chapter  10
11 Pages

Why Roman pupils lacked a long vacation

From a modern perspective, summer holidays play for both the teacher and the pupil an integral role in the school experience. Both have a guaranteed and universally accepted right to a lengthy break from their courses – especially in view of their general health. This was not the case in Roman elementary and grammar schools, a fact that this chapter will address. This lack should not only be acknowledged as a sign of the difference in educational organization; we should also investigate its causes and results, so that it can be integrated into the social history of childhood. First, however, one should consider the historical sources, especially since a widely known poem by Martial (10.62) is usually cited as proof of the existence of summer holidays in Roman schools.