers, and were not classified among the castes. They were generally captives taken in war. Respect and reverence for the higher castes were by no means so marked as in India, and outbreaks between the various classes were common.

The Home.—Woman occupied a much higher plane in Egypt than in China or India, though polygamy was practiced by all classes except the priests. She was the recognized mistress of the home, possessed some education, and largely directed the education of the children. Children of wives of different castes had equal rights before the law to inheritance. Great attention was paid to religious ceremonies, and the children were taught piety and obedience in their early youth. They were highly regarded in the Egyptian home, and were brought up in an atmosphere of love and filial respect. The day of a child's birth was regarded as determining its destiny. The child was brought up on the simplest food, and furnished with scanty clothing, in order that its body might be strong and supple.

The Education.—The education, like that of India, was suited to the different castes. Priests were the only teachers. While chief attention was given to the education of boys, girls also received some instruction. The principal subjects taught in the lowest caste were writing and mathematics. The papyrus plant, found along the Nile, furnished a material on which writing was practiced. In arithmetic we find an anticipation of modern principles in the concrete methods employed. Religious instruction was also given. Bodily exercise was severe, running being a favorite pastime. The expense of schooling was very small. The boy usually followed the trade of his father, though this was not an inflexible rule. The occupation he was to follow had some influence in shaping his education.

The higher castes received an extensive education, including a knowledge of higher mathematics, astronomy, language, natural science, medicine, music, engineering, and religion. The annual overflow of the Nile necessitated the construction of reservoirs and irrigation canals, and caused frequent changes of boundary lines. For all this a knowledge of mathematics was necessary, and this study was therefore greatly encouraged. Institutions of higher learning for the training of priests and soldiers were found at Thebes, Memphis, and Heliopolis. The Museum of Alexandria, which reached its highest prosperity about the middle of the third century B.C., and which made Alexandria the center of the learning of the world at that period, attracted philosophers and investigators from Athens and Rome. In connection with the Museum was the celebrated Alexandrian library, which was fostered by the Ptolemies, and which contained a vast collection of books, variously estimated at from four hundred thousand to seven hundred thousand volumes.[16]

Criticism of Egyptian Education.—1. It was dominated by the priests under the caste system, and did not recognize equality of man.

2. It encouraged greater respect for woman than other oriental systems, but took little account of her intellectual training.

3. It made use of concrete methods, at least in writing and arithmetic, for the first time in history.

4. It was non-progressive in its elementary education, the father generally expecting his son to follow his calling.

5. In higher education it was justly noted, as it attracted wise men from Greece and Rome to study its science and philosophy.


With the discussion of Egyptian education, the consideration of oriental systems ceases. Concerning the education of the Phoenicians, Babylonians, and other oriental nations we know but little. To the Phoenicians the invention of the alphabet, glass making, and purple dyeing is generally credited, and the knowledge of these things was communicated to the Mediterranean nations with whom they engaged in trade. The classical countries were materially influenced by Egyptian culture, and the way was prepared for a broader and more enlightened interpretation of the purpose of education, and for a more successful evolution of civilization on soil better suited to that end. We may briefly summarize the lessons of oriental education, as follows:—

1. The Oriental systems fostered class distinctions by furnishing but little enlightenment to the lower classes, and affording superior advantages to the privileged few.

2. They were non-progressive, for centuries witnessed no improvement in methods of instruction, reached no higher ideals, and marked no advance in civilization.

3. They did not feel the need of trained teachers.

4. The importance of the individual was not appreciated, and man was regarded as belonging to the State.

5. The end sought was good conduct, which was to be attained through memorizing moral precepts. This gave undue importance to the memory.

6. Little encouragement was given to free investigation; authority of teachers and ancestral traditions were the principal factors employed. The progress of civilization was therefore very slow.

7. In general, excepting with the Jews, woman had no part in education, being regarded as incapable of any considerable intellectual development.

