Word Ways


John McClellan


Mnemonics, as most people know, are artificial memory-aids and may be part of an elaborate system, or an individual creation unrelated to any larger system. The word is from the Greek name of the goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne. Mother of the nine Muses, she must have been a veritable elephant of a goddess, memory-wise, to have lent her name to this fertile branch of endeavour. Unfortunately, no examples of her prowess in the 'remembering' field are extant, and it is suggested that all records of them were lost in the great fire that destroyed the Alexandrian Library some years ago.