THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN (DE LIBERIS EDUCANDIS)
It is generally believed that the essay which stands first in the collected
works of Plutarch cannot have been written by him. The arguments against the
genuineness of the essay, based both on external and internal evidence, are
too long to be repeated here, but they may be found in Wyttenbach's edition
vol. vi. pp. 29-64.
The essay, however, is interesting in itself, since it reflects in many ways
the educational conditions of its time. Frankly recognizing the difference
in natural endowments, the author insists on the great benefits which
inevitably come from training. Physical training is of course required, and
military training is held to be most important for preparing men to win in
battle. A knowledge of philosophy is the final goal of education.
The invectives against the indifference of parents about the education of
their children, and their unwillingness to pay adequate salaries so as to
secure men of character as teachers, may have the same familiar ring two
thousand years hence.
Finally, a word is added on the excesses of young men, and a warning against
flatterers,—suggested perhaps by Plutarch's essay devoted to that