8. In China the motive of education was to prepare for success in this life; in India, for the future life; in Persia, to support the State; in Israel, to rehabilitate the nation; and in Egypt, to maintain the supremacy of the priests.

9. In no case was the conception reached that the aim of education should be to emancipate all the powers of man,—physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual.

10. Finally, we may sum up the conditions that prepared the way for classical education in the words of Karl Schmidt: "In Greece at last the idea of human individuality as the principal end, and not as a means to that end, was grasped. Conformable to this truth, all human, social, and political conditions were shaped and education given its form. This idea of the emancipation of the individual became established in Greece with a brilliancy which attracts attention to that land until the present time."


[13] The student should bear in mind the fact that the purchasing power of a sum equivalent to four dollars was much greater in those days than now.

[14] "Outlines of the World's History," p. 12.

[15] "Outlines of History," p. 20.

[16] It must be observed that the ancient volume, or roll, contained much less matter than the modern book.



Literature.Davidson, Education of the Greek People; Felton, Ancient and Modern Greece; Grote, History of Greece; Curtius, History of Greece; Morris, Historical Tales (Greek); Mahaffy, Old Greek Education; Social Life in Greece; The Greek World under Roman Sway; Clarke, Ten Great Religions; Guhl and Koner, Life of Greeks and Romans; Timayenis, History of Greece; Wilkins, National Education in Greece; Lord, Beacon Lights; Monroe, Source Book of the History of Education.

Geography and History.—Greece lies in the center of the ancient world. The numerous islands between it and the mainland of Asia made stepping-stones for the hardy mariners who, filled with the spirit of adventure, pushed out farther and farther from the Asiatic shores until they reached Greece—the first European country to be settled. Here we find another branch of the great Aryan race.

The coast is broken up by many indentations which afford fine harbors and invite seafaring life. The surface is mountainous, the ranges cutting the country up into many sections or states. The climate is varying, depending upon proximity to the sea, and upon the elevation. The scenery is beautiful, and the soil in the valleys is fertile. The productions are fruit, grain, and silk. As might be expected from the nature of the country, the people show much commercial enterprise. The area is about twenty-five thousand square miles, and the population about 2,200,000.

The Greeks were a brave and ambitious people, and their history is full of heroic deeds and stirring events. The many small states were often hostile to one another. Athens and Sparta were the two most important cities. Around them centered two diverse forms of civilization, and in them were developed two very different standards of education. It will be necessary, therefore, to discuss separately the education of these two cities. When the Grecian states were united in defense, no outside power was able to conquer them; but, unfortunately, jealousies often arose which brought them into conflict with one another, and which finally caused the overthrow of all. In art and literature Greece reached the summit of her glory in Athens in the age of Pericles, the fifth century B.C. The work accomplished by Athens has been the inspiration of the world for nearly twenty-four hundred years.

In government, in manners, and in customs the Greeks were very different from the oriental nations. The spirit of political freedom prevailed here for the first time in the history of the world. Doubtless the small size of the states, which were separated from each other by natural boundaries, was an important factor in stimulating the people to secure and maintain this independence. "Man's character is formed by the surroundings of his home." The beautiful valleys and mountains, the varying climate, the sea with its many islands and harbors, the soil, in the main yielding its fruit only by hard labor, were elements well calculated to produce a hardy race,—a race with lofty ideals, loving beauty both of mind and body.

The Olympian Games.—Because of their national popularity and their direct influence on the education of the people, a description of the Olympian games is not out of place in a history of education. At first they were religious in character. They were celebrated in honor of Zeus, at Olympia, in Elis, which became the Holy Land of Greece. They took place once in four years, and this period, called an Olympiad, furnished the basis of computing time. The first Olympiad begins with B.C. 776. All of the states took part in these contests, and when at war, hostilities were suspended during the games, that visitors might attend them unmolested. Thus once in four years the various states of Greece were united in friendly contest and joyous festivity.

