Writing's on the wall for Egypt archaeologists

14th Feb 2014

Egypt-bound travellers who think that motivational techniques are exclusive to the late 20th and early 21st century should think again.

A 1,700-year-old school where teachers have written inspirational quotations on the walls has been discovered in this ancient country.

Researchers say the building is the first one from this era that was definitely used for teaching children.

The building - situated in Amheida in the Dakhla Oasis, 200 miles (322km) west of the Nile, which was once the ancient settlement of Trimithis - dates back to the era when Romans managed the region.

With its amazing pyramids of Giza and artefacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Egyptian Museum, holidaymakers on city breaks to Cairo are spoilt for choice for cultural sites.

But ancient discoveries just keep being dug up all over Egypt.

This latest unearthed structure has uncanny similarities to more latter-day classrooms.

It has benches for pupils to sit on and lessons written on walls in Greek, which was universally spoken, Live Science reported.

Wall scripts include one written by a teacher encouraging students to work hard and to increase their rhetorical skills to a god-like level.

One quotation reads: "Be bold, my boys; the great god (Hermes) will grant you to have a beautiful crown of manifold virtue."

Another says: "Work hard for me, toils make men manly."

The school was found in 1979. It wasn't until 2001 that researchers found the writing, which confirmed the building's true function.

Other wall scripts include quotes from The Odyssey.

These tell a story of ancient drug use, when Helen of Troy serves her dinner guests a drug which "takes away grief and anger and brings forgetfulness of every ill".

The painted text reads: "Whoever should drink this down when it is mixed in the bowl would not let fall a tear down his cheek in the course of that day at least. Imitate."

Copyright Press Association 2014

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