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Title: Cultural memory and imagination : dreams and dreaming in the Roman Empire 31 BC – AD 200
Author: Harrisson, Juliette Grace
ISNI:       0000 0004 2681 140X
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis takes Assmann’s theory of cultural memory and applies it to an exploration of conceptualisations of dreams and dreaming in the early Roman Empire (31 BC – AD 200). Background information on dreams in different cultures, especially those closest to Rome (the ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece) is provided, and dream reports in Greco-Roman historical and imaginative literature are analysed. The thesis concludes that dreams were considered to offer a possible connection with the divine within the cultural imagination in the early Empire, but that the people of the second century AD, which has sometimes been called an ‘age of anxiety’, were no more interested in dreams or dream revelation than Greeks and Romans of other periods. This thesis outlines, defines and applies the newly developed concept of cultural imagination, developed from cultural memory, to its examination of dreams and dream reports in Greco-Roman literature. Using the concept of cultural imagination in preference to discussing ‘belief’ is shown to have advantages for the study of ancient religion, as it allows the historian to discuss religious ideas that may or may not have been widely ‘believed’ but which were present within the imagination of the members of a particular society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology ; CB History of civilization