What is classical education

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Classical education is a secondary education based on the study of ancient languages ​​(Latin, Biblical Greek) and literature. The closest to classical education in content is now a philological education. Classical education is contrasted with real knowledge, which is aimed at studying the natural and exact sciences.

Modern classical education is based on the position that knowledge and skills from one area can be applied to another. At the forefront is becoming self-development and self-generation of new knowledge


As you might guess, the prerequisites for the establishment of classical education arose in ancient Greece and Rome. In ancient Rome, every free man was obliged to get an education, that is, be able to read and write in Latin, Greek, know classical literature, be able to speak in court or a public meeting, understand philosophy, mathematics, and music.

Strangely enough, the possession of various arts and crafts was not appreciated, but, on the contrary, was unacceptable for a free person, since manual labor was for slaves. Simple literacy (the ability to read and write) was widespread, even among slaves. But this did not prevent some slaves from being teachers in schools with a classical education.

In the Middle Ages, art became the basis of classical education. The concept of the seven Free Arts emerged: logic, rhetoric, grammar, arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy. Arts were taught in Latin. Upon graduation, the student received a bachelor’s degree from universities.

But the total number of educated people in the Middle Ages was insignificant, which is associated with a general decline. Although the church encouraged the use of Latin in all matters, literature, worship, and science. The national language was often relegated to the background. But gradually the founding of many schools and universities contributed to the extensive classical education.

In New Time (mid 18th century), the need arose for a large number of widely educated cadres. The spread of the ideas of neohumanism contributed to the increase in the number of traditional educational institutions, which included high schools, grammar schools, and lyceums.

Classical education again ceased to be purely humanitarian, since mathematics and science entered the curriculum.