polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: dreams

Ghärbald of Lüttich, Capitulary 2.10

“Let lot-casters and fortune-tellers be sought out, as well as those who observe the months and favorable moments and who observe dreams, and the people who carry around their necks those amulets which are inscribed with who knows what kind of words and veneficae, that is women who administer different potions in order to abort a pregnancy and who perform certain divinations so that they will be loved the better by their husbands as a result. Have all malefici, of whatever they be accused, brought in front of us so that their cases may be heard by us.” – Ghärbald of Lüttich, Capitulary 2.10

Charlemagne, Admonitio Generalis 65

“Let no one be found among you who accepts arioli and observes dreams and omens, nor one who is a sorcerer or enchanter nor one who consults a pythoness.” – Charlemagne, Admonitio Generalis 65

Sig3 1004

“Gods! From the onset of winter until the spring plowing season the priest of Amphiaros is to go into the sanctuary with no greater interval than three days between visits, and he is to be in residence there not less than ten days in each month. He is to require the neokoros to care for the sanctuary in accordance with the law and also for those who visit the sanctuary. If anyone commits a crime in the sanctuary, whether a stranger or a member of the deme, the priest has authority to fine him up to the maximum of five drachmas, and he is to require security from the person so fined. Should he pay the fine, he is to deposit it in the treasury in the presence of the priest. If anyone suffers some private injury in the sanctuary, whether a stranger or a member of the deme, the priest is to give judgement up to a maximum of three drachmas; as for larger sums, the judgments provided in the laws for each victim are to be in effect here also. Any summons arising from an offense in the sanctuary must be issued on the same day. If the defendant does not make restitution, a trial is to be held on the next day. When a person comes to be healed by the god, he is to donate a first-fruit offering of at least nine obols of silver, and deposit it in the treasury in the presence of the neokoros. When he is present, the priest is to say the prayers over the sacrifices and place the victim on the altar; when he is not present the person making the sacrifices is to do this. During the public sacrifice each person to say the prayers for himself, but the priest is to say them over the public sacrifices and he is to receive the skin of all the victims sacrificed within the sanctuary. Each person may offer whatever sacrifices he wishes. No portions of meat are to be carried out of the precinct. Sacrificers are to donate the shoulder-portion of each victim to the priest except during a festival; at that time he is to receive the shoulder portion only from the public victims … Rules for incubation: the neokoros is to record the name and city of the incubator when he deposits his money, and to display it on a bulletin board for anyone to read. In the sleeping-hall men and women are to sleep separately, the men to the east of the altar, the women to the west …” – Sig3 1004

Aristophanes, Ploutos 654-695, 707-747


Having arrived near to the temple with our patient, then so unfortunate, but now at the apex of happiness, of blessedness, we first led him down to the sea to purify him.


Ah! what a singular pleasure for an old man to bathe in the cold seawater!

CARIO in the manner of the tragic messenger

Then we repaired to the temple of the god. Once the wafers and the various offerings had been consecrated upon the altar, and the cake of wheaten-meal had been banded over to the devouring Hephaestus, we made Plutus lie on a couch according to the rite, and each of us prepared himself a bed of leaves.


Had any other folk come to beseech the deity?


Yes. Firstly, Neoclides, who is blind, but steals much better than those who see clearly; then many others attacked by complaints of all kinds. The lights were put out and the priest enjoined us to sleep, especially recommending us to keep silent should we hear any noise. There we were all lying down quite quietly. I could not sleep; I was thinking of a certain stew-pan full of pap placed close to an old woman and just behind her head. I had a furious longing to slip towards that side. But just as I was lifting my head, I noticed the priest, who was sweeping off both the cakes and the figs on the sacred table; then he made the round of the altars and sanctified the cakes that remained, by stowing them away in a bag. I therefore resolved to follow such a pious example and made straight for the pap.


You rogue! and had you no fear of the god?


