Memory and Recollection in Antiquity. Introduction


  • Marco Cilione Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy
  • Elisabetta Sirgiovanni Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy



Memory , Aristotle


In the ancient Greek world, memory permeates every aspect of human life. Memory plays a central role in the compositional and ecdotic phases of the ancients' literary production and has long been linked to a mode of oral-aural transmission, in which poetry survives without support from writing. The 'book of memory' metaphor appears in ancient philosophy. the transformation of figures and utternances into μνήματα (records) by iconography and writing leads the ancients to a metaphorical interpretation of cognitive processes. Memory plays a central role in theurgical medicine. Acting as the pivot around which dream therapy revolves, memory requires dream recollection and cataloging. Memory plays a central role in rational medicine as well: dreams amplify perceptual phenomena, so analyzing them may improve clinical diagnosis, as in the Hippocratic authors, establishing a functional link between the pathophysiology of the body, understood as humoral δυσκρασία (bad temperament), and the φαντάσματα (sensations) produced during sleep. This special issue of Medicina nei Secoli aims at investigating the role accorded to memory in the ancient Greek world . The issue covers various topics, from the role that memory plays in explanations of cognitive processes and in the exercise of medical art, up to the emotional salience that memory assumes in literature, especially in the private dimension of writing, or in real life, including pathological manifestations.