An Ancient Idea still BIG Today

A little while ago, I wrote a Blog feature on an ancient Greek idea that struck me as being particularly BIG due to its persistent presence in our culture and language today.

Recently, I have come across another BIG idea from the ancient world that is back in vogue and potentially of great use to students and businesses alike.

Due to there being no written alphabet until long after story telling began, the ancients became memory experts via various methods, allowing them to memorise an entire epic poem or, later, lengthy political rhetoric. One memory aid that can be encountered in its original context is the use of stock epithets and repeated episodes in Homeric poetry, which acted as points of reference for a bard recounting a tale 24 books long.

Another memory method, the secret of which is now being taught by Bright Young Things Tuition (BYTT) to ambitious students as a revision technique and exam passing tool, is based on the principle of visualisation first expounded by Simonides.

Known as the ‘loci’ method, it involves placing mental pictures of items in specific locations inside a room, in a certain order. A person can then “walk” through the room and see all the objects that must be recalled.

All this begs the question: Was my 1st in Classics a result of having a good memory, solid exam technique, or can I actually say with confidence that I am clever?

When I recently caught up with BYTT Co-founder and entrepreneur, Malachy Guinness, I got my answer. “I think you have to be quite clever to get a 1st…”

This is good news people. But, there’s no doubting that this memory based idea produces results. A useful one for Dragon’s Den pitches, business conferences or even a creative marketing stunt. Answers on a post-card.


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