Plutarch, on the cost of miseducation

“And yet many fathers there are, who so love their money and hate their children, that, lest it should cost them more than they are willing to spare to hire a good schoolmaster for them, they rather choose such persons to instruct their children as they are worth; thereby beating down the market, that they may purchase ignorance cheap. It was, therefore, a witty and handsome jeer which Aristippus bestowed on a sottish father, who asked him what he would take to teach his child. He answered, ‘A thousand drachmas.’ When the other cried out: ‘Oh, Hercules, what a price you ask! for I can buy a slave at that rate.’ ‘Do so, then,’ said the philosopher, ‘and you shall have two slaves instead of one—your son for one, and him you buy for another…’

“For when such sons are arrived at man’s estate, and, through contempt of a sound and orderly way of living, precipitate themselves into all manner of disorderly and servile pleasures, then will those parents dearly repent of their own neglect of their children’s education, when it is too late to amend; and vex themselves, even to distraction, at their vicious courses.”

Plutarch, “The Training of Chldren,” from The Ancient History Sourcebook at Fordham University  © Paul Halsall, June 1998

Plutarch, on why it does matter what they read

“Moreover, as it is my advice to parents that they make the breeding up of their children to learning their chief care, so I here add, that the learning they ought to train them up unto should be sound and wholesome, and such as is most remote from those trifles which suit the popular humor. For to please the many is to displease the wise.

“To this saying of mine Euripides himself bears witness: 

I’m better skilled to treat a few, my peers,
Than in a crowd to tickle vulgar ears;
Though others have the luck on’t, when they babble
Most to the wise, then most to please the rabble.

“…It is a fine thing to sail around and visit many cities, but it is profitable to fix our dwelling in the best.”

Plutarch, “The Training of Chldren,” from The Ancient History Sourcebook at Fordham University  © Paul Halsall, June 1998


Plutarch on the value of manure in education

“A man’s ground is of itself good; yet, if it be not manured, it will contract barrenness; and the better it was naturally, so much the more is it ruined by carelessness, if it be ill-husbanded. On the other side, let a man’s ground be more than ordinarily rough and rugged; yet experience tells us that, if it be well manured, it will be quickly made capable of bearing excellent fruit. “

Plutarch, “The Training of Chldren,” from The Ancient History Sourcebook at Fordham University

© Paul Halsall, June 1998


Plutarch humour: because that’s what anybody would do, right?

“The next morning Antonius assembled the Senate, and called for Cicero by name. Cicero refused to goe, and kept his bedde, fayning that he was werie with his jorney and paines he had taken the day before : but in deede, the cause why he went not, was, for feare and suspicion of an ambushe that was layed for him by the way, if he had gone, as he was informed by one of his verie good frends.

“Antonius was marvelously offended that they did wrongfully accuse him, for laying of
any ambush for him : and therefore sent souldiers to his house, and commaunded them to bring him by force, or else to sette his house a fire.”

~~ Plutarch, Life of Cicero

Minds More Awake for free, and the Texas Talk for 99 cents (but hurry!)


Remember my Texas talk on Charlotte Mason and T.S. Eliot? Today and tomorrow, it’s downloadable through the AmblesideOnline website for US$.99.  You can also download two other plenaries, at the full price of US$5; and others will be coming. The special deal on these is partly to say Happy 15th Birthday to AmblesideOnline.

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And my book Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte Mason, is a year old this week. So, for Friday and Saturday (North American time),  the Kindle version of Minds More Awake is free.
Have a great weekend!