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Schools and Teachers

Classical Athens had no public schools or teachers1 paid by the state. Only well-to-do families could afford to pay the fees charged by private teachers, to whom they sent their sons to learn to read, to write, perhaps to learn to sing or play a musical instrument, and to train for athletics and military service. Physical fitness was considered so important for men, however, who could be called on for military service from the age of eighteen until sixty, that the city-state did provid open-air exercise facilities for daily workouts. These gymnasia were also favorite places for political conversations and the exchange of news. Tutors would be hired to teach basic skills to girls of well-to-do families because a woman with the ability to read, write, and do simple arithmetic would be better prepared to manage the household finances and supplies for the husband of property she was expected to marry and aid with daily estate management2.

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