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reading deserves to be quoted in full. It is wrong, says
Quintilian, to teach children the names of the letters, and
their respective places in the alphabet, before they know their
shapes. He recommends the use of letters in ivory, which
children take pleasure in handling, seeing, and naming.

As to writing, Quintilian recommends, for the purpose of
strengthening the child's hand, and of preventing it from
making false movements, that he should practise on wooden
tablets on which the letters have been traced by cutting. 1
Later on, the copies shall contain, " not senseless maxims,
but moral truths." The Roman teacher did not counsel
haste in any case. " We can scarcely believe," he says,
" how progress in reading is retarded by attempting to go
too fast."

54. Public Education. — Quintilian has made an unsur-
passed plea for public education and its advantages, which

1 In principle, this is the same as the system of writing commended by
Locke: " Get a plate graved with the Characters of such a Hand as yon like
best . . . let several sheets* of good Writing-paper he printed off with red
Ink, which he has nothing to do but go over with a good Pen fill'd with
black Ink, which will quickly bring his Hand to the Formation of those
Characters, being first shewed where to begin, and how to form every
Letter." ( On Educutio n, § 1G0.) (P.)


Rollin has reproduced almost entire. 1 From this we shall
quote only the following passage, which proves how far the
contemporaries of Quintilian had already departed from the
manly habits of the early ages ; and the truth which is herein
expressed will always be applicable to parents who are in-
clined to be over-indulgent: " Would that we ourselves did
not corrupt the morals of our children ! We enervate their
very infancy with luxuries. That delicacy of education,
which we call fondness, weakens all the powers, both of
body and mind. . . . We form the palate of our children be-
fore we form their pronunciation. They grow up in sedan
chairs ; if they touch the ground, they hang by the hands of
attendants supporting them on each side. We are delighted
if they utter anything immodest. Expressions which would
not be tolerated even from effeminate youths, we hear from
them with a smile and a kiss. Need we be astonished at this
behavior? We ourselves have taught them." 2

55. Duties of Teachers. — There was at Rome, in the
first century of the Christian era, a high conception of the
duties of a teacher : "His first care should be to ascertain
with all possible thoroughness the mind and the character of
the child." Judicious reflections on the memory, on the
faculty of imitation, and on the dangers of precocious mental
development, are proofs of the fine psychological discernment
of Quintilian. His insight is no less accurate when he
sketches the rules for moral discipline. " Fear," he says,
"restrains some and unmans others. . . . For my part, I
prefer a pupil who is sensitive to praise, whom glory animates,
and from whom defeat draws tears."

1 " Quintilian has treated this question with great hreadth and elo-
quence." (Traite des fitudes, Liv. IV. Art. 2.)

2 Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory, Watson's Translation, Book I.
chap. n. 6, 7.


Quintilian expresses himself decidedly against the use of
the rod, "although custom authorizes it," he says, "and
Chrysippus does not disapprove of it."

56. Grammar and Rhetoric. — Like his contemporaries,
Quintilian distinguishes studies into two grades, — Grammar
and Rhetoric. "As soon as the child is able to read and
write, he must be placed in the hands of the grammarian."
Grammar was divided into two parts, — the art of speaking
correctly and the explication of the poets. Exercises in
composition, development lessons called Chrice, and narra-
tives, accompanied the theoretical study of the rules of
grammar. 1 It is to be observed that Quintilian gives a high
place to etymological studies, and that he attaches great im-
portance to reading aloud. " That the child may read well,
let him have a good understanding of what he reads. . . .
When he reads the poets, let him shun affected modulations.
It is with reference to this manner of reading that Csesar,
still a young man, made this excellent observation : ' If you
are singing, you sing poorly ; if you are reading, why do you

57. Tin: Simultaneous Study of the Sciences. — Quin-
tilian is very far from confining his pupil within the narrow
circle of grammatical study. Persuaded that the child is
capable of learning several things at the same time, he would
have him taught geometry, music, and philosophy simulta-
neously : —

