Memorizing Historical Dates

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Josh Cohen's picture
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I know there are techniques for memorizing fake historical dates for competitions. What interests me more than that is, how does one memorize real historical dates?

Would you assign one decade per locus? Would you have a separate journey for every region in the world, or combine them in some way?

Has anyone tried it?

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I am new to the memorization

I am new to the memorization strategies outlined here, however, in terms of organizing historical data I believe a good starting point could be to create a plane with a time axis and geography axis. This should allow the construction of an expandable modular system, both in terms of working outward to encompass additional regions and/or eras, as well as vertically (imagine drawers or shelves) to stack on new topics.

So X = time, Y = place, Z = discipline

I guess then there would be the two-fold task of creating a timeline for whatever discipline you wish to begin with, and then superimpose a journey over it? But the journey stuff is all new to me, I'm mainly speaking from some experience using charts (mind maps, timelines, tables) usually in studying history or romance languages. Although I'd imagine once you made the chart you might then be able to superimpose the google map of your home town or university or even just the map of your favorite videogame level or whatever.

I would imagine that assigning 1 decade per locus could maybe overwhelm? If you made vertical levels for different disciplines, then there could be less data per plane, so then decades might work?

Unless someone is prepared to share their system, I think it's all rhetorical until someone either finds some great timelines for various disciplines or better yet starts sketching some out and seeing how it works. But I believe it is very important that any system should be highly modular, because history's big and broad and also very small and detailed. That is why I think building blocks like I described above could be the best way (especially if the purpose is for academia), because they could be expanded or integrated.

I don't know how it got to be 3:20am.

Thank you again for putting this website together and sharing these wonderful resources.

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That's an interesting idea

That's an interesting idea about having multiple levels. I might experiment with that after sketching out some dates in a mind map.

I think people would share their systems for historic dates because the technique for memorizing real historic dates is much different competition technique for memorizing fake historic dates.

I know one person who might have a good technique for real historic dates. I will ask him and see if he will share tips...

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

It's been quite a while since someone posted here, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

I memorized Napoleon's date of birth by picturing him planting a flag on the moon. That's because he was born in 1769, and guess what happened 200 years later.

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

I have memorized an historical event for each of the years 1200 AD to 2000AD. Planning to do 3oo years more. Used major system- 3 digits, since the first digit is obvious. Been working on this for about 6 months. 1872 8-v, ph, f 7-c or ck or G as in mug 2-n so we have the word "vegan" below.

FOr example Grant becomes president-the word I associate with this is vegan. I imagine Grant eating sprouts and soy meat substitutes.

Used flashcards to practice while walking in my basement each evening. Saw no need for loci though I am a fine of loci techniques.

The tedious part is looking up all these historical events for each year, not the actual memorization.

When I get to the 900s I may start using another method so as to reduce interference from say 909 and 1909.

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Hi Dr Sleep,

That's pretty exciting, good for you! My own techniques are much less advanced than yours, I guess. Maybe I'll try some of your techniques. Thanks for the advice!

Regards,

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

I actually think that using loci is not the best approach here. If we take Charles Darwin as an example again, and want to remember when he released Origin of Species (1859) I would start by creating a mental image of Darwin. When I see my mental image of Darwin I see that bugs are crawling up from his beard, and for me bugs represent the number 59. I know that it was during the 19th century so no need for me to memorize that.

For other dates I would split the year in to two images, combine them, and then link the combined object to what I want to remember (linked in both directions). In that way I can see the year when I think of the event, and the event when I think about the year (or the combined object).

I use the same thing for memorizing capitals and countries, I have an mental image of every country, and every city, and then I just link them.

Why do you guys use loci for memorizing dates?

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

I think the technique for memorising real historic dates and facts should be very similar to the technique used in competitions. The only difference is that for real dates where you have more time to think about the date/fact I would place them at a random loci that linked the fact to a place. For example 1829 an earthquake in Spain (real event and date) I would immediately focus on Spain and try to find a location about Spain - easy enough for me I recently visited Madrid Smile
As I have a 1000 digit system I drop the 1 from 1829 to leave 829 - I then place my image for 829 (Washing Powder box) into my location that Spain reminds me of and enrich this image in the location

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

How sophisticated! I don't that kind of system yet as I'm still a rooky here. I've been trying to develop a 1-10 picture system that allows me to store numbers. However, it's suggested (Daniel Foer suggests) that I should create an image for each seperate number 1-99. Is this recommended? Because now, for example, I still duplicate the image I use for the single digit. So 11 would be Neo (The One) fighting himself...which makes 11, but with other higher numerals the image seems to blur. What do you guys recommend?

Thanks in advance. Smile

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Mr. Bright wrote:
...I should create an image for each seperate number 1-99. Is this recommended?

Yes... I think that having at least 100 images (00-99) is a good idea. Two popular systems are the Major System and the Dominic System.

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Alright, thanks! It'll take some time and effort, but no pain no gain, right?

Any suggestions by the way for 0-100 that are, as a matter of speaking, 'typecast' for a certain image? For example, the 'moon' for '69' (as in 1969))?

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!

Mr. M.

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Mr. Bright wrote:
Any suggestions by the way for 0-100 that are, as a matter of speaking, 'typecast' for a certain image? For example, the 'moon' for '69' (as in 1969))?

