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by Archaeology Newsroom

Diagnosis and Forecast: Artemidoros and the Ancient Oneirocritic Method

The world of the prearchaic communities is a typical world of symbols and images, characterized by cults directly connected with the Earth. The prearchaic man doesnot distinguish the daily life from his nocturne oneiric experiences, which belong to his capacity of seeing the hyperbatic and the holy. Dreams offer to him an alternating status of being through a personal transformation into realities belonging to the kingdom of the suB.C.onscious. In Greece, before the arrival of the Olympian deities, big cult centers as those of Dodona and Delphi are connected with the adoration of the Earth, and dreams play a central role in the fuctioning of religious proceedings. Due to various social changes, cults and religiosity loose their prearchaic character, and dreams become more a personal way of communication between the day life and political progress, that crystalizes into a different way oi divination, regarding the whole society and not just the individual. Political way of life and new types of government that preannounce the democratic city-state determine the differentiation of the religious thought, while in kingdoms of the Middle and Near East, where primitive royal-based societies prevail, the personal oneiric experiences of the monarchs influence the whole society. Dreams and their religious public use involve old patterns of human acceptance of the hyperbatic, as opposed to Greek states, where dream experience soon becomes an isolate and personal phenomenon.