Title of a book by
Frances A. Yates
, University of Chicago Press, 1966.
From the preface:
Few people know that the Greeks,
who invented many arts, invented an
art of memory which,
like their other arts,
was passed on to Rome whence it descended in the European
This art seeks to memorise
through a technique of impressing 'places'
and 'images' on memory.
It has usually been classed as 'mnemotechnics',
which in modern times seems a rather unimportant branch of
But in the ages before printing
a trained memory was vitally important;
and the manipulation of images in memory must always
to some extent involve the psyche as a whole."
A more recent book on the same topic is
The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci by
Jonathan D. Spence,
Viking Press, ISBN: 0140080988. Ricci was a Jesuit missionary to China. He developed the art and taught it to Chinese scholars to demonstrate the superiority of the West to China.
Thomas Harris credits both books in the acknowledgement to his book Hannibal, the third book in which
Hannibal Lecter appears.