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Medievalist geekery [Jul. 9th, 2009|02:25 pm]

I was looking at Alexander Neckam's De Nominibus Utensilium today and I couldn't understand why it was giving me a vague sense of déja vu.

The text is a twelfth-century primer for learning medieval Latin vocabulary. It uses the ancient mnemonic device of the memory palace: the narrator walks through an imaginary medieval manor and names everything he sees. Students can later recall the Latin vocabulary by calling up a visual image of the manor.

But where had I seen a vocabulary book like that before? Then I remembered...

Somebody really ought to publish an edition of De Nominibus Utensilium as a picture book. They could illustrate it with little squinchy-faced people, like the Luttrell Psalter. It would be awesome.

[User Picture]From: owlfish
2009-07-09 10:05 pm (UTC)
Yay, Richard Scarry! I tried telling people about Lowly Worm this week, and no one got it. There are later illustrated versions of household object books - I've seen excerpts in Peter Thornton's The Italian Renaissance Interior 1400-1600.
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[User Picture]From: l_clausewitz
2009-07-10 11:53 am (UTC)
It'd be a pretty good idea indeed. But now I wonder if there are any similarly-structured primers to medieval Greek?
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[User Picture]From: henchminion
2009-07-10 05:26 pm (UTC)
Not that I know of, but then there are lots of things I don't know about the Byzantines.
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