Aye, indeed! I feared that the god with his crown on his head might have been near the stew-pan before me. I said to myself, “Like priest, like god.” On hearing the noise I made the old woman put out her hand, but I hissed and bit it, just as a sacred serpent might have done. Quick she drew back her hand, slipped down into the bed with her head beneath the coverlets and never moved again; only she let flee a fart in her fear which stank worse than a weasel. As for myself, I swallowed a goodly portion of the pap and, having made a good feed, went back to bed.

Asclepius did the round of the patients and examined them all with great attention; then a slave placed beside him a stone mortar, a pestle and a little box.


Of stone?


No, not of stone.


But how could you see all this, you arch-rascal, when you say you were hiding all the time?


Why, great gods, through my cloak, for it’s not without holes! He first prepared an ointment for Neoclides; he threw three heads of Tenian garlic into the mortar, pounded them with an admixture of fig-tree sap and lentisk, moistened the whole with Sphettian vinegar, and, turning back the patient’s eyelids, applied his salve to the interior of the eyes, so that the pain might be more excruciating. Neoclides shrieked, howled, sprang towards the foot of his bed and wanted to bolt, but the god laughed and said to him, “Keep where you are with your salve; by doing this you will not go and perjure yourself before the Assembly.”


What a wise god and what a friend to our city


Thereupon he came and seated himself at the head of Plutus’ bed, took a perfectly clean rag and wiped his eyelids; Panacea covered his head and face with a purple cloth, while the god whistled, and two enormous snakes came rushing from the sanctuary.


Great gods!


They slipped gently beneath the purple cloth and, as far as I could judge, licked the patient’s eyelids; for, in less time than even you need, mistress, to drain down ten beakers of wine, Plutus rose up; be could see. I clapped my hands with joy and awoke my master, and the god immediately disappeared with the serpents into the sanctuary. As for those who were lying near Plutus, you can imagine that they embraced him tenderly. Dawn broke and not one of them had closed an eye. As for myself, I did not cease thanking the god who had so quickly restored to Plutus his sight and had made Neoclides blinder than ever.


Oh! thou great Asclepius! How mighty is thy power!

Aelius Aristides, Oration 48.32

“For there was a feeling as if taking hold of the god and of clearly perceiving that he himself had come, of being midway between sleeping and waking, of wanting to look, of struggling against his departure too soon; of having applied one’s ears and hearing some things as in a dream, some waking; hair stood straight, tears flowed in joy; the burden of understanding seemed light. What man is able to put these things into words? Yet if he is one of those who have undergone initiation, he knows and is familiar with them.” – Aelius Aristides, Oration 48.32

IG 10.2.255

“It seemed in his sleep that Serapis was standing near him and ordered him to come to Opus so that he might announce to Eurynomos son of Timesitheos that he should receive him and his sister Isis, and that he should present to him the letter under his pillow. When he woke up he wondered at the dream and was at a loss to know what to do, because he was a political enemy of Eurynomos. But falling asleep again, and seeing the same thing again, and waking, he found the letter under his pillow exactly as had been signified to him. Going home, he delivered the letter to Eurynomos and announced to him what orders had been laid on him by the god. Eurynomos, taking the letter and hearing what Xenainetos said, was at a loss as to what to do since, as previously mentioned, the two were political rivals. But opening the letter and seeing written in it what accorded with what Xenainetos had said, he received Serapis and Isis.”- IG 10.2.255

Artemidoros, Oneirocritica 1.8

“Common customs differ greatly from individual ones. If anyone has not learned this, he will be deceived by them in trying to interpret dreams. These, then, are common customs: to venerate and honor the gods, for there is no nation without gods, just as there is none without rulers. For different people reverence different gods, but the worship of all is directed towards the same power. To nurture children, to have sexual intercourse, to be awake during the day and the like. These, then, are common customs. The others we call individual or ethnic. For example, among the Thracians the well-born children are tatooed, whereas among the Getae, it is their slaves. And the Mossynes in the territory of Pontus have sexual intercourse in public and mingle with their wives just as dogs do, whereas in the eyes of other men, this behavior is considered to be shameful.” – Artemidoros, Oneirocritica 1.8

