Newman continues to trace the history of university education. After its beginnings in Athens and spectacular development in Alexandria, there was a parallel development in the Roman colonies. The approach in Rome and its colonies was different from that of Alexandria. The Roman schools were for younger students and had for the most part had a practical purpose, the formation of government officials.

Newman explains: “They differ from the Museum, as being for the most part, as it would appear, devoted to the education of the very young, without any reference to the advancement of science. No list of writers or of discoveries, no local or historical authorities, can be adduced, from the date of Augustus to that of Justinian, to rival the fame of Alexandria; we hear on the contrary much of the elements of knowledge, the Trivium and Quadrivium; and the Law of the Empire provided, and the Theodosian Code has recorded, the discipline necessary for the students. Teaching and learning was a department of government; and schools were set up and professors endowed, just as soldiers were stationed or courts opened, in every great city of the East and West.”

In Rome there were chairs for Latin Grammar and Rhetoric as well as Greek Grammar and Rhetoric. There were chairs also for Philosophy and Roman Law. A professorship of Medicine was added later on. Roman Law was taught in Rome, Constantinople and Berytus.  Newman offers more details: “The study of grammar and geography was commenced at the age of twelve, and apparently at the private school, and was continued till the age of fourteen. Then the youths were sent to the public academy for oratory, philosophy, mathematics, and law. The course lasted five years; and, on entering on their twentieth year, their education was considered complete, and they were sent home.” Students of Law and fine Arts were allowed to continue until the age of 25. Youth traveled from Africa and Gaul to study law. They were carefully supervised to avoid the moral dangers of Rome. They required a certificate from the Magistrate of their province, and a “Censuales” or Proctor of sorts ensured that their lodging in the city, studies and conduct were in order. If his conduct was not upright he was public punishment and expulsion to his country of origin.

Schools originated in Africa and Gaul. In the latter, the one at Marseilles, Bourdeaux, Autun and Rheims enjoyed a high reputation. Marseilles, which was one of the oldest Greek colonies, was celebrated for its discipline and learning. Respected schools also arose in Milan and in various cities of Spain. From the latter, in the first century AD alone came many writers of reputation such as Lucan, the Senecas, Martial, perhaps Quintilian, Mela, Columella, and Hyginus.

Although, unlike Athens, Romans schools were primarily for children (parvulus) or youth (adolescentuli), Rome was also the place where youth already educated went to study Law or other subjects. For instance Rusticus, a correspondent of St. Germanus, and St. Germanus of Auxerre pursued studies in Rome after studying in Gallic schools. After these very significant developments in Greece, Egypt and Rome, was to follow the development of the Medieval University which would be the work of the Catholic Church.

Like this article?

The world which sees only appearances cannot comprehend the hidden reality of a heart captive to Christ. 

With this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the indwelling of Christ in our souls. Christ is born in us. The Holy Spirit makes us children of God, crying out Abba Father, and restores in us the likeness of Christ.

Leave a comment

Our Books

About Cardinal John Henry Newman

Purchase Book


A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

Purchase Book

 
Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

Purchase Book


Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

Purchase Book


What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

Purchase Book


Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

Purchase Book


Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
About Newman
Fr. Juan Velez

The Indwelling Spirit

With this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the indwelling of Christ in our souls. Christ is born in us. The Holy Spirit makes us children of God, crying out Abba Father, and restores in us the likeness of Christ.

Read More »
Sermon Blog
David Warren

The Fellowship of the Apostles

Preaching the truth means Jesus Christ is the goal in our conflicts with others – not winning the argument. This is why we can approach everyone with understanding, respect and patience, in other words, in a Christ-like way.

Read More »
About Newman
Prof. Barb H. Wyman

Many Called, Few Chosen

Though the invitation is open to all, not everyone responds to it in faith. Those who accept the call, embrace Christ, and live according to His teachings; they are the chosen ones.

Read More »
Sermon Blog
Fr. Juan Velez

The Gospel Feast

John Henry Newman calls the Holy Mass the Gospel Feast and takes us through numerous biblical passages that prefigure this great Sacrament.

Read More »