A 1,700-year-old school with its walls covered in Greek text referring to a passage from Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’, is located in the ancient town of Trimithis, now called Amheida, in Egypt’s western desert.

The house and school are located about 322 kilometers west of the Nile River in the ancient town of Trimithis, what is modern day Amheida, in the Dakhla Oasis.

According to archaeologists this building is definitely a schoolroom and features Greek writings on its walls, including a calming quotation from Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’.

What is most surprising is it bears striking resemblance to modern classrooms as there are benches for students to sit on and lessons written on walls in Greek, which was widely spoken.

In the past, archaeologists had found another ancient school in Egypt, however, this was a university in Alexandria. The finding of this school in Amheida is unique because of the texts on its walls.

It is thought that this school was only open for 20 years, before the room was amalgamated into a large house that belonged to a town councillor called Serenos and transformed with images of Greek gods.

Text on the wall includes quotations from ‘The Odyssey’, which tells a take of ancient drug use when Helen of Troy gives her dinner guests a drug which “takes away grief and anger and brings forgetfulness of every ill.”

“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,” it says.

The word “imitate” is said to reveal that children would copy the passage, with ancient records saying this passage from the renowned text has calming qualities to it, which would be ideal in the classroom.

Another text written by a teacher was found in a different classroom encouraging pupils to work hard and to improve their rhetorical skills to a Greek god-like level.

The school was discovered in 1979 but it was not until 2001 that archaeologists unearthed the writing, which confirmed the building’s purpose of a school. Excavations have been on-going since.

Researchers think the closure of the school might have occurred when the teacher either moved away or died.

Photo Credit: Eugene Ball

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