Anacephalaeosis

An Introduction to Anacephalaeosis

Anacephalaeosis (derives from Greek combination ‘ana’ “back” and ‘cephale’ “head”), is a figure for recapitulation by which the speaker summarizes or recapitulates the heads, major points, or the significant part of the discourse.

Anacephalaeosis may be akin to a situation of which something is expressed with many words and then repeating it with a few. A technique popularly used by rhetors or speakers in situations where much have been said and must be recalled succintly.

This device uses summary to assists in refreshing the hearer’s memory or sensibility. Anacephalaeosis merely relies upon what the audience may already know about a given subject or thought to achieve its purpose.

Like all rhetoric devices, it tends to become abusive of purpose when it is used awkwardly beyond relevance. It must be used with sensitivity to the occasion in order for it to exhibit its potency.

Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae: Anacephalaeosis Opens in new window
Plutarch — Essay on the Life and Poetry of Homer: Anacephalaeosis Opens in new window
Changing-Minds.org: Anacephalaeosis (Examples included) Opens in new window
Theresa Enos — Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition: Communication from Ancient Times: Anacephalaeosis Opens in new window