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dc.contributor.authorGrimwade, Joe
dc.description.abstract‘Memory in Roman Oratory: Theory and Practice’ challenges and changes current perceptions of the evolution and use of mnemonic techniques in the ancient world, especially Roman oratory. The field of ‘artificial’ memory is one to which cognitive science bears real relevance: this thesis combines fresh analysis of ancient philosophical and rhetorical texts with modern scientific findings to rewrite the standard narrative surrounding the ‘art of memory’, which holds that the proliferation of written material through the ancient Mediterranean precipitated a need for a method of memorising texts verbatim. I show that we must instead understand the art of memory as inherently performative. Mnemonic techniques allowed speakers (orators, rhetoricians, even certain philosophers) to free themselves from a script and to improvise. In the second half of the thesis, I apply these theoretical findings to delineate real-world scenarios in which mnemonic techniques were used. By analysing the role that memory played in the various stages of a late-republican forensic trial, I show how orators prepared and delivered speeches, while offering novel insights into how some advocates utilised mnemonic techniques in real time, during trials while their opponents were speaking. Finally, I investigate why superior memory was framed in the Roman world as a desirable attribute for leaders, from orators and statesmen to generals and emperors. The answer lies partly with Cicero’s philosophy of leadership; and partly, with the importance wider Roman society attached to the social practice of nomenclatio (‘greeting by name’). Later sources indicate that Cicero’s views exerted a lasting influence on the portrayal of exemplary mnemonic ability, such that memory became a rare topos of imperial praise.
dc.description.sponsorshipBuckley Scholarship
dc.rightsAll Rights Reserved
dc.subjectRoman history
dc.subjectAcademic Sceptics
dc.titleMemory in Roman Oratory: Theory and Practice
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridge
dc.publisher.collegeTrinity Hall
dc.type.qualificationtitlePhD in Classics
cam.supervisorIngo, Gildenhard
cam.supervisorMyrto, Hatzimichali

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