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3. _Higher or university education_, covering the years after sixteen.

THE FLOOD OF INDIVIDUALISM. This period of artistic and intellectual brilliancy of Greece following the Peloponnesian War marked the beginning of the end of Greece politically. The war was a blow to the strength of Greece from which the different States never recovered. Greece was bled white by this needless civil strife. The tendencies toward individualism in education were symptomatic of tendencies in all forms of social and political life. The philosophers–Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle–proposed ideal remedies for the evils of the State, [6] but in vain. The old ideal of citizenship died out. Service to the State became purely subordinate to personal pleasure and advancement. Irreverence and a scoffing attitude became ruling tendencies. Family morality decayed. The State in time became corrupt and nerveless. Finally, in 338 B.C., Philip of Macedon became master of Greece, and annexed it to the world empire which he and his son Alexander created. Still later, in 146 B.C., the new world power to the west, Rome, conquered Greece and made of it a Roman province.

Though dead politically, there now occurred the unusual spectacle of “captive Greece taking captive her rude conqueror,” and spreading Greek art, literature, philosophy, science, and Greek ideas throughout the Mediterranean world. It was the Greek higher learning that now became predominant and exerted such great influence on the future of our world civilization. It remains now to trace briefly the development and spread of this higher learning, and to point out how thoroughly it modified the thinking of the future.

NEW SCHOOLS; SOCRATES. In the beginning each Sophist teacher was a free lance, and taught what he would and in the manner he thought best. Many of them made extraordinary efforts to attract students and win popular approval and fees. Plato represents the Sophist Protagoras as saying, with reference to a youth ambitious for success in political life, “If he comes to me he will learn that which he comes to learn.” At first the instruction was largely individual, but later classes were organized. Isocrates, who lived from 436 to 338 B.C., organized the instruction for the first time into a well-graded sequence of studies, with definite aims and work (R. 8). He shifted the emphasis in instruction from training for success in argumentation, to training to think clearly and to express ideas properly. His pupils were unusually successful, and his school did much to add to the fame of Athens as an intellectual center. From his work sprang a large number of so called Rhetorical Schools, much like our better private schools and academies, offering to those Ephebes who could afford to attend a very good preparation for participation in the public life of the period.

In contrast with the Sophists, a series of schools of philosophy also arose in Athens. These in a way were the outgrowth of the work of Socrates. Accepting the Sophists’ dictum that “man is the measure of all things,” he tried to turn youths from the baser individualism of the Sophists of his day to the larger general truths which measure the life of a true man. In particular he tried to show that the greatest of all arts– the art of living a good life–called for correct individual thinking and a knowledge of the right. “Know thyself” was his great guiding principle. His emphasis was on the problems of everyday morality. Frankly accepting the change from the old education as a change that could not be avoided, he sought to formulate a new basis for education in personal morality and virtue, and as a substitute for the old training for service to the State. He taught by conversation, engaging men in argument as he met them in the street, and showing to them their ignorance (R. 9). Even in Athens, where free speech was enjoyed more than anywhere else in the world at that time, such a shrewd questioner would naturally make enemies, and in 399 B.C. at the age of seventy-one, he was condemned to death by the Athenian populace on the charge of impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens.

[Illustration: FIG. 12 SOCRATES (469-399 B.C.) (After a marble bust in the Vatican Gallery, at Rome)]

Socrates’ greatest disciple was a citizen of wealth by the name of Plato, who had abandoned a political career for the charms of philosophy, and to him we owe our chief information as to the work and aims of Socrates. In 386 B.C. he founded the Academy, where he passed almost forty years in lecturing and writing. His school, which formed a model for others, consisted of a union of teachers and students who possessed in common a chapel, library, lecture-rooms, and living-rooms. Philosophy, mathematics, and science were taught, and women as well as men were admitted.

Other schools of importance in Athens were the Lyceum, founded in 335 B.C. by a foreign-born pupil of Plato’s by the name of Aristotle, who did a remarkable work in organizing the known knowledge of his time; [7] the school of the Stoics, founded by Zeno in 308 B.C.; and the school of the Epicureans, founded by Epicurus in 306 B.C. Each of these schools offered a philosophical solution of the problem of life, and Plato and Aristotle wrote treatises on education as well. Each school evolved into a form of religious brotherhood which perpetuated the organization after the death of the master. In time these became largely schools for expounding the philosophy of the founder.


THE UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS. Coincident with the founding of these schools and the political events we have previously recorded, certain further changes in Athenian education were taking place. The character of the changes in the education before the age of sixteen we have described. As a result in part of the development of the schools of the Sophists, which were in themselves only attempts to meet fundamental changes in Athenian life, the education of youths after sixteen tended to become literary, rather than physical and military. The Ephebic period of service (from eighteen to twenty) was at first reduced from two years to one, and after the Macedonian conquest, in 338 B.C., when there was no longer an Athenian State to serve or protect, the entire period of training was made optional. The Ephebic corps was now opened to foreigners, and in time became merely a fashionable semi-military group. Instead of the military training, attendance at the lectures of the philosophical schools was now required, and attendance at the rhetorical schools was optional. Later the philosophical schools were granted public support by the Athenian Assembly, professorships were created over which the Assembly exercised supervision, the rhetorical and philosophical schools were gradually merged, the study years were extended from two to six, or seven, a form of university life as regards both students and professors was developed, and what has since been termed “The University of Athens” was evolved. Figure 13 shows how this evolution took place.

As Athens lost in political power her citizens turned their attention to making their city a center of world learning. This may be said to have been accomplished by 200 B.C. Though Greece had long since become a Macedonian province, and was soon to pass under the control of Rome, the so-called University of Athens was widely known and much frequented for the next three hundred years, and continued in existence until finally closed, as a center of pagan thought, by the edict of the Roman-Christian Emperor, Justinian, in 529 A.D. Though reduced to the rank of a Roman provincial town, Athens long continued to be a city of letters and a center of philosophic and scientific instruction.

SPREAD AND INFLUENCE OF GREEK HIGHER EDUCATION. Alexander the Great rendered a very important service in uniting the western Orient and the eastern Mediterranean into a common world empire, and in establishing therein a common language, literature, philosophy, a common interest, and a common body of scientific knowledge and law. It was his hope to create a new empire, in which the distinction between European and Asiatic should pass away. No less than seventy cities were established with a view to holding his empire together. These served to spread Hellenic culture. Greek schools, Greek theaters, Greek baths, and Greek institutions of every type were to be found in practically all of them, and the Greek tongue was heard in them all. With Alexander the Great the history of Greek life, culture, and learning merges into that of the history of the ancient world. Everywhere throughout the new empire Greek philosophers and scientists, architects and artists, merchants and colonists, followed behind the Macedonian armies, spreading Greek civilization and becoming the teachers of an enlarged world. [8] “Greek cities stretched from the Nile to the Indus, and dotted the shores of the Black and the Caspian seas. The Greek language, once the tongue of a petty people, grew to be a universal language of culture, spoken even by barbarian lips, and the art, the science, the literature, the principles of politics and philosophy, developed in isolation by the Greek mind, henceforth became the heritage of many nations.” [9]

Greek universities were established at Pergamum and Tarsus in Asia Minor; at Rhodes on the island of that name in the Aegean; and at the newly founded city of Alexandria in Egypt. Antioch, in Syria, became another important center of Greek influence and learning. A large library was developed at Pergamum, and it was here that writing on prepared skins of animals [10] was begun, from which the term “parchment” (originally “per- gament”) comes. It was also at Pergamum that Galen (born c. 130 A.D.) organized what was then known of medical science, and his work remained the standard treatise for more than a thousand years. Rhodes became a famous center for instruction in oratory. During Roman days many eminent men, among whom were Cassius, Caesar, and Cicero, studied oratory here.


MINGLING OF ORIENT AND OCCIDENT AT ALEXANDRIA. The most famous of all these Greek institutions, however, was the University of Alexandria, which gradually sapped Athens as a center of learning and became the intellectual capital of the world. The greatest library of manuscripts the world had ever known was collected together here. [11] It is said to have numbered over 700,000 volumes. These included Greek, Jewish, Egyptian, and Oriental works. In connection with the library was the museum, where men of letters and investigators were supported at royal expense. These two constituted an institution so like a university that it has been given that name. Alexandria became not only a great center of learning, but, still more important, the chief mingling place for Greek, Jew, Egyptian, Roman, and Oriental, and here Greek philosophy, Hebrew and Christian religion, and Oriental faith and philosophy met and mixed. It was this mingled civilization and culture, all tinged through and through with the Greek, with which the Romans came in contact as they pushed their conquering armies into the eastern Mediterranean (R. 10).

[Illustration: FIG. 15. THE KNOWN WORLD ABOUT 150 A.D. A map by Ptolemy, geographer and astronomer at Alexandria. Compare this with the map on page 4, and note the progress in geographical discovery which had been made during the intervening centuries.]

CHARACTER OF ALEXANDRIAN LEARNING. The great advances in knowledge made at Alexandria were in mathematics, geography, and science. The method of scientific investigation worked out by Aristotle at Athens was introduced and used. Instead of speculating as to phenomena and causes, as had been the earlier Greek practice, observation and experiment now became the rule. Euclid (c. 323-283 B.C.) opened a school at Alexandria as early as 300 B.C., and there worked out the geometry which is still used in our schools. Archimedes (287-212 B.C.), who studied under Euclid, made many important discoveries and advances in mechanics and physics. Eratosthenes (226-196 B.C.), librarian at Alexandria, is famous as a geographer [12] and astronomer, and made some studies in geology as well. Ptolemy (b.?; d. 168 A.D.) here completed his Mechanism of the Heavens (_Syntaxis_) in 138 A.D., and this became the standard astronomy in Europe for nearly fifteen hundred years, while his geography was used in the schools until well into the fifteenth century. The map of the known world, shown in Figure 15, was made by him. Hipparcus, the Newton of the Greeks, studied the heavens both at Alexandria and Rhodes, and counted the stars and arranged them in constellations. Many advances also were made in the study of medicine, the Alexandrian schools having charts, models, and dissecting rooms for the study of the human body, The functions of the brain, nerves, and heart were worked out there.

Except in science and mathematics, though, the creative ability of the earlier Greeks was now largely absent. Research, organization, and comment upon what had previously been done rather was the rule. Still much important work was done here. Books were collected, copied, and preserved, and texts were edited and purified from errors. Here grammar, criticism, prosody, and mythology were first developed into sciences. The study of archaeology was begun, and the first dictionaries were made. The translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek was begun for the benefit of the Alexandrian Jews who had forgotten their Mother tongue, this being the origin of the famous _Septuagint_ [13] version of the Old Testament. It is owing to these Alexandrian scholars, also, that we now possess the theory of Greek accents, and have good texts of Homer and other Greek writers.

ALEXANDRIA SAPPED IN TURN. In 30 B.C. Alexandria, too, came under Roman rule and was, in turn, gradually sapped by Rome. Greek influence continued, but the interest became largely philosophical. Ultimately Alexandria became the seat of a metaphysical school of Christian theology, and the scene of bitter religious controversies. In 330 A.D., Constantinople was founded on the site of the earlier Byzantium, and soon thereafter Greek scholars transferred their interest to it and made it a new center of Greek learning. There Greek science, literature, and philosophy were preserved for ten centuries, and later handed back to a Europe just awakening from the long intellectual night of the Middle Ages. In 640 A.D. Alexandria was taken by the Mohammedans, and the university ceased to exist. The great library was destroyed, furnishing, it is said, “fuel sufficient for four thousand public baths for a period of six months,” and Greek learning was extinguished in the western world.

