Dreams and Dreaming in the Roman Empire: Cultural Memory and Imagination

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A&C Black, Jul 4, 2013 - History - 240 pages
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The history and literature of the Roman Empire is full of reports of dream prophecies, dream ghosts and dream gods. This volume offers a fresh approach to the study of ancient dreams by asking not what the ancients dreamed or how they experienced dreaming, but why the Romans considered dreams to be important and worthy of recording. Dream reports from historical and imaginative literature from the high point of the Roman Empire (the first two centuries AD) are analysed as objects of cultural memory, records of events of cultural significance that contribute to the formation of a group's cultural identity. The book also introduces the term cultural imagination', as a tool for thinking about ancient myth and religion, and avoiding the question of belief', which arises mainly from creed-based religions. The book's conclusion compares dream reports in the Classical world with modern attitudes towards dreams and dreaming, identifying distinctive features of both the world of the Romans and our own culture.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Nature of Dreams and Dream Reports
23
2 Dream Reports in Historical Literature
75
3 Dream Reports in Imaginative Literature
125
4 How to Deal with Dreams
177
Conclusion
227
Categories of Dream Reports and Catalogue
246
Tables
274
Bibliography
290
Index
305
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About the author (2013)

Juliette Harrisson is Lecturer in Ancient History at Newman University. Her chief research interests lie in ancient myth and religion in the Roman Empire, studied through the theoretical framework of cultural memory and in the reception of the Classical world in modern popular culture.

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