Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Simonides of Ceos

Simonides of Ceos (modern day Kea) lived from 556-468BC and is the father of mnemonics. One day he was dining at the house of a wealthy nobleman named Scopas at Crannon in Thessaly, and chanted a lyric poem which he had composed in honour of his host, in which he followed the custom of the poets by including for decorative purposes a long passage referring to Castor and Pollux; whereupon Scopas, with excessive meanness, told him he would pay him half the fee agreed on for the poem, and, if he liked, he might apply for the balance to his sons, as they had gone halves in the panegyric. A little later, a message was brought to Simonides to go outside, as two young men were standing at the door who earnestly requested him to come out; so he rose from his seat and went out but could not see anybody. In the interval of his absence, the roof of the hall where Scopas was giving the banquet fell in, crushing to death Scopas and all his friends and relations. When their friends wanted to bury the
bodies, they were unable to tell them apart as they had been completely crushed, and the story goes that Simonides was enabled by his  recollection of the place in which each of them had  been reclining at table, to identify them for separate  internment; and that this circumstance suggested to him the discovery of the truth that the best aid to clarity of memory consists in orderly arrangement.


Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Very informative, WW.

3:19 pm  

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