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The only children to receive a formal education were the children of the rich. The very rich families employed a private tutor to teach their children. Those that could not afford to do this used either slaves or sent their children to a private school.

Children of poor families, those living in the country or those whose parents were slaves were not educated at all.

A Roman school would be one room with one teacher. Teachers were very badly paid and worked long hours. Children learned to read and write. It was important to be able to read and write because words were everywhere. If a boy answered a question with the wrong answer, the teacher would beat him with a cane. If he spoke in class without permission he would be dragged to the front of the class and beaten with a cane or a whip.

cane    whip

Boys and girls did not receive the same education.


Boys would be given lessons in honourability and physical training which were considered preparation for a man’s role in society and the army. Although they learned how to do simple addition and subtraction more difficult mathematics was not taught because it was difficult to add up numbers written in the Roman system. 



Girls were only allowed to learn to read and write