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Daniel Harris-McCoy Lives the Dream
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Daniel Harris-McCoy expands imaginatively on the material covered in the main interview, exploring a number of themes including:
- The doctrine of the stoikheia or elements, the individualistic approach to dream-interpretation formulated by Artemidorus, whereby Nature, Law, Custom, Occupation, Name, and Time serve as criteria for judging dream-outcomes,
- Artemidorus’ interesting take on astrology, weather-sign divination, palmistry, and other divinatory traditions, including our personal favourite, cheese-divination,
- Some famous politico-literary dreams and portents from antiquity: Julius Cæsar’s dream of raping his own mother, Pompey’s understanding of the portents during the Roman civil wars memorialised in Lucan, and
- Some speculative reconstruction of how Artemidorus’ book might have been used in antiquity, as a personal handbook or in a client-diviner context.
Works Cited in this Episode:
- Aratus: Aratus of Soli was a 3rd-c. BCE astronomical poet who modeled his work, the Phænomena, on Hesiod’s Works and Days.
- Juvenal: on Jewesses selling dreams 6.546 ff.
- Lucan: Lucan’s Pharsalia or Bellum civile is an epic Latin poem devoted to the events leading up to the end of the late Republic and the rise of warlordism in the Roman realm. We mentioned it in Episode 60 for its reference to Nigidius Figulus as a supreme astrologer. Here we are citing 3.394-452, where Cæsar takes an axe to a Gaulish sacred grove.
- Cairns and Luke, edd.: D. Harris-McCoy (2017), ‘The Biographical Dimensions of Artemidorus’ Oneirocritica,’ Papers of the Langford Latin Seminar 17: 147-68.
- Jonathan Z. Smith: ‘The Temple and the Magician’ in Map Is Not Territory. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL/London, 1993, pp. 172-89.
November 24, 2019
From Wikipedia: “Crespigny suggests that these plagues led to the rise of the cult faith healing millenarian movement led by Zhang Jue (d. 184), who instigated the disastrous Yellow Turban Rebellion (184-205). …the outbreak of the Antonine plague in 166 coincides with the Roman embassy of “Daqin” (i.e. the Roman Empire) landing in Jiaozhi (northern Vietnam) and visiting the Han court of Emperor Huan.”
I found the discussion of the plague at the beginning of the episode really interesting. What a motivator for magical treatment!
The scale was huge and horrible.
(1) Would this have damaged the status of the healing cults and the status of Apollo? Because they didn’t work? I wonder if this created an opening for Christians, since they ritually washed a lot and were separated from society.
Like the Christians, perhaps the persecution of groups would have resulted in a kind of natural quarantine! And, perhaps washing and treating others would result in a weakened virus, granting immunity.
I am curious about the integration of medicine and theurgy. Rituals that can pray to God for cures. There should be great placebo effects, better than a pill!
I Liked this:
Platonic Dreaming in the psyche– if the appetitive part of the psyche is strong, there will be dreams about appetites. If reason is strong, there will be story dreams. If spirit is strong, there will be emotions and passions.
(2) Were there groups that would induce DESIRED dreams by singing or playing music to the sleeping person?
Interesting discussion of Numerology vs arithemology in dream interpretation… Disappointed it is gematric (associating numbers to letters) versus arithmologic (4 ducks meaning justice, or three ducks as emergence, or 2 for contrast, and 1 for the ineffable 🙂
But, this is first attested numerology! Wow. I suppose they were grasping for straws, coming up with interpretation for hard dreams. Like, “my back left tooth fell out. What does that mean!!”
November 24, 2019
Any favorite dream to share from the text?