Test 1 Question 3

Compare and contrast the education of Plato and Cyrus.

Possible Texts:

  • Xenephon’s The Education of Cyrus
  • Plato’s  The Republic


  • Education of men and women
    • In The Republic, men and women receive the same education (pg 126)
    • In The Education of Cyrus, Xenephon gives no account of the type of education received by women. Men were educated separately from women
      • Education was divided for “boys, youth, mature men, and those beyond the years of military service” (pg 24)
    • Aims of Education
      • The Republic: Education serves to identify those who can tolerate the  “most important subjects” (justice, moderation, courage, wisdom). In essence, education aims to teach true love for philosophy and knowledge of “the good”(pg 177)
      • Education of Cyrus:  The Persian education system was created to ensure that the citizens will not desire any vile or shameful deed (pg 23-24
  • Content of Education
    • The Republic: Philosopher King was educated to exercise intellect (194-199)
      • Learned calculation
      • Geometry
      • Cubes
      • Embroidery
      • The Education of Cyrus : Persians were educated to enhance moral behavior and physical endurance
        • Learned Justice (pg 24, line 6)
        • Continence in food and drink (pg 25 line 8)
        • Moderation (pg 25 line 8)
        • Hunting (pg 25 line 10)


  • The use of the “Nobel Lie”
    • The Republic: Socrates explains that rulers will have to make use of falsehood and deception for the benefit of those they rule. (pg 133)
  • Education of Cyrus: Cambyses explains to Cyrus that it was necessary to deceive children into believing that one should never (under any circimstance) be a thief, cheat, dissembler…etc.  In reality, it was understood that it was acceptable to posses these traits at time of war, against ones enemies (pg 54 line 27- pg 56 line 34)
    • Justice, moderation and obedience were primarily taught to keep citizens in order pg 23
    • Ranking System of Education
  • In both The Republic and The Education of Cyrus education spread from the top of the leadership pyramid. Leaders were educated first and then passed on their education to their subordinates. Their Subordinates were expected to pass on the education to those underneath them.
  • The Republic: Guardians must escape the cave, be educated in the good (through philosophical teaching) then return to the cave and enlighten others. (193 line 519)
  • Education of Cyrus:
    • There are 12 rulers that preside over each part of freedom square. These rulers are responsible for educating those underneath them. (pg 24 line 5)
    • Childhood Education
      • In both books, it is important that education starts during childhood. Both Xenephon acknowledge the benefits of “playing” to teach children the art of war
        • The Republic:  Rather than the usage of force, to train children, there should be the usage of play (pg 208 Line 536e)
          • Children are lead to war on horseback as observes (only when it is safe).  Like puppies they should be brought close and taste blood (pg 208 line 537b)
  • The Education of Cyrus: The Persians used hunting to teach children the art of war. Animals (rather than other humans) were used to teach children how to deceive and cheat the enemy  (pg 55 line 28)

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