[LMB] Education for men

Damien Sullivan phoenix at mindstalk.net
Wed Sep 8 02:15:37 BST 2021


On Tue, Sep 07, 2021 at 08:28:58PM -0400, Elizabeth Holden wrote:

> Keep in mind that in the middle ages, "literate" meant "literate in Latin"
> because that was the language in which all scholarly works were written,
> unless in Byzantium. The point is, by their standards, most of us would not
> be considered literate.

And estimating any literacy, but especially in the vernacular, AIUI is
*very difficult*.

One historian snarked that pre-modern (I forget if Medieval or Classical
to Roman or what) was probably higher than people think at first and
lower than people think after studying it for a bit. Which is still...
not very specific.

Plus the vagueness of what literacy even means: can slowly sound out
words, can read a lot fluently, can compose well, can write legible
documents in a world of quill or fountain pens and papyrus or
parchment...

So you could plausibly have both "quite a lot of people can read simple
contracts and farm/business/birth records and graffiti" and "almost no
one can read Latin".

-xx- Damien X-)


More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list