Education ended for most boys in their mid-teens. Only the very wealthy continued their education; their fathers would send them to study with one of the so-called sophists, who would teach them philosophy and rhetoric. Sophist means a lover of wisdom, but this group of teachers was heavily criticized by
, a famous Athenian philosopher. Sophists taught young men to argue any point, whether or not they truly believed in it.
, they said, could be used to make any argument true; therefore, there was no ultimate truth in the universe. Socrates vehemently disagreed and declared he would accept no money for his wisdom, as the hated sophists did.
Around the middle teen years, a boys hair, which had always grown long, was ceremoniously cut and dedicated to one of the gods. Now he was officially a man.
Around the age of eighteen, young men left for two years of military duty. The first half was spent learning archery, javelin-throwing, and the uses of heavy armor and weapons. The second half would be spent serving in garrison duty. After this, he was free to return to civilian life, but was subject to the draft in times of emergency until he reached the age of sixty.
When he returned home from his tour of duty, the young man (around the age of twenty now) was free to live a free life among his fellow citizens.