"Must he learn grammar alone, and then geometry, and
in the meanwhile forget what he first learned? As well ad-
vise a farmer not to cultivate, at the same time, his fields, his
vines, his olive trees, and his orchards, and not to give his

1 Institutes, Book I. chap. ix.


thought simultaneously to his meadows, his cattle, his gar-
dens, and his bees." l

Of course Quintilian considers the different studies which
he sets before his pupil only as the instruments for an educa-
tion in oratory. Philosophy, which comprises dialectics or
logic, physics or the science of nature, and lastly morals,
furnish the orator with ideas, and teach him the art of dis-
tributing them into a consecutive line of argument. And so
geometry, a near relative of dialectics, disciplines the mind,
and teaches it to distinguish the true from the false. Lastly,
music is an excellent preparation for eloquence ; it cultivates
the sense of harmony and a taste for number and measure.

58. The Schools of Philosophy. — By the side of the
schools of rhetoric, in which the art of speech was cultivated,
imperial Rome saw flourish in great numbers schools of
philosophy, whose purpose was the formation of morals. It
was through no lack of moral sermonizing that there was a
degeneration in the virtues of the Romans. All the schools of
Greece, especially the Stoics and the Epicureans, and also
the schools of Pythagoras, of Socrates, of Plato, and of
Aristotle, had their representatives at Rome ; but their ob-
scure names have scarcely survived.

59. Seneca. — Among these philosophers and these mor-
alists of the first century of the Christian era, Seneca has the
distinction of standing in the front rank. It is true that he
was not the founder of a school, but by his numerous
writings he succeeded in maintaining among his contempo-
raries at least some A-estio-es of the ancient virtues. His
Letters to Lucilius, letters abounding in real intellectual
and moral insight, also contain some pedagogical precepts.

1 Institutes, Book I. chap. xn.


Seneca attempts to direct school instruction to practical ends,
in following out the thought of this famous precept: "We
should learn, not for the sake of the school, but for the pur-
poses of life" {Non scholce, sed vital discimus). Moreover,
he criticises confused and ill-directed reading that does not
enrich the understanding, and concludes by recommending
the profound stud}- of a single book (timeo hominem unius
libri) . In another letter he remarks that the best means for
erivine clearness to one's own ideas is to communicate them
to others ; the best way of being taught is to teach (docendo
discimus) . Let us quote this other maxim so often repeated :
" The end is attained sooner by example than by precept"
(longum iter per prazcepta, breve per exempla).

60. Plutarch (50-138 a.d.) . —In the last period of Roman
civilization two names deserve to arrest the attention of the
educator, — Plutarch and Marcus Aurelius. Although he
was born in Boeotia, and wrote in Greek, Plutarch belongs
to the Roman world. He lived at Rome at several different
times, and there opened a school in the reign of Domitian,
where he lectured on philosophy, literature, and history.
Numerous works have transmitted to us the substance of that
instruction which had such an extraordinary success.

61. The Lives of Illustrious Men. — Translated in the
fifteenth century by Amyot, the Parallel Lives of Plutarch
were for our fathers :i true code of morals founded on his-
tory. How many of our great men, or how many of our
men of worth, have drawn from this book, at least in part,
the material which has nurtured their virtues! L'Hopital
and d'Aubigne enriched their lives from this source. Henry
IV. said of this book : k - It has been to me as my conscience,
and has whispered in my ear many virtuous suggestions and


excellent maxims for my own conduct and for the manage-
ment of my affairs." 1

62. The Essay on the Training of Children. — The
celebrated essay entitled Of the Training of Children, 2 is the
first treatise, especially devoted to education, that antiquity
has bequeathed to us. Its authenticity has been called in
question by German critics ; but this is of little moment, since
these critics are the first to recognize the fact that the author
of this essay, whoever he might have been, was intimately
acquainted with Plutarch, and has given us a sufficiently
exact summary of the ideas which are more fully developed
in others of his works. 3

We shall not give an analysis of this work, which, how-
ever, abounds in interesting reflections on the primary period
of education. We shall simply note the fundamental thought
of the essay, its salient and original characteristic, which is
its warm appreciation of the family. In society, as Plutarch
conceives it, the State no longer exercises absolute sover-
eignty.' Upon the ruins of the antique commonwealth
Plutarch builds the family. It is to the family that he
addresses himself in order to assure the education of
children. 4 On this point he is not in accord with Quintilian.