OUR DEBT TO HELLAS. As a political power the Greek States left the world nothing of importance. As a people they were too individualistic, and seemed to have a strange inability to unite for political purposes. To the new power slowly forming to the westward–Rome–was left the important task, which the Greek people were never able to accomplish, of uniting civilization into one political whole. The world conquest that Greece made was intellectual. As a result, her contribution to civilization was artistic, literary, philosophical, and scientific, but not political. The Athenian Greeks were a highly artistic and imaginative rather than a practical people. They spent their energy on other matters than government and conquest. As a result the world will be forever indebted to them for an art and a literature of incomparable beauty and richness which still charms mankind; a philosophy which deeply influenced the early Christian religion, and has ever since tinged the thinking of the western world; and for many important beginnings in scientific knowledge which were lost for ages to a world that had no interest in or use for science. So deeply has our whole western civilization been tinctured by Greek thought that one enthusiastic writer has exclaimed,–“Except the blind forces of Nature, nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in its origin.” [14] (R. 11)

In education proper the old Athenian education offers us many lessons of importance that we of to-day may well heed. In the emphasis they placed on moral worth, education of the body as well as the mind, and moderation in all things, they were much ahead of us. Their schools became a type for the cities of the entire Mediterranean world, being found from the Black Sea south to the Persian Gulf and westward to Spain. When Rome became a world empire the Greek school system was adopted, and in modified form became dominant in Rome and throughout the provinces, while the universities of the Greek cities for long furnished the highest form of education for ambitious Roman youths. In this way Greek influence was spread throughout the Mediterranean world. The higher learning of the Greeks, preserved first at Athens and Alexandria, and later at Constantinople, was finally handed back to the western world at the time of the Italian Revival of Learning, after Europe had in part recovered from the effects of the barbarian deluge which followed the downfall of Rome.


1. Try to picture what might have been the result for western civilization had the small and newly-developed democratic civilization of Greece been crushed by the Persians at the time they overran the Greek peninsula.

2. Do periods of great political, commercial, and intellectual expansion usually subject old systems of morality and education to severe strain? Illustrate.

3. Why was the change in the type of Athenian education during the Ephebic years a natural and even a necessary one for the new Athens?

4. Do you understand that the system of training before the Ephebic years was also seriously changed, or was the change largely a re-shaping and extension of the education of youths after sixteen?

5. Were the Sophists a good addition to the Athenian instructing force, or not? Why?

6. How may a State establish a corrective for such a flood of individualism as overwhelmed Greece, and still allow individual educational initiative and progress?

7. Do we as a nation face danger from the flood of individualism we have encouraged in the past? How is our problem like and unlike that of Athens after the Peloponnesian War?

8. What is the place in Greek life and thought of the ideal treatises on education written by Xenophon, Plato, and Aristotle, after the flood of individualism had set in?

9. In what ways was the conquest of Alexander good for world civilization?

10. Of what importance is it, in the history of our western civilization, that Greek thought had so thoroughly permeated the eastern Mediterranean world before Roman armies conquered the region?

11. Picture for yourself the great intellectual advances of the Greeks by contrasting the tribal preparedness-type of education of the early Greek States and the learning possessed by the scholars of the University at Alexandria.

12. Compare the spread of Greek language and knowledge throughout the eastern Mediterranean world, following the conquests of Alexander, with the spread of the English language and ideas as to government throughout the modern world.


In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following selections are reproduced:

7. Wilkins: Athens in the Time of Pericles. 8. Isocrates: The Instruction of the Sophists. 9. Xenophon: An Example of Socratic Teaching. 10. Draper: The Schools of Alexandria.
11. Butcher: What we Owe to Greece.


1. Characterize the many educational influences of Athens, as pictured by Wilkins (7).

2. Were the evils of the Sophist teachers, which Isocrates points out (8), natural ones? Compare with teachers of vocal training to-day.

3. What would be necessary for the proper training of one for eloquence? Could any Sophist teacher have trained anyone?

4. Would it be possible to-day for any one city to become such a center of the world’s intellectual life as did Alexandria (10)? Why?

5. Could the Socratic method (9) be applied to instruction in psychology, ethics, history, and science equally well? Why? To what class of subjects is the Socratic quiz applicable?

6. How do you account for the fact that the wonderful promise of Alexandrian science was not fulfilled?

7. State our debt to the Greeks (11).


_The most important references are indicated by an *_

* Bevan, J. O. _University Life in Olden Time_. * Butcher, S. H. _Some Aspects of the Greek Genius_. * Davidson, Thos. _Aristotle, and Ancient Educational Ideals_. * Freeman, K. J. _Schools of Hellas_.
Gulick, C. B. _The Life of the Ancient Greeks_. * Kingsley, Chas. _Alexandria and her Schools_. Laurie, S. S. _Historical Survey of Pre-Christian Education_. * Mahaffy, J. P. _Old Greek Education_.
Sandys, J. E. _History of Classical Scholarship_, vol. I. Walden, John W. H. _The Universities of Ancient Greece_. Wilkins, A. S. _National Education in Greece in the Fourth Century_, B.C.




DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROMAN STATE. About the time that the Hellenes, in the City-States of the Greek peninsula, had brought their civilization to its Golden Age, another branch of the great Aryan race, which had previously settled in the Italian peninsula, had begun the creation of a new civilization there which was destined to become extended and powerful. At the beginning of recorded history we find a number of tribes of this branch of the Aryan race settled in different parts of Italy, as is shown in Figure 16. Slowly, but gradually, the smallest of these divisions, the Latins, extended its rule over the other tribes, and finally over the Greek settlements to the south and the Gauls to the north, so that by 201 B.C. the entire Italian peninsula had become subject to the City-State government at Rome.

In 509 B.C. Attica opened her citizenship to all free inhabitants, and half a century later the Golden Age of Greece was in full swing. By 338 B.C. Greece’s glory had departed. Philip of Macedon had become master, and its political freedom was over. By 264 B.C. the center of Greek life and thought had been transferred to Alexandria, and Rome’s great expansion had begun.]


By a wise policy of tolerance, patience, conciliation, and assimilation the Latins gradually became the masters of all Italy. Unlike the Greek City-States, Rome seemed to possess a natural genius for the art of government. Upon the people she conquered she bestowed the great gift of Roman citizenship, and she attached them to her by granting local government to their towns and by interfering as little as possible with their local manners, speech, habits, and institutions. By founding colonies among them and by building excellent military roads to them, she insured her rule, and by kindly and generous treatment she bound the different Italian peoples ever closer and closer to the central government at Rome. By a most wonderful understanding of the psychology of other peoples, new in the world before the work of Rome, and not seen again until the work of the English in the nineteenth century, Rome gradually assimilated the peoples of the Italian peninsula and in time amalgamated them into a single Roman race. In speech, customs, manners, and finally in blood she Romanized the different tribes and brought them under her leadership. Later this same process was extended to Spain, Gaul, and even to far-off Britain.

A CONCRETE, PRACTICAL PEOPLE. The Roman people were a concrete, practical, constructive nation of farmers and herdsmen (R. 14), merchants and soldiers, governors and executives. The whole of the early struggle of the Latins to extend their rule and absorb the other tribes of the peninsula called for practical rulers–warriors who were at the same time constructive statesmen and executives who possessed power and insight, energy, and personality. The long struggle for political and social rights, [1] carried on by the common people (_plebeians_) with the ruling class (_patricians_), tended early to shape their government along rough but practical lines, [2] and to elevate law and orderly procedure among the people. The later extension of the Empire to include many distant lands–how vast the Roman Empire finally became may be seen from the map on the following page–called still more for a combination of force, leadership, tolerance, patience, executive power, and insight into the psychology of subject people to hold such a vast empire together. Only a great, creative people, working along very practical lines, could have used and used so well the opportunity which came to Rome [3]

[Illustration: FIG. 18. THE GREAT EXTENT OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE The map shows the Roman Empire as it was by the end of the first century A.D., and the tribes shown beyond the frontier are as they were at the beginning of the fourth century A.D. It was 2500 miles, air line, from the eastern end of the Black Sea to the western coasts of Spain, 1400 miles from Rome to Palestine, and 1100 miles from Rome to northern Britain. To maintain order in this vast area Rome depended on the loyalty of her subjects, the strength of her armies, her military roads, and a messenger service by horse, yet throughout this vast area she imposed her law and a unified government for centuries.]

THE GREAT MISSION OF ROME. Had Rome tried to impose her rule and her ways and her mode of thought on her subject people, and to reduce them to complete subjection to her, as the modern German and Austrian Empires, for example, tried to do with the peoples who came under their control, the Roman Empire could never have been created, and what would have saved civilization from complete destruction during the period of the barbarian invasions is hard to see. Instead, Rome treated her subjects as her friends, and not as conquered peoples; led them to see that their interests were identical with hers; gave them large local independence and freedom in government, under her strong control of general affairs; opened up her citizenship [4] and the line of promotion in the State to her provincials; [5] and won them to the peace and good order which she everywhere imposed by the advantages she offered through a common language, common law, common coinage, common commercial arrangements, common state service, and the common treatment of all citizens of every race. [6] In consequence, the provincial was willingly absorbed into the common Roman race [7]–absorbed in dress, manners, religion, political and legal institutions, family names, and, most important of all, in language. As a result, race pride and the native tongues very largely disappeared, and Latin became the spoken language of all except the lower classes throughout the whole of the Western Empire. Only in the eastern Mediterranean, where the Hellenic tongue and the Hellenic civilization still dominated, did the Latin language make but little headway, and here Rome had the good sense not to try to impose her speech or her culture. Instead she absorbed the culture of the East, while the East accepted in return the Roman government and Roman law, and Latin in time became the language of the courts and of government.

Having stated thus briefly the most prominent characteristics of the Roman people, and indicated their great work for civilization, let us turn back and trace the development of such educational system as existed among them, see in what it consisted, how it modified the life and habits of thinking of the Roman people, and what educational organization or traditions Rome passed on to western civilization.


THE EARLY ROMANS AND THEIR TRAINING. In the early history of the Romans there were no schools, and it was not until about 300 B.C. that even primary schools began to develop. What education was needed was imparted in the home or in the field and in the camp, and was of a very simple type. Certain virtues were demanded–modesty, firmness, prudence, piety, courage, seriousness, and regard for duty–and these were instilled both by precept and example. Each home was a center of the religious life, and of civic virtue and authority. In it the father was a high priest, with power of life and death over wife and children. He alone conversed with the gods and prepared the sacrifices. The wife and mother, however, held a high place in the home and in the training of the children, the marriage tie being regarded as very sacred. She also occupied a respected position in society, and was complete mistress of the house (R. 17).

The religion of the city was an outgrowth of that of the home. Virtue, courage, duty, justice–these became the great civic virtues. Their religion, both family and state, lacked the beauty and stately ceremonial of the Greeks, lacked that lofty faith and aspiration after virtue that characterized the Hebrew and the later Christian faith, was singularly wanting in awe and mystery, and was formal and mechanical and practical [8] in character, but it exercised a great influence on these early peoples and on their conceptions of their duty to the State.

