The true education is of course begun long before the
age of seven. character not book-learning, is the main object of
athenian education, i.e. to make the boy self-contained, modest,
alert, patriotic, a true friend, a dignified gentleman, able to
appreciate and participate in all that is true, harmonius and beautiful
in life. To that end his body must be trained, not apart from, but along
with his mind. Plato makes his character Protagoras remark, "As soon as
a child understands what is said to him, the nurse, the mother, the
pedagogue, and the father vie in their efforts to make him good, by
showing him in all that he does that 'this is right,' and 'that
is wrong'; 'this is pretty,' and 'that is ugly'; so that he may learn
what to follow and what to shun. If he obeys willingly—why, excellent.
If not, then try by threats and blows to correct him, as men straighten
a warped and crooked sapling." Also after he is fairly in school "the
teacher is enjoined to pay more attention to his morals and conduct than
to his progress in reading and music."