Homer, Odyssey 7.137

“Odysseus stepped quickly over the threshold into the palace of King Alkinous of the Phaiakians. He found the Phaiakian lords and rulers pouring libations from their cups to the Keen-Eyed Argos-Slaying Hermes to whom by custom they poured libation last when they turned their thoughts to the night’s rest.” – Homer, Odyssey 7.137

The Life of the Younger Saint Symeon the Stylite 161

“On his way to the city of Antioch he destroyed many of the unrighteous found en route, so that men shuddered with fear at his countenance. For everywhere he suppressed all evil-doing whether in word or deed, inflicting punishment, including death, on those who had gone astray, so that from then on even those living a blameless life feared his presence. He claimed that what he did was in response to an oracle from god which appeared to him in a dream, namely that the lord was angry with the Hellenes and heretics and he should reveal the idolatrous errors of the atheists and gather together all their books and burn them. After some investigation he discovered that the majority of the leaders of the city and many of its inhabitants were preoccupied with Hellenismos, Manichaeism, astrological practices, automatism and other hateful heresies. He arrested them and put them in prison, and after gathering together all of their books – a huge number – he burned them in the middle of the stadium. He brought out their idols and their polluted accoutrements and hung them along the streets of the city, and their wealth was expended on numerous fines.” – The Life of the Younger Saint Symeon the Stylite 161

P. Leiden 1.371

“To the able spirit Ankhiry: What have I done against you wrongfully for you to get into this evil disposition in which you are? What have I done against you? As for what you have done, it is your laying hands on me even though I committed no wrong against you. From the time that I was living with you as a husband until today, what have I done against you? I took you for a wife when I was a youth so that I was with you while I was functioning in every office and you were with me. I did not divorce you, nor did I cause you to be vexed. And when your friends came over, I received them well out of consideration for you, saying, ‘I will do according to your desire.’ I concealed nothing at all from you during your lifetime. I did not let you suffer any discomfort in anything I did, nor did you find me cheating on you after the manner of a field hand, entering a strange house. Now look, you aren’t letting my mind be at ease. I shall litigate with you, and right shall be distinguished from wrong. You are disregarding how well I have treated you. I am writing you to make you aware of the things you are doing. When you became ill with the disease which you contracted, I sent for a chief physician, and he treated you. When I was away on business for the Pharaoh, l.p.h., this condition (i.e. death) befell you, and I spent several months without eating or drinking like a normal person. When I arrived in Memphis I begged leave of Pharaoh, l.p.h., and came to where you were. And I and my people wept sorely before your body. I gave clothing of fine linen to wrap you up in and had many clothes made. I overlooked nothing good that needed to be done for you. Now look, I’ve spent these last three years without entering another house, although it is not proper for one of my position to do this, nor have I entered into any of the sisters of the house (sexually). I have done this out of consideration for you, so why are you doing this to me? One will judge between you and me.” – P. Leiden I 371

P. Bologne Dem. 3173.1-7

“First dream: I was going up the sacred dromos of Serapis with a woman named Thaues, who is a virgin. I was chatting with her and said, ‘Thaues, is your heart sad at the thought of my making love to you?’ She answered, ‘If that happens, my sister and (the goddess) Thoeris will be angry with me.'” – P. Bologne Dem. 3173.1-7

UPZ 1.78.1-28

“In my dream I seemed to be walking in Memphis, from west to east, and I climbed up a pile of straw, and a man coming toward me from the west also climbed up. My eyes were as though closed, and when I suddenly opened them I saw the twins in Tothes’ classroom. They were calling me. I answered, ‘Don’t be discouraged, Tothes is tired of finding the way to me, because I’ve overturned my bed!’ I then heard Tothes answer, ‘Go away! Why are you saying that? I’ll bring you the twins.’ … I walked toward them until I reached them, and I walked for a while in the street with them. I said, ‘I have very little time left outdoors and what I was will disappear tomorrow morning.’ Immediately I saw one of them go into a dark corner of a house, and she sat down on the other side and did many things which I cannot describe. I begged Serapis and Isis with these words, ‘Come to me, goddess of goddesses, have pity and hear me! Pity the twins whom you have made twins. Save me! I am old and I know the end will soon come. But they will be women, and if they are sullied, they will never again be pure.'” – UPZ 1.78.1-28