The father trained the son for the practical duties of a man and a citizen; the mother trained the daughter to become a good housekeeper, wife, and mother. Morality, character, obedience to parents and to the State, and whole-hearted service were emphasized. The boy’s father taught him to read, write, and count. Stories of those who had done great deeds for the State were told, and martial songs were learned and sung. After 450 B.C. every boy had to learn the Laws of the Twelve Tables (R. 12), and be able to explain their meaning (R. 13). As the boy grew older he followed his father in the fields and in the public place and listened to the conversation of men. [9] If the son of a patrician he naturally learned much more from his father, by reason of his larger knowledge and larger contact with men of affairs and public business, than if he were the son of a plebeian. Through games as a boy, and later in the exercises of the fields and the camps, the boy gained what physical training he received. [10]

[Illustration: FIG. 19. A ROMAN FATHER INSTRUCTING HIS SON (From a Roman Sarcophagus)]

EDUCATION BY DOING. It was largely an education by doing, as was that of the old Greek period, though entirely different in character. Either by apprenticeship to the soldier, farmer, or statesman, or by participation in the activities of a citizen, was the training needed imparted. Its purpose was to produce good fathers, citizens, and soldiers. [11] Its ideals were found in the real and practical needs of a small State, where the ability to care for one’s self was a necessary virtue. To be healthy and strong, to reverence the gods and the institutions of the State, to obey his parents and the laws, to be proud of his family connections and his ancestors, to be brave and efficient in war, to know how to farm or to manage a business, were the aims and ends of this early training. It produced a nation of citizens who willingly subordinated themselves to the interests of the State, [12] a nation of warriors who brought all Italy under their rule, a calculating, practical people who believed themselves destined to become the conquerors and rulers of the world, and a reserved and proud race, trained to govern and to do business, but not possessed of lofty ideals or large enthusiasms in life (Rs. 15, 16).


BEGINNINGS OF SCHOOL EDUCATION. Up to about 300 B.C. education had been entirely in the home, and in the activities of the fields and the State. It was a period of personal valor and stern civic virtue, in a rather primitive type of society, as yet but little in contact with the outside world, and little need of any other type of training had been felt. By the end of the third century B.C., the influence of contact with the Greek cities of southern Italy and Sicily (_Magna Graecia_), and the influence of the extensive conquests of Alexander the Great in the eastern Mediterranean (334-323 B.C.), had begun to be felt in Italy. By that time Greek had become the language of commerce and diplomacy throughout the Mediterranean, and Greek scholars and tradesmen had begun to frequent Rome. By 303 B.C. it seems certain that a few private teachers had set up primary schools at Rome to supplement the home training, and had begun the introduction of the pedagogue as a fashionable adjunct to attract attention to their schools. These schools, however, were only a fad at first, and were patronized only by a few of the wealthy citizens. Up to about 250 B.C., at least, Roman education remained substantially as it had been in the preceding centuries. Reading, writing, declamation, chanting, and the Laws of the Twelve Tables still constituted the subject-matter of instruction, and the old virtues continued to be emphasized.

By the middle of the third century B.C. Rome had expanded its rule to include nearly all the Italian peninsula (see Figure 16), and was transforming itself politically from a little rural City-State into an Empire, with large world relationships. A knowledge of Greek now came to be demanded both for diplomatic and for business reasons, and the need of a larger culture, to correspond with the increased importance of the State, began to be felt by the wealthier and better-educated classes. Greek scholars, brought in as captured slaves from the Greek colonies of southern Italy, soon began to be extensively employed as teachers and as secretaries.

About 233 B.C., Livius Andronicus, who had been brought to Rome as a slave when Tarentum, one of the Greek cities of southern Italy, was captured, [13] and who later had obtained his freedom, made a translation of the Odyssey into Latin, and became a teacher of Latin and Greek at Rome. This had a wonderful effect in developing schools and a literary atmosphere at Rome. The _Odyssey_ at once became the great school textbook, in time supplanting the Twelve Tables, and literary and school education now rapidly developed. The Latin language became crystallized in form, and other Greek works were soon translated. The beginnings of a native Latin literature were now made. Greek higher schools were opened, many Greek teachers and slaves offered instruction, and the Hellenic scheme of culture, as it had previously developed in Attica, soon became the fashion at Rome.

CHANGES IN NATIONAL IDEALS. The second century B.C. was even more a period of rapid change in all phases and aspects of Roman life. During this century Rome became a world empire, annexing Spain, Carthage, Illyria, and Greece, and during the century that followed she subjugated northern Africa, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Gaul to the Elbe and the Danube (see Figure 18). Rome soon became mistress of the whole Mediterranean world. Her ships plied the seas, her armies and governors ruled the land. The introduction of wealth, luxuries, and slaves from the new provinces, which followed their capture, soon had a very demoralizing influence upon the people. Private and public religion and morality rapidly declined; religion came to be an empty ceremonial; divorce became common; wealth and influence ruled the State; slaves became very cheap and abundant, and were used for almost every type of service. From a land of farmers of small farms, sturdy and self-supporting, who lived simply, reared large families, feared the gods, respected the State, and made an honest living, it became a land of great estates and wealthy men, and the self-respecting peasantry were transformed into soldiers for foreign wars, or joined the rabble in the streets of Rome. [14] Wealth became the great desideratum, and the great avenue to this was through the public service, either as army commanders and governors, or as public men who could sway the multitude and command votes and influence. Manifestly the old type of education was not intended to meet such needs, and now in Rome, as previously in Athens, a complete transformation in the system of training for the young took place. The imaginative and creative Athenians, when confronted by a great change in national ideals, evolved a new type of education adapted to the new needs of the time; the unimaginative and practical Romans merely adopted that which the Athenians had created.

THE HELLENIZATION OF ROME. The result was the Hellenization of the intellectual life of Rome, making complete the Hellenization of the Mediterranean world. After the fall of Greece, in 146 B.C., a great influx of educated Greeks took place. As the Latin poet Horace expressed it:

Captive Greece took captive her rude conqueror, And brought the arts to Latium.

So completely did the Greek educational system seem to meet the needs of the changed Roman State that at first the Greek schools were adopted bodily–Greek language, pedagogue, higher schools of rhetoric and philosophy, and all–and the schools were in reality Greek schools but slightly modified to meet the needs of Rome. _Gymnasia_ were erected, and wealthy Romans, as well as youths, began to spend their leisure in studying Greek and in trying to learn gymnastic exercises.

In time the national pride and practical sense of the Romans led them to open so-called “culture schools” of their own, modeled after the Greek. The Latin language then replaced the Greek as the vehicle of instruction, though Greek was still studied extensively, and Rome began the development of a system of private-school instruction possessing some elements that were native to Roman life and Roman needs.

[Illustration: FIG. 20. CATO THE ELDER (234-149 B.C.)]

STRUGGLE AGAINST, AND FINAL VICTORY. That this great change in national ideals and in educational practice was accepted without protest should not be imagined. Plutarch and other writers appealed to the family as the center for all true education. Cato the elder, who died in 149 B.C., labored hard to stem the Hellenic tide. He wrote the first Roman book on education, in part to show what education a good citizen needed as an orator, husbandman, jurist, and warrior, and in part as a protest against Hellenic innovations. In 167 B.C., the first library was founded in Rome, with books brought from Greece by the conqueror Paulus Emilius. In 161 B.C., the Roman Senate directed the Praetor to see “that no philosophers or rhetoricians be suffered in Rome” (R. 20 a), but the edict could not be enforced. In 92 B.C., the Censors issued an edict expressing their disapproval of such schools (R. 20 b). By 100 B.C., the Hellenic victory was complete, and the Graeco-Roman school system had taken form. In 27 B.C., Rome ceased to be a Republic and became an Empire, and under the Emperors the professors of the new learning were encouraged and protected, higher schools were established in the provinces, literature and philosophy were opened as possible careers, and the Greek language, literature, and learning were spread, under Roman imperial protection, to every corner of the then civilized world. This victory of Hellenic thought and learning at Rome, viewed in the light of the future history of the civilization of the world, was an event of large importance.


THE LUDUS, OR PRIMARY SCHOOL. The elementary school, known as the _ludus_, or _ludus literarum_, the teacher of which was known as a _ludi magister_, was the beginning or primary school of the scheme as finally evolved. This corresponded to the school of the Athenian _grammatist_, and like it the instruction consisted of reading, writing, and counting. These schools were open to both sexes, but were chiefly frequented by boys. They were entered at the age of seven, sometimes six, and covered the period up to twelve. Reading and writing were taught by much the same methods as in the Greek schools, and approximately the same writing materials were used. Something of the same difficulty was experienced also in mastering the reading art (R. 21). Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a Greek historian who lived in Rome for twenty-two years, during the first century B.C., has left us a clear description of the Roman method of teaching reading:

When we learned to read was it not necessary at first to know the name of the letters, their shape, their value in syllables, their differences, then the words and their case, their quantity long or short, their accent, and the rest?

Arrived at this point we began to read and write, slowly at first and syllable by syllable. Some time afterwards, the forms being sufficiently engraved on our memory, we read more cursorily, in the elementary book, then in all sorts of books, finally with incredible quickness and without making any mistake.

[Illustration: FIG. 21. ROMAN WRITING-MATERIALS. Inkstand, pen, letter, box of manuscripts, wax tablets, stylus.]

Writing seems rather to have followed reading, and, as in the Greek schools, the pupils copied down from dictation and made their own books (_dictata_). Literature received no such emphasis in the elementary schools of Rome as in those of the Greeks, and the _palaestra_ of the Greeks was not reproduced at Rome.

Due in part to the practical character of the Roman people, to the established habit of keeping careful household accounts, to the difficulties of their system of calculation, [15] to the practice of finger reckoning, and to the vast commercial and financial interests that the Romans formed throughout the world which they conquered, arithmetic became a subject of fundamental importance in their schools, and much time was given to securing perfection in calculation and finger reckoning. [16] Hence it occupied a place of large importance in the primary school. An abacus or counting-board was used, similar to the one shown in Figure 22, and Horace mentions a bag of stones (_calculi_) as a part of a schoolboy’s equipment.

[Illustration: FIG. 22. A ROMAN COUNTING-BOARD. Pebbles were used, those nearest the numbered dividing partition being counted. Each pebble above when moved downward counted five of those in the same division below. The board now shows 8,760,254.]

THE _LUDI MAGISTER_. The _ludi magister_ at Rome held a position even less enviable than that held by the _grammatist_ at Athens. “The starveling Greek,” who was glad to barter his knowledge for the certainty of a good dinner, was sneered at by many Roman writers. Many slaves were engaged in this type of instruction, bringing in fees for their owners. It was not regarded as of importance that the teachers of these schools be of high grade. The establishment of and attendance at these primary schools was wholly voluntary, and the children in them probably represented but a small percentage of those of school age in the total population. These schools became quite common in the Italian cities, and in time were found in the provincial cities of the Empire as well. They remained, however, entirely private-adventure undertakings, the State doing nothing toward encouraging their establishment, supervising the instruction in them, or requiring attendance at them. They were in no sense free schools, nor were the prices for instruction fixed, as in our private schools of to-day. Instead, the pupil made a present to the master, usually at some understood rate, though some masters left the size of the fee to the liberality of their pupils. [17] The pedagogue, copied from Greece, was nearly always an old or infirm slave of the family.

