I mentioned in another post that I was waiting to build my Acropolis memory palace until I had more photos and floor plans available.
I just found models of the Acropolis in Google Sketchup. You can move the model around. Here’s a screenshot: Read more
I just arrived on the Greek island of Kea, where Simonides of Ceos was from. Read more
I arrived in Athens and spent the afternoon at the Acropolis. I don’t like spending time in Athens, but the Acropolis is absolutely spectacular. I wanted to make a memory journey there, but there were herds of distracting tourists and much of the restoration is incomplete. I took many photos and plan to create an Acropolis memory journey using photos, models, paintings, floor plans, and Wikipedia.
I’ve been experimenting with methods for memorizing poetry. Here are examples of the mnemonic images I used to memorize Hamlet’s famous soliloquy.
The Method of Loci
The method of loci is a mnemonic technique that goes back at least 2,500 years to the ancient Greeks. If you aren’t familiar with the method of loci yet, this post might not make a lot of sense. I recommend reading one of the memory books on my reading list or asking questions about it in the memory forum. A great book to start with is Dominic O’Brien’s How to Develop a Brilliant Memory Week by Week.
To quickly summarize the method: a mental journey is created, and the data to be memorized is converted into bizarre, exaggerated, visual images that are then placed along the imaginary journey, fooling the mind into believing that it has traveled along the journey. To recall the information, one mentally walks back through the journey, converting the visual images back into the original information that was memorized.
If you’ve never tried the method of loci, it may sound strange, but it’s the same basic concept that people use to memorize thousands of random digits. The key is to convert everything to visual images. Visual memory is incredibly powerful.
The Text to Be Memorized (from Hamlet)
Here is the text to be memorized as written in the book, By Heart: 101 Poems to Remember: Read more
I was searching around online and found an interesting blog post called Mnemotechnics And Ultima Underworld II. (The author’s blog is here.)
The author of the blog post uses a video game to store some of his personal memories:
After spending some time looking at the memory palace for memorizing historic dates, I started thinking about how it might work in practice. I quickly sketched out a floorplan using Inkscape. Read more
In the memory forum, Cole linked to a fascinating illustration of a memory palace for memorizing historical dates.
I’ve re-posted the illustration here: Read more
I found an interesting tip from Ben Pridmore on the Yahoo Memory Sports group about how many locations can be created a small area: Read more
I first heard about memory techniques from the book Mind Performance Hacks by Ron Hale-Evans. Hack #4 is called Stash Things in Nooks and Crannies and describes how to make a memory journey through a single room. The hack can be read online here.
Below is some of what Quintilian (~35 to 100 CE) has to say on memory from Institutio Oratoria. I’ve bolded sections with practical descriptions of technique.