The Genesis of the Concept of Liberal Education in Ancient Hellas

Marcin Wasilewski



It results from the review and analysis of ancient sources that the concept of liberal education has its origins in the inquiries into paideia made by Plato and Aristotle in the classical period. Perhaps the term enkyklios paideia was used as early as in the Hellenistic period to determine initial education (propaideia), necessary for the understanding of complex philosophical issues. However, in the Hellenistic and Greco- Roman era, education of enkyklios paideia type did not constitute, a fixed canon, but it depended on the particular tradition of practicing philosophy and rhetoric. This is due to the fact that; in general, antique education was not incorporated into framework of political legislation. The most important issues here are not philological ones, but the significant concept of free education, typical for a free man.


enkyklios paideia; paideia; liberal education; ancient education; Plato; Aristotle

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