This is a project to enable modern students to find out first-hand what the ancient world was really like by attending a re-created ancient school. Based on meticulous research into schooling in the ancient world (much of it conducted at the University of Reading), the Reading ancient schoolroom takes place in a replica of an ancient classroom, in which all participants wear Roman costumes and use replica ancient writing materials including wax tablets, styluses, reed pens, inkwells, ostraca, and papyrus. Students practice the type of exercises that were commonly done in ancient schools (normally in English, though Latin and Greek are also available on request), and do so in a setting that uses the ancient rather than modern educational conventions. These conventions include a mixed-age classroom in which each student is engaged in a different task, no lecturing from the teacher, and students working individually at their own pace.
The schoolroom was open for the first time on 19 November 2014 (you can read more about that event here) and by popular demand will be back on 15 and 16 December 2015 (find out how to reserve your place here). It is provided free of charge by the Classics department of the University of Reading and is run entirely by volunteers (find out how to volunteer here). Photographs of the 2014 event can be found here.
Published by Hortensii
Hortensii is a group of people inside and outside academia who want to alleviate the difficulties facing PhDs without permanent academic jobs. (We take our name from the Roman Quintus Hortensius, who in c. 287 BC sponsored the Lex Hortensia giving civil rights to Roman plebeians; our photograph is of Benjamin Franklin, who would also have wanted to help.) We think that even given current unpleasant realities facing academia many positive steps could be taken; see ‘What to do and why’ for exactly what these are, but to oversimplify grossly our goals are both to reduce the oversupply of disappointed would-be academics and to make life easier for PhDs who choose to remain in academia without a permanent job. We welcome anyone who shares these goals and is in broad agreement with our proposed actions to join us and help implement them, and we ask people with other agendas to respect ours and leave us to it. We are not fighting against anyone or anything and are not affiliated with any movement, political party, or country. Nor are we trying to help individuals gain employment or to interfere in any way with decisions on who should get the limited number of academic jobs available; as we have different subjects and different views on what constitutes good academic work in our fields, we wish to avoid internal dissension by remaining strictly neutral in such matters so we can work together to make life better for a group that badly needs such help.
At present the contact person for Hortensii is Eleanor Dickey, a Classicist at the University of Reading in England (https://reading.academia.edu/EleanorDickey).
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