At first there was only the foot race, but afterward wrestling, jumping, and throwing the spear were added. Still later, chariot and horse races, and contests in painting, sculpture, and literature, were included. Only Greek citizens of good moral character could enter the contests. The prize, though but a simple wreath of laurel or olive, was most highly esteemed. At first spectators were attracted from the different parts of Greece only; but afterward the games became great fairs for the exchange of commodities, as well as contests which attracted people from all parts of Europe.

The Olympian games tended to unite the people and cultivate the arts of peace. They encouraged the development of perfect bodies, the training being designed to produce superior athletes. They inculcated broader views, bringing together people from different parts of their own land and from other lands. They incited intellectual ambition by adding in later times literary productions. They created a manly spirit and stimulated a national patriotism.



Literature.—(See general literature for Greece.) Harrison, Story of Greece; Macaulay, Essays; Curtius, History of Greece; Davidson, Education of the Greeks; Wilkins, National Education in Greece; Freeman, Historical Essays.

History.—The ideals of Athens—educational, political, and moral—were in direct contrast to those of Sparta. At Athens, love of liberty, love of knowledge, and love of beauty went hand in hand. Though the body was not neglected, as is proved by the beautiful types of manhood preserved for us in Athenian art, the Athenians believed that the truest beauty was to be reached only by the development of the mind.

Hence Athens brought forth great men like Pericles, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, she created a literature that has influenced the world, she developed art to its highest excellence, and gained for herself a permanent and high place in the world's history. Sparta did none of these things, therefore her ruin was sure and speedy; while the decline of Athens was slow and her influence still lives.

The spirit of Athens was liberty, while that of Sparta was tyranny. It is true that Athens had slaves; indeed, only one fourth of the inhabitants were free; but even the slaves had a large share of freedom, and enjoyed some means of education. We learn that children of the wealthy were committed to trusted slaves, called pedagogues, who escorted them to school, instructed them in many things, and had a right to punish them for disobedience. This could not have been allowed by parents with such high ideals had the slaves been debased as were those of Sparta.

In Athens we find for the first time the democratic idea of government; this was by no means so completely realized as it is in modern times, especially in the western world. The "Age of Pericles" (B.C. 480-430) forms the most brilliant period of Athens, a period hardly surpassed in some respects by any other in the world's history. Solon (B.C. 638) was the great lawgiver of Athens. His wise laws had much influence on the prosperity and intellectual development of the people.

The Home.—In Athens the child was left with the mother until the sixth or seventh year. The toys were greater in variety than with any other people of antiquity. They were much the same in character as those of modern times, and their purpose was to amuse the children rather than to furnish a definite preparation for life, as in Persia and Sparta. Play, therefore, was recognized as an important factor in the child's life, and the toys in use stimulated and encouraged the joyous element in the child's nature. That toys are a potent influence toward healthful mental and physical growth is an educational truth that has been fully recognized by us only within recent years. And yet the Athenians appreciated it in the home, twenty-five centuries ago.

The training was intellectual and humane, though strict obedience was enforced. Great attention was paid to the works of the poets, selections being taught to all the children. The father interested himself chiefly in the education of the boys, and when he was unable to discharge this duty an elderly male relative was selected as mentor, who devoted his leisure hours to such training. Little attention was paid to the mental training of the girls.

Women were not held in so high esteem as in Sparta, nor were they as worthy of respect. The husband exercised over his wife the same authority as over his children. Neither by social position nor by intellectual attainment was she his equal. "Her own chamber was the world of the Athenian woman; her maids were her companions; household duties and the preparation of clothing for her family were her employment."

Education.—The father was free to choose for his children their school and the character of their education. The State furnished gymnasia in which schools could be held, fixed the qualifications of teachers, the school hours, and the number of pupils to a teacher. Once a year public examinations were held, the expense of which the State defrayed. The schools were private institutions, supported by private means, though under State inspection. The teachers were philosophers or wise men, thoroughly competent to discharge the duties of their office.

