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Module

CAC3064 : Dreams and Dreaming in Ancient Greece (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Stephanie Holton
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Can we ‘unlock’ the meaning of our dreams and improve our lives? How do we ‘see’ anything while we are asleep? Can dreams be trusted? Do they come from our soul? Our brain? The gods?

Dreams and their interpretation posed as many questions in antiquity as they do today, and the dreams themselves took many forms: there was not simply the one standardised ‘Greek dream’. This module, then, examines the multitude of ways dreams and the dream experience appear across a wide variety of sources from Ancient Greece and beyond, led by two key questions: where do dreams come from, and what – if anything – do they mean?

The first half of the module focuses on literary depictions - taking a thematic approach through authors such as Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Pindar, Herodotus, Aristophanes, Euripides - to establish the range of ‘dream-types’ and their usages across Greek literature. The second half of the module then looks at how the natural philosophers and early medical writers also treated dreams as part of their growing investigations into natural phenomena. Focusing on the Presocratics, Aristotle, and several Hippocratic texts, we will consider how dreams were understood to function – physiologically, psychologically, or both – and to what extent, if any, traditional literary depictions were resituated in this ‘scientific’ approach.

Alongside this, students will also be introduced to comparative beliefs and evidence from other ancient cultures to allow for critical reflection on ideas such as the culture-pattern, Hellenocentricism, and acculturation. Towards the end of the module, we’ll reflect on the longevity of our findings as we move from antiquity to the modern age, and consider whether dreaming is really, as it is so often called, a ‘universal’ human experience.

All texts will be studied in translation; there is no expectation or requirement that students have any knowledge of Ancient Greek or Latin.

Outline Of Syllabus

Week 1 Setting the Scene
Week 2 Visitors in the Night
Week 3 Culture Patterns
Week 4 Human Error, Divine Wisdom?
Week 5 Crossing the Boundary
Week 6 Early Greek ‘Science’
Week 7 Philosophical Dreams
Week 8 Doctors and Patients
Week 9 Gods and Patients
Week 10 Collecting and Classifying
Week 11 From Virgil to Vienna
Week 12 Commonality, Universality?

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable