Until about seven years old brothers and sisters grow up
in the Gynæconitis together. Then the boys are sent to school. The girls
will continue about the house until the time of their marriage. It is
only in the rarest of cases that the parents feel it needful to hire any
kind of tutor for them. What the average girl knows is simply
what her mother can teach her. Perhaps a certain number of Athenian
women (of good family, too) are downright illiterate; but this is not
very often the case. A normal girl will learn to read and write, with
her mother for school mistress.
Very probably she will be taught to dance, and sometimes to play on some
instrument, although this last is not quite a proper accomplishment for
young women of good family. Hardly any one dreams of giving a woman any
systematic intellectual training.
Much more important it is that she should know how to weave, spin,
embroider, dominate the cook, and superintend the details of a dinner
party. She will have hardly time to learn these matters thoroughly
before she is "given a husband," and her childhood days are forever
Meantime her brother has been started upon a course of
education which, both in what it contains and in what it omits, is one
of the most interesting and significant features of Athenian life.