At six or seven years of age, the boy was sent to school in charge of a pedagogue, or leader of the young,—usually an old and trusted slave. While not intrusted with the actual teaching of his charge, he was responsible for his morals and manners, and was allowed, as we have seen, to administer punishment. The pedagogue was the constant attendant of the boy. The character of the school chosen depended upon the means of the parents.

The first two years were devoted chiefly to gymnastics. The two subjects of the elementary course were gymnastics and music, the latter term including reading and writing. But little arithmetic was taught, as the Athenians believed that the object of the study of arithmetic was simply utility, and but little arithmetic was needed for practical use. "Calculating boards" made the reckoning for all business needs a purely mechanical process. The idea of education was the development of the beautiful, and they held that arithmetic contributed but little to this end. The works of the poets were given prominence throughout the Athenian education, and pupils were required to commit to memory many selections.

The Sophists.—The Sophists flourished during the fifth century B.C. Their greatest exponents were Protagoras and Gorgias. They introduced a movement of which Schwegler says, "It had struck its roots into the whole moral, political, and religious character of the Hellenic life of that time." They wandered about from place to place proclaiming themselves as philosophers and bidding for the patronage of the rich by charging large fees and considering public questions. They discussed error and wrong with the same eloquence and zeal that they discussed truth and justice, their purpose being to foster eloquence rather than discover truth. Hence, we have the word "sophistry," which means fallacious reasoning. And yet, in the words of Schwegler, "It cannot be denied that Protagoras also hit upon many correct principles of rhetoric, and satisfactorily established certain grammatical categories. It may in general be said of the Sophists that they gave the people a great profusion of general knowledge; ... that they called out investigations in the theory of knowledge, in logic, and in language; that they laid the basis for the methodical treatment of many branches of human knowledge, and that they partly originated and partly assisted the wonderful intellectual activity which characterized Athens at that time."

Children of the poorer classes were kept in school until their fourteenth or fifteenth year, when they learned a trade. Those of the rich remained in school until their twentieth year. The course of study of the latter included music, rhetoric, grammar, and philosophy. At twenty the youth's education was regarded as completed, and the young man became a citizen. Teachers were paid fees and not fixed salaries.

It was the atmosphere of Athens, more than the discipline of the school, that fostered culture and inspired learning. The aim of education was the beautiful, and the ideal was the aesthetic in mind and body.

Criticism of Athenian Education.—1. It sought to educate the entire man, giving him beauty of form, keenness of intellect, and nobleness of heart.

2. It acknowledged the right of parents to direct and determine the education of their children.

3. It recognized the importance of the individual as no other people had before.

4. Strict obedience was required of the children.

5. It produced great men, with high moral and intellectual ideals, but these ideals were centered in Athenian culture.

6. It excluded women and slaves from its benefits, and was by no means universal.

7. It recognized the value of play as an educational force, thereby anticipating the kindergarten.

8. The State exercised a certain control over the school by furnishing places where it might be held, by defraying the expense of examinations, by determining the number of pupils to a teacher, by fixing the limit of school hours, and by deciding upon the qualifications of teachers. And yet the choice of education was free, and its aim was the good of the individual and not the glory of the State.



Literature.Bulkley, Plato's Best Thoughts; Schwegler, History of Philosophy; Morris, Historical Tales; Curtius, History of Greece; Lord, Beacon Lights; Spofford, Library of Historical Characters; Jowett, The Republic of Plato; Vogel, Geschichte der Paedagogik; Emerson, Representative Men; De Quincey, Plato's Republic; Hegel, Philosophy of History.

SOCRATES (B.C. 470-399)

Socrates was the son of a sculptor of Athens. Though he learned his father's trade and followed it in early manhood, he relinquished it to devote himself to the study of philosophy, for which he had a natural bent. In person he was far from fulfilling the Athenian ideal of beauty, being short of stature, corpulent, with protruding eyes, upturned nose, large mouth, and thick lips. His domestic life was not happy, his wife, Xantippe, being a noted shrew. His failure to provide for the material welfare of his family, though quite natural in a man to whom all material things seemed unessential, must have sorely tried her patience. But Socrates bore her scolding with resignation. Indeed, he seemed to regard it as furnishing an opportunity to practice the philosophic patience that he preached.

