Education and schooling in Byzantium: public expectations and didactic tasks

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Oksana Drach


Introduction. An important paradigm for formation of the civilizational identity of the ancient Ukraine-Rus’ was the accepting Christianity in the Byzantine (Eastern) Rite. In this context, the advanced study of Byzantine education, traditions of which the princes of Kiev wanted to spread in Rus’, becomes more important.

Purpose. Ukrainian scholars prepared extensive research on the history of social and economic processes in Byzantium, as well as didactic literature on the history of Byzantium, where the heritage of the postmodern humanitaristics was used. However, the development of education in Byzantium has not been properly covered in the scientific literature yet.

Results. In the Byzantine sense, education has always been a requirement for accessing top public and church positions, thus it ensured social promotion of persistent representatives of the middle and lower strata.

Byzantine education was represented by different types of educational institutions, degrees and forms of study, in which there was no uniformity. The schools with one teacher were typical, in which the teacher taught one or more subjects. The personality of the teacher was the determining factor in the content and form of study, as well as the long-term functioning of the institution. Most children obtained primary education. Secondary education institutions operated in Constantinople and large cities.

The basis of educational training in Byzantium was an inseparable educational complex, which from the elementary course (reading and counting) through the middle level (grammar, rhetoric, logic, mathematics, astronomy, physics) reached the higher level, represented by philosophy and theology. The ancient classical heritage remained an important part of the curriculum.

Conclusion. Education was taken as an essential characteristic of the Byzantine, a sign of a special social and spiritual status, and even as a morality criterion. Being a Byzantine meant to become a bearer of culture and knowledge. The attitude of Byzantines to education has always been an important element of the doctrine of cultural exclusivity.

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