“In my dream I had the impression of continually calling on the very great god Amun to come to me from the north in his trinity. He finally appeared, and there seemed to be a cow in this place, and she was pregnant. He seized the cow and laid her on the floor. He plunged his hand into her belly and removed the holy Apis bull.” – UPZ

Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 172-74

“King Menaus, who was the first king of the Egyptians, is also responsible for founding the cult of the holy bull. The reason for this is because he became seriously ill and despaired. But then in his sleep he saw a great spirit speaking to him and it said, ‘Nothing will cure you but your worship of cows,’ because the zodiac at that time was in the sign of Taurus, which is in the image of a bull with two horns. When the king awoke he gave orders and they got a handsome piebald bull and made for it in his palace a shrine with a gilded dome and he worshiped him in secret, afraid that others might find out, and he was cured. Later on a bull appeared in a dream and talked to the king and directed him to worship and look after the bull and in return the bull would look after the king’s interests and strengthen and cure him. So the king established a shrine for the bull and arranged servants to care for it and hold the service of its cult. According to some of their books that bull, after they worshiped him for some time, ordered them to make an image of him in gold, a hollow one, and to take some hair from his head and tail and a scraping from his horn and hooves, and put it all in the statue. And he informed them that he would join his heavenly world and that they were to place his body in a stone sarcophagus and establish it in the shrine with his statue on top, when the planet Saturn was in his sign and the Sun was looking upon him in trine. And the statues was to be inscribed with the signs of the images of the seven planets, and they did that. Later on after the holy bull was buried people from all over Egypt and neighboring areas flocked to his shrine with offerings to his statue and he would tell them whatever they wanted to know.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 172-74

Hermes Trismegistos, Asclepius 24

“Statues, Asclepius, yes. See how little trust you have! I mean statues ensouled and conscious, filled with spirit and doing great deeds; statues that foreknow the future and predict by lots, by prophecy, by dreams and by many other means; statues that make people ill and cure them, bringing them pain and pleasure as each deserves.” – Hermes Trismegistos, Asclepius 24

Aelian, On Animals 7.44

“Elephants do obeisance to the rising sun by lifting their trunks like hands to face its beams, and that, you see, is why they are beloved of Helios. Let Ptolemy Philopator be a trustworthy witness to the fact. With the aid of the god he overcame Antiochos, and in sacrificing for his victory and to propitiate the Sun he not only offered sacrifices on a magnificent scale but even went so far as to offer four of the very largest elephants as victims, paying homage, as he supposed, to the god by this very sacrifice. But a vision in his sleep troubled him: the god seemed to threaten him for this unusual and strange offering. And he in his fear caused four elephants to be made of bronze and offered them to the god in place of those he had slaughtered, hoping to placate him and ensure his favor. Elephants for their part worship the gods, whereas mankind is in doubt whether in fact there are gods, and if there are, whether they take thought for us.” – Aelian, On Animals 7.44

