Schools of Hellas by Kenneth John Freeman




From a Kulix by Euphronios, now in the Louvre.
Hartwig’s Meisterschalen, Plate 53.

Schools of Hellas



600 TO 300 B.C.










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The Dissertation here published was written by the late Mr. K. J. Freeman, in the course of the year following his graduation at Cambridge as a Bachelor of Arts, with a view to his candidature for a Fellowship of Trinity College, for which purpose the rules of the College require the production of some original work. In the summer of 1906, three months before the autumn election of that year, his brilliant and promising career was arrested by death.

We have been encouraged to publish the work, as it was left, by several judgments of great weight; nor does it, in my opinion, require anything in the nature of an apology. It is of course, under the circumstances, incomplete, and it is in some respects immature. But, within the limits, the execution is adequate for practical purposes; and the actual achievement has a substantive value independent of any personal consideration. No English book, perhaps no extant book, covers the same ground, or brings together so conveniently the materials for studying the subject of ancient Greek education—education as treated in practice and theory during the most fertile and characteristic age of Hellas. It would be regrettable that this useful, though preliminary, labour should be lost and suppressed, only because it was decreed that the author should not build upon his own foundation.

Novelty of view he disclaimed; but he claimed, viiiwith evident truth, that the work is not second-hand, but based upon wide and direct study of the sources, which are made accessible by copious references.

The subject is in one respect specially appropriate to a youthful hand. Perhaps at no time is a man more likely to have fresh and living impressions about education than when he has himself just ceased to be a pupil, when he has just completed the subordinate stages of a long and strenuous self-culture. It will be seen, in more than one place, that the author is not content with the purely historical aspect of his theme, but suggests criticisms and even practical applications. It may be thought that these remarks upon a matter of pressing and growing importance are by no means the less deserving of consideration because the writer, when he speaks of the schoolboy and the undergraduate, is unquestionably an authentic witness.

But, as I have already said, the work will commend itself sufficiently to those interested in the topic, if only as a conspectus of facts, presented with orderly arrangement and in a simple and perspicuous style.

It is not my part here to express personal feelings. But I cannot dismiss this, the first and only fruit of the classical studies of Kenneth Freeman, without a word of profound sorrow for the premature loss of a most honourable heart and vigorous mind. He was one whom a teacher may freely praise, without suspicion of partiality; for, whatever he was, he was no mere product of lessons, as this, his first essay, will sufficiently show. It is not what he would have made it; but it is his own, and it is worthy of him.


Trinity College, Cambridge,

January 1907.



It has fallen to my lot to edit this essay, the first, and last, work of Kenneth John Freeman, a brilliant young Scholar of Winchester College and Trinity College, Cambridge, whose short life closed in the summer of 1906.

He was born in London on June 19, 1882, and died at Winchester on July 15, 1906,—a brief span of twenty-four years, the greater part of which was spent in the strenuous pursuit of truth and beauty, both in literature and in the book of Nature, but above all among the Classics.

Scholarly traditions and interests he inherited in no small measure: he was the son of Mr. G. Broke Freeman, a member of the Chancery Bar, and a Classical graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the grandson of Philip Freeman, Archdeacon of Exeter, himself a Scholar of the same great Foundation, Craven University Scholar and Senior Classic in 1839. He was also a great-grandson of the Rev. Henry Hervey Baber, for many years Principal Librarian of the British Museum, and Editor of the editio princeps of the Codex Alexandrinus. From them he inherited a passion for Classical study, a keen sense of form, and a determined pursuit of knowledge, which nothing could daunt, not xeven the recurrent shadow of a long and distressing illness.

Through his mother, a daughter of Dr. Horace Dobell, of Harley Street, London, he was also a great-nephew of the poet Sydney Dobell; and thus he may well have derived that poetic feeling which distinguished a number of verses found among his papers, since printed for private circulation.

His School and University career was uniformly successful. At Winchester he won prizes in many subjects and several tongues, and carried off the Goddard Scholarship, the intellectual blue ribbon, at the age of sixteen.

At Cambridge he was Browne University Scholar in 1903, and in the first “division” of the Classical Tripos in 1904, in which year he also won the Craven Scholarship. The senior Chancellor’s medal fell to him in the following year.

There is no need to enumerate his other distinctions, but the epigram with which he won the Browne Medal in 1903 is so beautiful in itself and so true an epitome of the boy and the man, that I am tempted to quote it here:

ξεῖνε, καλὸν τὸ ζῆν καταγώγιόν ἐστιν ἅπασιν
νηπυτίους γὰρ ὅμως νυκτιπλανεῖς τε φιλεῖ,
δῶρα χαριζόμενον φιλίας καὶ τερπνὸν ἔρωτα
καὶ πόνον εὔανδρον φροντίδα τ’ οὐρανίαν·
τρυχομένους δ’ ἤδη κοιμᾷ τὸν ἀκήρατον ὕπνον
πέμπει δ’ ὥστε λαθεῖν οἰκάδ’ ἐληλυθότας.