[Illustration: FIG. 23. A ROMAN PRIMARY SCHOOL(_Ludus_) (From a fresco found at Herculaneum). This shows a school held in a portico of a house.]

The schools were held anywhere–in a portico (see Figure 23), in a shed or booth in front of a house, in a store, or in a recessed corner shut in by curtains. A chair for the master, benches for the pupils, an outer room for cloaks and for the pedagogues to wait in, and a bundle of rods (_ferula_) constituted the necessary equipment. The pupils brought with them boxes containing writing-materials, book-rolls, and reckoning-stones. Schools began early in the morning, pupils in winter going with lanterns to their tasks. There was much flogging of children, and in Martial we find an angry epigram which he addressed to a schoolmaster who disturbed his sleep (R. 23 a).

THE SECONDARY SCHOOLS. Secondary or Latin grammar schools, under a _grammaticus_, and covering instruction from the age of twelve to sixteen, had become clearly differentiated from the primary schools under a _ludi magister_ by the time of the death of Cato, 149 B.C. At first this higher instruction began in the form of private tutors, probably in the homes of the wealthy, and Greek was the language taught. By the beginning of the first century B.C., however, Latin secondary schools began to arise, and in time these too spread to all the important cities of the Empire. Attendance at them was wholly voluntary, and was confined entirely to the children of the well-to-do classes. The teachers were Greeks, or Latins who had been trained by the Greeks. Each teacher taught as he wished, but the schools throughout the Empire came to be much the same in character. The course of study consisted chiefly of instruction in grammar and literature, the purpose being to secure such a mastery of the Latin language and Greek and Latin literatures as might be most helpful in giving that broader culture now recognized as the mark of an educated man, and in preparing the young Roman to take up the life of an orator and public official (R. 24). Both Greek and Latin secondary schools were in existence, and Quintilian, the foremost Roman writer on educational practice, recommends attendance at the Greek school first.

Grammar was studied first, and was intended to develop correctness in the use of speech. With its careful study of words, phonetic changes, drill on inflections, and practice in composing and paragraphing, this made a strong appeal to the practical Roman and became a favorite study. Literature followed, and was intended to develop an appreciation for literary style, elevate thought, expand one’s knowledge, and, by memorization and repetition, to train the powers of expression. The method practiced was much as follows: The selection was carefully read first by the teacher, and then by the pupils. [18] After the reading the selection was gone over again and the historical, geographical, and mythological allusions were carefully explained by the teacher. [19] The text was next critically examined, to point out where and how it might be improved and its expressions strengthened, and much paraphrasing of it was engaged in. Finally the study of the selection was rounded out by _a judgment_–that is, a critical estimate of the work, a characterization of the author’s style, and a resume of his chief merits and defects. The foundations were here laid for Grammar and Rhetoric as the great studies of the Middle Ages.

Homer and Menander were the favorite authors in Greek, and Vergil, Horace, Sallust, and Livy in Latin, with much use of _Aesop’s Fables_ for work in composition. The pupils made their own books from dictation, though in later years educated slave labor became so cheap that the copying and sale of books was organized into a business at Rome, and it was possible for the children of wealthy parents to own their own books. Grammar, composition, elocution, ethics, history, mythology, and geography were all comprehended in the instruction in grammar and literature in the secondary schools. A little music was added at times, to help the pupil intone his reading and declamation. A little geometry and astronomy were also included, for their practical applications. The athletic exercises of the Greeks were rejected, as contributing to immorality and being a waste of time and strength. In a sense these schools were finishing schools for Roman youths who went to any school at all, much as are our high schools of to-day for the great bulk of American children. The schools were better housed than those of the _ludi_, and the masters were of a better quality and received larger fees. Like the elementary schools, the State exercised no supervision or control over these schools or the teachers or pupils in them.

THE SCHOOLS OF RHETORIC. Up to this point the schools established had been for practical and useful information (the primary schools) or cultural (the grammar or secondary schools). On top of these a higher and professional type of school was next developed, to train youths in rhetoric and oratory, preparatory to the great professions of law and public life at Rome. [20] These schools were direct descendants of the Greek rhetorical schools, which evolved from the schools of the Sophists. Suetonius [21] tells us that:

Rhetoric, also, as well as grammar, was not introduced amongst us till a late period, and with still more difficulty, inasmuch as we find that, at times, the practice of it was even prohibited. [22] … However, by slow degrees, rhetoric manifested itself to be a useful and honorable study, and many persons devoted themselves to it both as a means of defense and of acquiring a reputation. In consequence, public favor was so much attracted to the study of rhetoric that a vast number of professional and learned men devoted themselves to it; and it flourished to such a degree that some of them raised themselves by it to the rank of senators and to the highest offices.

These schools, the teachers of which were known as _rhetors_, furnished a type of education representing a sort of collegiate education for the period. They were oratorical in purpose, because the orator had become the Roman ideal of a well-educated man (R. 24). During the life of the Republic the orator found many opportunities for the constructive use of his ability, and all young men ambitious to enter law or politics found the training of these schools a necessary prerequisite. They were attended for two or three years by boys over sixteen, but only the wealthier and more aristocratic families could afford to send their boys to them.

In addition to oratorical and some legal training, these schools included a further linguistic and literary training, some mathematical and scientific knowledge, and even some philosophy. The famous “Seven Liberal Arts” of the Middle Ages–Grammar, Rhetoric, and Dialectic; Music, Arithmetic, Geometry, and Astronomy–all seem to have been included in the instruction of these schools. [23] The great studies, though, were the first three and some Law, Music being studied largely to help with gestures and to train the voice, Geometry to aid in settling lawsuits relating to land, Dialectic (logic) to aid in detecting fallacies, and Astronomy to understand the movements of the heavenly bodies and the references of literary writers. [24] There was much work in debate and in the declamation of ethical and political material the fine distinctions in Roman Law and Ethics were brought out, [25] and there was much drill in preparing and delivering speeches and much attention given to the factors involved in the preparation and delivery of a successful oration (R. 25).

[Illustration: FIG. 24. A ROMAN SCHOOL OF RHETORIC. This picture, which has been drawn from a description, shows a much better type of school than that of the _ludi_.]

These schools became very popular as institutions of higher learning, and continued so even after the later Emperors, by seizing the power of the State, had taken away the inspiration that comes from a love of freedom and had thus deprived the rhetorical art of practical value. The work of the schools then became highly stilted and artificial in character, and oratory then came to be cultivated largely as a fine art. [26] Men educated in these schools came to boast that they could speak with equal effectiveness on either side of any question, and the art came to depend on the use of many and big words and on the manners of the stage. Such ideals naturally destroyed the value of these schools, and stopped intellectual progress so far as they contributed to it.

Much was done by the later Emperors to encourage these schools, and they too came to exist in almost every provincial city in the Empire. Often they were supported by the cities in which they were located. The Emperor Vespasian, about 75 A.D. began the practice of paying, from the Imperial Treasury, the salaries of grammarians and rhetoricians [27] at Rome. Antoninus Pius, who ruled as Emperor from 138 to 161 A.D., extended payment to the provinces, gave to these teachers the privileges of the senatorial class, and a certain number in each city were exempted from payment of taxes, support of soldiers, and obligations to military service. Other Emperors extended these special privileges (R. 26) which became the basis for the special rights afterwards granted to the Christian clergy (R. 38) and, still later, to teachers in the universities (Rs. 101-04).

UNIVERSITY LEARNING. Roman youths desiring still further training could now journey to the eastward and attend the Greek universities (see Figure 14). A few did so, much as American students in the middle of the nineteenth century went to Germany for higher study. Athens and Rhodes were most favored. Brutus, Horace, and Cicero, among others, studied at Athens; Caesar, Cicero, and Cassius at Rhodes. Later Alexandria was in favor. In a library founded in the Temple of Peace by Vespasian (ruled 69 to 79 A.D.) the University at Rome had its origin, and in time this developed into an institution with professors in law, medicine, architecture, mathematics and mechanics, and grammar and rhetoric in both the Latin and Greek languages. In this many youths from provincial cities came to study. The lines of instruction represented nothing, however, in the way of scientific investigation or creative thought; the instruction was formal and dogmatic, being largely a further elaboration of what had previously been well done by the Greeks.

NATURE OF THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM DEVELOPED. Such was the educational system which was finally evolved to meet the new cultural needs of the Roman Empire. In all its foundation elements it was Greek. Having borrowed–conquered one might almost say–Greek religion, philosophy, literature, and learning, the Romans naturally borrowed also the school system that had been evolved to impart this culture. Never before or since has any people adapted so completely to their own needs the system of educational training evolved by another. To the Greek basis some distinctively Roman elements were added to adapt it better to the peculiar needs of their own people, while on the other hand many of the finer Greek characteristics were omitted entirely. Having once adopted the Greek plan, the constructive Roman mind organized it into a system superior to the original, but in so doing formalized it more than the Greeks had ever done (R. 19).


That the system afforded an opportunity to wealthy Romans to obtain for their children some understanding and appreciation of the culture of the Greek world with which their Empire was now in contact, and answered fairly well the preparatory needs along political and governmental lines of those Romans who could afford to educate their boys for such careers, can hardly be doubted (R. 22). Roman writers on education, especially Cicero (R. 24) and Quintilian (R. 25), give us abundant testimony as to the value and usefulness of the system evolved in the training of orators and men for the public service. In the provinces, too, we know that the schools were very useful in inculcating Roman traditions and in helping the Romans to assimilate the sons of local princes and leaders. [28] During the days of the Republic the schools were naturally more useful than after the establishment of the Empire, and especially after the later Emperors had stamped out many of the political and civic liberties for the enjoyment of which the schools prepared. On the other hand, the schools reached but a small, selected class of youths, trained for only the political career, and cannot be considered as ever having been general or as having educated any more than a small percentage of the future citizens of the State. Many of the important lines of activity in which the Romans engaged, and which to-day are regarded as monuments to their constructive skill and practical genius, such as architectural achievements, the building of roads and aqueducts, the many skilled trades, and the large commercial undertakings, these schools did nothing to prepare youths for. The State, unlike Athens, never required education of any one, did not make what was offered a preparation for citizenship, and made no attempt to regulate either teachers or instruction until late in the history of the Empire. Education at Rome was from the first purely a private- adventure affair, most nearly analogous with us to instruction in music and dancing. Those who found the education offered of any value could take it and pay for it; those who did not could let it alone. A few did the former, the great mass of the Romans the latter. For the great slave class that developed at Rome there was, of course, no education at all.

RESULTS ON ROMAN LIFE AND GOVERNMENT. Still, out of this private and tuition system of schools many capable political leaders and executives came–men who exercised great influence on the history of the State, fought out her political battles, organized and directed her government at home and in the provinces, and helped build up that great scheme of government and law and order which was Rome’s most significant contribution to future civilization. [29] It was in this direction, and in practical and constructive work along engineering and architectural lines, that Rome excelled. The Roman genius for government and law and order and constructive undertakings must be classed, in importance for the future of civilization in the world, along with the ability of Greece in literature and philosophy and art. “If,” says Professor Adams, “as is sometimes said, that in the course of history there is no literature which rivals the Greek except the English, it is perhaps even more true that the Anglo- Saxon is the only race which can be placed beside the Romans in creative power and in politics.” The conquest of the known world by this practical and constructive people could not have otherwise than decisively influenced the whole course of human history, and, coming at the time in world affairs that it did, the influence on all future civilization of the work of Rome has been profound. The great political fact which dominated all the Middle Ages, and shaped the religion and government and civilization of the time, was the fact that the Roman Empire had been and had done its work so well.


