Philosophy of Education and the Later Hellenistic <i>Polis</i>

B. D. Gray

in Epigraphical Approaches to the Post-classical Polis

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652143
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745935 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents

Philosophy of Education and the Later Hellenistic Polis

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This chapter argues that citizens of later Hellenistic poleis took a much greater and deeper interest than their predecessors in controversies in the philosophy of education. This case is made through close analysis of some later Hellenistic honorary decrees, especially I. Sestos 1, I. Iasos 98, and I. Priene 112. This evidence shows that later Hellenistic citizens took an interest in the psychological processes involved in education, and stressed the importance of habituating citizens through repeated action and of training and perfecting citizens' non-cognitive dispositions. It also shows that these later Hellenistic citizens sought to give a fundamental place to polis structures, institutions and values in educational theory and practice. In both of these cases their ideas closely resemble Aristotelian thinking about education. This resemblance should be seen partly as a product of the volatile social and political circumstances of the later Hellenistic period, which provoked reflection along Aristotelian lines about education as a means of preserving or promoting civic solidarity. But it should probably also be seen as a result of philosophical influence on civic ideology: Aristotelian and other fourth-century thought had had time to diffuse into the mainstream, and some later Hellenistic citizens appear to have engaged directly with philosophical texts and arguments.

Keywords: Aristotelian thought; citizens; civic solidarity; non-cognitive dispositions; education; philosophy

Chapter.  9538 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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