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(IL)Literacy In Non-Literary Papyri From Graeco-Roman Egypt: Further Aspects To The Educational Ideal In Ancient Literary Sources And Modern Times

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Chapter Summary

In ancient Athens literacy was held in high esteem and, thus, schools were meant to provide the ability of reading and writing as a prerequisite for philosophy and rhetoric. A specific education raised the Roman above the barbarian, i.e. the non- Roman, and together with being born into a family of reputation it enabled someone to lay hands on prominent positions within society. The administration of Graeco-Roman Egypt was based upon the Greek language. All those who could not read and write Greek were designated as illiterates. This chapter is not meant as a propagation of illiteracy for today, but from the papyri modern people may learn how then a society provided almost equal opportunities for those who could and those who could not read and write and that within that society the differences between the rich and the poor were not primarily brought forth by literacy itself.

Keywords: Graeco-roman Egypt; illiteracy; papyri



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