Free Children in Ancient Greece Essay Sample


Childhood is the age period between birthand adolescence. In a child’sdevelopment, his or her development psychology is divided into stages. The early age is called thetoddlerhood, where the child learns to walk. The next stage is called the early childhood. In this stage, the child learns to play with others and identifies his or her friends. The third stage is the middle childhood. The child is aged between 4to 8 years and ready to attend primary school. The last stage is puberty and represents post puberty stage. The word childhood is not specific and can be used to represent an erratic range in human development.Childhood is the period between birth and end of adolescence. The age varies from 13 years to 21 years. In most countries, the most common age to represent the term childhood is 18 years. Early childhood involves the infancy age, start with toddlerhood where the kid starts to talk and take a few steps alone. The stage of early childhood or infancy period ends at the age of three years. The kid begins to become independent, not fully depending on his or her parents for vital basic needs. The period extends and approximately ends at the age of seven or eight years. The middle childhood start from the age of seven and ends during puberty.  At this time, the child is usually attending primary school.Adolescence commonly referred to late childhood which marks the beginning of puberty. The beginning and end of adolescence differs in different countries and is affected by functions(Milkalson& Adam, 2009).

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How the Greeks viewed children and childhood

During the ancient time, the Greek had a pederasty relationship with their children. The pederasty relationship represented a socially accepted link between the adults and the children usually in their teen years. The relationship was mainly during the classical and archaic era. The pederasty relationship was used as a rite for children to pass to adulthood which was linked with entrance to military and religion. The social customs that guided the pederasty relationship was both fanciful and condemned.The relationship was developed in the 7th century B.C branded by failed marriage aristocrats, athletic, artistic culture. The effect of the pederasty relationship between the children and adults was meant to set a free society relationship between them. From the social aspects, the Greeks developed an erastes eromens relationship with their children. It was meant to establish an advance social and educational system. It was characterized by compound and complex social decorum and customs and an important social requirement especially for the upper class. The pederasty relationship was viewed as educative and every Greek parent and children had to be involved. The link was widely accepted in Greece and represented a child coming of age. In Greece, in order for the rite to be conducted, the father had to proof that his child was worth the relationship and honour (Connolly & Solway 2001).  The pederasty relationship meant that the parents were meant to protect their children from having affairs.  In order to protect their children, the fathers were responsible to hire slaves to watch over their children. The Greeks believed that it was important that their children were beautiful and handsome. The Athenian fathers during the 5th century B.C prayed that that their sons to be handsome and striking. The Greeks viewed that their children would represent erotic desires and passions and be the objects and figures of fights.

The adults restricted and regulated the time the children were allowed to enter into relationships. The age range when boys were allowed to have relationships was constant with when girls were allowed to marry. At times, the Greek girls were married to men many years older than them. The parent did not choose the girls their sons would marry. The children were allowed the freedom to court and choose the mates of their choice.In ancient Greek, the marriages while prepared and organized for political and economic rewards and benefits at the preference of their parents and suitors. The links were beneficial to the youth and their folks, as the connection and relationship enhanced an expansive social network. The concepts of childhood continue to change and progress as the Greeks lifestyle changed and the adults’anticipation reformed. Some Greeks believed that children were not supposed to worry and work. For the children, life was supposed to be fun, happy and free. Childhood was supposed to be wonderful, joyful, blissful and open life. The Greek childhood was characterized by learning how to fight, playing, socializing in the society, travelling and discovering (Tierney & Kevin, 1998). The children were not supposed to worry and the problems were solved by their parents. The children were supposed to be educated by their parents on how to solve problems and learn about responsibilities without having to deal with adult responsibilities.  The childhood was regarded as a time of purity and goodness and a blessing to the society. The Greeks viewed that the innocence of the children as a sign of lack knowledge. The Greeks stated that greater knowledge was a sign of wrong doing.To the Greeks, lack of knowledge meant that the children were righteous and formed a bond and channel in which the Greek gods would communicate to the adults. The end of childhood period to the Greeks was a sign, period and an experience in a child’s life that extended and amplified their alertness to badness, evil, agony, aches and the creation around them.

Roles of children in Greek ancient time

In ancient Greek time, the boys and girls played different and altered roles. In Greece, the girls grew assisting their mothers with chores around the houses(Tierney& Kevin, 1998). The girls were taught by their mothers on how to cook, clean and weave baskets and garments. For girls to participate in religious festivals and carnivals, they had to learn the prehistoric dance, songs and routines. In some cases, the girls were taught to write and read by their mothers to go and teach others. From the tender age of 15 years, girls from the rich families married the men which their fathers had chosen for them. The girls would take care of their husbands and children. In ancient Greek, the boys were considered to be more important and superior than the girls hence played the vital roles. The boys were sent to school to learn and become teachers. At schools, the boys were taught to read, write, learn music, poetry and participate in sports. It was expected that all the boys to have a healthy and abled mind and body. To enhance fit mind and body, the boys had to participate in gymnastics and sports. Boys participated in the sports like javelining, wrestling, jumping and running (Jones, 2003). From an early age, the boys began to train for their forthcoming and future jobs. The main role in ancient Greece played by the boys was to train to be soldiers in the army. Other roles played by the boys were to train to be businessmen and Olympic athletes.

The boys also helped in the fields, sailing and fishing. When still young, the boys also assisted their mothers to do household chores that included washing the utensils, washing clothes, weaving baskets and garments and cooking. To enhance their fighting skills, the boys were sent to military schools from a tender age of 6 to 7 years (Ruck, 1979). At the military school, the boys were taught survival, endurance and other skills required to make one a complete soldier. Later in life, the boys were taught to run families and the government. The boys spent many years in wars and protecting the society. The boys were given the responsibilities to oversee that working in the farms, hunting, trading and manufacturing.


The paper discusses how the ancient Greeks viewed childhood and the roles played by the children.


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