What did the pupils in Byzantine schools study? What was their daily programme? Did they have holidays? Were their textbooks and exercise books like those today? Was education free? What did the teachers earn? What kind of professions did young people go into after school?
These and many more questions are answered by this children's book written by Thanos Markopoulos. Himself an historian, he is well aware of the value of prime sources and he has no hesitation in letting the Byzantines speak for themselves about education in their age, enriching his work with passages from texts by Byzantine scholars, which give both the spirit of the time and the necessary academic documentation.
This small publication belongs to the category of books of multiple readings. It is a useful book that provides both young and old readers with the opportunity to use and enjoy it in numerous ways. Its short chapters help in the choice of the particular topic of interest for the reader and the marvellous illustrations, based on images from Byzantine manuscripts, encourage the study of the art of those times. Furthermore, the book also includes a glossary of terms, a chronology with particular reference to educational matters, and a table with the numerical system used by the Byzantines.
This book, together with the other two in the series on Byzantine history (Invitation to Dinner by Eleni Stambogli, about the Byzantines' diet; and From the Castles' Golden Gates by Taxiarchis Kolias, on the Byzantine army), successfully answers the question of to what extent the history lesson can interest pupils and to what extent historical research can be a fascinating experience.