The education of youths in Athens and Ionia in the classical age had as its final goal the harmonic development of body and mind, by cultivating equally athletics and knowledge. This approach was in accordance with the instructions of the intellectuals and mirrored the prevailing democratic ideology. The Cretans and the Spartan Dorians, on the contrary, without being illiterate, held athletics in first priority and especially army manoeuvers and training in arms..

The Doric world, having as supreme ideal the “νικάν εν πολέμω” ( war victory) began with war, evolved through war and terminated in war. Their state was a vast camp that had messes and military training and expeditions as typical characteristics. The Cretans and Spartans of the classic period ruled by aristocracy or oligarchy and kingship, respectively, were closed societies of oral rather than written communication; they rejoiced more on valour in the field of battle than in virtue or justice and this natural choice provoked the criticism of the two major classic philosophers Plato and Aristotle, who otherwise, conservative as they both were, admired and praised the Cretans and Spartans.