previous next

Literacy and the Poor

Poorer girls and boys learned a trade and perhaps some rudiments of literacy1 by helping their parents in their daily work, or, if they were fortunate, by being apprenticed to skilled crafts producers. The level of literacy in Athenian society outside the ranks of the prosperous was quite low by modern standards, with only a small minority of the poor able to do much more than perhaps sign their names. The inability to read presented few insurmountable difficulties for most people, who could find someone to read aloud to them any written texts they needed to understand. The predominance of oral rather than written communication meant that people were accustomed to absorbing information by ear2 (those who could read usually read out loud) and very fond of songs, speeches, narrated stories, and lively conversation.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: