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by Archaeology Newsroom

Dreams in Byzantium

The inclusion of late pagan dream theories and their practice into the new Christian society is full of tensions and contradictions. From Christianity’s point of view the dream experience is an expression of real processes in the realm of the supernatural. Even daemons’ dreams can be interpreted. The hermits’ negative approach to dreaming turns into an indepth psychopathology. There is a continuation of the ancient practice of “divination sessions” which centres on the relating of a dream to a special interpreter. The same applies to dreams related to incubation and royal dreams. Ahmet’s Dreambook (Oneirokritikon) was perhaps intended for royal use. With the 12th century revival of antique novels, dreams were used as an excuse to contact Aristotle and the life-giving legacy of antiquity.