1 Equally great has been Plutarch's influence on English thought and
life. Sir Thomas North's translation of Amyot's version appeared in 1579,
and furnished Shakespeare with the materials for his Coriolanus, Julius
Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra. Milton, Wordsworth, and Browning
are also debtors to the Parallel Lives. (P.)

2 " Comment il faut nourrir les enfants," in the translation by Amyot.
" Of the Training of Children," in Goodwin's edition of the Morals (Vol. I.).

3 The references that follow are to Plutarch's Morals. The first trans-
lation into English was by Philemon Holland, in 1(303. The American
edition in five volumes (Boston, 1871) is worthy of all commendation.
The references I make are to this edition. (P.)

4 Of course Plutarch, like all the writers of antiquity, writes only in be-


AVhat he recommends is an education that is domestic and
individual. He scarcely admits the need of public schools
save for the higher instruction. At a certain age a young
man, already trained by the watchful care of a preceptor
under the supervision of his parents, shall go abroad to hear
the lectures of the moralists and the philosophers, and to read
the poets.

63. The Education of Women. — One of the conse-
quences of the exalted function which Plutarch ascribes to
the family is that by this single act he raises the material and
moral condition of woman. In his essa} T entitled Conjugal
Precepts, which recalls the Economics of Xenophon, he
restores to the wife her place in the household. He asso-
ciates her with the husband in the material support of the
famiby, as well as in the education of the children. The
mother is to nurse her offspring. " Providence," he naively
says, " hath also wisely ordered that women should have two
breasts, that so, if any of them should happen to bear twins,
they might have two several springs of nourishment ready for
them." 1 The mother shall also take part in the instruction
of her children, and so she must herself be educated. Plu-

half of free-born children in good circumstances. " He abandons," as he
himself admits, "the education of the poor and the lowly."

Plutarch seems to aim at what appears to him to be practicable. That
he was liberal ill his opinions must be evident, I think, from this extract :
" It is my desire that all children whatsoever may partake of the benefits
of education alike ; but if yet any persons, by reason of the narrowness of
their estates, cannot make use of my precepts, let them not blame mo that
gave them, but Fortune, which disableth them from making the advantage
by them they otherwise might. Though even poor men must use their
utmost endeavor to give their children 1 ho best education ; or, if they can
not, they must bestow upon them the best that their abilities will reach."
{Morals, vol. I. pp. lit, 20.) (P.)

1 Of the Training of Children, § 6.


tarch proposes for her the highest studies, such as mathe-
matics and philosophy. But he counts much more upon her
natural qualities, than upon the science that she may
acquire. "With women," he says, " tenderness of heart is
enhanced by a pleasing countenance, by sweetness of speech,
by an affectionate grace, and by a high degree of sensitive-

64. The Function of Poetry in Education. — In the
essay entitled How a Young Man Ought to Hear Poems,
Plutarch has given his opinion as to the extent to which
poetry should be made an element in education. More just
than Plato, he does not condemn the reading of the poets.
He simply demands that this reading should be done with
discretion, by choosing those who, in their compositions,
mingle moral inspiration with poetic inspiration. "Lycur-
gus," he says, "did not act like a man of sound reason in
the course which he took to reform his people that were
much inclined to drunkenness, by traveling up and down to
destroy all the vines in the country ; whereas he should have
ordered that every vine should have a well of water near it,
that (as Plato saith) the drunken deity might be reduced to
temperance by a sober one." 1

