It’s All About Knowledge: The Greatest Educators of Ancient Times

“Teaching is the one profession on which all other professions depend.”

– Linda Darling-Hammond

Whoever uttered these words, spoke the absolute truth. No matter what career or profession you pursue, you will always require someone to teach you the ropes. That someone is undoubtedly your teacher. This does not mean that teachers only play a part in our professional lives. In addition to the knowledge required to make a livelihood, teachers also educate us in the school of life. They are the ones who play an important role in shaping us. We can reach our full potential and reach great heights only if we are fortunate enough to have astounding teachers. I am sure we all have that one teacher who helped us find our way. No matter how old we get, we always cherish them and keep them alive in our memories

If you browse through the pages of history, you will definitely find a masterful teacher to be the key to the success of any great personality.

Let us have a look at some of the greatest educators in history.


Time: 551 BC – 479 BC

Confucius Tang Dynasty

Confucius is one of the most inspirational teachers in the world. Even centuries after his passing away, his influence remains unscathed. It can be very well be said that the foundation of today’s China lies in Confucian philosophy. Confucius was a Chinese teacher and philosopher who believed that everyone has a right to knowledge, irrespective of class. He preached the concept of teaching as per the natural aptitude of the pupil. Confucius taught people from all walks of life at a time when common people were kept away from education. He resigned from his post as a government official as he refused to turn a blind eye to immorality and injustice. He was exiled as the rulers declined to adopt Confucius’ principle of ruling with benevolence. Upon his return, he became a teacher. Confucius taught the classical principles and the six arts. A basic tenet of his teachings was that gentlemen should strive for good education and a moral character.  He believed that they should value self-improvement. What made Confucius great was the fact that he practiced what he preached. For that, he was deeply loved and honored by his pupils. His students admired his virtue of righteousness, kindness, humility, courtesy, loyalty to the country, and caring for others.  It is no wonder that he had 3000 students. 72 of them turned out to be great sages who devoted their lives to spreading Confucius’ teachings.


Time: 384 BC – 322 BC

Aristotle Altemps Inv8575

Aristotle is rightfully hailed as the Father of Poetics for his inimitable role in the shaping of dramatic theory. The erudite Greek philosopher is also known as the Father of Western Philosophy, along with his teacher Plato. Aristotle was a polymath. He was well-versed in a plethora of subjects. His extraordinary writings on physics, metaphysics, zoology, logic, poetry, psychology, aesthetics, music, economics, politics, and government are a testament to that. Aristotle was only a young boy of seventeen when he arrived at Plato’s Academy from Northern Greece. Over the next two decades, he worked up his way from Plato’s best student to a teacher in his own right. After Plato’s demise, Aristotle left Athens for Macedonia. He was appointed to be the teacher of Alexander the Great, the son of King Philip II. Alexander later went on to make history through his quest to rule the world. He was only thirteen when Aristotle agreed to tutor him. Aristotle educated Alexander in subjects like logic, philosophy, medicine, art, politics, and religion. Undoubtedly, he played a significant role in shaping Alexander as the mighty conqueror. Aristotle conducted his classes at the Temple of the Nymphs at Mieza. Alexander was joined by stalwarts like Ptolemy, Hephaiston, and Cassander. Aristotle is one of the greatest educators that ever lived. Even today, we have a lot to learn from his writings.


Time: 375 BC 283 BC

Chanakya artistic depiction

Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, was an excellent educator. He is known as the king of king-makers. The poor Bhramin was teaching at Taxila University, the oldest university in the world, when the army of Alexander the Great was steadily progressing toward India. Chanakya was renowned for his prowess in Economics and Politics. He was a great visionary and an ardent nationalist. When he came to know about Alexander’s quest to conquer the world, he realized that something had to be done to halt his progress. Hence, he made his way to Magadha, the greatest empire of ancient India, in a bid to convince the tyrannical King Dhananada of the importance of the matter. Dhanananda paid him no heed. He thoroughly insulted him before throwing him out of the court. A furious Chanakya pledged to overthrow him and replace him with a mightier king who would protect the land. Chanakya saw the traits of a great leader in a young boy. He harnessed his talents and ultimately made sure that he ascended the throne. This young boy was none other than Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the notable Mauryan Empire. Though Chandragupta never had the opportunity to face Alexander in battle, he put up a great fight against Alexander’s general, Seleucus Nicator. The war between them ended in a truce wherein Chandragupta married Seleucus’ daughter. All of Chandragupta’s heroic feats would not have been feasible if not for his venerable teacher, Chanakya.


Humans are inherently curious beings. Since birth, we have had a thirst for knowledge. This thirst is quenched by none other than our teachers. Having a great teacher can make vast differences in our lives. They may harness our strength and propel us to reach the heights of glory. Our teachers deeply influence us and our future generations. They deeply impact us by helping us form our own outlook on the world. Educators are the ones who dare us to dream. Our teachers can be the very ones responsible for us being made immortal in the pages of history. Do comment and let us know which teacher left an indelible mark in your life.

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