Education in the Papyri

Raffaella Cribiqre

in The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199843695
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Education in the Papyri

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Papyrology
  • Historical Archaeology



This article focuses on Greek education during the roughly ten centuries between the conquest of Egypt by Alexander of Macedon and the Arab conquest. Egypt has offered a large quantity of educational material that permits us to glimpse the everyday, unexceptional practices of schooling and to observe certain details. This educational material is extant on papyrus, ostraca, wooden and waxed tablets, and, more rarely, parchment. The recent discovery in Alexandria of eighteen or more classrooms (auditoria) used in late antiquity for higher education is tantalizing. In this case, the literary tradition converges with the archaeological findings to spotlight a formal school setting used by grammarians, sophists, and teachers of philosophy. There are three divisions of levels of schooling: basic reading, writing, and numeracy; grammatical and orthographical knowledge of the language; and perfecting oral and written expression.

Keywords: Greek education; Alexander of Macedon; Arab conquest; Egypt; Alexandria; auditoria; grammatical knowledge

Article.  8627 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Papyrology ; Historical Archaeology

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