Throughout antiquity memory played a central role in the production, publication, and transmission of texts. Greek mnemotechnics started developing as early as the 6th century bc and by the 2nd century bc memory established itself as a formal division of rhetoric. Techniques of memorization are described at length in ancient rhetorical or scientific works (such as Aristotle’s De memoria), or alluded to in literary works. The theory of mnemotechnics was concerned with how to learn virtually any text by heart, but there is no systematic discussion of what makes a text intrinsically easy to memorize, nor of how to compose in a memory-friendly manner. However, passing remarks scattered throughout ancient Greek texts show that some awareness existed that certain stylistic and structural features improve the memorability of texts. A systematic study of these primary sources reveals that (a) memorization was not regarded as specifically functional to oral performance alone, and (b) the Greek literary and technical writers consciously looked at the mnemonic advantage of stylistic and structural features only when they wanted to favour the memory of the audience, not that of the performer.
The words κακὸν κακῶς σε at D. 18.267 are printed in quotation marks in many modern editions of the speech. This sequence scans as the beginning of an iambic trimeter and is connected by καί with two quotations from tragedy. This article questions the idea that the sequence should be interpreted as the start of an interrupted quotation by showing that (1) these words are part of a standard, vernacular Greek curse formula, (2) initial καί may be interpreted as a discourse-level connector rather than as a syntactic coordinator, and (3) word order in the curse may be accounted for without invoking metrical effects. In particular, it is suggested that Demosthenes’ wording of the curse should be interpreted as a parody of the plea to the judges at Aeschin. 2.180.
This article presents the result of accuracy tests for currently available Ancient Greek lemmatizers and recently published lemmatized corpora. We ran a blinded experiment in which three highly proficient readers of Ancient Greek evaluated the output of the CLTK lemmatizer, of the CLTK backoff lemmatizer, and of GLEM, together with the lemmatizations offered by the Diorisis corpus and the Lemmatized Ancient Greek Texts repository. The texts chosen for this experiment are Homer, Iliad 1.1–279 and Lysias 7. The results suggest that lemmatization methods using large lexica as well as part-of-speech tagging—such as those employed by the Diorisis corpus and the CLTK backoff lemmatizer—are more reliable than methods that rely more heavily on machine learning and use smaller lexica.