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To-scorn the noisy forum, shun the bath,
Not so, but fair and fresh in youthful bloom
In the same connection the poet describes, in an amusing style, the effects of the new principles of education on the manners of the youth. An anxious father, driven from his
* Mitchell's Aristophanes II : 104-117.
(Nubes 960 seg.)
bed before the dawn of day by inability to sleep, expresses his impatience at the extravagance of his son
“There's my young hopeful too, he sleeps it through,
In passing from Greece to Rome, the first difference that we notice between the mode of training youth in the two nations is, that at Rome education was not, as in Greece, the business of the state. In both countries the same general views of the relation of the state to the individual prevailed. If the state was prominent among the Greeks, so was it among the Romans. If the Greek must live and die in the state, so also must the Roman. Nevertheless at Rome the state, except in special cases, interfered very little with the training of the youth, and there was no such thing as public education. In the usual sense of the word education, the common people in the good times of the republic, had none at all. They had no instruction in reading and writing, and no systematic physical training similar to the Greek gymnastics. Education among the Romans was a domestic matter. The youth remained at home with his parents during all that period, which at Athens was spent at school. The parents
* Mitchell's Aristophanes II: 8. (id. 8-18.)
f It must not, however, from this be inferred that the lower classes among the Romans were destitute of all culture. Rude as at the period referred to they doubtless were, they were, nevertheless, characterized by a high degree of intel. lectual and moral energy. * Indessen haben auch die Römer in dieser Hinsicht vor den übrigen Völkern einen wesentlichen Vorzig, und diesen Möchten wir namentlich darin finden, dass bei ihnen die plebejische Jugend, schon in der frühersten Zeiten, nicht aller Bildung fremd blieb, wenn diese auch von der patricischen wesentlich verschieden war.” Cramer's Geschichte der Erziehung 1: 414.
were regarded as the natural teachers of the child, and on them the education depended. Many distinguished Romans, for instance Cato and Augustus, instructed their children either wholly or in part themselves. There were indeed some schools at Rome, but a system of common schools for the people, such as the Athenians maintained from a very early period, was there unknown. Plutarch finds fault with Numa because he instituted no system of education, and thinks he showed himself in this much inferior to Lycurgus.*
The difference between the Greek and Roman education in respect to female influence was very great. Among the Orientals and the Greeks, education was wholly engrossed by the men. The mind of woman (with the singular exception of the Courtesans) was not cultivated, and of course she was not fitted to exert an extensive influence in education. At Rome the prominence of woman was a new development in the history of humanity. Numa, by his institutions, elevated the wife to the esteem and confidence of her husband. She received the keys at marriage, and was expected to share in the work of education. In Greece, maternal responsibility ceased when the boy, at the age of seven, was withdrawn from female supervision and committed to the charge of teachers. From this time the mother was not allowed to inflict a blow upon her son. Even at Athens in the midst of all the cultivation and refinement that prevailed, the women were far from being qualified for the business of instruction. Shut up in the female apartments, and watched with oriental jealousy, they spent their time in decorating their
persons or overseeing household affairs. But at Rome, woman moved in a higher sphere, and exerted a far nobler influence. Antiquity has transmitted to us no more beautiful conception than ihat of a Roman matron training up her children. The lofty virtue which the Roman institutions cherished never appeared more charming than when, softened by the tenderness of maternal affection, and surrounded by the attractions of female beauty, it was occupied in the important work of moulding the youthful mind. The author of the Dialogue De Oratoribus, who ascribes the decline of eloquence and the arts in the later days to the negligence of
parents, the ignorance of teachers, and the indolence of youth, has occasion to describe the influence of mothers in the good days of the Republic. “Each one's son, born of a virtuous wife, was educated not in the hut of a bought nurse, but in the lap and bosom of his mother, whose especial praise it was to manage the family and be devoted to her children. Some elder relative also was selected, to whose approved and excellent management all the offspring of the family might be intrusted, in whose presence it was not permitted to speak an improper word or do a dishonorable action. And 'she, regulated with integrity and propriety, not only the studies and employments but also the sports and relaxations of the boys. So we have understood ihat Cornelia the mother of Gracchi, Aurelia the mother of Cæsar, and Atia of Augustus, superintended their education and instructed these young princes. This discipline and strictness aimed at this, that each one's mind ingenuous and pure, and perverted by no evil influences, might heartily embrace honorable employments and whether it inclined to military life, or civil law, or the study of eloquence, might pursue that alone, and thoroughly acquire it."*
Plutarch says that though the Gracchi had greater natural advantages than any other men in Rome, yet they owed more to their mother than to nature ;t and Cicero tells us that Gracchus was instructed from his boyhood by his mother Cornelia, and by her direction taught the Greek language. I We are not indeed to suppose that all Roman mothers were Cornelias, Aurelias, or Alias. These were remarkable wo
Yet they show us what some Roman mothers were, and they set before us the pattern of maternal character to which thousands of mothers at Rome bore some resemblance. But these were specimens of female character such as Greece never produced. At Sparta, the women by the institutions of Lycurgus were removed from their proper sphere and in
* De Oratoribus $28.
# Fuit Gracchus diligentiâ Corneliæ matris a puero doctus, et Græcis literis eruditus. Cic. Brut. $27. Legimus epistolas Corneliæ, matris Gracchorum ; apparet, filios non tam in gremio educatos, quam in sermone matris, ib $58.
spired with a masculine spirit, which, although it maintained a race of heroes, was nevertheless unnatural and unlovely. Their judgment was sharpened and their views elevated, but all the softer and gentler affections of the sex
were crushed by the absorbing spirit of nationality. But at Rome, feeling was cherished the natural and beautiful emotions of the heart were not blighted, and there woman appeared in her native dignity and grace. The Spartan mothers taught their sons how to die, the Roman how to live and die too. one would see ihe difference between the highest specimens of female cultivation at Athens and at Rome, let him observe on the one hand the beautiful but dissolute Aspasia teaching Socrates the art of speaking, and on the other Cornelia presenting to her jeweled visitor her well instructed children with the memorable expression of maternal affection and maternal pride, " These are my jewels!" It is not difficult to see what influence such mothers must have exerted on Roman education. As the youth remained until fifteen always at home, the moulding power of the mother was decisive. And we may see the relation between this mode of education and the character of the Romans. Maternal influence is exerted not so much in the form of law as in a general and more silent way, by the force of affection ; and history tells us that the earlier Romans in their public affairs were governed less by law than by feeling and custom.* The dignity of a Roman mother had power to restrain the most impetuous youth, and her sacred 'image hovering over him, like the vision of a goddess, pointed him to the path of virtue and of honor. It was the glory of Coriolanus to give his mother joy.t
Another feature of the Roman education which distinguished it from that of the Greeks is, that its prevailing character was not intellectual but moral. The Athenians cultivated the intellect, the Romans the affections. We have said indeed, that the Athenians aimed in their education at the development of all the powers of the man. And so they did. But the actual result of their system was a high state of intellec
“Non pas par crainte, non pas par raison, mais par passion.” Montesquieu.
† Plut. Life of Coriolanus.