Friday, 31 August 2012

Getting a learning

The sheer quantity of markers, graffiti and even gravestones left behind by the Romans suggests a very high level of literacy within their society. They literally wrote on anything - just like us. Even the provincials drafted into the legions were expected to be literate...and if they weren't, they had to do something about it. Needless to say, the Romans needed schools, and they had a reasonably sophisticated take on education. By the 3rd-Century BC, a three-tiered education system for both boys and girls had been developed. From the age of six children went to Literary school to learn reading, writing and mathematics. These private tutor run schools were often found on street corners or in rented rooms at gymnasiums, and formed the foundation of Roman literacy. Between the ages of nine and twelve, wealthier male students usually moved up to Grammar school, where focus was placed on the expressive reading of poetry and the analysis of poetry and writing. After this, those wanting to pursue a political or legal career headed to Rhetoric school for the study of oratory. By the age of sixteen the fortunate few to have passed through to the third level of school might then be thinking of visiting some of the Greek Universities in the east for a year or two more of rhetoric or philosophy study...and when they turned eighteen it was time to take up their first year long posting in the army to discover some 'real life' education.

Find out if Calvus knew his ABCs