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March 2, 2012     Post-Gazette
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Page 2 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 2, 2012 S ti rrof. Edmund Toriello  ,m ,,b,,,.,F.L ofthemoreinterestingaspectsofour ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. THE LUDUS in Latin means play, game, sport, child's play, diversion or school. Literarius means reading and writing. Put them both together and ludus literarius comes out to be an elemen- tary school for children in old Rome. Greek schooling and edu- cation was the forerunner of the Roman system. It should be noted that the Greeks paid great attention to their literary as well as their physical culture. The prohi- bition of schools was often used as a severe punish- ment for disloyal allies or provinces. In 550 BC there were laws which provided for a literary training at pub- lic cost for all boys. This attitude toward education was probably the most sig- nificant contribution in development of a civilization of the highest order by these classical Greeks. The young Greek citizen was free, intelligent and extremely accomplished. He had stud- ied and participated in drama, knew the work of Homer and other great poets by heart, could play one or more musical instruments, sing and dance. He served at least one term in the army or navy, knew how to build walls and fortifications, was physically strong and active THREE R'S IN OLD ROME in games and contests. He was an expert at painting or some craft, and was knowl- edgeable in the work of architects, sculptors and painters, and he could dis- cuss their work with intelli- gence and understanding. Athenian schools were only for boys. Mothers tutored their daughters in the domestic arts of sewing, spinning, etc. The classical Greek was truly a new order of man, and all of this was accomplished without a single day of busng. Education in (arly Rome was not obligatory, but was always considered to be of great importance. Many a Roman youth received his early training from his father by learning his father's trade or business. Formal instruction in the ludus literarius was avail- able to boys and girls alike and it was limited to read- ing, writing and arithmetic There were also schools of the "grammatacF which taught language, literature and philosophy. The teacher was called the "magister" and his pay was entirely depndent upon the small fees paid to him by the parents of the pupils. The magister was often forced to "luna lumen" (moonlight) in order to supplement his income. Any subsidiaries whi'ch might have been available seem to have been directed toward higher realms in learning and not elementary education. The Roman school year began on March 24. This was the time when the new stu- dents brought their entrance fees called the "minerval". The balance of the school fees was paid each month. Classes were generally held under the awning or portico of some convenient shop and had to compete with all of the street noises. A screen or cloth drop provided shelter from the hot sun during appropriate seasons. The classroom furniture con- sisted of a teacher's chair and some stools for the chil- dren, writing tablets made of wax, some calculating boards call "abaci," and a blackboard. The partly open schoolroom, the noise of the teaching and of the punish- ment was of great annoy- ance to neighbors and passers by. One fact was common in all elementary schools -- no child was ever spoiled for fear of sparing the rod. The good old fashioned "schiaffo" seems to have been born here. NEXT WEEK: The Three R's Part II Res Publica by David TrumbuU Very Interesting ... but Stupid "One must bear constantly in mind the fact that there are two separate and distinct parties, the Republicans and the Democrats. The trick comes in telling which is which. As a general rule, the Republicans are more blonde than Demo- crats." -- Robert Benchley, from his March 1, 1928 essay "Political Parties and Their Growth." Ready for a late winter break from the unremitting bad news coming out of Beacon Hill and Washington, D.C? How about something for laughs? The Robert Benchley Soci- ety, which I have the privi- lege of running, is now accepting entries for our Annual Robert Benchley So- ciety Award for Humor. En- ter and win! This year's celebrity judge is Arte Johnson, who, as "Wolfgang the German" and as "Tyrone the Dirty Old Man" entertained us on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The deadline to enter is April Fool's Day (April 1, 2012). Entries must be: 1) Original. 2) Benchleyesques (in the sense of reflecting Mr. Benchley's style and humor), 3) Not more than 500 words in length (times height, times width), 4) In the English language, such as it is these days, and 5) Accompanied by the $10 entry fee. All judging will be done in accordance with WBC rules: I) There is no standing 8 count and no 3 knockdown rule, 2) Fighter can be saved by the bell in the last round only, 3) A 10 point must system is in effect, and 4) Accidental head butt goes to the scorecard after the fourth round. 5) None of the above. 6) Officers and family members of the officers of the National RBS and judges are excluded. For more information or to enter the contest go to our website www.robertbenchley.org JOHN NUCCI NAMED TO SCHOOL ADVISORY BOARD Mayor Tom Menino and Boston School Superinten- dent Dr. Carol Johnson have named John Nucci to serve on the new 23 -member board that will make up Boston's external advisory committee for improving school choice in Boston Public Schools. Nncci, who lives in East Boston, was a former president of the once- elected Boston School Com- mittee when he represented District 1 which included East Boston, Charlestown and the North End. Later Nucci would get elected as an At Large City Councilor. Currently, he is Vice Presi- by Sal Giarrratani dent of Government and Community Affairs at Suffolk University. The job of this new advi- sory board will be to help advise the school depart- ment as it engages commu- nities on the topic of school INCOME TAX PREPARATION Financial Services * Professional Tax Consultant Personal & Business Year Round Service M.P. & Co. TAX & FINANCIAL SERVICES GRACE PREVITE MAGOON, EA 617-569-0175 146 Maverick Street, East Boston, MA 02128 ESTABLISHED IN 1938 e-mail: gmagoon@aol.com assignments. Nucci has stated he sees the goal of this committee is to create an opportunity to learn, lis- ten and discuss surrounding school assignment choices. This committee will be chaired by Hardin Coleman, Dean of Education at Boston University. Mayor Menino has stated that this "Is a top-notch team of people who will help advance this process over the next several months. Our goal is to hear from a broad spectrum of the com- munity with a variety of perspectives who will help us shape and move for- ward with a plan that works for the families of our city." I see the John Nucci ap- pointment as a good one for both Nucci and the Boston Public Schools parents who have lost faith in the city's public schools and have either left the city or placed their children in private schools. Nucci is a product of the school system and a past parent of students who attended Boston public schools and can empathize with parents. Nucci as a former president of the old elected Boston School Com- mittee and a former at-large (Continued on Page 13) Calvin T. Brown Democratic State Committee Middlesex & Suffolk District Former Golden Gloves Champion Calvin T. Brown is seeking re-election to the Democratic State Committee. He says, "I want to keep fighting for you and make the State Democratic Party stron- ger in order to strengthen our message with voters in the district and the Com- monwealth." Brown is active in making Chelsea and surrounding communities a better place to live. A husband and a father of three children, he understands the need for a strong and safe community. He has dedicated more than 25 years fighting for our shared values, organizing demo- crats, supporting democratic candidates and winning elections! As a member of the Labor Committee of the State Com- mittee, he has worked to support the party in fighting for jobs. Please vote on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. The Agency for aft your Insurance Coverages Richard Settipane AUTO HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking