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Lessons of Bravery and Heroism Taught in Achaemenid Schools


25 September 2004



Iranian schools of the Achaemenid era (558-331 B.C.) consisted of four sections. One section was for children, one for young adults, the third section was for adults, and the last was for military training for men. They all had to be at school early in the morning before sunrise.


The young adults used wake up with the call of a bronze trumpet, and they were then divided into groups of fifty. The leader of each group was called the “Little Satrap.” The little satraps had to take their groups to the place where the lessons were held every day. The students were obliged to answer the questions in loud voices so that their lungs would open and close. There were lessons on bravery, principles, and heroism.


After their daily exercises, they ate bread, honey, and pastries, and in the afternoon they would work in the gardens. Later, they practiced hunting with bows and arrows. They were not allowed to eat the animals they killed but had to take them home to their families. The king was given the trophy kills.


There were several stages of education. The Persians were always proud when they had baby boys and their sons were raised by their mothers until the age of seven. This was done so that the fathers did not get too attached to their sons at that early age.


Children of royal families were sent to special schools. The level of education children received depended on their socio-economic class.


There was no special season for the beginning of the school year and the students used to attend school year-round. Teachers taught the youth to avoid all types of business since parents believed that trade was not suitable for children.


The teachers were Zoroastrian priests (magi). They used to teach students to avoid the bad habits of lying and swearing.


The worst thing for an Iranian was to be in debt to someone and lie. The importance of law was another lesson taught at ancient Iranian schools. In the Achaemenid era, the Iranians were famous for their respect for the law. And since the Achaemenid government was a military government, honesty and keeping secrets were also taught at school.


Education was very important for the Achaemenid Iran and they set up educational centers in all their cities. Susa was the major scientific and cultural center of ancient Iran. Poets, writers, and artists often visited Susa Palace.


Historians are convinced that some Greek science had an Iranian origin. According to historical sources, the Greeks studied the teachings of Iranian doctors, surgeons, and botanists After the fall of Achaemenid dynasty, and looting Iranian libraries especially the Dedz Nepesht (the written fort) Imperial library, by Alexander the Macedonian warlord in 333BC, the Persian books were translated into Greek.  



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