Roman schools – Celtic schools
Education for integration
In ancient times, most children learnt a craft or how to do domestic work, or became herders or field workers. With the appropriate physical stature, young Roman men could serve in the army. But members of the elite – for the Celts and often for the Romans too – were usually trained for higher positions (officers). Schools such as we know them today did not exist. Wealthier Roman families could afford to employ private tutors from Greece. Getting to know a common culture through education strengthened social bonds. That’s why the Romans found it important to impart their culture and Roman law in the regions they had conquered. Obedience, education, “bread and games” – this is what should facilitate the integration of different peoples in the Roman Empire.
“As a Celtic girl, I also have lessons. With Gannicus, my maternal grandfather. He’s a Druid. That’s a kind of Celtic priest. And that’s what I should be when I grow up: a priestess. My brothers, on the other hand, have a private tutor, provided by the Romans. He teaches them Latin, mathematics, philosophy and other funny things. What do you think of our Roman teacher, Bitto?”
The old man with the crooked back sitting next to Matugenta replied in a quavering voice: “He’s no Roman, he’s Greek! And what do we Celts need someone from Greece for? I prefer to teach children our famous Celtic songs of praise and satirical verses.” Bitto was the bard in Argentum and Matugenta’s great grandfather. Everybody held him in high esteem because he had white hair. And white hair was sacred because it was so rare.
Why do you think that so few Celts had white hair? Do you know the answer?