Roman school

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For the classical school of music active in Rome/Italy from the mid-16th to the mid-17th centuries, see Roman School

The Roman school is the education system of the Ancient Rome.

Each school day of Ancient Rome was believed to begin before sunrise, and last until late afternoon. The fixed beginning of the school year was March 24th, which is held in honor of Minerva, the Roman Goddess of Wisdom.

In earlier times, a boy's education would have taken place at home. His father would have taught him to read and write with ivory alphabet blocks, and would have prepared him for war with wooden swords. Girls, on the other hand, were taught by their mothers, to sew, weave, clean and spin cloth.

The Roman education was divided into three stages:

A student would be accompanied by slaves: one to escort him and another to carry his books and possessions. The students would write on a wax tablet with a Stylus to practice their scripting. This then gave them the option of writing in ink on parchment or papyrus with a quill. If the students were disobedient they would suffer corporal punishments such as a rap across the knuckles with a rod for being disobedient or disrespectful, being hit with a birch for not knowing the answer to a question, being whipped with a leather strap for making a serious mistake and being whipped with a strap with knots in it continuously for not knowing the answers to multiple questions.

[edit] Secondary (second stage)

Boys aged 12-15 studied language and literature either at home with a personal tutor, a gifted slave, or (boys only) in public with a grammaticus. Under the Empire, a primary position was given to Virgil's Aeneid. Girls were allowed to continue at home. The works that were studied allowed students to practice their reading and to develop their ability to comment on grammar, figures of speech, and the writer's use of mythology. The primary school was for the children aged seven to twelve.

[edit] Tertiary (third stage)

Around 16, rhetoric was studied in public lectures. There were two main types of rhetorical exercise:

  1. Suasoriae: Developed boy's skills in constructing arguments
  2. Contouersiae: Devised arguments for and against the accused

[edit] Teachers

At Rome from the time of Julius Caesar onwards, there were privileges for teachers who were also Roman citizens. Emperor Vespasian (Emperor from 69-79 AD) founded two chairs for the teaching of Greek and Latin rhetoric; Quintilian was the first holder of the Latin chair. Outside Rome, teachers of grammar and rhetoric were granted exemption from civic obligation - again by Vespasian.

The spread of Roman culture and domination in the West was made possible by the teaching of a fairly standard and difficult curriculum to the sons of the local elites.


Roman school

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