10 quotes on education by great Greek Philosophers and teachers

10 quotes on education by great Greek Philosophers and teachers.

Bonus: Was learning with games an option in ancient Greece?


3.5 min read (717 words)

We gathered the following exemplary short education quotes for students and teachers by philosophers of education (among others) which show in a concentrated way the insights that emerged from Greek philosophy about this subject, also we write some thoughts on teachers in ancient Greece.

Find a free printable pdf poster in the end of this article.




10 ancient Greek quotes on education:

    1. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel (Socrates)

Socrates on education quote, education is the kindling of a flame

    2. I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think (Socrates)

Socrates on education, I can not teach anybody anything

    3. Educate the children and it won't be necessary to punish the men (Pythagoras)

Pythagoras on education, educate the children not to punish the man

    4. Only the educated are free (Epictetus)

Epictetus on education, the educated are free

    5. The happy man is the one with a healthy body, a wealthy soul and a well-educated nature (Thales)

Thales on education, the educated is happy

    Aristotles black bust with quote happiness

    6. Root of honesty and virtue lies in good education (Plutarch)

Plutarch on education, root of honesty and virtue

    7. There is nothing more divine than education. It is only through education that one truly becomes man (Plato)

Plato on education, education is devine

    8. The root of education is bitter, the fruit is sweet (Isocrates)

 Isocrates on education - The fruit of education is sweet

Greek statues with quotes

    9. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit (Aristotle)

Aristotle on education, excellence is a habit

    10.  Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all (Aristotle)

Aristotle on education, educate the mind and the heart


Check these educational board games inspired by Greek mythology!


Find a link in the end of this post to download a free printable poster with this quotes!

Here is why these people knew something about education:


Great Greek Philosophers and Teachers

The learning methods have evolved, but the core remains the same.

They all were teaching in one way or another.

Check their short bios to understand why:


  • Socrates (c. 470 – 399 BC). Greek Philosopher from Athens, one of the founders of Western Philosophy. He was teacher of Plato.


  • Pythagoras (c. 570– c. 495BC). Ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and founder of Pythagoreanism. He is known for his many mathematical/scientific discoveries and teachings (he founded a school in Croton).


  • Epictetus (c.50 – 135 AD). Greek Stoic Philosopher. He taught that philosophy is not just theory but a way of life.


  • Thales (624/623 – c. 548/545BC). Greek Mathematician, Philosopher and Astronomer. One of the first who explained natural phenomena with naturalistic theories without using mythology – a precursor of modern science.


  • Plutarch (AD 46 – after 119). Greek Middle Platonist philosopher, biographer, essayist, and priest at the Temple of Apollo with an enormous influence in literature.


  • Plato (428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC). Greek Athenian Philosopher, founder of the Platonist school – the Academy, the first “university” in the western world. One of the most important thinkers in the history of mankind, he was teacher of Aristotle.


  • Isocrates (436–338 BC). Ancient Greek Rhetorician. His teachings and written works are of great value and influence in teaching, education and rhetorics.


  • Aristotle (384–322 BC). Greek Philosopher and Polymath. One of the greatest Philosophers and most influential humans of all times. A thinker that shaped the western world. He was the teacher of Alexander the Great.


the knowledge transmission from teacher to studen in ancient greece - socrates-plato-aristotle-alexander the great.png

Education was highly valued in Ancient Greece.

The goal was not only to teach craftsmanship and thinking, but it was believed that education leads to honesty and virtue, that it does not only affect the mind but the whole person.

Educational games then and now.

The benefits  of educational games are many!

It is known that educational games improve problem solving capabilities, hand and eye coordination, memory capacity, strategic thinking, problem solving and enhance motivation and good sportsmanship.

Through games a person can learn a variety of important skills, besides having a lot of fun! Critical thinking patience, creativity, teamwork, socialization and good sportsmanship are some of them.

(If you have time, check these educational games inspired by Greek mythology and history in our collection that provide knowledge about the ancient Greek legends in a fun way).

Today, people like to combine exciting games with information transfer, as these games promote firstly community experience and are therefore particularly suitable for families with children.

Extensive research on game based teaching is going on since the targeted use of games in pedagogy for children and adults begun later in the development of the sciences of education.

We searched to find if ancient Greeks used games for educational purposes and could not find something concrete, but surely the idea was there, as you can see in the next section.

Here is what we found...

How to educate according to ancient Greek thinkers?

On teaching methodology Plato is quoted to have said:

“Do not teach the children with violence and coercion, but with play, because in this way you will recognize their true talents”.

For adults, however, Plato thought “Learning is not a child’s play!"

“We cannot learn without pain!“, Aristotle is quoted to have said.

However, he emphasized the importance of playing for recreation and relaxation.

We read in his Nikomachian ethics:

“Amusement is a sort of relaxation, and we need relaxation because we cannot work continuously”.


10 quotes of wisdom by greek philosophers about education poster

(click here to download a free printable version of this poster) 

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1 comment

Thank you for this post…so needed in these days….

Britta Slopianka August 12, 2020

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