Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Ordeals of a Schoolboy

Robin Lane Fox, Augustine: Conversions to Confessions (New York: Basic Books, 2015), figures 5 and 8, with extended descriptions of the figures from p. 566:

5. Mosaic panels which give a unique representation of a schoolboy's ordeals. They are now in private collections in the USA, but once they surrounded a bigger floor in north Syria, surely in or near Antioch, and plausibly dated to the fifth century AD, although I have wondered if perhaps it was contemporary with Libanius in the fourth. Here, young Kimbros, left, is flogged and then taken to Marianos, seated, probably a primary grammar-teacher. Black-winged Disease (Nosos) hovers by the bed-ridden Apollonides, whom Marianos visits, perhaps as a fellow teacher, as Libanius sometimes did. With the help of C. Marinescu. (Photo: Stefan Hager)

8. Kimbros' friend Markianos, on the left, with the personified figure of Petitioning (Enteuxis) at his right. Kimbros and his friends are discussing, with a dog, below right, and then the personified figure of Informing (Menusis) reveals details to the seated teacher, Alexandros. Kimbros is then held by the feet and head by his two friends and in my view is to be flogged by the standing figure with a lash, a sort of ancient pandy-bat. The panels beautifully relate to the perils of schooling, friendship and flogging which are recalled by Augustine and Libanius in their own past. (Photo: Stefan Hager)

See also Constantin Marinescu et al., "Paideia's Children: Childhood Education on a Group of Late Antique Mosaics," in Ada Cohen and Jeremy B. Rutter, edd., Constructions of Childhood in Ancient Greece and Italy (Athens: The American School of Classical Studies in Athens, 2007 = Hesperia, Supplement 41), pp. 101-114.

Related post: Plagosus Orbilius.

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