The classical curriculum was intended to prepare the children of the Greek and Roman privileged classes for a life of limited self-government. To meet that goal, the student studied grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic, which medieval scholars labeled the trivium, and music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, later called the quadrivium. If the Greek or Roman student intended to practice medicine or law, he would enter into an apprenticeship following his formal schooling. Trades, including any form of manual labor, were strictly taboo for the Greek and Roman aristocracies.

The classical curriculum is historically important for being the first systematic program of intellectual, physical, and spiritual development. It is of particular cultural importance for perpetuating the Greeks' advanced knowledge of mathematics and astronomy and for laying the ...

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