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Joe Grimwade

Joe Grimwade

Department: Classics

Supervisor: Dr Ingo Gildenhard

College: Trinity Hall

Title of Thesis: Conceptualisations of memoria in the Roman World


Biography:

My doctoral research concerns conceptualisations of memoria in classical Latin texts, with a focus on oratory and the Roman adaptation of pre-existing Greek philosophical theories of memory. My thesis revises the standard narrative of the development of the ancient ‘art of memory’ by highlighting the influence of Hellenistic philosophy on rhetorical theory, and incorporating, where appropriate, the results of recent studies in cognitive science. Subsequently, I use the works of Cicero for an in-depth case study, to expand my investigation of memoria to areas outside of oratory and rhetoric, examining, for example, the importance of superlative mnemonic skill not only for the ideal orator, but also for the ideal imperator or rector. Ultimately, my research into Roman memoria demonstrates how our mnemonic experiences and practices are influenced to a potentially surprising degree by the norms of the society in which we live.

Before commencing my PhD, I completed my MPhil at Cambridge and Bachelor’s at Warwick.

Other academic interests

  • Modern reception of ancient theories of memory: contemporary mnemonic techniques in education, games, and as sport; cognitive memory science.
  • Roman declamation: the role of declamation in classical Roman education; the influence of declamation on imperial Roman historiography; the survival of declamation throughout antiquity.
  • Reception of Horace: uses of the Horatian corpus in poetry and prose in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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