Dreams in the Ancient World




In the ancient world, dreams linked the mortal and divine realms, portended disasters, healed the sick, and revealed the structure of the cosmos. They could also deceive and be misinterpreted or parodied. This course begins with an overview of Near Eastern materials, and then introduces students to the cultural significance of dreams in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. We will read famous literary dreams, selected passages from ancient treatises on the nature of dreams, guides to dream interpretation, and personal accounts of dream experiences. Our examination of ancient dreaming will open the way to thinking about Greek and Roman conceptualizations of perception, vision, and meaning.