This article explores the relationship between Roman school texts and the socialization of the student into an elite man. I argue that composition and declamation communicated social values; in fact, the rhetorical education of the late republic and the empire was a process of socialization that produced a definite subjectivity in its elite participants. I treat two genres of Roman school texts: the expansions on a set theme known as declamation and the bilingual, Greek and Latin, writing exercises known as the colloquia amid the collections of hermeneumata. This article is more broadly concerned with the attitudes toward language use that are learned along with specific literacy skills. Habits of reading and writing and speaking are learned in scenes and contexts that contribute to concepts of the self and more widely of gender and social roles. The encounters and verbal interactions recurrently plot a deviation from violence or a return to civil and familial order through the proper verbal display of the elite speaker. The student speaker's assumption of roles, his training in fictio personae, is a strong training in memory and imagination-pretending to be someone else, pretending to talk like someone else, or pretending to talk on behalf of someone else. That someone else is most important as the schoolboy becomes the voice of or for prostitutes, the raped, slaves, freedmen, women. His was not a neutral ventriloquism in the styles of Latin but a training in the master's mode toward the ready conviction that the speaker can and must speak for others, his subordinates. Roman rhetorical education was a process of persona building, shaping the schoolboy in his future role while excluding others from the very right to become speaking subjects.
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