GREECE AND ROME CONTRASTED. The contrast between the Greeks and the Romans is marked in almost every particular. The Greeks were an imaginative, subjective, artistic, and idealistic people, with little administrative ability and few practical tendencies. The Romans, on the other hand, were an unimaginative, concrete, practical, and constructive nation. Greece made its great contribution to world civilization in literature and philosophy and art; Rome in law and order and government. The Greeks lived a life of aesthetic enjoyment of the beautiful in nature and art, and their basis for estimating the worth of a thing was intellectual and artistic; to the Romans the aesthetic and the beautiful made little appeal, and their basis for estimating the worth of a thing was utilitarian. The Greeks worshiped “the beautiful and the good,” and tried to enjoy life rationally and nobly, while the Romans worshiped force and effectiveness, and lived by rule and authority. The Greeks thought in personal terms of government and virtue and happiness, while the Romans thought in general terms of law and duty, and their happiness was rather in present denial for future gain than in any immediate enjoyment.

As a result the Romans developed no great scholarly or literary atmosphere, as the Greeks had done at Athens, They built up no great speculative philosophies, and framed no great theories of government. Even their literature was, in part, an imitation of the Greek, though possessing many elements of native strength and beauty. They were a people who knew how to accomplish results rather than to speculate about means and ends. Usefulness and effectiveness were with them the criteria of the worth of any idea or project. They subdued and annexed an empire, they gave law and order to a primitive world, they civilized and Romanized barbarian tribes, they built roads connecting all parts of their Empire that were the best the world had ever known, their aqueducts and bridges were wonders of engineering skill, their public buildings and monuments still excite admiration and envy, in many of the skilled trades they developed tools and processes of large future usefulness, and their agriculture was the best the world had known up to that time. They were strong where the Greeks were weak, and weak where the Greeks were strong.

By reason of this difference the two peoples supplemented one another well in the work of laying the foundations upon which our modern civilization has been built. Greece created the intellectual and aesthetic ideals and the culture for our life, while Rome developed the political institutions under which ideals may be realized and culture may be enjoyed. From the Greeks and Hebrews our modern life has drawn its great inspirations and its ideals for life, while from the Romans we have derived our ideals as to government and obedience to law. One may say that the Romans as a people specialized in government, law, order, and constructive practical undertakings, and bequeathed to posterity a wonderful inheritance in governmental forms, legal codes, commercial processes, and engineering undertakings, while the Greeks left to us a philosophy, literature, art, and a world culture which the civilized world will never cease to enjoy. The Greeks were an imaginative, impulsive, and a joyous people; the Romans sedate, severe, and superior to the Greeks in persistence and moral force. The Greeks were ever young; the Romans were always grown and serious men.

ROME’S GREAT CONTRIBUTION. Rome’s great contribution, then, was along the lines just indicated. To this, the school system which became established in the Roman State contributed only indirectly and but little. The unification of the ancient world into one Empire, with a common body of traditions, practices, coinage, speech, and law, which made the triumph of Christianity possible; the formulation of a body of law [30] which barbarian tribes accepted, which was studied throughout the Middle Ages, which formed the basis of the legal system of the mediaeval Church, and which has largely influenced modern practice; the development of a language from which many modern tongues have been derived, and which has modified all western languages; and the perfection of an alphabet which has become the common property of all nations whose civilization has been derived from the Greek and Roman–these constitute the chief contributions of Rome to modern civilization.

Roman city government, too, had been established throughout all the provincial cities, and this remained after the Empire had passed away. The municipal corporation, with its charter of rights, has ever since been a fixed idea in the western world. Roman law, organized into a compact code, and studied in the law schools of the Middle Ages, has modified our modern ideas and practices to a degree we scarcely realize. It was accepted by the German rulers as a permanent thing after they had overrun the Empire, and it remained as the law of the courts wherever Roman subjects were tried. Preserved and codified at Constantinople under Justinian in the sixth century, and re-introduced into western Europe when the study of law was revived in the newly founded universities in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Roman law has greatly modified all modern legal practices and has become the basis of the legal systems of a number of modern states. [31]

[Illustration: FIG. 26. ORIGIN OF OUR ALPHABET The German type, like the so-called Old English (see Fig. 45), illustrates the corruption of letter forms through the copying of manuscripts during the Middle Ages.]

Of all the Roman contributions to modern civilization perhaps the one that most completely permeates all our modern life is their alphabet and speech. Figure 26 shows how our modern alphabet goes back to the old Roman, which they obtained from the Greek colonies in southern Italy, and which the Greeks obtained from the still earlier Phoenicians. This alphabet has become the common property of almost all the civilized world. [32] In speech, the French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian tongues go back directly to the Latin, and these are the tongues of Mexico and South America as well. The English language, which is spoken throughout a large part of the civilized world, and by one third of its inhabitants, has also received so many additions from Romanic sources that we to-day scarcely utter a sentence without using some word once used by the citizens of ancient Rome.

Among the smaller but nevertheless important contributions which we owe to Rome, and which were passed on to mediaeval and modern Europe, should be mentioned certain practical knowledge in agriculture and the mechanic arts; many inventions and acquired skills in the arts and trades; an organized sea and land trade and commerce; cleared and improved lands, good houses, roads and bridges; great architectural and engineering remains, scattered all through the provinces; the beginnings of the transformation of the slave into the serf, from which the great body of freemen of modern Europe later were evolved; and certain educational conceptions and practices which later profoundly influenced educational methods and procedure.

How large these contributions were we shall appreciate better as we proceed with our history. Of the negative contributions, the most dangerous has been the idea of the rule of one imperial government, which has inspired the autocratic governments of modern Europe to try to imitate the world-wide rule of Imperial Rome.

THE WAY PAVED FOR CHRISTIANITY. It was the great civilizing and unifying work of the Roman State that paved the way for the next great contribution to the foundations of the structure of our modern civilization–the contribution of Christianity. Had Italy never been consolidated; had the barbarian tribes to the north never been conquered and Romanized; had Spain and Africa and the eastern Mediterranean never known the rule of Rome; had the Latin language never become the speech of the then civilized peoples; had Roman armies never imposed law and order throughout an unruly world; had Roman governors and courts never established common rights and security; had Roman municipal government never come to be the common type in the cities of the provinces; had Roman schools in the provincial cities never trained the foreign citizen in Roman ways and to think Roman thoughts; had Rome never established free trade and intercourse throughout her Empire; had Rome never developed processes and skills in agriculture and the creative arts; had there been no Roman roads and common coinage; and had Rome not done dozens of other important things to unify and civilize Europe and reduce it to law and order, it is hard to imagine the chaos that would have resulted when the Empire gave way to the barbarian hordes which finally overwhelmed it. Where we should have been to-day in the upward march of civilization, without the work of Rome, it is impossible to say.


1. Contrast the Romans as a colonizing power with the modern Germans. The English. The French.

2. At what period in our national development did home education with us occupy substantially the same place as it did in Rome before 300 B.C.? In what respects was the education given boys and girls similar? Different?

3. What was the most marked advance over the Greeks in the early Roman training?

4. Contrast the education of the Athenian, Spartan, and Roman boy, during the early period in each State.

5. To what extent does early Roman education indicate the importance of the parent and of study of biography in the education of the young?

6. Was the change in character of the education of Roman youths, after the expansion of the Roman State and the establishment of world contacts, preventable, or was it a necessary evolution? Why? Have we ever experienced similar changes?

7. As a State increases in importance and enlarges its world contacts, is a correspondingly longer training and enlarged culture necessary at home?

8. What idea do you get as to the extent to which the Latinized Odyssey was read from the fact that the Latin language was crystallized in form shortly after the translation was made?

9. What does the rapid adoption of the Greek educational system, and the later evolution of a native educational system out of it, indicate as to the nature of Roman expansion?

10. Was the introduction of the Greek pedagogue as a fashionable adjunct natural? Why?

11. Why is a period of very rapid expansion in a State likely to be demoralizing? How may the demoralization incident to such expansion be anticipated and minimized?

12. Why does the coming of large landed estates introduce important social problems? Have we the beginnings of a social problem of this type? What correctives have we that Rome did not have?

13. State the economic changes which hastened the introduction of a new type of higher training at Rome.

14. Was the Hellenization of Rome which ensued a good thing? Why?

15. How do you account for Rome not developing a state school system in the period of great national need and change, instead of leaving the matter to private initiative? Do you understand that any large percentage of youths in the Roman State ever attended any school?

16. Why do older people usually oppose changes in school work manifestly needed to meet changing national demands?

17. Compare the difficulties met with in learning to read Greek and Latin. Either and English.

18. How do you account for the much smaller emphasis on literature and music in the elementary instruction at Rome than at Athens? How for the much larger emphasis on formal grammar in the secondary schools at Rome?

19. What subjects of study as we now know them were included in the Roman study of grammar and rhetoric?

20. How do you explain the greater emphasis placed by the Romans on secondary education than on elementary education?

21. What particular Roman need did the higher schools of oratory and rhetoric supply?

22. What does the exclusive devotion of these schools to such studies indicate as to professional opportunities at Rome?

23. How do you account for the continuance of these schools in favor, and for the aid and encouragement they received from the later Emperors, when the very nature of the Empire in large part destroyed the careers for which they trained?

24. Compare Rome and the United States in their attitudes toward foreign- born peoples.


In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following selections are reproduced:

12. The Laws of the Twelve Tables.
13. Cicero: Importance of the Twelve Tables in Education. 14. Schreiber: A Roman Farmer’s Calendar. 15. Polybius: The Roman Character.
16. Mommsen: The Grave and Severe Character of the Earlier Romans. 17. Epitaph: The Education of Girls.
18. Marcus Aurelius: The Old Roman Education described. 19. Tacitus: The Old and the New Education contrasted. 20. Suetonius: Attempts to Prohibit the Introduction of Greek Higher Learning.
(a) Decree of the Roman Senate, 161 B.C. (b) Decree of the Censor, 92 B.C.
21. Vergil: Difficulty experienced in Learning to Read. 22. Horace: The Education given by a Father. 23. Martial: The Ludi Magister.
(a) To the Master of a Noisy School. (b) To a Schoolmaster.
24. Cicero: Oratory the Aim of Education. 25. Quintilian: On Oratory.
26. Constantine: Privileges granted to Physicians and Teachers.


1. Give reasons why the Laws of the Twelve Tables (12) were considered of such fundamental importance (13) in the education of the early Roman boy? How do you explain their being supplanted later by the Latinized _Odyssey_?

2. What does the Farmer’s Calendar (14) reveal as to the character of Roman life?

3. Contrast the Roman character (15, 16) with that of the Athenian.

4. Compare the education of a Roman matron, as revealed by the epitaph (17), with that of a girl in later American colonial times.

5. After reading Marcus Aurelius (18) and Tacitus (19), what is your judgment as to the relative merits of the old and the new education: (_a_) as a means of training youths? (_b_) as adapted to the changed conditions of Imperial Rome?

