BA Latin and Italian

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Education and Schools in the Greek and Roman Worlds

Course unit fact file
Unit code CAHE35211
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Education and schools are vital to the understanding of ancient society. In this course, education is explicitly understood in a broader sense than attending school. This means that we will also deal with topics such as socialisation and the way the broader environment impacted on lives and behaviour of children and youths in Antiquity. The course starts with a chronological survey, from the Homeric poems up to Christian schools in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. After this, the approach will be thematical. Both educators and learners will be get due attention, and various themes will be tackled. The course explicitly shies away from an approach that focuses exclusively on the cities of Athens and Rome. Due attention will be paid to broader themes such as, for instance, violence, bullying, play, the importance of the peer group, the role of religion, and literacy. Judaism and Christianity will be part of the story.


To explore the role played by schools and education in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, with particular focus on both historiographical/methodological questions and the concept of socialisation, including the use of comparative evidence from other Mediterranean societies as well as the interpretation of ancient sources.

Knowledge and understanding

 •           an awareness and understanding of the subject;

•            knowledge of a range of literary, epigraphic, papyrological and archaeological/iconographical evidence relating to schools and education;

•            critical understanding of the strengths and limitations of different types of evidence.

Intellectual skills

•            to pose questions about complex issues;

•            to assimilate and summarize large quantities of evidence;

•            to locate and retrieve relevant information from primary sources;

•            to conduct bibliographic searches, and to present the results in a professional manner with appropriate reference to sources and modern published scholarship.

Practical skills

•            to present a sustained critical argument effectively in writing and orally;

•            to manage time;

•            to engage in critical discussion and debate

Transferable skills and personal qualities

•            the ability to organise self-learning and to engage in constructive critical discussion both individually and in groups.

Employability skills

¿ Independent critical thinking and analysis of issues crucial to understanding (ancient) society.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

written feedback on formative and summative essays

additional one-to-one feedback (during the    consultation hour or by making an appointment), if desired

Formative/ summative



Recommended reading

S. Bonner, Education in Ancient Rome (Liverpool, 1977).

M. Joyal, J. C. Yardley, I. McDougall, Greek and Roman Education. A Sourcebook (London, 2008).

C. Laes (ed.), A Cultural History of Education in Antiquity (London, 2020).

H.-I. Marrou, A History of Education in Antiquity (English Translation from the French) (Madison WI, 1982).

Students who did not take Greek or Roman History course units in their first or second year will need to have acquired a basic knowledge of the main narrative of Hellenistic and Roman history (6th cent. BCE to 3rd century CE) in order to follow the course. The use of F. Naerebout, H. Singor, Antiquity. Greeks and Romans in Context (Malden, Oxford, 2014) is recommended in this case.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christian Laes Unit coordinator

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