First Stories of School

W. Martin Bloomer

in The School of Rome

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520255760
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948402 | DOI:
First Stories of School

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This chapter focuses on the stories the Romans told of their first schools. It discusses the character of Roman memory of early education, the family display of sons and educators, and comic reflection on the value of an education. The bulk of the evidence for education comes from biographies of famous men, but the earliest reflection on education occurs in two scenes from Roman comedy, where education serves as a barometer for the moral health of society at large. Both the stage characters of early comedy—an errant youth, a cantankerous father, and a coddling uncle—and the diligent parents with outstanding children in the pages, two and a half centuries later, of the idealizing biographers, depict the institution of schooling at an important phase of development.

Keywords: Roman education; early education; first schools; comedy

Chapter.  7759 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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