The Bible, as well as other great books of historical and
revealed religion, shows traces of a general and substantial belief
Plato, Goethe, Shakespeare and Napoleon assigned to certain dreams
Joseph saw eleven stars of the Zodiac bow to himself, the twelfth
star. The famine of Egypt was revealed by a vision of fat and lean
The parents of Christ were warned of the cruel edict of Herod, and
fled with the Divine Child into Egypt.
Pilate's wife, through the influence of a dream, advised her husband
to have nothing to do with the conviction of Christ. But the gross
materialism of the day laughed at dreams, as it echoed the voice and
verdict of the multitude, ``Crucify the Spirit, but let the flesh
Barabbas, the robber, was set at liberty.
The ultimatum of all human decrees and wisdom is to gratify
the passions of the flesh at the expense of the spirit.
The prophets and those who have stood nearest the fountain
of universal knowledge used dreams with more frequency than
any other mode of divination.
Profane, as well as sacred, history is threaded with incidents
of dream prophecy. Ancient history relates that Gennadius
was convinced of the immortality of his soul by conversing
with an apparition in his dream.
Through the dream of Cecilia Metella, the wife of a Consul, the
was induced to order the temple of Juno Sospita rebuilt.
The Emperor Marcian dreamed he saw the bow of the Hunnish conqueror
break on the same night that Attila died.
Plutarch relates how Augustus, while ill, through the dream
of a friend, was persuaded to leave his tent, which a few hours
after was captured by the enemy, and the bed whereon he had lain
was pierced with the enemies' swords.
If Julius Caesar had been less incredulous about dreams he would
have listened to the warning which Calpurnia, his wife,
received in a dream.
Croesus saw his son killed in a dream.
Petrarch saw his beloved Laura, in a dream, on the day she died,
after which he wrote his beautiful poem, ``The Triumph of Death.''
Cicero relates the story of two traveling Arcadians who went to
different lodgings--one to an inn, and the other to a private house.
During the night the latter dreamed that his friend was begging for
The dreamer awoke; but, thinking the matter unworthy of notice, went
sleep again. The second time he dreamed his friend appeared, saying
it would be too late, for he had already been murdered and his body
hid in a cart,
under manure. The cart was afterward sought for and the body found.
Cicero also wrote, ``If the gods love men they will certainly
their purposes to them in sleep.''
Chrysippus wrote a volume on dreams as divine portent.
He refers to the skilled interpretations of dreams as a true
but adds that, like all other arts in which men have to proceed
on conjecture and on artificial rules, it is not infallible.
Plato concurred in the general idea prevailing in his day,
that there were divine manifestations to the soul in sleep.
Condorcet thought and wrote with greater fluency in his dreams
than in waking life.
Tartini, a distinguished violinist, composed his ``Devil's Sonata''
under the inspiration of a dream. Coleridge, through dream
composed his ``Kubla Khan.''
The writers of Greek and Latin classics relate many instances
of dream experiences. Homer accorded to some dreams divine origin.
During the third and fourth centuries, the supernatural origin
of dreams was so generally accepted that the fathers, relying upon
the classics and the Bible as authority, made this belief a doctrine
of the Christian Church.
Synesius placed dreaming above all methods of divining the future;
he thought it the surest, and open to the poor and rich alike.
Aristotle wrote: ``There is a divination concerning some things
in dreams not incredible.'' Camille Flammarion, in his great book
on ``Premonitory Dreams and Divination of the Future,'' says:
``I do not hesitate to affirm at the outset that occurrence of
foretelling future events with accuracy must be accepted as
Joan of Arc predicted her death.
Cazotte, the French philosopher and transcendentalist, warned
Condorcet against the manner of his death.