|Beowulf fighting Grendel|
Verse is the earliest form of literature because it was easiest to memorize. It passed from father to son for generations.
|The poems of Homer are another example of oral memorization that was passed down for hundreds of years before they were ever in writing.|
It researching his novel "Roots", Alex Haley returns to Africa to find the village of his great grand father who was taken into slavery. This small village had a shaman, or story teller who was responsible for archiving the history of the village within his memory. Sometimes these men can memorize the names, dates, deeds and disasters of a village for hundreds of years. Indeed, when Haley questioned the shaman about his great grandfather, the shaman knew his name, and how old he was when he disappeared.
Memorization is a lost art. We think we write things down to relieve our brains from the hardship and drudgery of memorization, but we do ourselves a disfavor. The more a work is written down, the more our minds and hearts are lost to it. How many things do you have memorized? Can you recite something for me?