6. How do you account for the attempts of the conservative officials of the State to prohibit the introduction of Greek higher schools (20 a-b) proving so unsuccessful?

7. Compare the difficulties involved in learning to read Greek (Fig. 6) and Latin (21). Either and English.

8. What type of higher educational advantages does the selection from Horace (22) indicate as prevailing in Roman cities? Compare with present- day advanced education.

9. What do Martial’s Epigrams to the Roman schoolmasters (23 a-b) indicate as to the nature of the schools, school discipline, and social status of the Roman primary teacher?

10. Do the selections from Cicero (24) and Quintilian (25) satisfy you that oratory was a sufficiently broad idea for the higher education of youths under the Empire? Why?

11. What does the decree of Constantine (26) indicate as to the social status of the higher teachers under the Empire?


Abbott, F. F. _Society and Politics in Ancient Rome_. * Adams, G. B. _Civilization during the Middle Ages_. Anderson, L. F. “Some Facts regarding Vocational Education among the Greeks and Romans”; in _School Review_, vol. 20, pp. 191-201. * Clarke, Geo. _Education of Children at Rome_. * Dill, Sam’l. _Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire_.
* Laurie, S. S. _Historical Survey of Pre-Christian Education_. Mahaffy, J. P. _The Silver Age of the Greek World_. Ross, C. F. “The Strength and Weakness of Roman Education”; in _School and Society_, vol. 6, pp. 457-63. Sandys, J. E. _History of Classical Scholarship_, vol. i. Thorndike, Lynn. _History of Mediaeval Europe_. Westermann, W. L. Vocational Training in Antiquity; in _School Review_, vol. 22, pp. 601-10.




RELIGIONS IN THE ROMAN WORLD. As was stated in the preceding chapter (p. 58), the Roman state religion was an outgrowth of the religion of the home. Just as there had been a number of fireside deities, who were supposed to preside over the different activities of the home, so there were many state deities who were supposed to preside over the different activities of the State. In addition, the Romans exhibited toward the religions of all other peoples that same tolerance and willingness to borrow which they exhibited in so many other matters. Certain Greek deities were taken over and temples erected to them in Rome, and new deities, to guard over such functions as health, fortune, peace, concord, sowing, reaping, etc., were established. [1] Extreme tolerance also was shown toward the special religions of other peoples who had been brought within the Empire, and certain oriental divinities had even been admitted and given their place in Rome.

Like many other features of Roman life, their religion was essentially of a practical nature, dealing with the affairs of everyday life, and having little or no relation to personal morality. [2] It promised no rewards or punishments or hopes for a future life, but rather, by uniting all citizens in a common reverence and fear of certain deities, helped to unify the Empire and hold it together. After the death of Augustus (14 A.D.), the Roman Senate deified the Emperor and enrolled his name among the gods, and Emperor worship was added to their ceremonies. This naturally spread rapidly throughout the Empire, tended to unite all classes in allegiance to the central government at Rome, and seemed to form the basis for a universal religion for a universal empire.

FEELING THE NEED FOR SOMETHING MORE. As an educated class arose in Rome, this mixture of diverse divinities failed to satisfy; the Roman religion, made up as it was of state and parental duties and precautions, lost with them its force; and the religious ceremonies of the home and the State lost for them their meaning. The mechanical repetition of prayers and sacrifices made no appeal to the emotions or to the moral nature of individuals, and offered no spiritual joy or consolation as to a life beyond. The educated Greeks before had had this same feeling, and had indulged in much speculation as to the moral nature of man. Many educated Romans now turned to the Greek philosophers for some more philosophical explanation of the great mystery of life and death.

Of all the philosophies developed in the philosophical schools of Athens, the one that made the deepest appeal to the practical Roman mind was that of the Stoics, founded by Zeno, 308 B.C. Virtue, claimed the Stoics, consists in so living that one’s life is in accordance with that Universal Reason which rules the world. Riches, position, fame, success–these count for but little. He who trains himself to be above grief, hope, joy, fear, and the ills of life–be he slave or peasant or king–may be happy because he is virtuous. Reason, rather than the feelings, is the proper rule of life. The Stoics also preached the brotherhood of man, and to a degree expressed a humble reliance on a providence which controlled affairs. This philosophy in a way met the need for a religion among the better-educated Romans, and made considerable headway during the early days of the Empire. [3] While serving as a sort of religion for those capable of embracing it, it was too intellectual to reach more than a few, and was not adapted to become a universal religion for all sorts and conditions of men. What was needed was a new moral philosophy or religion that would touch all mankind. To do this it must appeal to the emotions more than to the intellect. Such a religion was at this time taking shape and gathering force and strength in a remote corner of the Empire.

WHERE THIS NEW RELIGION AROSE. Far to the eastern end of the Mediterranean there had long lived a branch of the Semitic race, which had developed a national character and made a contribution of first importance to the religious thought of the world. These were the Hebrew people who, leaving Egypt about 1500 B.C., in the Exodus, had come to inhabit the land of Canaan, south of Phoenicia and east and north of Egypt. From a wandering, pastoral people they had gradually changed to a settled, agricultural people, and had begun the development of a regular State. Unwilling, however, to bear the burdens of a political State, and objecting to taxation, a standing army, and forced labor for the State, the nationality which promised at one time fell to pieces, and the land was overrun by hostile neighbors and the people put under the yoke. After a sad and tempestuous history, which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D., the inhabitants were sold into slavery and dispersed throughout the Roman Empire.

These people developed no great State, and made no contributions to government or science or art. Their contribution was along religious lines, and so magnificent and uplifting is their religious literature that it is certain to last for all time. Alone among all eastern people they early evolved the idea of one omnipotent God. The religion that they developed declared man to be the child of God, erected personal morality and service to God as the rule of life, and asserted a life beyond the grave. It was about these ideas that the whole energy of the people concentrated, and religion became the central thought of their lives. This religion, unlike the other religions of the Mediterranean world, emphasized duty to God, service, personal morality, chastity, honesty, and truth as its essential elements. The Law of Moses became the law of the land. Woman was elevated to a new place in the life of the ancient world. [4] Children became sacred in the eyes of the people. Their literary contribution, the Old Testament–written by a series of patriarchs, lawgivers, prophets, and priests–pictures, often in sublime language, the various migrations, deliverances, calamities, and religious hopes, aspirations, and experiences of this Chosen People.

THE UNITY OF THIS PEOPLE. Just before their country was overrun and they were carried captive to Babylon, in 588 B.C., the Pentateuch [5] had been reduced to writing and made an authoritative code of laws for the people. This served as a bond of union among them during the exile, and after their return to Palestine, in 538 B.C., the study and observance of this law became the most important duty of their lives. The synagogue was established in every village for its exposition, where twice on every Sabbath day the people were to gather to hear the law expounded. A race of _Scribes_, or scripture scholars, also arose to teach the law, as well as means for educating additional scribes. They were to interpret the law, and to apply it to the daily lives of the people. As the law was a combination of religious, ceremonial, civil, and sanitary law, these scribes became both teachers and judges for the people. In time they became the depositaries of all learning, superseded the priesthood, and became the leaders (_rabbins_, whence _rabbi_) of the people. “The voice of the rabbi is the voice of God,” says the Talmud, a collection of Hebrew customs and traditions, with comments and interpretations, written by the rabbis after 70 B.C. By most Jews this is held to be next in sacredness to the Old Testament (R. 27).

Realizing, after the return from captivity, that the future existence of the Hebrew people would depend, not upon their military strength, but upon their moral unity, and that this must be based upon the careful training of each child in the traditions of his fathers, the leaders of the people began the evolution of a religious school system to meet the national need. Realizing, too, that parents could not be depended upon in all cases to provide this instruction, the leaders provided it and made it compulsory. Great open-air Bible classes were organized at first, and these were gradually extended to all the villages of the country. Elementary schools were developed later and attached to the synagogues, and finally, in 64 A.D., the high priest, Joshua ben Gamala, ordered the establishment of an elementary school in every village, made attendance compulsory for all male children, and provided for a combined type of religious and household instruction at home for all girls. Reading, writing, counting, the history of the Chosen People, the poetry of the Psalms, the Law of the Pentateuch, and a part of the Talmud constituted the subject-matter of instruction. The instruction was largely oral, and learning by heart was the common teaching plan. The child was taught the Law of his fathers, trained to make holiness a rule of his life and to subordinate his will to that of the one God, and commanded to revere his teachers (R. 27) and uphold the traditions of his people.

After the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) and the scatterment of the people, the school instruction was naturally more or less disrupted, but in one way or another the Hebrew people have ever since managed to keep up the training of rabbis and the instruction of the young in the Law and the traditions of their people, and as a consequence of this instruction we have to-day the interesting result of a homogeneous people who, for over eighteen centuries, have had no national existence, and who have been scattered and persecuted as have no other people. History offers us no better example of the salvation of a people by means of the compulsory education of all.

THE NEW CHRISTIAN FAITH. It was into this Hebrew race that Jesus was born, [6] and there he lived, learned, taught, made his disciples, and was crucified. Building on the old Hebrew moral law and the importance of the personal life, Jesus made his appeal to the individual, and sought the moral regeneration of society through the moral regeneration of individual men and women. This idea of individuality and of personal souls worth saving was a new idea in a world where the submergence of the individual in the State had everywhere up to that time been the rule. Even the Hebrews, in their great desire to perpetuate their race and faith, had suppressed and absorbed the individual in their religious State. The teachings of Jesus, on the other hand, with their emphasis on charity, sympathy, self-sacrifice, and the brotherhood of all men, tended to obliterate nationality, while the emphasis they gave to the future life, for which life here was but a preparation, tended to subordinate the interests of the State and withdraw the concern of men from worldly affairs. In a series of simple sermons, Jesus set forth the basis of this new faith which he, and after him his disciples, offered to the world.

At the time of his crucifixion his disciples numbered scarcely one hundred persons. For some years after his death his disciples remained in Jerusalem, preaching that he was the Messiah or Christ, whom the Hebrew people had long expected, and making converts to the idea. Later in Samaria, Damascus, and Antioch they made additional converts among the Jews. Up to this point the Christians had been careful to keep up all the old Jewish customs, and it was even doubted at first whether any but Jews could properly be admitted to the new faith. A new convert, Saul of Tarsus, a Jew who had studied in the Greek university there and who afterwards became the Apostle Paul, did much to open the new faith to the Gentiles, as the men of other nations were known. Speaking Greek, and being versed in Greek philosophy, and especially Stoicism, he gave thirty years of most effective service to the establishment of Christian churches [7] in Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece (R. 29), and Italy (R. 28). His work was so important that he has often been called the second founder of the Christian Church.

THE CHALLENGE OF CHRISTIANITY. Into a Roman world that had already passed the zenith of its greatness came this new Christian faith, challenging almost everything for which the Roman world had stood. In place of Roman citizenship and service to the State as the purpose of life, the Christians set up the importance of the life to come. Instead of pleasure and happiness and the satisfaction of the senses as personal ends, the Christians preached denial of all these things for the greater joy of a future life. In a society built on a huge basis of slavery and filled with social classes, the Christians proclaimed the equality of all men before God. To a nation in which family life had become corrupt, infidelity and divorce common, and infanticide a prevailing practice, the Christians proclaimed the sacredness of the marriage tie and the family life, and the exposure of infants as simple murder. In place of the subjection of the individual to the State, the Christians demanded the subjection of the individual only to God. In place of a union of State and religion, the Christians demanded the complete separation of the two and the subordination of the State to the Church. Unlike all other religions that Rome had absorbed, the Christians refused to be accepted on any other than exclusive terms. The worship of all other gods the Christians held to be sinful idol-worship, a deadly sin in the eyes of God, and they were willing to give up their lives rather than perform the simplest rite of what they termed pagan worship (R. 28). To the deified Emperor the Christians naturally could not bend the knee (Rs. 30 b, 31 a-b, 34).

