The Interpretation of Dreams was written by Artemidorus Daldianus, a diviner based in Roman Asia (now modern day Turkey) in the 2nd Century. This copy was printed in 1710 in England and is part of the Oliver J. Sutton Witchcraft Collection here at Manchester Central Library, which shows the endurance of the text. It was first translated in to English in 1518, and by 1722 there had been twenty editions of the text (Thomas, pg.153).

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The photograph above shows an index of different themes and subjects of dreams. There is a huge amount that a person can refer to should they desire to understand why they are dreaming about say… eggs!

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According to Artemidorus, dreaming of eggs translated roughly to a good dream, especially if you were Physician or Painter.  However, too many eggs apparently seems to be a sign of ‘pain, noise, or Law suits’. Artemidorus’s text was composed of a number of other sources regarding dreams, and was largely founded on an analogical method, through the comparison of one thing and another (Wallace, pg.7).

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In the photo above, a relationship has been drawn here between marriage and death, which seems like quite a startling comparison to make. In dreams, death and marriage are often seen to be linked due to the huge significance of both events in life (Kramer, Larkin, pg. 161).

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In Artemidorus’s work on dreams, he emphasised the importance of context of each dreamer: ‘It is impossible for an unimportant man to receive a vision of great affairs beyond his capacity. For it is contrary to reason unless, indeed, the dreamer is a king, a magistrate, or one of the nobility’. (Campbell, 37).

This blog post was written for Archives+ by one of our volunteers as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded project.
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