By William V. Harris
What number of people may possibly learn and write within the historic global of the Greeks and Romans? not anyone has formerly attempted to provide a scientific resolution to this question. such a lot historians who've thought of the matter in any respect have given positive tests, considering they've been inspired via huge our bodies of historical written fabric akin to the graffiti at Pompeii. they've got additionally been stimulated by way of an inclination to idealize the Greek and Roman international and its academic process. In historic Literacy W. V. Harris offers the 1st thorough exploration of the degrees, kinds, and capabilities of literacy within the classical global, from the discovery of the Greek alphabet approximately 800 B.C. all the way down to the 5th century A.D. Investigations of different societies express that literacy ceases to be the accomplishment of a small elite in basic terms in particular situations. Harris argues that the social and technological stipulations of the traditional international have been similar to to make mass literacy unthinkable. Noting society at the verge of mass literacy consistently possesses an intricate tuition approach, Harris stresses the constraints of Greek and Roman education, stating the meagerness of investment for ordinary schooling. Neither the Greeks nor the Romans got here wherever with regards to finishing the transition to a contemporary type of written tradition. They relied extra seriously on oral communique than has regularly been imagined. Harris examines the partial transition to written tradition, considering the industrial sphere and lifestyle, in addition to legislations, politics, management, and faith. He has a lot to assert additionally in regards to the circulate of literary texts all through classical antiquity. The constrained unfold of literacy within the classical international had various results. It gave a few stimulus to serious notion and assisted the buildup of information, and the minority that did discover ways to learn and write used to be to some degree capable of assert itself politically. The written be aware was once additionally an software of strength, and its use used to be essential for the development and upkeep of empires. such a lot fascinating is the function of writing within the new non secular tradition of the overdue Roman Empire, within which it used to be a growing number of respected yet much less and no more practiced. Harris explores those and comparable subject matters during this hugely unique paintings of social and cultural background. historical Literacy is necessary analyzing for a person attracted to the classical international, the matter of literacy, or the background of the written note.
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Extra resources for Ancient Literacy (British Museum)
For sinlilar effects attributed to the Waldensians and the! Hussites see H. Hajdu, Lesen und Schreiben im Spatmittelalter (Pecs, 1931), 12,36. 59. Cf. Stone, P & P lxii (1969), 76-83; Lockridge, Literacy in Colonial New England 49- 5 I, 97- 101. The Scandinavian case is similar, though there only mass reading ability resulted. 60. Stone 80. 61. R. Gawthrop & G. Strauss, P & P civ (1984), 31- 55. They situate the crucial developments in the eighteenth century. 21 Levels of Greek and Roman Literacy period, eventually receiving an eloquent endorsement from Diodorus Siculus;62 it lived on, to some extent, under the principate.
Hussites see H. Hajdu, Lesen und Schreiben im Spatmittelalter (Pecs, 1931), 12,36. 59. Cf. Stone, P & P lxii (1969), 76-83; Lockridge, Literacy in Colonial New England 49- 5 I, 97- 101. The Scandinavian case is similar, though there only mass reading ability resulted. 60. Stone 80. 61. R. Gawthrop & G. Strauss, P & P civ (1984), 31- 55. They situate the crucial developments in the eighteenth century. 21 Levels of Greek and Roman Literacy period, eventually receiving an eloquent endorsement from Diodorus Siculus;62 it lived on, to some extent, under the principate.
23 Greek and Roman education laid heavy stress on learning things by heart. 24 The schoolchildren of some Hellenistic cities competed for memorization prizes,25 and the elder Seneca boasts that as a schoolboy he had been able to repeat in order a list of 2,000 names which had been read to him and 19. Plin. 88-89. Other sources on memory feats: Xen. Symp. 5-6 (Niceratus could recite the entire Iliad and Odyssey); PI. Menex. 236bc; Cic. Tusc. Disp. 59; Sen. Contr. i praef. 18-19; etc. Cf. E. V. "Mnemnonik," cols.
Ancient Literacy (British Museum) by William V. Harris
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