At first the new faith attracted but little attention from anybody of education or influence. Its converts were few during the first century, and these largely from among the lowest social classes in the Empire. Workmen and slaves, and women rather than men, constituted the large majority of the early converts to the new faith. The character of its missionaries [8] also was against it, and its challenge of almost all that characterized the higher social and governmental life of Rome was certain to make its progress difficult, and in time to awaken powerful opposition [9] to it. Yet, notwithstanding all these obstacles, its progress was relatively rapid.

THE VICTORY OF CHRISTIANITY. By the close of the first century there were Christian churches throughout most of Judea and Asia Minor, and in parts of Greece and Macedonia. During the second century other churches were established in Asia Minor, in Greece, and along the Black Sea, and at a few places in Italy and France; and before four centuries had elapsed from the crucifixion Christian churches had been established throughout almost all the Roman world. This is well shown by the map on the opposite page. The message of hope that Christianity had to offer to all; the simplicity of its organization and teachings; the great appeal which it made to the emotional side of human life; the hope of a future life of reward for the burdens of this which it extended to all who were weary and heavy laden; the positiveness of conviction of its apostles and followers; and the completeness with which it satisfied the religious need and longings of the time, first among the poor and among women and later among educated men–all helped the new faith to win its way. The unity in that Rome had everywhere established; [10] the Roman peace (_pax Romana_) that Rome had everywhere imposed; the spread of the Greek and Latin languages and ideas throughout the Mediterranean world; the right of freedom of travel and speech enjoyed by a Roman citizen, and of which Saint Paul and others on their travels took advantage; [11] the scatterment of Jews throughout the Empire, after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.–all these elements also helped.


That Christianity made its headway unmolested must not be supposed. While at first the tendency of educated Romans and of the government was to ignore or tolerate it, its challenge was so direct and provocative that this attitude could not long continue. Under the Emperor Claudius (41-54 A.D.) “all the Jews who were continually making disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus” were unsuccessfully ordered banished from Rome. In the reign of the Emperor Nero, in 64 A.D., many horrible tortures were inflicted on this as yet small sect. It was not, however, till later, when the continued refusal of the Christians to offer sacrifices to the Emperor brought them under the law as disloyal (R. 30 a) subjects, that they began to be much punished for their faith (R. 31 a-b). The times were bad and were going from bad to worse, and the feelings of many were that the adverse conditions in the Empire–war, famine, floods, pestilence, and barbarian inroads–were due to the neglect of the old state religion and to the tolerance extended the vast organized defiance of the law by the Christians. In the first century they had been largely ignored. In the second, in some places, they were punished. In the third century, impelled by the calamities of the State and the urging of those who would restore the national religion to its earlier position, the Emperors were gradually driven to a series of heavy persecutions of the sect (R. 30 a). But it had now become too late. The blood of the martyrs proved to be the seed of the Church (R. 35). The last great persecution under the Emperor Diocletian, in 303 (R. 33), ended in virtual failure. In 311 the Emperor Galerius placed Christianity on a plane of equality with other forms of worship (R. 36). In 313 Constantine made it in part the official religion of the State [12] and ordered freedom of worship for all. He and succeeding Emperors gradually extended to the Christian clergy a long list of important privileges (R. 38) and exemptions, [13] analogous to those formerly enjoyed by the teachers of rhetoric under the Empire (R. 26), and likewise began the policy, so liberally followed later, of endowing the Church. In 391 the Emperor Theodosius forbade all pagan worship, thus making the victory of Christianity complete. In less than four centuries from the birth of its founder the Christian faith had won control of the great Empire in which it originated. In 529 the Emperor Justinian ordered the closing of all pagan schools, and the University of Athens, which had remained the center of pagan thought after the success of Christianity, closed its doors. The victory was now complete.

THE CONTRIBUTION OF CHRISTIANITY. We have now before us the third great contribution upon which our modern civilization has been built. To the great contributions of Greece and Rome, which we have previously studied, there now was added, and added at a most opportune time, the contribution of Christianity. In taking the Jewish idea of one God and freeing it from the narrow tribal limitations to which it had before been subject, Christianity made possible its general acceptance, first in the Roman world, and later in the Mohammedan world. [14] With this was introduced the doctrine of the fatherhood of God and his love for man, the equality before God of all men and of the two sexes, and the sacredness of each individual in the eyes of the Father. An entirely new conception of the individual was proclaimed to the world, and an entirely new ethical code was promulgated. The duty of all to make their lives conform to these new conceptions was asserted. These ideas imparted to ancient society a new hopefulness and a new energy which were not only of great importance in dealing with the downfall of civilization and the deluge of barbarism which were impending, but which have been of prime importance during all succeeding centuries. In time the church organization which was developed gradually absorbed all other forms of government, and became virtually the State during the long period of darkness known as the Middle Ages.

It remains now to sketch briefly how the Church organized itself and became powerful enough to perform its great task during the Middle Ages, what educational agencies it developed, and to what extent these were useful.


SCHOOLING OF THE EARLY CHURCH; CATECHUMENAL INSTRUCTION. The early churches were bound together by no formal bond of union, and felt little need for such. It was the belief of many that Christ would soon return and the world would end, hence there was little necessity for organization. There was also almost no system of belief. An acknowledgment of God as the Father, a repentance for past sins, a godly life, and a desire to be saved were about all that was expected of any one. [15] The chief concern was the moral regeneration of society through the moral regeneration of converts. To accomplish this, in face of the practices of Roman society, a process of instruction and a period of probation for those wishing to join the faith soon became necessary. Jews, pagans, and the children of believers were thereafter alike subjected to this before full acceptance into the Church. At stated times during the week the probationers met for instruction in morality and in the psalmody of the Church (R. 39). These two subjects constituted almost the entire instruction, the period of probation covering two or three years. The teachers were merely the older and abler members of the congregation.

This personal instruction became common everywhere in the early Church, and the training was known as _catechumenal_, that is, rudimentary, instruction. Two sets of catechumenal lectures have survived, which give an idea as to the nature of the instruction. They cover the essentials of church practice and the religious life (RS. 39, 40). It was dropped entirely in the conversion of the barbarian tribes. This instruction, and the preaching of the elders (presbyters, who later evolved into priests), constituted the formal schooling of the early converts to Christianity in Italy and the East. Such instruction was never known in England, and but little in Gaul.

The life in the Church made a moral and emotional, rather than an intellectual appeal. In fact the early Christians felt but little need for the type of intellectual education provided by the Roman schools, and the character of the educated society about them, as they saw it, did not make them wish for the so-called pagan learning. Even if the parents of converts wished to provide additional educational advantages for their children, what could they do? A modern author states well the predicament of such Christian parents, when he says:

All the schools were pagan. Not only were all the ceremonies of the official faith–and more especially the festivals of Minerva, who was the patroness of masters and pupils–celebrated at regular intervals in the schools, but the children were taught reading out of books saturated with the old mythology. There the Christian child made his first acquaintance with the deities of Olympus. He ran the danger of imbibing ideas entirely contrary to those which he had received at home. The fables he had learned to detest in his own home were explained, elucidated, and held up to his admiration every day by his masters. Was it right to put him thus into two schools of thought? What could be done that he might be educated, like every one else, and yet not run the risk of losing his faith? [16]

CATECHETICAL SCHOOLS. After Christianity had begun to make converts among the more serious-minded and better-educated citizens of the Roman Empire, the need for more than rudimentary instruction in the principles of the church life began to be felt. Especially was this the case in the places where Christian workers came in contact with the best scholars of the Hellenic learning, and particularly at Alexandria, Athens, and the cities of Asia Minor. The speculative Greek would not be satisfied with the simple, unorganized faith of the early Christians. He wanted to understand it as a system of thought, and asked many questions that were hard to answer. To meet the critical inquiry of learned Greeks, it became desirable that the clergy of the Church, in the East at least, should be equipped with a training similar to that of their critics. As a result there was finally evolved, first at Alexandria, and later at other places in the Empire, training schools for the leaders of the Church.

These came to be known as _catechetical_ schools, from their oral questioning method of instruction, and this term was later applied to elementary religious instruction (whence _catechism_) throughout western Europe. Pantaenus, a converted Greek Stoic, who became head of the catechumenal instruction at Alexandria, in 179 A.D., brought to the training of future Christian leaders the strength of Greek learning and Greek philosophic thought. He and his successors, Clement and Origen, developed here an important school of Christian theology where Greek learning was used to interpret the Scriptures and train leaders for the service of the Church. Similar schools were opened at Antioch, Edessa, Nisibis, and Caesarea (See Map, p. 89), and these developed into a rudimentary form of theological schools for the education of the eastern Christian clergy. In these schools Christian faith and doctrine were formulated into a sort of system, the whole being tinctured through and through with Greek philosophic thought. Out of these schools came some of the great Fathers of the early Church; men who strove to uphold the pagan learning and reconcile Christianity and Greek philosophic thinking. [17]

REJECTION OF PAGAN LEARNING IN THE WEST. In the West, where the leaders of the Church came from the less philosophic and more practical Roman stock, and where the contact with a decadent society wakened a greater reaction, the tendency was to reject the Hellenic learning, and to depend more upon emotional faith and the enforcement of a moral life. By the close of the third century the hostility to the pagan schools and to the Hellenic learning had here become pronounced (R. 41). Even the Fathers of the Latin Church, the greatest of whom had been teachers of oratory or rhetoric in Roman schools before their conversion, [18] gradually came to reject the pagan learning as undesirable for Christians and in a large degree as a robbery from God. Saint Augustine, in his _Confessions_, hopes that God may forgive him for having enjoyed Vergil. Jerome’s dream [19] was known and quoted throughout the Middle Ages. Tertullian, in his _Prescription against Heresies_, exclaims:

What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? What between heretics and Christians?… Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition.

Gregory the Great, Pope of the Church from 590 to 604, and who had been well educated as a youth in the surviving Roman-type schools, turned bitterly against the whole of pagan learning. “I am strongly of the opinion,” he says, “that it is an indignity that the words of the oracle of Heaven should be restrained by the rules of Donatus” (grammar). In a letter to the Bishop of Vienne he berates him for giving instruction in grammar, concluding with–“the praise of Christ cannot lie in one mouth with the praise of Jupiter. Consider yourself what a crime it is for bishops to recite what would be improper for religiously-minded laymen.”

