Lifelong Learn. 2023, 13, 103-152

Ancient Gymnasion as a Space of Lifelong Learning

Vladimír Jůva

Masarykova univerzita, Fakulta sportovních studií, katedra EDUC, Kamenice 753/5, 625 00 Brno, Česká republika

Received September 13, 2023
Accepted November 6, 2023

The ancient gymnasion, a symbol of Hellenic culture, receives constant attention in the literature. Even today, however, the traditional interpretation prevails, which understands the gymnasion as a secondary school connected to the sports field, and neglects its other functions, including supporting lifelong learning. This study aims to expand the interpretation of the ancient gymnasion, above all, to bring closer its importance to adult education. Due to the absence of information in andragogy on the significance of gymnasion for adult education, the study leans on archaeological, historical and epigraphic sources and analyses of ancient sports. The spatial turn of the end of the 20th century contributed in these sources methodologically to the innovative reflections of the gymnasion. The text defines the terminological, chronological and territorial aspects of the ancient gymnasion and reflects the areas of its narrower interpretation. It summarizes the functions of the gymnasion and particularly those related to adult education. The gymnasion is further characterized as an antique interactive space that supports adult learning. The last section recalls gymnasion workers in terms of their activities that initiated non-formal adult education. In conclusion, we can therefore interpret the gymnasion as an institution of formal youth education and at the same time as an adult education facility – as a complex interactive space for lifelong learning.


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