Old Age and Classical Society

Telemaco y Mentor
Telemachus and Mentor. Old Age.

The essence of mentoring has very ancient origins. Since antiquity, ancient tribal societies have determined the initiation rites, to provide guidelines and guidance on important milestones in the life of their young.

But the term "Mentor" has its origin in the Greek epic poem The Odyssey, attributed to Homer, in which Mentor, the old friend of Odysseus (Ulysses in Latin), king of Ithaca, appears. Mentor is responsible for the education and initiation of Telemachus, son of Ulysses, as a citizen and prince when Ulysses march to the Trojan War. Attributes as guide, tactician, wise and just man, who knew the "culture" and of recognized competence, have been linked to the figure of "mentor" and have permeated a learning style, which remains valid since antiquity.

Middle Ages and Trade Union

Baker and apprentice. Middle Ages.

During the Middle Ages, guilds also operated under this paradigm of "mentor". The "master" guided the learner in the way of acquisition, not only of knowledge, skills and abilities of the trade, but also facilitated their integration into the union society, which gave him both recognition and authority of a professional nature as a social and political responsibility. This process of sharing contacts and facilitating closer links with the organization itself is, at present, another characteristic of a good "mentor".

At the University of Oxford, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the figures of "mentors" were responsible for teaching students and for their development in all spheres of life, both academic and social, and spiritual.

Over time, the term "mentor" fell into disuse and was replaced in the academic or educational level by the tutor, although it is often considered that this synonymous lacks the function of integration and professional link noted above.