65. The Teaching of Morals. — Plutarch is above all
else a moralist. If he adds nothing in the way of theory to
the loft}' doctrines of the Greek philosophers from whom he
catches his inspiration, at least he enters more profoundly
into the study of practical methods which insure the efficacy
of fine precepts and exalted doctrines. "That contempla-
tion which is dissociated from practice," he says, "is of no
utility." He would have young men come from lectures on

1 Morals, vol. II. p. 44.


morals, not ouly better instructed, but more virtuous. Of
what consequence are beautiful maxims unless they are
embodied in action? The young man, then, shall early
accustom himself to self-government, to reflection upon his
own conduct, and to taking counsel of his own reason.
Moreover, Plutarch gives him a director of conscience, a
philosopher, whom he will go to consult in his doubts, and
to whom he will entrust the keeping of his soul. But that
which is of most consequence in his eyes is personal effort,
reflection always on the alert, and that inward effort which
causes our soul to assimilate the moral lessons which we have ,
received, and which causes them to enter into the very struc- '
ture and fibre of our personality.

"As it would be with a man who, going to his neighbor's
to borrow fire, and finding there a great and bright fire,
should sit down to warm himself and forget to go home ; so
is it with the one who comes to another to learn, if he does
not think himself obliged to kindle his own fire within, and
influence his own mind, but continues sitting b}^ his master
as if he were enchanted, delighted by hearing." i

So are those who are not striving to have a personal
morality, but who, incapable of self -direction, are always in
need of the tutorship of another.

The great preoccupation of Plutarch — and by this trait he
has a legitimate place among the great educators of the
world — was to awaken, to excite, the interior forces of the
conscience, and to stimulate the intelligence to a high state
of activity. When lie wrote this famous maxim, "The soul
is not a vase to be filled, but is rather a hearth which is to be

i ^^<>l■olf<, I. p. 463. This language directly follows the quotation given
in the note (1) at the close of this paragraph. (P.)


made to glow," : he was not thinking alone of moral educa-
tion, but also of a false intellectual education which, instead
of training the mind, is content with accumulating in the
memory a mass of indigested materials. 2

66. Marcus Aurelius. — The wisest of the Roman em-
perors, the author of the book entitled To Myself, better
known as Meditations, Marcus Aurelius deserves mention
in the history of pedagogy. He is perhaps the most perfect
representative of Stoic morality, which is itself the highest
expression of ancient morality. He is the most finished type
of what can be effected in the way of soul-culture by the in-
fluence of home-training and the personal effort of the con-
science. His teacher of rhetoric was the celebrated Fronto,
of whose character we may judge from this one characteristic :
"I toiled hard yesterday," he wrote to his pupil ; " I composed
a few figures of speech, with which I am pleased." On the
other hand, Marcus Aurelius found examples for imitation in
his own family. " My uncle," he says reverently, " taught
me patience. . . . From my father I inherited modesty. . . .
To my mother I owe my feelings of piety." Notwithstanding
the modest}' that led him to attribute to others the whole of
his moral worth, it is especially to himself, to a persistent
effort of his own will, and to a ceaseless examination of his
own conscience, that he is indebted for becoming the most
virtuous of men, and the wisest and purest, next to Socrates,
of the moralists of antiquity. His Meditations show us in

1 The exact reading is as follows : "For the mind requires not like an
earthen vessel to he filled up ; convenient fuel and aliment only will influ-
ence it with a desire of knowledge and ardent love of truth." {Morals, I.
p. 463.) This makes the author's meaning more apparent. (P.)

2 This does not mean that Plutarch sets a low value on memory, for he
says : " Above all things, we must exercise the memory of children, for it
is the treasury of knowledge."


action that self-education which in our time has suggested
such beautiful reflections to Channing.

67. Conclusion. — Finally, it must be admitted that
Roman literature is poor in material for educational study.
Some passages, scattered here and there in the classical
authors, nevertheless prove that they were not absolutely
strangers to pedagogical questions.

