I've been watching some documentary that stated that our modern schools are used to make people submit to authority and think in a linear way. Just to make us good workers.

And I wonder - What was the schooling system in ancient times in the major civilizations - Greece and Egypt? Also, the schooling system in the Middles ages is interesting as well - was it really different from the Middle ages?

Any references to material would be welcome :)

Good day.

  • 2
    In what country? Each country has its own educational focus, and many countries through the Industrial Revolution did not even have any sort of public education. What areas and time frames are you looking at for comparisons? Please edit this to be more precise then ask to have it reopened, it has merit but is way too broad to be answerable as is.
    – MichaelF
    Feb 18, 2012 at 12:49
  • I was thinking about the "major" ones - like Greece, Egypt, Middle ages Europe... the Asian area is also very interesting, but I guess it's inherently different from the western schools.
    – roman
    Feb 18, 2012 at 13:26
  • There were many in ancient India. One of them is even being restored.
    – kartshan
    Feb 18, 2012 at 14:41
  • Much better to have a focused question, thanks.
    – MichaelF
    Feb 19, 2012 at 12:38

1 Answer 1


The main Greek innovation in education was the Socratic Method. This mainly involved the teacher questioning the students, hopefully leading them to a better understanding of things that way.

I don't know much about Egyptian education, but between the times of Alexander and Mohammed the upper classes in Egypt were culturally Greek anyway.

By comparison you could say (and it has been said) that our Western method of lecturing and expecting students to memorize a lot of stuff and be able to regurgitate it back up correctly on exams doesn't encourage original thought as much. I suppose a lot depends on how far your instructors take that approach. I went to a school that put a lot of emphasis on essay writing (at least for non-math and science courses), which certianly did encourage good analysis skills.

In the Middle Ages in Europe (IMHO if you say "Middle Ages" you are talking about Europe) there really was no schooling outside of the Church. Pretty much everyone learned their trade in some kind of formal or informal (watch their parents) apprenticeship. Very few people were literate.

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