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 29-30

“If we wished to do so, we might easily extend our observations on the theurgic labors of this blessed man. From among thousands, I will mention but one, which is really miraculous. One day Asklepigenia, daughter of Archiadas and Plutarche, and wife of our benefactor Theagenes, being still small, and being raised at her parents’, became ill with a sickness pronounced incurable by the physicians. Archiadas was in despair, as the child was the family’s only hope, and naturally uttered distressful lamentations. Seeing her abandoned by the physicians, the father, as in the gravest circumstances of life, turned to his last resort, and ran to the philosopher’s, as to the only person who could save her, and urgently besought him to come and pray for his daughter. The latter, taking with him the great Lydian Pericles, who also was a genuine philosopher, ran to the temple of Asklepios to pray to god in favor of the patient, for Athens was still fortunate enough to possess it, and it had not yet been sacked (by the Christians). While he was praying according to the ancient rite, suddenly a change manifested in the little girl’s condition, and there occurred a sudden improvement, for the Savior, being a divinity, swiftly gave her back her health. On completing the religious ceremonies, Proclus visited Asklepigenia, who had just been delivered from the sufferings that had assailed her, and who now was in perfect health. He had indeed performed his vows and offered his prayers in spite of everybody, so as to preclude any possibility of malicious slander, and the whole household had taken part in this act. This indeed was one of Proclus’s good fortunes, that he lived in the house that suited him best, where had dwelt both Syrianus, whom he called his father, and Plutarch, whom he called his grandfather. It was in the vicinity of the Asklepios temple which Sophokles had immortalized, and of the Dionysos temple near the theater, and was in sight of the Acropolis. His choice of the philosophic life amply proves how dear he was to the goddess friendly to wisdom (Athene), But the goddess testified to that herself when the statue of the goddess which had been erected in the Parthenon had been removed by the (Christian) people who move that which should not be moved. In a dream the philosopher thought he saw coming to him a woman of great beauty, who announced to him that he must as quickly prepare his house ‘because the Athenian Lady wishes to dwell with you.’ How high he stood in the esteem of Asklepios has already been shown in the story I have related above, and we were, in his last malady, thereof convinced by the god’s appearance. For being in a semi-waking condition, he saw a serpent creeping around his head, and from this moment on he felt relieved from his suffering; and he had the feeling that this apparition would cure him from his disease. But he seemed to have been restrained by an ardent and even violent desire for death, and I am indeed certain that he would have completely recovered his health if he had been willing to receive the cares demanded by his condition..” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 29-30

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 6

“The parents of Proclus were Patricius and Marcella, Lykians of noble descent and very virtuous. At birth he was welcomed by the Constantinopolitan goddess Poliouchos (Athene), who as it were assisted his mother in childbirth. She might have been considered the cause of his life because he was born in the town she protects and saves; and who, when he reached childhood and youth, made him live well: for she appeared to him in a dream inducing him to follow philosophy. That is how he began so close an intimacy with the goddess, so that he sacrificed especially to her, and practiced her precepts with the greatest enthusiasm.” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 6

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.34

“Near the temple is the spring of Amphiaraos, which it is not right to use for purification or for washing the hands. But whoever is cured of disease in consequence of an oracle has to throw silver or gold coins into the water. It it said that Amphiaraos arose from it a god . . .  And first, those who came to consult the oracle of Amphiaraos are accustomed to purify themselves, sacrifice to him and to all whose names are on the altars. After the completion of these preliminaries, they sacrifice a ram, and spreading its skin down they sleep on it, and await the manifestation of a dream.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.34

CIGGS. 235

“The priest of Amphiaraos shall go to the temple when winter is past until the time for ploughing comes, and shall not leave it for more than three days. He shall remain in the temple not less than ten days each month. And he shall compel the temple servant to attend to the sanctuary according to the rules, and to look after those who come to the temple. If anyone, either a stranger or a townsman, commit an offence in the temple, the priest shall impose a fine not exceeding five drachmas, and shall take security from the person fined. If he pay the money in the presence of the priest, he shall consign it to the treasury. The priest shall impose a penalty of not more than three drachmas, if any one of the strangers or townsmen in the temple suffers a private injury; and in the more important cases the judgments shall be given where the laws appoint in each case; summons shall be made on the same day in the court of offences in the temple, and, if the accused does not yield, the trial shall be completed on the next day. All who are about to be treated by the god shall give a preliminary offering of not less than nine obols of standard silver, and shall put it into the treasury in presence of the temple servant. The priest, when present, shall pray over the sacrificial victims, and shall lay them on the altar; when he is absent, the sacrificer himself shall pray over his own sacrifice; in public sacrifices the priest must officiate. Anyone is free to sacrifice whatever he wishes, but he must not carry the flesh outside the precincts. Those who sacrifice must give to the priest out of each sacrifice the shoulder, except when there is a festival, and then he shall take a shoulder from the public sacrifices. The suppliant goes to sleep obedient to the rules. The temple-servant shall write down the name of the sleeper and the name of his city when he pays in the money, and the writing on the tablet shall be exposed to view in the temple for those who wish to see it. In the dormitory, the men and women sleep in different parts, the men in the part to the east, and the women in the part to the west of the altar.” – CIGGS. 235

