The Principles of Education In Ancient Rome


VI – I century BC can be called a traditional jump from ancient to roman education. A social stratification (slaveholders, free privileged population – the patricians and riders, poor population – the plebeians) influenced on the educational system. For poor children, there were some private and paid elementary schools. And there were grammar seminaries, where privileged strata children studied grammar, Latin and Greek language, rhetoric, history, and literature. It was quite hard as there were no such services as CustomWriting where you can order your essay. In both types of academies studied only boys. The rhetorician’s schools where children of the nobility could prepare themselves for a state activity, thoroughly studied philosophy, law, Greek, and even India and Egypt cultures.

The primary education level in Rome was very low. The main task was preparing a Roman citizen who can sacrifice everything for the sake of his family and his country, a brave warrior who contemptuously refers to all foreign, first of all, slaves and conservative politics, a greedy and cruel landowner. One of ancient roman education facts states that a schooling provided a purely practical purpose – to make the child ready for social, military and economic activities according to the family status. If you were a son of a peasant, you would be prepared to work in the household of your father in addition to reading, writing, and counting, which everyone was taught; Senator’s son was trained to use arms, swim, ride, was acquainted with the history of his country.

The trivial seminaries provided the elementary education. The learning term was 4-5 years (7 to 11-12 age). Kids have to master the reading, writing principles, and counting skills. Classes lasted for a whole day with a break for lunch. A discipline was set up by way of corporal punishment. The occupation of the teacher wasn’t respectful, it was equal to the profession of a craftsman. Mainly they were people from the lower classes. Opening schools, they searched pupils by themselves and received an extremely low fee.

“Grammar” was the next level of education where the course lasted four years. The classrooms were decorated with busts of writers and other famous personalities. The boys aged 12 to 16 years who were able to read and write studied there. Mostly these were children of the nobility and the rich citizens. The first seminaries of this kind appeared in the 60’s. II c. BC. They were widespread in Italy and the neighborhood, where some time ago greek and roman education had met. Here, pupils read and commented on excerpts from the writings and did some written exercises. The studying started from the correction of pronunciation, word formation exercises, and stylistics. The teachers ( “grammars” or “writers”) occupied a higher social status than teachers of elementary schools. Coming out of the lower classes, they were even in the civil service, some of them sought a political recognition.

A practical orientation of the Roman educational system also led to the creation of oratorical schools modeled on Greek. Despite the strengthening of imperial power, the art of rhetoric was valuable in the country on a par with physical education and sports. “Rhetoricians” – teachers of rhetoric were frequent guests in the estates of the aristocracy. They taught their students the art of constructing sentences, an elegance of language, organized the race participants, the winners usually were given the book.

The original educational foundation, called “Youth colleges” were created for the children of Roman nobility. These historical centers were established by Emperor Augustus (27 – 14 years BC) in order to form the ruling elite. At the final level of schooling, the unique educational and informative trips to Hellenistic cultural places were held. In order to organize military training of young Romans, there were military units – legions and riders’ academies.

In the first century AD a stable school canon, which included ancient and modern education procedure, and methods of learning was formed in the Roman Empire. The roman writer and scholar Varro noted nine main school subjects: grammar,

rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy facts, music, medicine and architecture. Before V century BC medicine and architecture have gradually been removed from the school course, thus formed the “seven liberal arts,” which became the core of schooling in the Middle Times. School subjects called “liberal arts,” as intended for children of free citizens.

At the end of the Roman Empire the course “seven liberal arts” was divided into two parts – trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialectic) and quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music). The merit in creating such a classification belongs to the Roman philosopher and author of textbooks Boethius. He proposed a compiling principle – a combination of single text fragments and facts of different sources as a basis of textbooks. The books written by Boethius had an impact on the method of teaching of the Middle Ages.

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