– Written by an unknown author in the 80s B.C, Rhetorica ad Herennium is the first known book on the art of. Here’s the memory trick the ad Herennium describes in two easy steps. Step one. Say, for example, you want to memorize the following. Did you know that all memory devices, or mnemonics, trace their history back to one book? The Ad Herennium is the foundational book on the.

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Rhetorica ad Herennium

Now it seems best to discuss Physical Movement. See note on 3. For neither by itself will be strong enough, though we must note that theory and technique are much the more reliable. Yes, weird and memorable. But just as in everything else the merit of natural excellence often rivals acquired learning, and art, in its turn, reinforces and develops the natural advantages, 83 so does it happen in this instance. The term is most often found in specialized works on psychologyneurobiology and memorythough it was used in the same general way at least as early as the first half of the nineteenth century in works on Rhetoric, Logic and Philosophy.

Duplices igitur similitudines esse debent, unae rerum, alterae verborum. Three are treated in the present Book: Carruthers discusses this in the context of the way in which the trained medieval memory was thought to be intimately related with the development of prudence or moral judgement. On the scope and purpose of epideictic, and on the discrepancies between our author’s treatment and that of Aristotle Rhet. And we shall do so if we establish similitudes as striking as possible; if we set up images that are not many or vague but active; if we assign to them exceptional beauty or singular ugliness; if we ornament some of them, as with crowns or purple cloaks, so that the similitude may be more distinct to us; or if we somehow disfigure them, as by introducing one stained with blood or soiled with mud and smeared with red paint, so that its form is more striking, or by assigning certain comic effects to our images, for that, too, will ensure our remembering them more readily.

We ought, then, to set up images of a kind that can adhere longest in the memory. Again, from an honourable act no peril or toil, however great, should divert us; death ought to be preferred to disgrace; no pain should force an abandonment of duty; no man’s enmity should be feared in defence of truth; for country, for parents, guest-friends, intimates, and for the things justice commands us to respect, it behoves us to brave any peril and endure any toil. The Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci – who from until his death inworked to introduce Christianity to China – described the system of places and images in his work, A Treatise On Mnemonics.

For in invention nature is never last, education never first; rather the beginnings of things arise from natural talent, and the ends are reached by discipline. The opposite, if it is censure: Images with borders lead to more information.


At the end of the speech a sustained flow is beneficial to the voice.

Despite the Epicurean notion that only epideictic was amenable to rules, the judicial kind was in fact the easiest to systematize, even as it was by far the most often employed in Hellenistic times.

Since, then, the same means serve stability of the voice and agreeableness of delivery, my present discussion will have dealt with both at once, offering as it does the observations that have seemed appropriate on stability, and the related observations on agreeableness.

It is a tossable list, not like algebra. Indeed there is never a moment when we do not wish to commit something to memory, and we wish it most of all when our attention is held by business of special importance. Turning to images, the anonymous author asserts that they are of two kinds: He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty of memory must select places and form mental images of the things they wish to remember and store those images in the places, so that the order of the places will preserve the order of the things, and the images of the things will denote the things themselves, and we shall employ the places and the images respectively as a wax writing-tablet and the letters written upon it.

Rhetorica ad Herennium Passages on Memory

It is one thing to worship a picture, it is another by means of pictures to learn thoroughly the story that should be venerated. Yates mentions Apollonius of Tyana and his reputation for memory, as well as the association between trained memory, astrology and divination. That is why Demosthenes, asked what was primary in the whole task of oratory, gave the palm to delivery, and gave it second and third place as well. But what do we miss by externalizing all of our memories into an electronic form.

Hence, if we are not content with our ready-made supply of backgrounds, we may in our imagination create a region for ourselves and obtain a most serviceable distribution of appropriate backgrounds. When we see in everyday life things that are petty, ordinary, and banal, we generally fail to remember them, because the mind is not being stirred by anything novel or marvellous.

We shall be using the topics of Temperance if we censure the inordinate desire for office, money, or the like; if we restrict each thing to its definite natural bounds; if we show how much is enough in each case, advise against going too far, and set the due limit to every matter. Say, for example, you want to memorize the following shopping list: Perhaps the most important principle of the art is the dominance of the visual sense in combination with the orientation of ‘seen’ objects within space.

Perhaps the most famous example of such an abstract system of ‘places’ is the memory system of Metrodorus of Scepsis, who was said by Quintilian to have organized his memory using a system of backgrounds in which he “found three hundred and sixty places in the twelve signs of the zodiac through herennium the sun moves”.


Subheads under Security are Might and Craft, which we shall consider either separately or conjointly. Constat igitur artificiosa memoria locis et imaginibus. However, I never studied those notes because revisiting and rewriting and thinking about concepts were all I needed. Locos appellamus eos, wd breviter, perfecte, insignite aut natura aut manu sunt absoluti, ut eos facile naturali memoria conprehendere et amplecti queamus: But solar eclipses are a source of wonder because they occur seldom, and indeed are more marvellous than lunar eclipses, because these are more frequent.

The artificial memory is that memory which is strengthened by a kind of training and system of discipline.

Apparently, his elaborate method was also based in part on the combinatoric concentric circles of Ramon Llullin part upon schematic diagrams in keeping with medieval Ars Notoria traditions, in part upon groups of words and images associated with late antique Hermeticism[14] and in part upon the classical architectural mnemonic. He left to meet the visitors but could find no one.

If you find a mistake though, please let me know! Association was considered to be of critical importance for the practice of the art. We ought, then, herenniumm set up images of a kind that can adhere longest in memory.

While an engrossing preoccupation may often distract us from our other pursuits, from this activity nothing whatever can divert us.

Rhetorica ad Herennium Passages on Memory

Accordingly, things immediate to our eye or ear we commonly forget; incidents of our childhood we often remember best. Aristotle, De Anima 3.

Our delivery will be somewhat rapid when we narrate what we wish to show was done vigorously, and it will be slower when we narrate something else done in leisurely fashion. For example, if in the fifth we mempry set a golden hand, and in the tenth some acquaintance whose first name is Decimus, it will then be easy to station like marks in each successive fifth background.

Passages in his works On The Soul and On Memory and Reminiscence proved to be influential in the later revival of the art among medieval Scholastics. Let art, then, imitate nature, 94 find what she desires, and follow as she directs.

Has he been rich or poor? Nunc, cuiusmodi locos invenire et quo pacto reperire et in locis imagines constituere oporteat, ostendemus. In those in which an extraneous motive gives rise to the deliberation, it is this motive which will have to be emphasized or depreciated.

Justice is equity, giving to each thing what it is entitled to in proportion to its worth.