The ancient Greeks developed basic memory systems called “Numonyx”. The name is derived from their Goddess of memory “Mnemosyne”. In the ancient world, a trained memory was an immense asset, particularly in public life. There were no convenient devices for taking notes and early Greek orators delivered long speeches with great accuracy because they learned their speeches using Numonyx systems. The Greeks discovered that human memory is largely an associative process. That works by linking things together. For example, think of an apple. The instinct of your brain registers the word apple. It recalls the shape, color, taste, smell and texture of that food. All these things are associated in your memory with the word apple. This means that any thought about a certain subject will often bring up more memories that are related to it. An example could be when you think about a lecture you will have.
This could trigger a memory about what you are talking about through that lecture, which can then trigger another memory. The associations do not have to be logical. They just have to make a good link. An example given on the website I was looking at follows: “do you remember the shape of Austral, Canada, Belgium or Germany.” Probably not. What about Italy, though? If you remember the shape of Italy, it is because you have been told sometime that Italy is shaped like a boot. You made an association with something you’ve already known—the shape of a boot. And Italy’s shape could not be forgotten once you’ve made the association