Talk:Education in ancient Rome

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WikiProject Education (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
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comment[edit]

This article is very informative--great job with providing such a large amount of details. I have a few suggestions, which two of them are for purely organizational purposes: I think it would be nice to add internal links of certain words to other Wikipedia articles (using double brackets on each side). That way, people who do not know say, what "gravitas" means, they can click on the link and find out about it. Another idea is to collapse the long list of references into a shorter collection by including references from the same source into one line (ex. use page numbers for a book). And lastly, you mentioned the need for education for Roman politicians/philosophers, but do we have information about other career paths of educated students? Was it necessary, like today, to acquire higher education to obtain a "better" occupation? Overall...good article! Cfrontz 19:31, 13 May 2007 (UTC)


Informational article with a well thought out layout. First of all, I agree with Chad that a couple terms can definitely be linked for more information; however, I believe and like the way how when a new term is introduced, it's the definition is immediately followed. The way your sentenced are constructed never left the reader clueless so to speak over terminology. Perhaps rearrange the reference section; maybe categorize similar sources under subsections such as "Oxford Classical Dictionary" and "The Legacy of Roman Education" so that readers can easily identify which and what reference was used in an immediate glance. Also, the Tiers of Roman School section, I think the subheading for "philosophy" should be changed to "The Philosophy" in order to stay with the format of the other three headings. Other than these, the article provided great compare and contrast between Roman and Greek education while providing essential information on Roman Education. Nice job on the article. *Augustus Tsai

I REALLY liked this article, definitely one of the best I've read. Your format is very very good, and easy to follow along. I agree with the above comments that you could make more terms hyperlinked if possible because some of them I feel are important enough to be linked. There's really not much else I can say except when you were talking about how later Roman education became fee based, I was wondering if there was any way you could find out the average fee (an actual number) of how much this education cost. It would just provide more insight and basis for comparison for readers. Also, I was thinking that you could add a picture in here somewhere...of maybe the old school system as compared with the new one? or maybe a picture of a certain book or form of equipment used in the school? Anything would help. other than that...I really liked it and you really don't need too much work on it. - Ambika Aggarwal

Your article was organized very well and was very easy to read. As others said above, possibly explain some of the latin terms that you use, or link to their respective wiki pages. Some ideas I had for further development were:

Why didn't the schools emphasize any practical physical knowledge(math, science, etc) like some greek schools? Was this just viewed as not valuable in Roman Society?

I also remember from class that the importation of greek education and philosophy in particular met with some resistance within the conservative elements of the Roman upper class. It was somewhere in one of those passages where cato the elder rants excessively. I thought this might be an interesting point to note

Other than that, great job!

-- Alex Carter

You clearly researched this well. I liked that you included objective implications of their practices. Do you know what age Rhetor lasted to? You refer to the rough start and end ages of the prior levels. Expanding on what others said, another picture idea might be a piece of broken pottery used to practice writing on, like we talked about in class. This might be more difficult, but if you do find a number for the fee, a conversion to what that equivalent means today would be helpful as well. 199.74.80.195 21:52, 15 May 2007 (UTC)Luke Olson

I'm very suprised to hear that people are generally so happy about this entry. I think it is written in a way that is particularly unsuited for an encyclopedia. The worst part is the constant mentioning of phrases like 'unlike students today', and 'unlike we' 'unlike us' and so forth. Who are these people the author refers to? Students in Norway, China or Canada? And what contemporary socties are used as comparision? The artcicle could be greatly improved if the references to unnamed comtemporary cultures were removed. Likewise there is a great mention of how boring the schools were, and how it must've been terrible for the students to attend it. This may all very well be true, but this should not be a free-style essay, but rather an encyclopedic entry, and thus those sort of subjective guesses should be eliminated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.142.224.132 (talk) 00:08, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Copied from WP:RD/H[edit]

I think I can maybe add a little flesh to the bare bones of the Wikipedia page, one or two snippets of information on what it was like to be a recipient of Roman schooling, all taken from Everyday Life for the Roman Schoolboy by Keith Hopkins, a superb essay on the subject in History Today, volume 43, number 10, published in October 1993.

Schooling began early in the day, usually at dawn. Primary schools were attended by both sexes, and some of the higher grammar schools were also mixed. Children from prosperous families were accompanied by a slave attendant or tutor, and perhaps also a younger slave to carry books and writing materials.

At school if the pupil worked well he was kissed by the master (gross, I know, but true!). If not he was flogged. Corporal punishment was a regular part of the school day. Some educational theorists were advanced enough to suggest that it was important to take account of mixed abilities; not so Quintilian, who argued that children were spoiled by kindness-"We ruin our children's character...by petting and soft upbringing." One father in Roman Egypt shared this view, writing to his son's teacher, "Beat him, because ever since he left his father he has had no other beatings and he likes getting a few; his back has got accustomed to them and needs its daily dose." This view was also shared by the great Augustine of Hippo, though in the Confessions he recalls his own school days with horror. In the end, the severe but just father becomes the severe but just God.

Much of the education given consisted of cramming young heads with Greek. Some educationalists maintained that those in the social elite should begin life with Greek nurses, though others countered by saying that this would ruin their Latin accents. Once the basics had been mastered, and the pupils could read and write Latin and Greek, they moved steadily up the educational ladder, reaching the rarified heights of subjects like rhetoric, where they would often be presented with problems like the following: The law ordains that in a case of rape, the woman may demand either the death of her assailant or marriage without a dowry. A man raped two women in one night. One woman demands his death; the other marriage. Discuss. Yes, this is a real example!

Some were inclined to poke fun at this kind of pedagogy, including Petronius, who wrote "Young men are made into fools at school; people fed this stuff can no more be sensible than kitchen workers can smell rice." But this view was far from typical, and educational relevance was not an issue of any great importance for most Romans. Even medicine had a largely unapplied and philosophical basis. The chief purpose of education was to distinguish between those who had mastered complex literary forms and those who had not. And finally, here is a list of questions and answers from a Roman school text which summed up a limited and rather gloomy view of life;

  • What is a Man? A short lived ghost.
  • What are Riches? Everyday power.
  • What are Words? Blindness.
  • What is Authority? Poverty.
  • What is Wealth? A ridiculous page.
  • What is Woman? A daily Drudge.
  • What is Law? Necessity.
  • What is Holiday? Work.
  • What is Death? Freedom.
  • What is Lonlieness? Kingship. Clio the Muse 23:44, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Restoring earlier version[edit]

In view of the sad state of this article, I've decided to be bold and restore it to the version edited by User:Ssidney15 at 19:55, 29 November 2007. I could find no reason in the history why the article was drastically cut shortly after that time.

If there are problems, at least this gives us a better basis for further revisions. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 03:37, 12 April 2010 (UTC); revised 03:43, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Education as we know it today has deep roots in the late Roman Republic and Roman Empire[edit]

I have some problems with the lead sentence of this article. Who is the "we" here? Maybe "Western civilisation" should be more appropriate. + Is there any source who confirms this fact? Should it even be here?--Narayan (talk) 09:32, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Ah yes, that mysterious "we" that keeps popping up in Wikipedia articles, some secret cabal who decide what knowledge it. Let's try to fix this. Cynwolfe (talk) 18:45, 27 June 2011 (UTC)