The classical text on memorization

Now let me turn to the treasure-house of the ideas supplied by Invention, to the guardian of all the parts of rhetoric, the Memory.

The question whether memory has some artificial quality, or comes entirely from nature, we shall have another, more favourable, opportunity to discuss. At present I shall accept as proved that in this matter art and method are of great importance, and shall treat the subject accordingly.

For my part, I am satisfied that there is an art of memory — the grounds of my belief I shall explain elsewhere. For the present I shall disclose what sort of thing memory is.

Rhetorica ad Herennium, c. 50BCE

This text isn’t where I started on my journey on memory and memorization, but it is the foundational text used by practically every memorization specialist for the last two thousand years.

Memorization was used by scholars and orators to remember and transmit texts and ideas across distances at a time when other means of transmission of ideas were bulky, expensive and possibly unreliable.

It’s a place to start this conversation.

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About JP

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