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Science Education in the Early Roman Empire

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Throughout the Roman Empire Cities held public speeches and lectures, had libraries, and teachers and professors in the sciences and the humanities, some subsidized by the state. There even existed something equivalent to universities, and medical and engineering schools. What were they like? What did they teach? Who got to attend them? In the first treatment of this subje Throughout the Roman Empire Cities held public speeches and lectures, had libraries, and teachers and professors in the sciences and the humanities, some subsidized by the state. There even existed something equivalent to universities, and medical and engineering schools. What were they like? What did they teach? Who got to attend them? In the first treatment of this subject ever published, Dr. Richard Carrier answers all these questions and more, describing the entire education system of the early Roman Empire, with a unique emphasis on the quality and quantity of its science content. He also compares pagan attitudes toward the Roman system of education with the very different attitudes of ancient Jews and Christians, finding stark contrasts that would set the stage for the coming Dark Ages.


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Throughout the Roman Empire Cities held public speeches and lectures, had libraries, and teachers and professors in the sciences and the humanities, some subsidized by the state. There even existed something equivalent to universities, and medical and engineering schools. What were they like? What did they teach? Who got to attend them? In the first treatment of this subje Throughout the Roman Empire Cities held public speeches and lectures, had libraries, and teachers and professors in the sciences and the humanities, some subsidized by the state. There even existed something equivalent to universities, and medical and engineering schools. What were they like? What did they teach? Who got to attend them? In the first treatment of this subject ever published, Dr. Richard Carrier answers all these questions and more, describing the entire education system of the early Roman Empire, with a unique emphasis on the quality and quantity of its science content. He also compares pagan attitudes toward the Roman system of education with the very different attitudes of ancient Jews and Christians, finding stark contrasts that would set the stage for the coming Dark Ages.

30 review for Science Education in the Early Roman Empire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Sanchez

    Dr. Carrier's book reads like one of the world's most fun, engaging historical dissertations on ancient educational policies and practices. As a student of ancient Roman history, I found Dr. Carrier's work to be incredibly well-referenced and written, even for those lacking knowledge in the ancient traditions described. A slim volume containing immense amounts of information, "Science Education" is an incredibly well-researched, primary-sourced expose on what Greek and Roman philosophers, teacher Dr. Carrier's book reads like one of the world's most fun, engaging historical dissertations on ancient educational policies and practices. As a student of ancient Roman history, I found Dr. Carrier's work to be incredibly well-referenced and written, even for those lacking knowledge in the ancient traditions described. A slim volume containing immense amounts of information, "Science Education" is an incredibly well-researched, primary-sourced expose on what Greek and Roman philosophers, teachers, and students knew and were taught. Religious ideology of the time along with practical application of education are discussed in impressive detail, with plenty of footnotes to boot; you will be in for a treat if going down the researching rabbit hole is your thing. There are plenty of "fun facts" and historically relevant tidbits that showcase the realities of teaching and learning in the ancient world, such as : "Were there any important female teachers, scholars, or tradespeople?" "How much did a "textbook" cost in ancient Roman times?" "What was the "most important" subject taught to Roman students?" Ancient education is a rare topic among historical scholars, especially in books meant to be read by laymen. "Science Education" offers a uniquely accessible glimpse into the psychology and socioeconomic realities of the ancient Romans. The values held by our ancestors are spelled out in understandable yet vibrant detail, creating an image of a world that many have never even thought to seriously look at from a historical point of view. Dr. Carrier's writing style is fluid, concise, and informative, yet not too dense as to overwhelm the reader, and can be read at a pace that affords ample time for note taking, double-checking, and further exploration. As well as this, Dr. Carrier provides ample discussion as to the theological realities of denouncing philosophy and education by early Christian authors and anti-pagan apologists of the ancient world. While this topic may prove unsettling or otherwise uncomfortable for the average reader, it is uniquely important to the extent that it realizes itself in contemporary texts necessary to understand the contextual realities of the rise of Christianity. Readers looking for an in-depth, exhaustively researched history of ancient education will find that "Science Education" offers more than enough food for thought. It is highly recommended for students of educational history, ancient Roman ideology, philosophy, and the subtle beginnings of western identity.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eric Wojciechowski

