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Education in Ancient Rome

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Presentation on theme: "Education in Ancient Rome"— Presentation transcript:

1 Education in Ancient Rome
Ave, magister!

2 Overview of Roman Education
Early Republic ( BC) Domestic education by parents, esp. paterfamilias Agricultural, domestic, moral, & civil skills, for both boys/girls No strong national literature Spurius Carvilius = first fee-paying “ludus” Late Republic (300-0BC) Emergence of more formal, tiered schools, by ability > age Greek influence strengthens w/ private tutors, literature, higher ed. Yet Roman reject Greek music, athletics in favor of oratory, law, and “practical” skills Empire Abundance of private schools More international student body I didn’t learn geometry and literary criticism and useless nonsense like that. I learned how to read the letters on public inscriptions. I learned how to divide things into hundreds and work out percentages and I know weights, measures and currency Petronius, Satyricon, 58

3 Types of schools Primary School (w/ litterator or magister ludi)
Reading w/ simple letters, phrases from texts & inscriptions Writing w/ erasable wax tablet & stylus (CAPS only) Simple math w/ abacus or pebbles (and Roman numerals) Low fees, open to any student, mixed social classes Secondary School (w/ grammaticus) Writing w/ parchment & quills for advanced students Latin & Greek for elite students Oratory, beg. rhetoric, poetry, grammar = civic/political training Oratory School/”College” (w/ rhetor) More advanced rhetoric; typically noble students

4 School Life Academic Year Corporal Punishment common Pedagogy
Began March 24 (Feast of Minerva) 7 days/week, but many holidays (e.g., Quinquatria (Mar ) Sunrise start, followed by lunch/siesta & classes Corporal Punishment common Knuckles, ears, hair, posterior all fair targets Horace referred to his teacher Oribilus as a “plagosus” (flogger/thrasher!) Pedagogy Oral emphasis (dictation, lecture, disputation) Memorization and recitation, enunciation Quaestiones (abstract concepts) vs. causae (specific situations) vs. declamatio (advocacy of action) No systematic study or curriculum until 1st c. BC

5 Roman tools for school

6 Roman Writing Tablets

7 Roman Abacus

8 School Life II Paedagogus (“child leader”) School Buildings
Family slave (often Greek) who accompanied boy to/from school, provided tutoring & safety School Buildings Rarely purpose-built buildings Rough, backless benches Apprenticeships for older students Vital for students to network, and to gain experience in diplomacy, military tactics


10 Famous Roman Teachers Cicero (103BC-43BC) Quintilian (35-100 AD)
Roman statesman, orator, lawyer, political scientist, & prose stylist Sent his son Marcus to Athens to complete his education, as many wealthy families did (=Grand Tour) Quintilian ( AD) Marcus Fabius Quintilianus Trained in Rome—lawyer in Spain--assistant to Emperor Galba—opens a school of Rhetoric in Rome. Tutor to Domitian’s grand-nephews Author of Istitutio Oratorio, on technical points of speech and training of orators—

11 Plutarch on Cato the Elder
…And when the child was old enough to read, Cato himself took charge and taught him to read and write, even though he owned an accomplished slave …who was a teacher and had instructed many boys. But Cato did not think it proper for his son to be criticized by a slave or to have his ears tweaked by a slave when he was a slow learner, or to owe to a slave so precious a gift as his education. Therefore, Cato was his reading teacher, his law professor, his athletic coach. …He also says that he wrote his book in large letters so that his son might have the opportunity at home to become familiar with his society’s ancient customs and traditions. He was careful to avoid indecent language in his son’s presence.

12 Juvenal’s Satires on teacher’s salary
What grammaticus …ever receives the salary which his hard work deserves? And then this amount, however small ( certainly less than a rhetor earns) is further diminished by bribes to greedy paedogogues and fees to accountants….resign yourself. As long as you get some money for sitting in a classroom in the middle of the night when no laborer or woolworker would be on the job! As long as you get some money for enduring the stink of oil lamps ( olive oil)…and yet rarely do you get your money without a court case. But still the parents set impossible standards for you. You must know the rules of grammar perfectly, memorize history books and .. Then the parents say, "Do your job well, and when the end of the year comes, we’ll pay you for the twelve month period the same amount that a chariot driver earns in one race.

13 Roman Education

14 Lector emptor!

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