Jealousy, Bullying, and Broken Thumbs
By Jenny Cromwell
While texts from day-to-day life provide immediate insights into the very personal concerns of individuals living in the ancient world, literary works also give glimpses into different aspects of daily life, even if their accounts may be embellished. In the Life and Martyrdom of two saints, Panine and Panew, the story begins with the boyhood friendship of the two, who would later go on to become monks and then martyrs. One episode in the life of Panine sends us back to his classroom, and what follows focuses on the window into the world of education in late antique Egypt that it contains. Read more here.

Pay After Reading: The Cost of Education in Late Antique Egyptian Villages
By Jenny Cromwell
In the ancient world, education – learning to read and write – wasn’t a right and was accessible by only a small number of people. Only 5–10% of the population was literate. But what does this mean, what constitutes being literate? Read more here.

“Schoolboy, where have you been going so long?”: The Old Babylonian Student and School
By Moudhy Al-Rashid
Amid the ruins of Nippur is a house, inspiringly named “House F”, made up of a small courtyard with four rooms. The crumbled remains of benches appear in one room and in the courtyard, where there are also three recessed boxes constructed from mud brick. In these boxes were fragments of tablets and pots, and dried piles of clay once used by scribes in training to make cuneiform tablets. Read more here.

Student Life in the Second Century CE
By Jenny Cromwell
Some time around the turn of the 2nd century CE, a student – probably in Alexandria – wrote back to his father Theon to complain about various parts of student life. Read more here.

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