Artemidorus' Oneirocritica, a manual for the interpretation of dreams, was composed in the second century AD by a Greek from Asia Minor. The author presents his readers with an impressive number of dream-symbols and their possible interpretations. He also repeatedly defines, explains, and defends his profession and its underlying principles, on a couple of occasions confronting oneiromancy with competing divinatory practices. Thus, the Oneirocritica contains fascinating evidence on the interpretation of dreams as well as on other forms of divination practised for private purposes in the Mediterranean world under the Early Empire. The present article surveys this evidence. After introducing the work and its author (§ 2), it discusses Artemidorus' classification of dreams, the interpretative methods he employs (§ 3), and his ideas about the provenance of predictive dreams (§ 4). The last section (§ 5) focuses on Oneirocritica 2.69, where Artemidorus lashes out at disreputable rivals, positioning the interpretation of dreams among the intellectually and socially respectable forms of divination. The chapter is obviously inspired by professional jealousy. For Artemidorus, obtaining a larger share of the market prevailed over correspondence between theory and practice. This is especially apparent from the fact that he smuggled oracular dreams, which actually fell outside the scope of his professional expertise, into the dream-interpreter's realm.
|Translated title of the contribution
|The mantic market: Oneiromancy and other forms of divination in Artemidorus' Oneirocritica
|Number of pages
|Published - 2006
- Artemidorus, Dream divination