I believe in honesty in advertising.
To demonstrate my commitment to this principle, I have written a promotional sales letter for a classical Christian curriculum. I am authorizing all headmasters of schools that promote the classical Christian curriculum to use this to send out to prospective parents. It is especially relevant to mothers, since they want to understand what classical studies are.
Because of the true nature of what classical history was — above all, in Athens — I thought this would help Christian mothers understand what the foundation of classical education was from the beginning.
This promotional is for the real deal, not the whitewashed version given by headmasters to the students.
I have written about this for 20 years. Start here: http://www.garynorth.com/public/3155.cfm. You will then be ready for this.
We teach classical Christian education.
Classical Christian education must begin with classical culture. We are committed to a faithful presentation of classical culture to your children, no later than puberty.
You have heard that classical civilization left a great legacy to the West. We are dedicated to teaching children what made classical civilization great. That is why our curriculum is built on the five pillars of classical culture.
1. Polytheism: the dead spirits of male family heads, plus fertility gods
2. Slavery, which alone made classical culture possible
3. Warfare, with The Iliad as the central cultural document
4. Human sacrifice
5. Pederasty, which brought teenage boys and mature men together (the gymnasium)
Polytheism was basic. This began with the home fire. The wife kept it burning. This was the family’s secret fire. It was not allowed to go out. It honored the deceased male heads of household: household gods.
Then there were food offerings and wine offerings to the dearly departed males. If these were not offered, the ghosts of the dead would bring negative sanctions on the family. This is covered in the great book by Fustel de Coulanges, The Ancient City. It has been common knowledge among classically educated people ever since 1864.
Fertility gods were basic to classical religion. We start with the statuary of Greece. The best place to begin, we believe, is with Priapus. Here is a Wikipedia article on this god. There are lots of pictures. We make sure that our teenagers get access to these pictures, including the girls. We teach classical religion here. We make sure the kids read this. Check out the statue on page 55. Of course, we talk about the statues of Hermes that were everywhere: crossroads, temples, front doorways, etc. These statues were a head, a square torso, and a smaller head, so to speak. You could not go anywhere in Greece and Rome and not see what mattered most in classical religion.
Slavery, of course, was basic to the ancient world. Classical civilization believed that you can’t have a civilized culture without widespread slavery. Athens knew this. So did Sparta. So did Rome. We read on Wikipedia:
It is certain that Athens had the largest slave population, with as many as 80,000 in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, on average three or four slaves per household. In the 5th century BC, Thucydides remarked on the desertion of 20,890 slaves during the war of Decelea, mostly tradesmen. The lowest estimate, of 20,000 slaves, during the time of Demosthenes, corresponds to one slave per family. Between 317 BC and 307 BC, the tyrant Demetrius Phalereus ordered a general census of Attica, which arrived at the following figures: 21,000 citizens, 10,000 metics and 40,000 slaves.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)