Giordano Bruno’s geheugenkunst en de jacht op Proteus



The present article presents the art of memory of the sixteenth-century philosopher
Giordano Bruno by taking into consideration the mythological figure of Proteus.
Bruno’s comparison of the metaphysical Monad – aim of his philosophical quest – with
Proteus sheds a light on the mnemonic practice. Although Bruno is often presented as a
herald of modern science, the description of the Monad as Protheus, always subject to
new metamorphoses, and the importance of Ovidius’ Metamorphoses show him rather
as a representative of the Pythagorean tradition. An echo of Ovidius is also indicated in
Bruno’s Cena de le ceneri showing that the Pythagorean influence is also present in his
cosmological view on the motion of the earth.