How the Romans Influenced Modern Education


Education was something that was highly valued in Roman culture. This emphasis on education is what helped to establish them as a society that’s still leaving its mark. Here are just a few of the ways that the Roman education system left its undeniable mark on in the modern education system.

Gradual Learning Process –

The idea of learning everything in a gradual manner was something that the Romans changed for education. It can still be seen today in how each class will build off of the basics of the previous class. This was a revolutionary concept because it was based on comprehensive learning instead of the memorization principles of other cultures. The Romans implemented principles of building up knowledge through application in both their military and political training systems that are still used today.

Employment of Professional Teachers –

Schools are a very Roman concept and changed how people have been educated in the past. Formal education was the privilege of the rich Romans (almost like a status symbol), while the masses tended to ‘learn’ through their vocations and apprenticeships. Often, many apprentices would learn and work in a room that was just another area of the shop. The idea of group apprenticeships was to aid in education and meaningful job training for the masses. A group learning environment was found to be more conducive to the development of well-rounded citizens for the Roman Empire. Group learning in schools gives everyone the benefit of learning from someone who knows the best way to go about teaching them, not just the rich.

Alternative Learning Environments –

As useful as schools are, the Romans also understood the principle of diverse learning styles. Alternative learning environments is another way that the Romans reformed the educational system. This gave their people the chance to gain education even when they didn’t have time or money for the traditional classroom environment, often through hands-on military training. The Roman Military, in some ways, set the stage for modern military academies and educational systems. Modern alternative learning environments like online classrooms have their roots in the on-the-job training and apprenticeships that the Romans were able to provide their population to give them the required job skills to be productive members of society.

Multidisciplinary Focuses –

The Romans believed that education should be more inclusive of all of the aspects of learning (at least for those who could afford to study in schools). This was something that was different than in previous cultures. It can still be seen in the fact that you need to take different kinds of classes in order to obtain your degree. Science, math, literature, and social studies are just a few of the multidisciplinary areas that you’ll study in your own educational pursuits. Furthermore, more than one of such fields/areas were needed for infrastructural projects, with a pertinent example relating to the building of roads. Simply put, the construction of Roman roads needed experts from the interdisciplinary fields like surveying, building material science, and logistics. 

In essence, the Roman culture is something that can still be seen as affection modern learning, from military, to political, to scientific, to general education. Understanding the way many things we see as modern concepts have their roots in the ancient world helps us better see history as one connected whole.

The post was written by Brooke Chaplan. She is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She recommends online colleges for military students. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at or Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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