IG iv2.1.121-2, Stele A

“Ambrosia of Athens, blind in one eye. This woman came as a suppliant to the god. Walking in the sanctuary, she mocked at certain of the cures, claiming it was unbelievable that lame and blind people should have recovered their health merely by experiencing a dream. She incubated in the sanctuary and had a dream: the god appeared right up close to her and told her that he would cure her, but that she would have to pay in sacrifice a silver pig as a memorial of her foolishness. So saying, he made an incision in her sick eye and poured in medicine. The next morning she departed, cured.”  – IG iv2.1.121-2, Stele A

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.33.11

“They celebrate orgies, well worth seeing, in honor of Dionysos, but there is no entrance to the shrine, nor have they any image that can be seen. The people of Amphikleia say that this god is their prophet and their helper in disease. The diseases of the Amphikleans themselves and of their neighbors are cured by means of dreams. The oracles of the god are given by the priest, who utters them when under the divine inspiration.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.33.11

P. Hor 14-20

“From Hor the scribe, the man of the town of Isis, lady of the cavern, the great goddess, in the nome of Sebennytos. The dream which told to me of the safety of Alexandria and the journeyings of Antiochos, namely that he would leave Egypt by year 2, Paoni, final day. I reported this to Irenaeus the strategos … Cleon, the agent of Antiochos, had not yet left Memphis. I gave it to the Pharaohs in the Great Serapeion which is in Alexandria. There came about the counsel of Isis, the great goddess, and Thoth the three times great, in every matter which concerned these things ….” – P. Hor 14-20

UPZ 1.70

“To those who give true interpretation. I swear by Serapis that if I had not a little compunction you would never have seen my face again; for all you speak is lies and what your gods say likewise, for they have cast us into a deep mire, where we may perish, and when you have a vision of our rescue then we sink outright … Never again can I hold up my head in Trikomia for shame, seeing we have given ourselves away and been deluded, misled by the gods and trusting in dreams.” – UPZ 1.70

PEL 4.435

“To Apollonios, greetings from Zoilos of Aspendos …. Which the King’s cousins will deliver to you. As I was worshipping the god Serapis and interceding for your health and your favor with King Ptolemy, Serapis repeatedly, in dreams, laid upon me the duty of going to you and conveying to you the following directions: a Serapieion and a sacred area must be built for him in the Greek quarter beside the harbor; a priest must be appointed and offer sacrifices there for us. When I begged him to release me from this duty, he let me fall into a severe illness, so that I was even in danger of my life. Then I prayed to him and promised that, if he would make me well, I should undertake the mission and carry out his command. Just when I had recovered, someone came from Knidos and began building a Serapieion at the place, and had ordered the stone brought there. Later on, the god forbade him to build, and he went away. When I came to Alexandria and hesitated to go to you with my message until you at last granted me the opportunity, I had a relapse that lasted for four months, and so I could not come to you immediately. Please, Apollonios, carry out the command of the god, so that Serapis may be gracious to you and lead you to still greater influence with the King and grant you fame and physical health. You need not be alarmed over this commission and the large expenditure it entails; instead, it will be greatly to your advantage, for I will myself share in managing the whole undertaking. May all go well for you!” – PEL 4.435