What Months Was School Closed In Ancient Rome

Schools & Education In Ancient Rome

Ancient Roman schools and education differ considerably from modern education and schools. Ancient education was primarily geared towards boys, while girls had to remain home and help their mothers. The education system of Ancient Rome was a well-structured one, based on the Ancient Greek model, where knowledge was a virtue. Children were expected to attend school between the ages of 7 and 16.

In terms of schooling, Ancient Rome had a variety of options, from the informal home tuition to more formalized and educational academies. An important starting point for children was literacy, as most Ancient Roman boys and girls had to be literate to gain citizenship. The curriculum was limited and focused mainly on Greek and Latin, and also included mathematics, mythology, history, rhetoric, and philosophy.

When it came to school closures, there was no fixed system or rule in Ancient Rome. In general, schools closed for major events in the Ancient Roman calendar such as the Saturnalia and the funeral games of Augustus. In addition, schools were also closed during the harvest season, when pupil attendance was sparse due to the presence of slaves who had been removed from their masters for this purpose.

In modern times, traditional holidays such as Easter, Labour Day and Christmas are to be observed by all. In Ancient Rome, however, similar holidays had existed and could have been subject to different rules and regulations. It is known that during the reign of Emperor Nerva, schools remained open throughout the festival of the Lighting of the Candles, while during the celebrations of the festival of the Triumph of Augustus, schools were closed for three days.

It is also clear that Ancient Roman schools and education also had to deal with certain life changing circumstances. In cases where a student was forced to suspend his studies for personal reasons, arrangements were made for the curriculum and assessments to be re-established so that studies could resume. Another common occurrence in Ancient Rome, was the recesses taken by students during religious and spiritual festivals.

The Ancient Roman school system, which was removed by the Christian Church in the fourth century, had its own idiosyncrasies, pros and cons. Despite being a bit too limited in terms of curriculum and inflexible when it came to taking care of student needs, the Ancient Roman education was still a valuable path to knowledge and wisdom.

School Architecture and Layout

Schools in Ancient Rome were often quite different from those seen today. In fact, the concept of a school building, such as the modern schoolhouse, was only introduced in the 19th century. In Ancient Rome, schools were often public gathering places with a teacher and his students meeting in an open area or in a group of rooms in a building. The layout of these classrooms varied, with some being more open than others.

The classrooms in Ancient Rome were always decorated with frescos of the gods in humorous poses, or scenes from mythology. Desks were normally made from stone or marble with benches or chairs for seating. Windows would often come in the form of an open air space, which was generally covered in latticework. Statues of gods, such as Mars and Apollo, would be erected in the classrooms to bring luck and wisdom to the students.

The main focus of the classrooms was knowledge. Therefore, there was a great emphasis placed on reading and writing lessons, as well as grammar, rhetoric, and logic. A student would be expected to recite what he had learnt in front of a small audience. This was seen as a performance and as a way to show the level of a student’s education.

Since Ancient Rome was a slave society, the education system was also geared towards teaching slaves the skills necessary to perform their duties. This included the ability to read laws and count money, as well as vocational skills such as carpentry, blacksmithing, and engineering. This type of education was largely informal and could have included an apprenticeship.

Finally, sports and physical activities were said to have been an integral part of Ancient Roman education. Wrestling, boxing, and swimming were popular, as well as running, ball games and weight lifting. Schools hosted these activities and they often had a positive effect on a student’s social life and interactions.

Teachers & Teaching Methods

The teachers in Ancient Rome, were not just educators but also mentors; they were expected to set examples for their students and provide advice for their moral and ethical development. Ancient teachers were often former military personnel and were highly respected members of the community.

In terms of teaching methods, the Ancient Roman teachers relied heavily on rote learning and memorization; students were expected to remember the material presented in class and then recite it in front of their peers and teachers. The use of rhetorical devices to enhance the memorization process was also popular. To supplement lectures, teachers would also use a variety of tools such as charts, maps, and globes to provide visual aids.

Since the focus of Ancient Roman education was classical texts, debates and arguments were often held in the classroom, as a way to develop the student’s ability to think critically and logically. Teachers also used rhetoric and poetry to help students become more articulate and skilled in public speaking.

In addition, punishments were also used in Ancient Roman schools. Students who were unruly, late or not paying attention, were sometimes punished by physical punishment such as flogging or by being forced to stand in the corner for a set period of time with the other disobedient children.

Finally, Ancient Roman schools also had a form of pastoral care. Teachers were expected to be vigilant and aware of any personal problems or issues the students had, and provide them with necessary advice or support. This was considered a vital part of the Ancient Roman education system.

Sacred Education

Much of Ancient Roman education was built around the belief that knowledge was a gift from the gods. This sacred education was a way of connecting with the divine and achieved through honoring figures who were seen as the embodiment of a particular ideal or quality, such as intelligence, beauty or justice.

To access this divine knowledge, students were expected to demonstrate piety and respect for their teachers. This included the practice of offering sacrifices to their tutors and showing reverence for their teachings. These practices were an important part of the formal, structured religion of Ancient Rome.

Furthermore, certain festivals were dedicated to the gods in Ancient Rome and celebrated as part of the educational process. Most of these festivals featured spectacles, ceremonies and sacrifices. For example, during the Lupercalia, students would sacrifice goats and lambs as offerings to the gods. This allowed the students to partake in the power and knowledge of the divine.

In addition to festivals, the temples and shrines of Ancient Rome were seen as places of learning. The inner sanctuaries of the temples contained priceless works of art, literature, and sacred knowledge. These were accessible to students and priests, and could only be accessed through the proper religious ceremonies and rituals.

Sociology of Education

In ancient Rome, education was seen as a way for people to gain status and success. Wealthy families saw education as a way for their children to earn positions of power and wealth. As such, it was not uncommon for parents to pay for the best tutors and schools for their children.

At the same time, education was also seen as a way for lower classes to gain economic and social mobility. Since Roman society was heavily based on the class system, education was seen as a way for lower classes to earn positions of power and wealth. This provided a chance for people to escape poverty and achieve success.

Finally, education was also an important factor in Roman political life. Members of the Senate and other high ranking officials in the Roman government required a certain level of education, so only individuals who had attained a certain level of knowledge were allowed to take on these positions. It was seen as a way of ensuring that people had the ability to make thoughtful decisions while in office.

Modern Education

The influence of Ancient Rome on modern education is clear. Today, many countries around the world continue to use elements of the Ancient Roman system of schooling and teaching. Rhetoric and public speaking are still taught in many schools, as is philosophy and mathematics. Similarly, the focus on reading, writing and memorization are still present in modern education.

In the United States, education is seen as a way for individuals to gain success and wealth. The focus on knowledge and expertise is still present, as it was in Ancient Rome. At the same time, other aspects of education, such as sports and physical activities, are still celebrated and encouraged in modern society.

In addition, the focus on pastoral care and personal development is still valued in modern education. The concept of teachers as mentors has been adopted by many countries around the world, where teachers are expected to be a source of guidance and support for their students. Similarly, the concept of sacred education has found its way into many contemporary societies, allowing individuals to seek knowledge through religious rituals and ceremonies.


The influence of Ancient Rome on modern education is undeniable. Despite a few differences in terms of the curriculum, teaching methods, and the overall structure of the schooling system, we can still see a strong presence of Ancient Rome in modern education. From the focus on literacy and public speaking to the use of rhetoric, philosophy, and debates, many of the same elements that were present in Ancient Roman education are still used in contemporary schools.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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