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A History Of Education In Antiquity (Wisconsin Studies in Classics) Paperback – April 15, 1982

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this survey, Professor Marrou of the Sorbonne traces the development of Greek education from Homer to the classical period of the Hellenistic age, which represents the high point of ancient education. He studies the Hellenistic period with great thoroughness using recent archaeological discoveries and his vast classical erudition to bring to light every detail of organization and method. Then he traces the further development of Roman and early Christian education up to the early Middle Ages.”—Library Journal


“He has achieved a rare combination of good writing and masses of information, and in a series of additional notes discusses modern scholarship on the subject. This is a most valuable book.”—Manchester Guardian


“A triumph of humane scholarship, nothing less than a survey of education throughout the ancient world.”—New Statesman & Nation

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; Reprint edition (April 15, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299088146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299088149
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a massive scholarly overview of education in ancient Greek, Roman, and early Christian cultures, from 1000BC to 500AD. It is divided into 3 main sections: Origins of Classical Education from Homer to Isocrates, Classical Education in the Hellenistic Age, and Classical Education and Rome. The first section describes Greek education from very early times, going as far back as Homer. This section includes discussion of Spartan education and the role of military training and sport in education, pederasty in early Greek education, and education at the time of Plato and Isocrates. The second section explores classical Greek education in greater detail, focusing on the subjects that were studied, namely, physical education, artistic education (especially music and rhetoric), and science. It also discusses educational institutions, primary schools, secondary schools, and higher education. We learn about methods of teaching reading in ancient Greece, classroom atmosphere and discipline, and the lowly station of teachers in Greek society.

In the third section, Marrou details how Greek methods and topics of education were adopted by Roman society, with some differences and modifications. For example, the Romans had very little use for physical education, whereas physical education had formed a core element of Greek education. Another difference was the status given to teachers; in Roman society, teachers were well-respected and many used the teaching profession as a stepping stone to gain high political appointments. Paralleling the topics of the second section, this section includes information about the subject areas studied and the institutions were education took place.
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This is one of those books that creates an entire understanding of an area in history. Marrou's scholarship is wonderful and still relevant. If you've read this, your next stop should be McLuhan's "The Classical Trivium"
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Format: Paperback
Walk down the Boulevard St. Michel in Paris, past walls pitted with bullet holes, marked by plaques commemorating Resistance fighters from WW II. Stop on a stone bench beneath the massive stone walls of the Sorbonne. Or take the narrow streets up to the Pantheon temple to the great men of France (the first woman elected to it was Marie Curie in 1995). Who lived in this already-ancient and recently bullet-ridden carved-stone world in 1948? Well, Henri Irénée Marrou, for one.
Marrou was a great product of French education and a great thinker on it. What he says of studying the Greeks, we can as well say of studying him today: "The fecundity of historical knowledge lives above all in the dialogue it creates in us between the Same and the Other". (I hope you did not think that "the Same and the Other" were postmodern ideas. The phrase is already in Plato's Timaeus.)
Present and past illuminate each other. Hitler's Germany teaches us not to naively admire the militarist slave-state of Sparta. Other ancient examples were just the thing, in 1948, to "reanimate the flame of liberty in the hearts of the young". Here is tremendous erudition aiming at the love of freedom. Not a bad idea today either.
This book is a history of Greek education and is still frequently cited. No more recent study seems to have supplanted it yet and none seem to still be in print. For the content of the book you can look into it here at amazon.com.
The French history I stress is mostly found in the introduction but for Marrou it is all our history. If you read the book in French (you can get it at amazon.fr) you will feel like you are in Paris, indeed an austere post-war Paris which no longer exists. But that is not necessary. Read it in any language to learn something of:

"Wisdom---this admirable word which we have forgotten and which the example of the ancients may help us to recover."
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