He was always an optimist, who regarded life as a “fair Inn,” which provided much good cheer. Shyness and ill-health limited sadly the range of his friends, but not his capacity and desire for “friendship.” “Manly toil,” both physical and intellectual, was dear to his xisoul: thus, though no great athlete, he was an ardent Volunteer both at School and College, and declared that, had he not chosen the teacher’s profession, he would have wished to be a soldier: he writes of Sparta and Xenophon with evident sympathy. Also he fought and won many an intellectual battle against great odds; to quote one instance, he wrote the papers for his Craven Scholarship while convalescent in his old nursery. His poems, to complete the parallel, may justly be described as the “aspiring thoughts” of a singularly pure and reverent heart.

It is a simple, uneventful record: six happy years as a Winchester Scholar; three as a Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge; one year of travel and study, mainly devoted to the subject of Education, which always had a special attraction for him; and lastly, one year, the happiest of his life, when he returned to teach at his old school.

All appeared bright and promising; he was doing the work he desired at the school of his choice, health and vigour seemed fully restored, and a strenuous life as a Winchester Master lay before him, when an acute attack of the old trouble, borne with perfect patience, cut him off in the prime of his promise.

Then, to quote his own translation of his epigram:

When I was aweary, last and best
They gave me dreamless rest;
And sent me on my way that I might come
Unknown, unknowing, Home.

The work itself was never finished for the press; indeed, some chapters, dealing with Sokrates, Plato, and Aristotle, did not appear sufficiently complete to justify publication: these, therefore, we have withheld. But xiithis book is in substance what he left it, and he was fully aware that the omitted chapters were in need of further revision.

In any case, it would have been a labour of love to me to edit this dissertation; but the labour has been lightened at every turn by the ungrudging help and friendship of many Scholars. Dr. Verrall, besides contributing a Preface, has contributed much advice in general and in detail; Dr. Sandys has revised the proofs and given me the benefit of his comprehensive knowledge of the subject; Dr. Henry Jackson went through some of the later chapters and discussed points of general interest. The original Essay or the proofs have in addition been revised, from different points of view, by Mr. Edmund D. A. Morshead, late Fellow of New College, Oxford, and Mr. F. M. Cornford, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Mr. G. S. Freeman (brother of the author) is responsible for the Index; while Mr. W. R. H. Merriman has spent much pains upon verifying the numerous quotations. In a few cases Dr. F. G. Kenyon’s erudition came to the rescue. To all these my best thanks are due. Mr. A. Hamilton Smith of the British Museum was most helpful in identifying the vases from which the illustrations are derived. The author, who was a considerable draughtsman, had drawn scenes from Greek vases with his own hand; but of course our illustrations are derived from published reproductions, with two exceptions. The two British Museum vase-scenes (Illustrations III. and IV.) were specially drawn for this book: they have never been carefully reproduced before. I must thank the Syndics of the Pitt Press at Cambridge for their kind permission to reproduce their print of Douris’ Educational Vase from xiiiDr. Sandys’ History of Classical Scholarship. The design which appears on the cover of this volume is also adapted from this vase.

It remains to add a few sentences from a Statement which the author himself drew up:

“I have,” he says, “confined my attention very largely for several years to original texts and eschewed the aid of commentaries.” This will be patent to the reader.

“As to accepted interpretations, I have, purposely and on principle, neither read nor heard much of them, since I wished, in pursuance of the bidding of Plato himself, not to receive unquestioningly the authority of those whom to hear is to believe, but to develop views and interpretations of my own. For I have always believed that education suffers immensely from the study of books about books, in preference to the study of the books themselves. M. Paul Girard’s book in French (L’Éducation Athénienne) and Grasberger’s in German (Erziehung und Unterricht im klassischen Alterthum), the latter of which I have only read in part, have set me on the track of authorities whom I should otherwise have missed, but I believe that my acknowledgments in the text and in the notes fully cover my direct obligations to them in other respects, although my indirect obligations to M. Girard’s stimulating book, which are great, remain unexpressed.

“An apology is, perhaps, needed for the peculiar, and not wholly consistent, spelling of the Greek words. I had meant to employ the Latinised spelling. But when I came to write Lyceum, Academy, and pedagogue, my heart failed me. For I did not wish to suggest modern music-halls, modern art, and, worst of all, modern ‘pedagogy.’ In adopting the ancient spelling I had xivBrowning on my side. But again, when I wrote Thoukudides, my heart sank, for I could hardly recognise an old friend in such a guise. So I decided, perhaps weakly, to steer a middle course, and preserve the Latinised forms in the case of the more familiar words. Thus I put Plato, not Platon, but Menon and Phaidon.” We have adhered to this principle in the main; we need hardly say that Lakedaimon is the transliteration of a Greek word: Lacedaemonian is an English adjective. So a citizen of Troizen is a Troezenian, and of Boiotia a Boeotian. “I have,” the author concludes, “preferred Hellas and Hellene to Greece and Greek. For a rose by any other name does not always smell as sweet.”


Winchester College,

March 1907.