Socrates believed that he had a divine call to "convince men of ignorance mistaking itself for knowledge, and by so doing to promote their intellectual and moral development." Like many other philosophers, he spent his time in the streets, markets, and other public places, arguing with any one who would stop to listen or converse. This manner of teaching was common in Athens, and he never lacked hearers. The whole atmosphere of the classic city was charged with the spirit of intellectual activity and philosophic discussion. Socrates did not teach positive doctrines, but assumed ignorance himself in order to convince others of ignorance. By a series of suggestive questions he would lead his pupils or opponents into admissions which finally established the truth that Socrates saw at the outset. This is known as the "Socratic Method," or the dialectical method, and this form of inductive teaching was an important contribution to education.

Although Socrates left no writings, his great pupils, Xenophon and Plato, have given the world a full account of his teachings. Plato speaks in highest terms of his moral character, declaring that "he was not of this world." Xenophon also adds his testimony in the following words: "No one ever knew of his doing or saying anything profane or unholy." Socrates believed in one Supreme Being, the intelligent Creator of the universe. He also believed in the immortality of the soul. These doctrines were altogether contrary to Greek polytheism, the prevailing religion of Athens, and they prove him to have been far in advance of the age in which he lived. While he established no school, Socrates nevertheless must ever rank as one of the world's greatest teachers and thinkers.

In his death he fully exemplified the truth of his own philosophy. He was accused of corrupting the youth and denying the deities, and was condemned to die by drinking a cup of hemlock. He calmly submitted to his fate, refusing to avail himself of an opportunity to escape. According to the account given in Plato's "Phaedo," he spent his last hours discussing with the friends who attended him the question of the immortality of the soul.

PLATO (B.C. 429-347)

Plato was a disciple of Socrates, and to him we are chiefly indebted for an account of the teachings of his great master. For twenty years he sat at the feet of the philosopher, and drank from the fountain of knowledge possessed by that wonderful man. He also traveled in other lands, particularly Egypt and Italy, in pursuit of knowledge. He became one of the most remarkable scholars and philosophers, not only of antiquity, but of all time. When forty years of age he founded a school at Athens, though it is not as a teacher that he is chiefly known, but as a writer and sage. "Plato among the Greeks, like Bacon among the moderns, was the first who conceived a method of knowledge." His great work is his "Republic," in which he pictures the ideal State and outlines his scheme of education, which is built on ideals of both Spartan and Athenian citizenship. From Sparta comes the thought of an education which shall be controlled by the State from birth; while Athens adds the aesthetical aspects to those purely physical.

In his scheme he divided the people into the following classes:—

1. The common people. They should be allowed to rise, but no education is provided for them in his scheme.

2. The guardians or citizens, who shall study music and gymnastics. Music includes literature, that is, human culture as distinguished from scientific knowledge. Writing and arithmetic are also included under music, the latter not being studied for practical purposes, but to develop the reason.

3. The rulers, who, in addition to the preceding subjects, shall study geometry, astronomy, rhetoric, and philosophy.

The State is to have absolute control of every citizen; it shall arrange marriages, destroy weak and unpromising children, and remove the healthy babes at birth to public nurseries, where mothers may care for the children in common, but will not recognize or take special interest in their own children. Boys and girls are to be educated alike. Great care is to be taken that nothing mean or vile shall be shown to children; their environments shall be beautiful and ennobling, though simple.

From birth to seven years of age the child is to have plenty of physical exercise. He shall hear fairy tales and selections from the poets, but careful censorship must be placed on everything presented to him. Suitable playthings are to be provided, precaution taken against fear of darkness, and by gentleness combined with firmness a manly spirit is to be produced. Beauty of mind and body are to be harmoniously united.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse