Being young in Ancient Greece
In ancient Greek poleis laws and customs varied and so it did the ‘path’ that young people had to make to become a citizen.
If we consider the two most representative models, i.e. the Athenians and the Spartans, we notice that the educational processes were already distinguished in their name: while the Athenian program was universally known as παιδεία (paideia), Spartans rather called it ἀγωγή (agōgē).
The παιδεία consisted of physical, cultural and psychological education aimed at achieving the individual’s harmonious participation to society through the assimilation of the Athenian ethos.
At the centre of παιδεία is the παῖς (pais), who concludes its education with a two-year period of ephebeia, preparing itself for the military tasks of the hoplite: the future citizen must share the ideology of the polis and take on his duties towards the community as a counterpart to those rights he would enjoy.