lyceum, 19th-century American association for popular instruction of adults by lectures, concerts, and other methods. Lyceum groups were concerned with the dissemination of information on the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs. The National American Lyceum (1831) developed from the lectures given by Josiah Holbrook at the first lyceum group in Millbury, Mass. (1826). The movement spread through groups formed in other states and was a powerful force in adult education, social reform, and political discussion. Many of the ablest leaders of the time lectured to lyceum audiences, and public interest in general education was greatly stimulated by the movement. The lyceum movement waned after the Civil War, but much of its work was later taken up by the Chautauqua movement.

See C. Bode, The American Lyceum (1956, repr. 1968).

This article is about Lyceum as school or as public hall. Lyceum can also be short for Lyceum Theatre. For the blogging platform, see Lyceum (software). For the Open University synchronous CMC software see Lyceum (synchronous CMC software)
A Lyceum can be

The precise usage of the term varies among various countries.

(See also Lyceum Movement for a discussion of the lyceum movement and its participants in the United States.)

Ancient Greek Lyceum (word origins)

The Lyceum (Greek: Λύκειον, Lykeion) was a gymnasium located just outside the walls of ancient Athens, most famous for its association with Aristotle. The Lyceum, an important early milestone in the development of Western science and philosophy, was named for its sanctuary to Apollo Lykeios which was 2 centuries older, dating from before the 6th century BC.

Aristotle founded his famous school there in 335 BCE and walked in the Lyceum's stoae and grounds as he lectured, surrounded by a throng of students, so the philosophical school he founded was called the Peripatetics. Aristotle was the head of his school until 322 BCE when he fled to Macedon after a charge of impiety was made against him. Theophrastus served as the second head of the school. Later heads include Strato of Lampsacus and Alexander of Aphrodisias.

The school was sacked by Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 86 BCE, but it was later rebuilt. The precise date at which the Lyceum ceased to be used is not known. The location of the complex was lost for centuries, until it was rediscovered in 1996, during excavations for the new Museum of Modern Art. Recovery of the site was a goal for modern Greek national identity. "We have now, here, in Athens, the main proof about the historical continuity of the Hellenic cultural heritage," said Cultural Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

It is worth noting that Aristotle's Lyceum was built on the site of the Temple of Apollo of Lyceus - the protector of the flock against the wolf (lycos).

Lyceums of the Russian Empire

In Imperial Russia, a Lyceum was one of the following higher educational facilities: Demidov Lyceum of Law in Yaroslavl (1803), Alexander Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo (1810), Richelieu lyceum in Odessa (1817), and Imperial Katkov Lyceum in Moscow (1867).

The Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum was opened on October 19, 1811 in the neoclassical building designed by Vasily Stasov and situated next to the Catherine Palace. The first graduates were all brilliant and included Aleksandr Pushkin and Alexander Gorchakov. The opening date was celebrated each year with carousals and revels, and Pushkin composed new verses for each of those occasions. In January 1844 the Lyceum was moved to Saint Petersburg.

During 33 years of the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum's existence, there were 286 graduates. The most famous of these were Anton Delwig, Wilhelm Küchelbecher, Nicholas de Giers, Dmitry Tolstoy, Yakov Karlovich Grot, Nikolay Yakovlevich Danilevsky, Alexei Lobanov-Rostovsky and Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin.

Lyceums also emerged in the former Soviet Union countries after they became independent. One typical example is Uzbekistan, where all high schools were replaced with lyceums ("litsey" is the Russian term, derived from French "lycee"), offering three-year educational program with a certain major in certain direction. Unlike Turkey, Uzbek lyceums do not hold University entrance examination, which gives students the right to enter a University, but they hold a kind of "mock examination" which is designed to test their eligibility for a certain University.

Lyceums in today's education

The term lyceum is still used in some (mostly European) countries when referring to a type of school.


Liceo is the term used for a secondary education public school, it lasts 4 years. It is mandatory to complete it for every citizen.

Czech Republic

The term lyceum refers to the type of secondary education consisting of 4 years ended by graduation. It is a type between grammar school and a technical high school.

Greece & Cyprus

The word lyceum is in use for upper secondary education (Greek: Ενιαίο Λύκειο, Geniko Lykeio "General Lyceum"), comparable to the last two or three years of American high school (upper secondary) classes in Greece and Cyprus.


The French word for an upper secondary school, lycée, derives from Lyceum. (see Secondary education in France.)


The concept and name lyceum (or lyseo in Finnish) entered Finland through Sweden. Traditionally, lyceums were schools to prepare students to enter universities, as opposed to the typical, more general education. Some old schools continue to use the name lyceum, though their operations today vary. For example, Helsinki Normal Lyceum educates students in grades 7-12, while Oulu Lyceum enrolls students only in grades 10-12. The more commonly used term for upper secondary school in Finland is lukio.


The Italian word for an upper secondary school, liceo, derives from Lyceum. (see Secondary education in Italy) The word for some kinds of secondary schools: liceo classico (specializing in classical studies, including Latin, Ancient Greek and English for 5 years), liceo scientifico (specializing in scientific studies, and with Latin and English for 5 years), liceo artistico (specializing in art subjects, with English for 5 years), liceo linguistico (specializing in foreign languages: Two foreign languages for 5 years and a third foreign language for the last 3 years). It lasts 5 years between 14 and 18 years of age.


Junior lyceums refer to secondary education state owned schools.


There is a major university in the City of Manila called LYCEUM. Its complete name is Lyceum of the Philippines University. It can also be called on the acronym LPU. Its branches also bear the name "Lyceum". There are other schools that are not affiliated with LPU but has the word "Lyceum" in their names. Thus, it can also be used to name any educational instititution. However, LPU is the original bearer of the name and still has the word pertained to it.


The Polish word for a secondary education facility, liceum, also derives from that term. Polish liceums are attended by children ages from 16 to 19 or 21 (see list below). At their end students are subject to a final exam called matura.

Polish liceums can be divided into several types:


In the Portuguese educational system in the early 1970s, the Lyceum (Liceu), or National Lyceum (Liceu Nacional), was a high school that prepared students to enter universities or more general education. On the other hand the Industrial school (Escola Industrial) was a technical-oriented school. After several Education reforms, all these schools merged into a single system of Secondary Schools (Escolas Secundárias), offering grades 7 to 12.


The Turkish word for the latest part of pre-university education is lise which is derived from the Greek word Λύκειον (Lyceum) and corresponds to "high school" in English. It lasts 3 to 5 years with respect to the type of the high school. At the end of their "lise" education, students take the ÖSS test (Öğrenci Seçme Sınavı), i.e. university entrance examination, to get the right to enroll in a university.


The Romanian term is liceu and it represents a post-secondary, pre-university educational institution. It is more specialized than secondary school. Certain specialized lyceum diplomas are enough to find a job.


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