Sort of... there is software to help:
http://mnemotechnics.org/wiki/Major_System#Software

The best way is to create your own images, since they will then have personal associations for you. I posted my 2-digit images here, but I don't think that those exact images would work well for anyone else.

Examples:
When I see 98, the PF makes me think of Michelle Pfeiffer in a catwoman suit. That chain of associations might not be ideal for everyone.

Or the number 33, which is imam bayıldı--one of my favorite foods, but something that another person might not have eaten.

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

happy having found this thread - I'm working to do the same, though I'm still in the preparation phase.
As I wrote in http://mnemotechnics.org/x/forums/timeline-799.html I wanted to start early (i.e. Hadean eon!), so the problem of different temporal resolutions was immediate.
Currently I've been able to memorize in a palace the Hadean .. Pleistocene eras, with small bits of information attached, so I wanted to move to the "modern" eras.

What I have now is the sketch of a timeline from the Neolithic(9000BC) to 1900CE, assembled from different open sources on the web.
To optimize memorization I color-coded events per type (Science/Art/Religion/News/...)

Re. your question (Would you assign one decade per locus? Would you have a separate journey for every region in the world, or combine them in some way?): while I think that a two-parameter space (time,places) would be interesting, I dont believe it can be realized - at least by me! - and after all I like the idea of having loci crowded with 2-3 scenes relating events happening at that time in different world places.
I dont think that an equispaced time axis would be optimal, also (a decade per locus): one would risk having empty regions, separated by crowded ones ("interesting times")

My choice at the moment is to let the timeline decide.
I divided it in 3 sections, of decreasing importance.
In the 1st one are the events I have to memorize (e.g. Columbus'1492, Divine Comedy's 1300 etc): for these events I will reserve a big locus each.
In the successive columns, with decreasing importance, many more events appear: these events will live in the corresponding event locus ...
e.g. in Divine Comedy's room I'll try to place: (1300) End of the Medieval Warm Period and beginning of the Little Ice Age; (1300) Pope Boniface VIII; (1312) Templar Order officially suppressed; (1327) begins reign of Edward III; (1337) Hundred Years' War & Joan of Arc....

I dont know how feasible it is, I'll let you know.

I'd like to ask you a question, also: how do you suggest to proceed with "events" having two dates, i.e. birth/date, or reign beginning/end? I'm not sure! I could simply memorize the "apex" of the life/event in a single date (e.g. (1403)"Monna Lisa" instead of (1452-1519)"Leonardo da Vinci"). Else by convention I could use the birth(beginning) date to place the locus, and memorize inside the death(end)

any tip appreciated!

alessandro

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

I don't know if there is a lot of interest about this,
but I'm almost finished with my "hierarchical" timeline - somebody is interested in it being uploaded somewhere in the wiki?

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Nice work. Yes, I for one, would definitely like to see you've made.

Mr. Bright's picture
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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Thanks Josh. I think it'd be better I I made my associations on the go.

Josh Cohen's picture
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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

alexxx wrote:
I don't know if there is a lot of interest about this,
but I'm almost finished with my "hierarchical" timeline - somebody is interested in it being uploaded somewhere in the wiki?

I'm interested in seeing it. Smile

You could create a wiki page for it, which would allow other people to edit it too, or you could post it in your memory journal if you don't want others to edit it.

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates
Mr. Bright's picture
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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Look great! Thanks for sharing! Smile

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

My book MEMORY PALACE DEFINITIVE, whose number-letter code overlaps with Dominic O'Brien's, gives:

* ample Locational possibilities for numbers 0-99
* a technique based upon the same code for converting any of these Locations for numbers 100-999
* most but not all Locational possibilities for numbers 100-999
* a technique based upon the same code for converting any of these Locations 100-999 for numbers 1000-9999

Thus Locations 0-999 are covered by my book and most of 1000-9999, too.

Each of these numbered Locations could thus be used for a separate year. For example, one Locational possibility I have for number 1066 is an uninhabited space station, a Location you could use to recall things about the Battle Of Hastings and related events, or that year as someone important's date of birth.

My book is available on Amazon sites and refundable upon return if you don't like it.

I would recommend it alongside HOW TO DEVELOP A BRILLIANT MEMORY by Dominic O'Brien.

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

I decided to develop my 0-99 system as-I-study. By that I mean that I don't try to force myself to associate a number with a picture that I thought up, I just let it come naturally. For example, last week I was reading about the German Kristalnacht, in 1938, during which a lot of jewish stores were vandalized (broken glass = crystal) and set on fire. What I did was use my wacom drawing tablet to sketch a 38-shaped crystal. Thanks to this I now associate 38 with crystal, in a very natural way.

richomagic's picture
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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Just stumbled across this post which is fantastic. Thanks for sharing your hard work, much appreciated Alexxx

richomagic's picture
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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

Hi Alex just posted my history timeline
http://mnemotechnics.org/forums/history-timelines-3623.html

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Re: Memorizing Historical Dates

great work!
A good idea to use the excel format, I had a hard time with tables in doc format.
I see that you are concentrating on the australian timeline: I appreciate it a lot since my knowledge about it is almost nil...

e.g. you made me discover that it wasnt just Fleming discovering the penicillin, and the important role of Howard Florey - thank you!

alessandro

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