Roman Schools and Education Facts

Here are some facts about education and schools in Roman times.

  • The Romans thought that education was very important. Children were mostly taught at home and learned about law, history and social customs so they could become responsible citizens.

  • A good education was seen as a status symbol, not a way to get a good job.
  • Children did not need to have a minimum level of education and much Roman education was to prepare them for real life.
  • The Roman education system was largely based on the Ancient Greek system, which the Romans admired. Greek language and grammar were important and knowledge of Greek meant sophistication.
  • Children aged 11 and 12 went to school, although the classroom was often just a room in a house or shop. The subjects taught were reading, writing and basic mathematics.
  • The Roman education system was strict and children were caned for performing badly. School took place 7 days a week, although there were many religious holidays and school was closed on market day.
  • Girls did not usually go to school, although some rich families paid for home tutoring. Girls were taught sewing, music and how to run a kitchen, as well as other skills needed to look after the house.
  • Some boys went on to learn public speaking, which was considered important to get a job as a politician or statesman. Students learned other advanced subjects, including literature, geography and philosophy.
  • Physical education was important, as many boys went on to serve in the army. Boys learned to fight, to swim in cold water and to ride a horse.
  • Roman education ended when boys graduated left school at the age of 16. After graduating, they were allowed to wear a white woollen toga, or robe and were considered to be responsible citizens.