The History of Memory

Published on Thursday, May 12, 2005 in , , , , ,

With the recent rise in popularity of the memorized deck as a magician's tool, many think that memory techniques are a relatively recent development.

In actuality, methods for memorization actually date back as far as Ancient Greece!

A good basic introduction to the history of memory techniques can be found in the book "All About Mnemonics", in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 (Thanks to SoundNumbers.com).

The same site with the above excerpts also has a brief history of the development of the phonetic alpabet, as well.

Memory demonstrations as a form of entertainment, of course, is a more recent development, but even that dates back farther than you may expect. You can read about some of the better known memory performers in Chapter XI of Fred Barlowe's "Mental Prodigies" and on Dr. Wilson's "Famous Mnemonists" page.

If these pages intrigue you, and you wish to learn more about the wide and varied history of memory techniques, check out "The Art of Memory" by Francis A. Yates.

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