||[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.