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Rome's Patronization of Learning

books 1 In the beginning of the Roman republic, the children’s education was completely controlled by their parents. Even the greatest and most powerful men took time to personally teach their children basic skills. It was a very normal thing for a child to be home schooled by their parents. Boys would be taught by their fathers, and likewise girls with their mothers, to teach the roles they would play later in their lives. The curriculum did not just pertain to books and mathematics, they were also taught martial arts to the boys of landowning households because they were required to serve in the army. As the empire grew, the wealthier households began sending their students to schools which hired Greek slaves for teachers. At the end of the Roman republic, as Roman society increased in wealth, education began to get better, including higher education in subjects such as philosophy and oratory. Wealthy children started to go to primary school at seven years old. This kind of school would be in a simple shop and be run by one teacher, with benches for the pupils to sit on. Education would stop for all girls and most boys at twelve years old. The boys that continued school were usually the smartest and whose parents could afford it. They would continue being schooled until they reached manhood. The Greek and Roman languages were taught in the school of the Grammaticus. Poetry was particularly studied. Some other classes were on the fundamentals of history, geography, physics, and astronomy. The grammatici, or teacher, would usually decide the literature that the class would study. Their choices of texts influenced the later taste and literacy tradition of Rome. Texts and books that were not read in school went out of circulation, hence did not survive. The use of Greek became widespread in the Roman world through education, expecially in aristocratic families.

Roman  Writers and Historians


Cato the Elder

Dio Cassius

Titus Livy


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