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Review: A History Of Education In Antiquity

Henri-Irne Marrou

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A History Of Education In Antiquity

The book “A History Of Education In Antiquity” by Henri-Irne Marrou is a compendium of knowledge about upbringing and education over the centuries (X BCE – V century CE) in the era of antiquity (Greek and Roman), which is the result of the author’s long research. The book was published by Wydawnictwo Aletheia.

Henri-Irne Marrou is a French historian and researcher from the 20th century, whose interests focused primarily on late antiquity, the medieval period and the history of education. The reviewed book is the result of his analysis of sources and studies on upbringing.

The book is a massive item, with almost 600 pages of proper content and over 100 pages of supplementary footnotes. When assessing the work, it is impossible not to notice the amount of impressive material that the author has collected and the numerous footnotes at the bottom of the page that refer to specific sources. As the historian points out in the preface, many serious publications and studies on the discussed issue have been published. However, the author’s intention was to synthesize the works and present conclusions, taking into account the latest research.

The book actually consists of three main parts: the period from Homer to Isocrates; the Hellenic period; and the Roman period. We are guided through successive issues, including: “Homeric knighthood”, Spartan upbringing, pederasty, philosophies, paideian culture, successive stages of Greek and Roman upbringing or the degree of state involvement in education. Finally, the author also discusses Christianity and the emergence of theological schools.

In conclusion, the multitude of topics and relatively easy language make it possible to recommend the book to virtually anyone who would like to better understand the process of the evolution of education in the Greco-Roman world. This is a very neat compendium on the topic of upbringing in antiquity. Unfortunately, I am not competent to compare the position with other publications of this type, but from my perspective (especially in the Roman issue) it is a very valuable publication.

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