Comparison Between Egyptian and Spartan Children
|Criteria||Egyptian Children||Spartan Children
(Sparta is a city-state in ancient Greece)
|Babies||- Children were considered a precious blessing in ancient Egypt, great rejoicing by the family and neighbors, always, followed the birth of a baby, unlike many ancient societies there is no indication that female infanticide was practiced
- High mortality rate - Due to young age of mothers and poor sanitary conditions, many women died in childbirth and many infants died within days after birth from infections and diseases.
- A baby stayed with his mother, carried in a sling around her neck, for three years, one of the best ways to maintain a healthy infant under the poor sanitary conditions was by breast-feeding. In addition to the transfer of antibodies through mother's milk, breast-feeding also offered protection from food-born diseases.
- Prolonged lactation provided health advantages to the mother, it reduced the chance of conceiving another child too soon and allowed the mother more time between pregnancies.
- Protection - To protect herself and her newborn child, they wore special amulets, such as the Eye of Horus and Bes, to ward off evil spirits.
|- Spartans believed that strong mothers produced strong children, women married and had children not before the age of 20, which is much older than their Egyptian counterparts, this resulted in a significantly lower mortality rate and stronger offspring
- When a Spartan baby was born, soldiers came to the house and examined it carefully to determine its strength. the baby was bathed in wine rather than water, to see its reaction.
- Infanticide - If a baby was weak, he was taken away from his mother and exposed on the hillside until his death
- Spartans did not have a family life as Egyptians, men and women did not have close ties to their children and with each other
|Education for Future Life||- Social class was established on birth - Young men did not usually choose their own careers,
hereditary calling in ancient Egypt was a system of rigid inheritance and an endeavor to pass on a father's function to his children
- Much of the children time after the age of 7 was spent preparing for adulthood, they were prepared to work the same work as their parents
- Peasant children accompanied their parents into the fields; the male offspring of craftsmen often served as apprentices to their fathers.
- Privileged boys received formal education to become Scribes or army officers.
- Girls learned household activities from their mothers, and lived at home until they were about 15 years old, when they got married
|- Class was based on merit rather than birth - Children were property of the state more than of their parents,
At the age of 20 adolescent boys had to pass a rigorous test to graduate and become full citizens. Only the soldiers were received the aristocratic citizenship. If they failed their tests they never became citizens, but became perioeci, the middle class
- Boys were raised a military life, soldiers took the boys from their mothers at age 7, housed them in a dormitory with other boys and trained them as soldiers.
- Girls also were removed from the home at 7 and sent to school. Here they learned wrestling, gymnastics, were taught to fight, and endured other physical training. Young women competed at athletic events in nude as men.
|Childhood Life||- Carefree Childhood - Egyptian children had toys and are occasionally depicted at play, tomb scenes show that youngsters kept several kinds of pets, dogs, kittens, ducks and pigeons. They also played with the livestock of goats and cows.
- The oldest toys ever found in Egypt are little toy boats carved from wood, from a child's tomb dating to the Pre-dynastic Period. From the same period baked clay animals and rattles have been discovered.
- Greeks visiting ancient Egypt, who were accustomed to leaving infants exposed to the elements, were stunned to observe that every baby born to Egyptian families were cared for and raised
- The end of childhood was marked by the onset of menses for girls and the ceremony of circumcision for boys.
|- Harsh Childhood - The mother's softening influence was considered detrimental to a boy's education. The boys endured harsh physical discipline and deprivation to make them strong.
- They marched without shoes and went without food, learned to fight, endure pain and survive through their wits.
- Older boys willingly participated in beating the younger boys to toughen them