Here’s something for the pub quiz…
After the collapse of Rome in Europe the remains of the Roman educational system lingered through the Dark Ages.
A basic Roman education was not the same as today – the 3 Rs: readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic. After all the rich had people who could read and write for them. They were called slaves… so much for an education getting you a better job: although I suppose if you consider the alternatives…
Anyway in those days it wasn’t just reading and writing that was a luxury, a book probably cost more than your schoolin’.
And of course, much like today, all you needed arithmetic for was to calculate the odds at the betting office; or to make sure you were not short changed when you got a round in at the local tavern.
No, very sensibly a Roman education was all about winning arguments; which was what probably got them the empire in the first place.
The three basic subjects were:
Rhetoric – which is public speaking; the gentle arts of persuasion, intimidation and blowing your own trumpet.
Logic – to make sure your argument was soundly constructed. Not that it was right, honest or true; just consistent. After all you wouldn’t want to be interrupted in full flow with: “Well actually didn’t you just say…”
Grammar – Let’s face it, ya weren’t gonna get nowhere if ya couldn’t speak proper like were ya? The Roman Senate was nothing if not a bunch of petty, conniving, upper-class snobs… a bit like the Higher Civil Service of today…
‘Oops… did I really say that; or was I just thinking aloud?’
Together these three components were called the trivium or the 3 ways. By the Middle-Ages their study was seen merely as the basics. As prerequisite for any form of education, they were dismissed as… well to be frank; they were dismissed as trivial.