Ancient Roman Education System

Education in the early years of ancient Rome were rather informal. It was usually the responsibility of the fathers to teach their children all that they needed to know. From the comfort of their homes, children were taught the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. The goal was for children to be able to understand simple business transactions, as well as have the ability to count, weigh and measure (Shelton, p. 100). When children got older, they would also get the opportunity to shadow other family members through various apprenticeships. Later on, as Rome began to develop and emerge as a world power, the citizens (in particular the wealthy) began to seek more formal forms of education, in order to ensure that their children were the …show more content…
Despite its substantial influence on the rest of the world, the ancient Roman education system was by no means perfect. Some common critiques of this education system is that it was limited, ineffective, and unfair.
This paper will explore these three critiques of the ancient Roman education system. It will argue for or against each critique, citing descriptions of ancient Roman schools and teachers.
Before going into the analysis, it is important to have a basic understanding of the Roman education system. There were three stages of schooling in ancient Rome. The first was the litterator stage. This stage began when a child was six or seven years old, and consisted of basic reading, writing, and arithmetic. The next stage was the grammaticus stage. This stage began around the age of ten years old, and was about four to five years in length. At this point, children were completely bilingual (in Latin and Greek) and began reading and memorizing more intermediate literature. The final stage of the Roman education system was the rhetor stage, which began at the age of fourteen or fifteen. This stage was primarily reserved for the wealthy, and consisted of training in rhetoric, which included many other subjects. Roman education rounded up with a form of study abroad or
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This is similar to the previous critique that Roman education was limited. Some argue that because Roman education was limited and did not provide students with the opportunity to learn as much as possible, their system was therefore ineffective as well, as students would not be able to reach their full potential. However, as we have seen before, students did in fact learn a great deal throughout their educational years. The Romans valued students learning as much as possible, as they believed that everything in life is connected and therefore plays a role in all areas of life. Cicero touches on this idea in his work, About the Orator 1.16-20 when he says, “The study of oratory is more demanding, and involves a combination of more disciplines and sciences than men realize…; The student of oratory must acquire knowledge of a great many things, without which knowledge fluency of speech is empty and ridiculous” (Shelton, p. 119). This system proved to be effective for the Romans, as their goal for education was to produce students who would go out into the world and be leaders in their respective professions. It is clear that students left the Roman education system with a wide array of knowledge across all kinds of fields. So far, it has been argued that the ancient Roman education system is neither limited nor ineffective, despite common critique. The final critique is that the Roman

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