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HISTORY OF EDUCATION

HISTORY OF EDUCATION

PART 1

EDUCATION OF THE ANCIENTS

ORIENTAL NATIONS

Even savages have to learn how to live, and this process is really education, but a description of such primitive education, however interesting it might be from an antiquarian standpoint, could have no legitimate place in a treatise designed for the normal school and college curriculum of the twentieth century.

The same things have been said, and with some justice, about the space devoted to the second stage of education, that of "barbarism," best represented by the Oriental types of China, Shemite Asia, India, Persia, Egypt, but there is a difference. The very "onesidedness” and “strangeness” of these Oriental systems challenge the twentieth-century mind, and thus make them good "first subjects" in the great process of apperception by which we finally learn to “think” our century. But when that much has been said, we must admit that the briefest possible treatment is all that good pedagogy requires.

CHAPTER I

EDUCATION OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS

THE EGYPTIANS

The ancient Egyptians were Hamites from western Asia, from which starting-point their migration into the valley of the Nile was probably dictated by ease of access and wealth of prospects. The incomparable fertility of the soil produced by the annual overflow of the Nile assured rapid growth of population. Under the favorable condition of this habitat, the Egyptians attained to a high state of civilization centuries before all others.

Kings.--The Hamites, known in Holy Writ as Cushites, had existed in little states along the shores of the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea, probably for centuries before a powerful chief, Menes, made himself master of the Nile valley from the sea to the cataracts of Syene, and founded 5000 B. C., if not earlier, the first race of kings known to history. It was the beginning of a long succession of ambitious and glorious dynasties.

About 2050, B. C., if not earlier, the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, said to be the Hittites of the Bible, overthrew older kingdoms of Memphis and Thebes, and reigned until 1500 B. C. It was in this period that the Jews found a home in Egypt.

About 1200 B. C. the great Amosis expelled the Shepherd Kings and established an empire. The greatest monarch of this age was Rameses II. He extended the empire by conquests far beyond the confines of Egypt, and in his long reign of almost seventy years produced a golden age in architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, science, philosophy, and commerce, etc.

Presently, after several short revivals, as under Shishak who plundered Jerusalem in 970 B. C., and under the kings of the twenty-sixth dynasty, Psammetichus and his son Necho, who established and maintained most important relations with Greece, the empire began to decline. Necho died 601 B. C.

Cambyses, King of Persia, conquered Egypt in 525 B. C., and Alexander of Macedon, in 332 B. C. The history of ancient Egypt had closed.

Religion.-Over and above all else, the one everpresent, all-explaining thing in the life and mind of ancient Egypt is religion.

Among the Egyptians, as probably among all the ancients, primitive knowledge of a Supreme Beingthe result of special revelation-became corrupted into a confusing system of nature-worship, but the Egyptians more than all other ancients reduced this natureworship, in form at least, to a repulsive worship of animals.

Gods.-An early recognition of the complex dependence of Egypt upon the Sun and the river Nile remains the fundamental conception of theology. This conception is seen, for example, in Osiris, the sun-god, who after a nature conflict with Typhon, or Set, the evil one, became the king and judge of Hades. The Nile fertility of Egypt is divinified in Isis, who thus becomes sun-goddess wife of Osiris. The seasonal power of the Sun, in turn creating and destroying, led to the conception of a mediating god,

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