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Memoria, Thesaurus Eloquentiae. The Auctor Ad Herennium, Cicero And Quintilian On Mnemotechnics

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Chapter Summary

Mnemonic exercises formed a permanent part of the rhetorical training, and in the theoretical treatises about rhetoric memoria, memorization, was ranked under the officia oratoris, after inventio,dispositio and elocutio, but before actio. To help him memorize, the orator used a mnemotechnical system. These form the basis for mnemotechnics. 'Forgetting' is not caused by quantitative overburdening of the long-term memory, or because memories can only be stored for a limited time, but by the fact that at a given time the required information cannot be found. Loci and imagines function as 'retrieval cues', which guide the search inside the memory, or, staying with the library comparison, as a pointer to the shelf on which the book can be found. Quintilian's own instructions regarding memorization catches the eye, because they appeal to the pupil's intellect and feeling for style, rather than to his powers of visual imagination.

Keywords: imagines; loci; Memoria; Mnemotechnics; Quintilian



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