Dreaming and experience in classical antiquity by William V Harris

By William V Harris

From the Iliad to Aristophanes, from the gospel of Matthew to Augustine, Greek and Latin texts are constellated with descriptive photographs of goals. a few are formulaic, others intensely bright. the simplest historic minds―Plato, Aristotle, the general practitioner Galen, and others―struggled to appreciate the that means of dreams.

With Dreams and event in Classical Antiquity the well known old historian William Harris turns his cognizance to oneiric issues. This cultural heritage of goals in antiquity attracts on either modern post-Freudian technology and cautious opinions of the traditional texts. Harris lines the heritage of attribute kinds of dream-­description and relates them either to the traditional adventure of dreaming and to literary and non secular imperatives. He analyzes the nuances of Greek and Roman trust within the truth-telling capability of desires, and in a last bankruptcy bargains an evaluate of old makes an attempt to appreciate goals naturalistically.

How did dreaming tradition evolve from Homer’s time to past due antiquity? What did those goals represent? and the way can we learn and comprehend old desires via glossy eyes? Harris takes an elusive topic and writes approximately it with rigor and precision, reminding us of specificities, contexts, and altering attitudes via history.

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Even in lands where religion is still powerful, the twentyfirst-century person does not see the divine order, or the gods’ role in the world, as the Greeks and Romans did. Their attitudes, though very far from uniform even before the spread of Christianity, cannot be summed up in a few phrases. Suffice it for the moment to say that, free of fantastic dogmas, the adherents of traditional Greek and Roman religion were free to speculate about the activities (if any) of the gods in the affairs of humans but generally assumed that the gods were benevolent unless provoked to anger; and only a few offences provoked them.

42. Renberg 2003, 143. 44 It is notable that these instructions, apart from the ones received in health shrines, always regarded religious obligations. The best-known reliefs representing the dream-visitations of divine beings date from the fourth century, and that may have been their heyday. 45 But the tradition continued. 46 And this convention too lent itself to parody. 47 Latin ones are republican. Few in either language are later than 250 AD. Renberg maintains (144) that the chronological distribution of the dated Latin texts corresponds to the prevalence of the ‘epigraphic habit’; in my view, there is a disproportionate increase in the number of Greek texts in the second century AD and later on a similar increase in the Latin ones (see below, p.

1 This chapter attempts to refine the above description of this remarkable change in the representation of dreams, and to answer the obvious questions—first, what changed—people’s dreams, the conventions used to describe them, or both? Why did such a strange convention last so long? When did it die out, if it really did? And can we say why? Scholars have written generously about this peculiar form of Greek and Roman dream-description. The work of the Hellenist E. R. 3 1. I see no alternative to making these two words technical terms.

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