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Greek and Roman Education in the Apostolic Age

Greek and Roman Education in the Apostolic Age

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 15, 2013
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GREEK AD ROMA EDUCATIO I THE APOSTOLIC AGEBY CHARLES AUGUSTUS BRIGGS1. The last century before Christ and the first of theChristian era constitute the golden age of Greco-Bormnscholarship.Among the great writers of this period were thephilosophers and moralists Philo, Seneca, Epictetus,and Plutarch ; the poets Lucretius, Catullus, Virgil,Horace, Ovid, Martial, and Juvenal ; the historiansSallust, Livy, Strabo, Caesar, Tacitus, and Josephus ;the orators and rhetoricians Cicero, Quintilian, andDion Chrysostom ; and the scholars and criticsVarro, Probus, Pliny, and Dionj'sius of Halicamassus.Greek scholars carefully preserved ' the varied storesof ancient learning.' Latin writers produced originalwork, but 'founded mainly on Greek models.' ^ Thiswas important to Christianity as affecting its environ-ment.2. There was a common method of education all overthe Greek and Roman world.There were three grades of schools in the RomanEmpire at this time : the grammar school, the rhetoricalschool, and the university, (a) The grammar schoolcorresponded with our common school, and was attended1 Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship, i. pp. 143, 169.38 HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY [ft. lby pupils from the ages of seven to fourteen. Theseschools were' of two types ; the one for the teaching of the Greek language,the other for the Latin language. . . . The Latin GrammarSchools at least were to be found in every city in the empire, andremained as one of the most persistent institutions of the oldPagan civilisation until the overthrow of Roman culture by thebarbarians. ... In the grammatical school the object was to
give a mastery of the language, a correctness of expression inreading, in writing, and in speaking, and to do this through afamiliarity with the best Greek and Latin authors. ... It iscertain that to some extent mathematics, music, and rudimentarydialectics were introduced into the grammar schools. . . . Thiacombination of function continued, especially in smaller com-munities, late into imperial times.' ^(6) The rhetorical school was attended usually, fromthe age of fourteen upwards, by the wealthy or moreambitious students. The purpose of this school was toprepare the student for public life by training in litera-ture, composition, public speaking, and good manners.Most cities had such schools.Quintilian complains :* The rhetoricians, especially our own, have reHnquished a partof their duties, and . . . the grammarians have appropriatedwhat does not belong to them. . . . Let grammar know its ownboundaries ; . . . for, though but weak at its source, yet, havinggained strength from the poets and historians, it now flows onin a full channel ; since, besides the art of speaking correctly, . . .it has engrossed the study of almost all the highest departmentsof learning.' ^(c) The university gave opportunity for specialtraining in the higher branches of knowledge. Herephilosophy and criticism were the chief studies. Thegreat universities were those of Alexandria in Egypt,Pergamon in Asia Minor, Antioch in Syria, Athens in1 Monroe, History of Education^ pp. 198 seq.• Watson, (Quintilian' s Institutes of Oratory, ii. 1, 2.CH. IV.] GREEK AD ROMA EDUCATIO 39Greece, Rome in Italy. There were also smaller univer-sities at Tarsus in Cilicia, and elsewhere.According to Sandys,^ Athens ' continued to befrequented as a school of philosophy.' ' The scholarsof Alexandria were . . . mainly but not exclusivelyconcerned with the verbal criticism of the Greek poets.'
' The school of Pergamon found room for a largervariety of scholarly studies,' and included in its curri-culum, together with grammar and literary criticism, thephilosophy of the Stoics, chronology, topography, thestudy of inscriptions, art, and the history of art.The university of Rome had its origin in the foundingof a library in the Temple of Peace by Vespasian (69-79 A.D.). Monroe says :* Under Hadrian (117-138 a.d.) and the later emperors inter-ested in literature and education, this was developed into adefinite institution termed the Athenceum, though it resembledmore the university at Alexandria. Following the influence of this institution and the practical genius of the Romans, theuniversity gave more attention to law and medicine than tophilosophy. The Hberal arts, especially grammar and rhetoric,were fully represented both in the Latin and in the Greek lan-guages. Later teachers of architecture, mathematics, andmechanics were appointed by the emperors — at least by Alex-ander Severus. These lines of instruction represented the entirework of the university.' *To these three grades of schools two others may beadded : the elementary and the professional school.{d) The School of the Ludimagister ' never attemptedto give more than the merest rudiments of the arts of reading, writing, and calculation.' Among the Romansthey were very common ; but ' this phase of education,being non-Grecian, never received any general attention,nor such teachers — often mere slaves — any publicesteem.' *1 Sandys, i. pp. 144, 163 seq.8 Monroe, History of Education, pp. 197 seq. • Ibid.40 HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF THEOLOGY [ft. i.(e) Professional schools existed for the study of lawand medicine. Beirut had a great law school as well asKome. Gibbon says that ' all the civil magistrates weredrawn from the profession of the law. . . . The rudimentsof this lucrative science were taught in all the con-

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