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Plato and Aristotle from The School of Athens by Raphael


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The term “Lyceum” (ly-SEE-um) is derived from the name of the school near Athens where Aristotle lectured to his students. While the definition varies between countries it normally is used to describe a type of secondary school.

The lyceum is a category of educational institution defined within the education system of many countries, mainly in Europe; however, it does have some roots in the United States.

The largest early adult education program in the U.S., the Lyceum, founded in Milbury, Massachusetts in 1826 by Josiah Holbrook, was a local association of men and women with some schooling who wanted to expand their own education while working to establish a public school system. What became know as the “Lyceum movement” encouraged the development of other adult education institutions such as libraries, evening schools, and endowed lecture series.

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