Thus Horace professed independence of mind ; he declares
that he is not obliged to swear by the " words of any mas-
ter." 1 On the other hand, Juvenal defined the ideal purpose
of life and of education when he said that the desirable thing
above all others is " a sound mind in a sound body." 2
Finally, Pliny the Younger, in three words, multum, non
multa, " much, not many things," fixes one essential point in
educational method, and recommends the thorough study of
one single subject in preference to a superficial study which
extends over too many subjects.

While by their taste, their accuracy of thought, and the
perfection of their style, the Latin writers are worthy of
being placed by the side of the Greeks as proficients in edu-
cation of the literary type, they at the same time deserve to
be regarded as reputable guides in moral education. At
Rome, as at Athens, that which formed the basis of instruc-
tion was the search after virtue. That which preoccupied
Cicero as well as Plato, Seneca as well as Aristotle, was not
so much the extension of knowledge and the development of
instruction as the progress of manners and the moral per-
fection of man.

[08. Analytical Summary. — 1. In contrast with Greek
education, the chief characteristic of which was intellectual

1 " Nullius addictua jvrare in verba magistri."

2 " Orandum est ut sit menssana in corpore sano." (Sat. x. 350.)



discipline or culture, Roman education may be called prac-
tical. Greece and Rome have thus furnished the world with
two distinct types of education, and their modern representa-
tives are seen in our classical and scientific courses respec-

2. The disinclination of the Roman jnind to speculative
inquiry, was a bar to the production of any contributions to
the theory of education.

3. In the Institutes of Quintilian we see the first attempt to
expound the art of teaching ; and in the Morals of Plutarch
we have the first formal treatise on the education of children.

4. In the later period of Roman education, we see a higher
appreciation of woman, and a nobler conception of the
family life.

5. In common with all the systems of education thus far
studied, Roman education is essentially literary, ethical, and
prudential, as distinguished from an education in science.
The conception of the money value of knowledge had not yet




69. The New Spirit of Christianity. — By its dogmas,
by the conception of the equality of all human creatures, by
its spirit of charity, Christianity introduced new elements
into the conscience, and seemed called to give a powerful
impetus to the moral education of men. The doctrine of
Christ was at first a reaction of free will and of personal
dignity against the despotism of the State. "A full half of
man henceforth escaped the action of the State. Christian-
ity taught that man no longer belonged to society except in
part ; that he was under allegiance to it by his body and his
material interests ; that being subject to a tyrant, he must
submit ; that as a citizen of a republic, he ought to give his
life for it ; but that in respect of his soul, he was free, and
owed allegiance only to God." l Henceforth it was not sim-
ply a question of training citizens for the service of the State ;

1 Fustel de Coulanges, La Cite antique, p. 476.


but the conception of a disinterested development of the
human person made its appearance in the world. On the
other hand, in proclaiming that all men had the same destiny,
and that they were all equal in the sight of God, Christianity
raised the poor and the disinherited from their condition of
misery, and promised them all the same instruction. To the
idea of liberty was added that of equality ; and equal jus-
tice for all, and participation in the same rights, were con-
tained in germ in the doctrine of Christianity.

70. Poverty of the First Christian Centuries in Re-
spect of Education. — Nevertheless, the germs contained
in the doctrines of the new religion did not bear fruit at
once. It is easy to analyze the causes which led to the pov-
erty of educational thought during the first centuries of the
Christian era.

In the first place, the Christian instruction was addressed
to barbarous peoples who could not at once rise to a high
intellectual and moral culture. According to the celebrated
comparison of Jouffroy, the invasion of the barbarians into
the midst of ancient society was like an armful of green
wood thrown upon a blazing fire ; at first there could issue
from it only a mass of smoke.

Moreover, we must take into account the fact that the
early Christians, in order to establish their faith, had to
struggle against difficulties which were ever being renewed.
The first centuries were a period of struggle, of conquest,
and of organization, which left but little opportunity for the
disinterested study of education. In their contests with the
ancient world, the early Christians came to include in a com-
mon hatred classical literature and pagan religion. Could
they receive with sympathy the literary and scientific inheri-

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