This article is about the general topic known as “Ars memoriae” or “the Art of Memory”. For the book by Francis A. An alternative and frequently used term is “Ars Memorativa” which is also often translated as “topical memory system pdf of memory” although its more literal meaning is “Memorative Art”. It is an ‘art’ in the Aristotelian sense, which is to say a method or set of prescriptions that adds order and discipline to the pragmatic, natural activities of human beings.
Because of the variety of principles and techniques, and their various applications, some researchers refer to “the arts of memory”, rather than to a single art. A short time later, Simonides was told that two men were waiting for him outside. He left to meet the visitors but could find no one. Then, while he was outside the banquet hall, it collapsed, crushing everyone within. The bodies were so disfigured that they could not be identified for proper burial.
But, Simonides was able to remember where each of the guests had been sitting at the table, and so was able to identify them for burial. This experience suggested to Simonides the principles which were to become central to the later development of the art he reputedly invented. It became the basic method for reading and meditating upon the Bible after making the text secure within one’s memory. When Cicero and Quintilian were revived after the 13th century, humanist scholars understood the language of these ancient writers within the context of the medieval traditions they knew best, which were profoundly altered by monastic practices of meditative reading and composition. Ricci was apparently trying to gain favour with the Chinese imperial service, which required a notoriously difficult entry examination. Dominican, used a variation of the art in which the trained memory was based in some fashion upon the zodiac.
According to one influential interpretation, his memory system was intended to fill the mind of the practitioner with images representing all knowledge of the world, and was to be used, in a magical sense, as an avenue to reach the intelligible world beyond appearances, and thus enable one to powerfully influence events in the real world. Rotterdam and other humanists, Protestant and Catholic, had also chastised practitioners of the art of memory for making extravagant claims for its efficacy, although they themselves believed firmly in a well-disposed, orderly memory as an essential tool of productive thought. Protestants and reactionary Catholics alike worked to eradicate pagan influence and the lush visual imagery of the Renaissance. Logic, where it survives to this day as a necessary foundation for the teaching of Argument. 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. Even what we hear must be attached to a visual image.