As a result Hellenic learning declined rapidly in importance in the West as the Church attained supremacy, and finally, in 401, the Council of Carthage, largely at the instigation of Saint Augustine, forbade the clergy to read any pagan author. In time Greek learning largely died out in the West, and was for a time almost entirely lost. Even the Greek language was forgotten, and was not known again in the West for nearly a thousand years. [20]

THE CHURCH PERFECTS A STRONG ORGANIZATION. As was previously stated (p. 92), but little need was felt during the first two centuries for a system of belief or church government. As the expected return of Christ did not take place, and as the need for a formulation of belief and a system of government began to be felt, the next step was the development of these features. The system of belief and the ceremonials of worship finally evolved are more the products of Greek thought and practices of the East, while the form of organization and government is derived more from Roman sources. In the second century the Old Testament was translated into Greek at Alexandria, and the “Apostles’ Creed” was formulated. During the third century the writings deemed sacred were organized into the New Testament, also in Greek. In 325 the first General Council of the Church was held at Nicaea, in Asia Minor. It formulated the Nicene Creed (R. 42), and twenty canons or laws for the government of the Church. A second General Council, held at Constantinople in 381, revised the Nicene Creed and adopted additional canons.

[Illustration: FIG. 28. A BISHOP
Seventh Century (Santo Venanzio, Rome)]

The great organizing genius of the western branch of the Church was Saint Augustine (354-430). He gave to the Western or Latin Church, then beginning to take on its separate existence, the body of doctrine needed to enable it to put into shape the things for which it stood. The system of theology evolved before the separation of the eastern and western branches of the Church was not so finished and so finely speculative as that of the Greek branch, but was more practical, more clearly legal, and more systematically organized.

The influence of Rome was strong also in the organization of the system of government finally adopted for the Church. There being no other model, the Roman governmental system was copied. The bishop of a city corresponded to the Roman municipal officials; the archbishop of a territory to the governor of a province; and the patriarch to the ruler of a division of the Empire. As Rome had been a universal Empire, and as the city of Rome had been the chief governing city, [21] the idea of a universal Church was natural and the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome was gradually asserted and determined. [22]

A STATE WITHIN A STATE. There was thus developed in the West, as it were a State within a State. That is, within the Roman Empire, with its Emperor, provincial governors, and municipal officials, governing the people and drawing their power from the Roman Senate and imperial authority, there was also gradually developed another State, consisting of those who had accepted the Christian faith, and who rendered their chief allegiance, through priest, bishop, and archbishop, to a central head of the Church who owed allegiance to no earthly ruler. That Christianity, viewed from the governmental point of view, was a serious element of weakness in the Roman State and helped its downfall, there can be no question. In the eastern part of the Empire the Church was always much more closely identified with the State. Fortunately for civilization, before the Roman Empire had fallen and the impending barbarian deluge had descended, the Christian Church had succeeded in formulating a unifying belief and a form of government capable of commanding respect and of enforcing authority, and was fast taking over the power of the State itself.

THE CATHEDRAL OR EPISCOPAL SCHOOLS. The first churches throughout the Empire were in the cities, and made their early converts there. [23] Gradually these important cities evolved into the residences of a supervising priest or bishop, the territory became known as a _bishopric_, and the church as a _cathedral church_. In time, also, some of the outlying territory was organized into parishes, and churches were established in these. These were made tributary to and placed under the direction of the bishop of the large central city. To supply clergy for these outlying parishes came to be one of the functions of the bishop, and, to insure properly trained clergy and to provide for promotions in the clerical ranks, schools of a rudimentary type were established in connection with the cathedral churches. These came to be known as _cathedral_, or _episcopal schools_. At first they were probably under the immediate charge of the bishop, but later, as his functions increased, the school was placed under a special teacher, known as a _Scholasticus_, or _Magister Scholarum_, who directed the cathedral school, assisted the bishop, and trained the future clergy. As the pagan secondary schools died out, these cathedral schools, together with the monastic schools which were later founded, gradually replaced the pagan schools as the important educational institutions of the western world. In these two types of schools the religious leaders of the early Middle Ages were trained.

THE MONASTIC ORGANIZATION. In the early days of Christianity, it will be remembered (p. 87), the Christian convert held himself apart from the wicked world all about him, and had little to do with the society or the government of his time. He regarded the Church as having no relationship to the State. As the Church grew stronger, however, and became a State within a State, the Christian took a larger and larger part in the world around him, and in time came to be distinguished from other men by his profession of the Christian religion rather than by any other mark. Many of the early bishops were men of great political sagacity, fully capable of realizing to the full the political opportunities, afforded by their position, to strengthen the power of the Church. It was the work of men of this type that created the temporal power of the Church, and made of it an institution capable of commanding respect and enforcing its decisions.

To some of the early Christians this life did not appeal. To them holiness was associated with a complete withdrawal from contact with this sinful world and all its activities. Some betook themselves to the desert, others to the forests or mountains, and others shut themselves up alone that they might be undisturbed in their religious meditations. To such devoted souls monasticism, a scheme of living brought into the Christian world from the East, made a strong appeal. It provided that such men should live together in brotherhoods, renouncing the world, taking vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and devoting their lives to hard labor and the mortification of the flesh that the soul might be exalted and made beautiful. The members lived alone in individual cells, but came together for meals, prayer, and religious service.

As early as 330 a monastery had been organized on the island of Tebernae, in the Nile. About 350 Saint Basil introduced monasticism into Asia Minor, where it flourished greatly. In 370 the Basilian order was founded. The monastic idea was soon transferred to the West, a monastery being established at Rome probably as early as 340. The monastery of Saint Victor, at Marseilles, was founded by Cassian in 404, and this type of monastery and monastic rule was introduced into Gaul, about 415. The monastery of Lerins (off Cannes, in southern France) was established in 405. During the fifth century a rapid extension of monastic foundations took place in western Europe, particularly along the valleys of the Rhone and the Loire in Gaul.

[Illustration: FIG. 29. A BENEDICTINE MONK, ABBOT, AND ABBESS (From a thirteenth-century manuscript)]

In 529 Saint Benedict, a Roman of wealth who fled from the corruption of his city, founded the monastery of Monte Cassino, south of Rome, and established a form of government, or rule of daily life, which was gradually adopted by nearly all the monasteries of the West. In time Europe came to be dotted with thousands of these establishments, many of which were large and expensive institutions both to found and to maintain. [24] By the time the barbarian invasions were in full swing monasticism had become an established institution of the Christian Church. Nunneries for women also were established early. A letter from Saint Jerome to Marcella, a Roman matron, in 382, in which he says that “no high-born lady at Rome had made profession of the monastic life … or had ventured … publicly to call herself a nun,” would seem to imply that such institutions had already been established in Rome.

MONASTIC SCHOOLS. Poverty, chastity, obedience, labor, and religious devotion were the essential features of a monastic life. The Rule of Saint Benedict (R. 43) organized in a practical way the efforts of those who took the vows. In a series of seventy-three rules which he laid down, covering all phases of monastic life, the most important from the standpoint of posterity was the forty-eighth, prescribing at least seven hours of daily labor and two hours of reading “for all able to bear the load.” From that part of the rule requiring regular manual labor the monks became the most expert farmers and craftsmen of the early Middle Ages, while to the requirement of daily reading we owe in large part the development of the school and the preservation of learning in the West during the long intellectual night of the mediaeval period (R. 44).

Into these monastic institutions the _oblati_, that is, those who wished to become monks, were received as early as the age of twelve, and occasionally earlier (R. 53 a). The final vows (R. 53 b) could not be taken until eighteen, so during this period the novice was taught to work and to read and write, given instruction in church music, and taught to calculate the church festivals and to do simple reckoning. In time some condensed and carefully edited compendium of the elements of classical learning was also studied, and still later a more elaborate type of instruction was developed in some of the monasteries. This, however, belongs to a later division of this history, and further description of church and monastic education will be deferred until we study the intellectual life of the Middle Ages.

THE EDUCATION OF GIRLS. Aside from the general instruction in the practices of the church and home instruction in the work of a woman, there was but little provision made for the education of girls not desiring to join a convent or nunnery. A few, however, obtained a limited amount of intellectual training. The letter of Saint Jerome to the Roman lady Paula (R. 45), regarding the education of her daughter, is a very important document in the history of early Christian education for girls. Dating from 403, it outlines the type of training a young girl should be given who was to be properly educated in Christian faith and properly consecrated to God. What he outlined was education for nunneries, a number of which had been founded in the East and a few in the West. In the West these institutions later experienced an extensive development, and offered the chief opportunity for any intellectual education for women during the whole of the Middle Ages.


WHAT THE CHURCH BROUGHT TO THE MIDDLE AGES. From a small and purely spiritual organization, devoting its energies to exhortation and to the moral regeneration of mankind, and without creed or form of government, as the Christian Church was in the first two centuries of its development, we have traced the organization of a body of doctrine, the perfection of a strong system of church government, and the development of a very limited educational system designed merely to train leaders for its service. We have also shown how it added to its early ecclesiastical organization a strong governmental organization, became a State within a State, and gradually came to direct the State itself. It was thus ready, when the virtual separation of the Roman Empire into an eastern and western division took place, in 395, and when the western division finally fell before the barbarian onslaughts, to take up in a way the work of the State, force the barbarian hordes to acknowledge its power, and begin the process of civilizing these new tribes and building up once more a civilization in the western world. In addition to its spiritual and political power, the Church also had developed, in its catechumenal instruction and in the cathedral and monastic schools, a very meager form of an educational system for the training of its future leaders and servants. A great change had now taken place in the nature of education as a preparation for life, and intellectual education, in the sense that it was known and understood in Greece and Rome, was not to be known again in the western world for almost a thousand years. The distinguishing characteristic of the centuries which follow, up to the Revival of Learning, are, first, a struggle against very adverse odds to prevent civilization from disappearing entirely, and later a struggle to build up new foundations upon which world civilization might begin once more where it had left off in Greece and Rome.

THE THREE GREAT CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE ANCIENT WORLD. Thus, before the Middle Ages began, the three great contributions of the ancient world which were to form the foundations of our future western civilization had been made. Greece gave the world an art and a philosophy and a literature of great charm and beauty, the most advanced intellectual and aesthetic ideas that civilization has inherited, and developed an educational system of wonderful effectiveness–one that in its higher development in time took captive the entire Mediterranean world and profoundly modified all later thinking. Rome was the organizing and legal genius of the ancient world, as Greece was the literary and philosophical. To Rome we are especially indebted for out conceptions of law, order, and government, and for the ability to make practical and carry into effect the ideals of other peoples. To the Hebrews we are indebted for the world’s loftiest conceptions of God, religious faith, and moral responsibility, and to Christianity and the Church we are indebted for making these ideas universal in the Roman Empire and forcing them on a barbaric world.

All these great foundations of our western civilization have not come down to us directly. The hostility to pagan learning that developed on the part of the Latin Fathers; the establishment of an eastern capital for the Empire at Constantinople, in 328; the virtual division of the Empire into an East and West, in 395; and the final division of the Christian Church into a Western Latin and an Eastern Greek Church, which was gradually effected, finally drove Greek philosophy and learning and the Greek language from the western world. Greek was not to be known again in the West for hundreds of years. Fortunately the Eastern Church was more tolerant of pagan learning than was the Western, and was better able to withstand conquest by barbarian tribes. In consequence what the Greeks had done was preserved at Constantinople until Europe had once more become sufficiently civilized and tolerant to understand and appreciate it. Hellenic learning was then handed back to western Europe, first through the medium of the Saracens, and then in that great Revival of Learning which we know as the _Renaissance_. Of the Latin literature and learning much was lost, and much was preserved almost by accident in the monasteries of mediaeval Europe. Even the Church itself was seriously deflected from its earlier purpose and teachings during the long period of