As economic conditions changed, so did the emphasis on values and consequently the various subjects of study. Pericles, in his celebrated Funeral Oration, paid tribute to the achievement of the Athenian city-state: “We are lovers of beauty without extravagance and lovers of wisdom without unmanliness.” The combination of ‘man of action’ and ‘man of wisdom’ was still there but this time with an emphasis on the rational and the aesthetic. Hence the line it draws between the necessary life and thecomfortable life. The cultural bias was fostered but with due regard to the distinctive Greek sense of balance, rhythm and harmony.
The conditions were now conducive to the exploration of the world of ideas as to be undertaken by Plato and Aristotle in due course. Gymnastics and ‘music’ (which included the reading of the lyric poets) are crucial, on the evidence supplied by Plato in Protagoras:” They (i.e. the parents) send him (the child) to the master of gymnastic, in order that their bodies may better minister to the virtuous mind …the teachers of the lyre take similar care that their young disciple is temperate and gets into no mischief.” Admittedly we have thus moved far from the exclusively utilitarian demands of the primitive state.
From Solon to Cleisthenes
As the aristocratic system of Solon gave way to the democracy of Cleisthenes in the 5th century B.C., Athens became an imperial power and the demagogue arose. The latter’s position depended on his ability to sway an audience, rather like modern party political broadcasts in the open air. At this point the Sophists emerged.  The demand for training in rhetoric grew. The Sophists who were foreigners from the Orient offered their services against payment of fees. This was strongly felt by Plato and the conservative elements among the Greeks as going against the very principles of his lofty ideas on education as expounded in the Republic.  However the significant thing is that the influence of the Sophists coincided with a natural phase in the dynamic course of the development of Greek society. ”The times were a-changing indeed…” and they were now characterised by scepticism and questioning of the old ideals championed by Plato and challenged by the pragmatic Sophists.
As Monroe(16) very clearly puts it, “there was now demanded the ability to discuss all sorts of social, political, economic and scientific or metaphysical questions; to argue in public in the market place or in the law courts, to declaim in a formal manner on almost any topic; to amuse, or even instruct the populace upon topics of interest or questions of the day…” The establishment of new links with the outside world opened up fresh opportunities of a diplomatic nature for the young man inclined in this direction. To use today’s jargon, the existingcurriculum was obviously inadequate whereas the avenues offered at this juncture by learned foreigners such as Isocrates – and earlier, Protagoras, Prodicus and Gorgias were unlimited.
This new class of teachers catered not only for vocational training and social success but introduced the sons of the wealthy Greeks to the more abstruse and scholarly studies of grammar and mathematics. Athens never knew state-financed education as such. This was incidentally advocated by Aristotle in the 4th century B.C. but meanwhile private teaching flourished at the hands of the Sophists. In short, the latter met the natural desire or inclination for a specific training more geared towards personal achievement in place of civic service. Part university education, part business school, it taught how to succeed in the life of the city.
Educated for democratic citizenship
A major difference was that Athenian boys were educated for democratic citizenship, as all adult Athenians were liable to be drawn, by lot, for public office, or they might need to plead a legal case in front of their fellow citizens, there being no professional lawyers to plead for them. Thus education for citizenship took the form of public speaking or rhetoric, with wealthy parents ready to pay large sums for good training under expert teachers. Lawton and Gordon (17) explain that to precede that kind of post-school education, schools for the 7-14 age group developed and began to flourish.
Gender and education
The male children of most citizens went to school at the age of 7 and about 1 out of 10 proceeded to more advanced education at age 14. As we just wrote, schools in Athens were private, although some fees might be paid by the state. Children of more affluent parents would attend the better schools and remain there longer. Girls received their education at home, where the training concentrated on their future rôle as wives and mothers while including some aspects of the boys’ practical activities. The curriculum reflected the Athenian concern for physical development and music. The latter, it should be pointed out, is derived from the Greek muse, included poetry and dance; poetry was intended to be accompanied by a lyre, and all were encouraged to learn to play.  
Ethics and rhetoric
Also the key subject of rhetoric or oratory was much more than speaking clearly and grammatically, even though both of these were deemed very important. It amounted to presenting an argument logically and elegantly without notes. Unscrupulous teachers might have focused on instructing their pupils on how to win an argument by trickery, by scoring points, or simply to win a case even if the evidence pointed the other way. On the other hand, the best teachers advocated honesty, and taught an ethical approach to rhetoric as well as how to exploit the beauty of language as a kind of prose poetry.  An important difference between the Sophists and philosophers like Socrates and Plato was that the former tended to deny absolutes such as Truth and preached a kind of moral relativism.
Athens was not perfect but it was a society in which the majority of the citizenry (which did not include women or slaves) participated in political and social life. Monroe for his part sees Greek education as hovering between, on the one hand, a sort of extreme of absolutism or socialism and, on the other, of individualism. Ultimately to ensure that balance so dear to the Greek spirit, education must provide the equilibrium at the political, moral and aesthetic level between subservience to the political system and complete individualism with its destructive social consequences.
We should recall that in Sparta, even the kings were subservient to the law as were private citizens, and the individual found his freedom in and through the state Apart from the state he had no existence, and it was the prime aim of education to teach the subordination of the self to the system. 
Finally, as Greece was predominantly secular and such religion as they had was philosophical/moral rather than ecumenical/spiritual, in the sense of Christianity being both of these, the Greeks stressed the moral development of personality. As Schofield (18) observes along with Monroe, there was less separation of the moral development from the legal, political and social than in many subsequent educational systems. The priesthood of Greece was not a dominant body and did not have the rôle assigned later to the clergy of giving – or failing to give as frequently happens – moral direction to the nation. For this reason, it was the more imperative that the individual underwent a moral development of personality. It was also essential for the state that he did so. 
Next, what is also worth stressing with regard to Athenian education, and in the 5th century B.C. more than at any other time is the premium laid on the aesthetic development of personality, as evidenced in the fields of sculpture, music and poetry. Accordingly Monroe states that while the Greeks failed to reach a satisfactory solution to the relation of developed personality, to the demands of social welfare on the religious-ethical side, such as is found in the ideal personal realisation of service, love, self-sacrifice furnished by Christianity, as regards the aesthetic development of personality, the Greeks have had no equal. 
Greek education was assuredly not flawless. In the light of centuries of accumulated wisdom, the defects and contradictions in respect of aims, are easy to see: the lot of the slaves and the prevailing xenophobia. Similarly we are not blind to the defects of our own system which are not compensated in turn by clearer aims.
At the end of the day, if the Greeks had found everything that made life worth living, their education would have been the end of a process, not the beginning.  Hence our fascination with the progress it made on its historical predecessors elsewhere: Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, China, and India…