    The conclusion I ended up with by the end of this book was this: If it wasn't for the fall of the Roman Empire, science education would have evolved much sooner, became more ingrained in all levels of the educational system, rather than only a few hundred years ago. In other words, science education had a good start. Then stagnated for a thousand years. Then, it took the Renaissance to pick up where Rome left off. Carrier shows us that although education in the sciences was rare and generally on The conclusion I ended up with by the end of this book was this: If it wasn't for the fall of the Roman Empire, science education would have evolved much sooner, became more ingrained in all levels of the educational system, rather than only a few hundred years ago. In other words, science education had a good start. Then stagnated for a thousand years. Then, it took the Renaissance to pick up where Rome left off. Carrier shows us that although education in the sciences was rare and generally only available to the rich, the school system, universities and public libraries of ancient Rome were a good start out of the primeval. The educational system was, however, more “subservience to conventional values” rather than cross examining accepted facts. Also, Carrier notes that it was not uncommon for even members of the elite to not advance beyond a secondary education. Carrier notes that knowing Homer, speaking with an educated vocabulary, poetry and theater, and similar abilities was the focus. Basically, the ancient Roman educational system was built to make those who could afford it get along in a civil society. In fact, the sciences like astronomy were sometimes declared diversions, more like hobbies instead of trades. Why spend time on astronomy when balancing the check book is more important on a day to day basis, right? However, the seeds were there. If Rome hadn't fallen, perhaps the garden would have been more fruitful for humanity at an earlier time to be much more advanced by now. What was of real interest was that science was only really accessible to those who could read Greek. That meant if you were only fluent in Latin, you were out of luck. And after the fall of Rome, understanding and advancement of the sciences would have been even more difficult. As Carrier notes, at best, under the rule of Christianity after, science stagnated in the East but got worse in the West. Most damning, is that even by the third century, there were no Christian schools. An oral instruction in religious dogma was the goal. And the rest of what had previously been taught, was forbidden, declared pagan. Again, it took the Renaissance to pick up where Rome left off. This is an excellent read about what could have been. In my opinion, it seems we could have had a man on the moon in 1500AD if it weren't for the fall of Rome. But, history is 20/20 hindsight. Looking forward to Carrier's expected follow up. As he has said, the title to date is “The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire”.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rick Theis

    Thank you Dr. Carrier ... Once more you have helped humanity to understand the ancient world, and given us a better view of our forebears. I believe I have ALL of your books (on Kindle), and have read them all except the sequel to this one (scientist in the ...), sense and goodness ..., and Jesus from outer, but I own those, and have loved all those others. Thank you for elevating my understanding once again. I would recommend this book - especially as a prequel to “Scientist in the Early Roman E Thank you Dr. Carrier ... Once more you have helped humanity to understand the ancient world, and given us a better view of our forebears. I believe I have ALL of your books (on Kindle), and have read them all except the sequel to this one (scientist in the ...), sense and goodness ..., and Jesus from outer, but I own those, and have loved all those others. Thank you for elevating my understanding once again. I would recommend this book - especially as a prequel to “Scientist in the Early Roman Empire”, or to ANYONE seeking knowledge.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Good, short, accomplishes what he sets out to do. Fascinating topic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaiden Fox

    Includes a few lines on how the educated of antiquity knew the world isn't flat. Includes a few lines on how the educated of antiquity knew the world isn't flat.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Neil

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

  9. 4 out of 5

    Noah Jones

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dominique "Eerie" Sobieska

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ulf Hartelius

  12. 4 out of 5

    Arya

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  14. 4 out of 5

    Николай

  15. 4 out of 5

    Reidar

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mina

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jonatan Nyvall

  18. 5 out of 5

    Scadger

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nadvornix

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Louis Doyle

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael Rishman

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nouran Islam

  24. 4 out of 5

    Łukasz Stafiniak

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  26. 5 out of 5

    Phil

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Berry

  28. 5 out of 5

    T Oliver

  29. 4 out of 5

    nadja vukovick

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rex Blanchard

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