In a different room of the school, the team discovered another text composed by a teacher telling students to bring their rhetorical skills up to the level of several deities, including the ancient Greek god Hermes. It also urged the students to work hard. "Be bold, my boys; the great god will grant you to have a beautiful crown of manifold virtue," part of the text reads. "Work hard for me, toils make men manly …"
The school wasn't in use for long, perhaps because the teacher moved or died, the researchers said. During this era, "a school was a teacher and ceased to exist when the latter moved or died," Cribiore wrote. After it closed, the school building was incorporated into a nearby house belonging to a town councillor named Serenos, who used part of it for storage.
In 1979, researchers found a painting of the Olympian gods in Serenos' house, and recent excavations have revealed more paintings including one of a banquet scene with a flute player. In one room, almost every surface "was decorated, either with colourful geometric motifs or lively figural scenes, such that the experience of entering the space for the first time in antiquity must have been overwhelming," wrote Susanna McFadden, a professor at Fordham University, in a book titled "Actes du XII Colloque de l'Association International pour la Peinture Murale Antique." (The book is to be published by the L'Associazione internazionale per la pittura murale antica in the future.)
Serenos appears to have had an appreciation for the lessons conveyed at the school and kept the teacher's text urging students to work hard and elevate their rhetorical skills, Cribiore said. The occupants of the house probably "valued its appearance and content, which could appear as signs of their cultural sophistication," Cribiore wrote.
The text written by the teacher was first published in the 2008 edition of the Journal of Roman Archaeology.
Original article on Live Science.
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