Growing Up in Greece

By Kaitlin Roberts

Going to school

At 3, children were given small jugs - a sign that babyhood was over. Boys went to school at 7. Girls were taught at home by their mums. A few girls learned to read and write, but many didn't. School-teachers needed payment, so poor boys did not get much education. A wealthy family sent a slave to walk to school with the boys. The slave stayed at school to keep an eye on them during lessons. Most Greek schools had fewer than 20 boys, and classes were often held outdoors.

Children's toys

Children played with small pottery figures, and dolls made of rags, wood, wax or clay - some dolls had moveable arms and legs. Other toys were rattles, hoops, yo-yos, and hobby horses (a "pretend horse" made from a stick).

Children played with balls made from tied-up rags or a blown-up pig's bladder. The ankle-bones of sheep or goats made 'knucklebones' or five-stones. There are pictures of children with pets, such as dogs, geese and chickens.

Marriage & Work

Most girls were only 13-16 years old when they got married. Often their fathers chose husbands for them. A girl's husband was often older, in his 30s. The day before she married, a girl sacrificed her toys to the goddess Artemis, to show she was grown-up.

Most boys had to work hard. They worked as farmers, sailors, fishermen and craftworkers - such as potters, builders, metalworkers and stone-carvers. Some clever boys went on studying. Teachers gave classes to older students.

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