c. 200 | Ephesus


Artemidorus dreams of sheep.

To dream of a sheep signifies advancement and obtaining of goods, wherefore it is good to dream you have many of them, or see them of others and feed them, especially to those who desire to handle government and charge of people, and for those who have attained thereto already. It is also good for sophisters, pedants, and schoolmasters.

The ram signifies the master, or the prince and king. It is good to dream to be lifted on high, surely, and by plain and easy places, especially for orators, attorneys, proctors, and all those who desire to heap up gold and silver by their labor.

Goats signify no good but are worse to navigators.

Asses bearing charge, strong and obedient, are good for friendship and company, and signify the wife, companion, or friend, being not proud above their estate, or fierce, but gentle and very obedient, and they are also good in all affairs and enterprises.

Mules are good for all works, especially to husbandry, only if they cross weddings and procreations. If the asses or mules are hot or mad, and do any hurt or be savage, it argues deceit by someone in our own house. Mules also signify sickness, as I have known by experience.

Oxen in labor are good for all, but in a herd they are trouble and peril. The bull signifies any great personage, especially if they threaten and pursue you; to mariners it is tempest, and if he wound you, it is hurt and shipwreck by some inconvenience that shall fall from the top of the mast, as I have often experienced, and it daily often falls out. Thus much shall suffice concerning domestic and familiar beasts.

Now let us speak of wild and savage beasts. To see a gentle, familiar, and fawning lion signifies good and profit. But if he be hot, and would hurt, it signifies fear and sickness and danger of fire.

The elephant seen in a dream is fear and danger. I have often observed and known that the elephant affrighting one signified sickness, and catching and killing one signified death. I knew in Italy a rich and healthful woman who dreamed she was mounted on an elephant and shortly after died.

You must understand that every wild beast generally represents our enemies, and therefore it is always better to overcome them than to be overcome by them.



From Oneirocritica. The Ephesus-born soothsayer traveled through Greece, Italy, and Asia Minor to collect the myths and interpretations that he compiled into this five-volume treatise on dream interpretation. He dedicated the first three books of the work to Cassius Maximus, a well-known orator, and the final two to his son. It remains the only extant pre-Byzantine work of its kind. Through dreams, Artemidorus wrote, “the soul is conveying something obscurely by physical means.”