This fascinating cultural and intellectual history focuses on education as practiced by the imperial age Romans, looking at what they considered the value of education and its effect on children. W. Martin Bloomer details the processes, exercises, claims, and contexts of liberal education from the late first century BCE to the third century CE the epoch of rhetorical education. He examines the adaptation of Greek institutions, methods, and texts by the Romans, and traces the Romans’ own history of education. Bloomer argues that while Rome’s enduring educational legacy includes the seven liberal arts and a canon of school texts, its practice of competitive displays of reading, writing, and reciting were intended to instill in the young social as well as intellectual ideas.
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Bloomer's study is cultural history at its best. He grasps the inner workings of Roman education together with its goal of creating a particular type of adult. The range of sources used is impressive, and familiar material takes on new significance when viewed, with Bloomer, from the perspective of the child at his tablet. This is an important book for classicists and for anyone interested in the history of education.”
Thomas Habinek, author of The Politics of Latin Literature: Writing, Identity, and Empire in Ancient Rome.
In this authoritative book, Martin Bloomer studies Roman education not only as a process of cultural hegemony that worked through the repetition of exercises and practices, but also as a vehicle that allowed some male members of the elite to reach a remarkable ability and success. I particularly applaud his illuminating study of upper education as it projected an idealized social order. This training and display of stylized speech prepared the protagonists for the social system of patriarchy, patronage, and imperial administration. Education in ancient Rome could not have found a more perceptive and competent treatment.”
Raffaella Cribiore, author of Gymnastics of the Mind: Greek Education in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt
W. Martin Bloomer is Associate Professor of Classics at Notre Dame University. His books include Valerius Maximus and the Rhetoric of the New Nobility and The Contest of Language.
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