Members-only podcast episode

Daniel Harris-McCoy Lives the Dream

This is a special podcast episode for SHWEP members only

Join now to listen

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.