Phasmata oneirōn, ovvero attanti di sogni

Flaminia Beneventano della Corte


The aim of this article is to look into the relationship between significant dreams (oneirata) and phasmata in ancient Greece. In spite of their similarities and despite often being associated in modern scholarship, the article argues that phasmata and dreams are not identical nor coincident entities: textual evidence, and in particular the phrase phasmata oneirōn - recurring in tragic language, suggests that dreams are rather a space which phasmata appear and act in. Phasmata which appear in dreams are also characterized by agency: they are capable of interacting with and of influencing the behaviour of their recipients. Capable of conveying crucial information and clearly perceivable through sight, when appearing in dreams, phasmata appear as a privileged medium between the human and the divine spheres. They make the super-human sphere, normally invisible to mortal eyes, visible to their human recipients.

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