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Oneiromancy: Dream Predictions in Ancient Mesopotamia

March 17, 2020 - General
Oneiromancy, dream divination, was very important in ancient Mesopotamia

Oneiromancy is a form of divination in which dreams are interpreted in order to predict the future. This form of divination was practiced in many parts of the world, including the ancient civilizations that were based in the region of Mesopotamia, and it still continues to this day. The interpretation of dreams in ancient Mesopotamia can be found in its literature, such as the famous Epic of Gilgamesh and the Atrahasis.

Additionally, oneiromancy seems to have been practiced in real life as well, as evidenced by a compendium of texts known as the Iškar Zaqīqu (translated as ‘core text of the god Zaqīqu’), or more commonly known as the Assyrian Dream Book.

Atrahasis Receives a Nighttime Omen

In the literature of ancient Mesopotamia, dreams are depicted as serving a number of functions. The most common of these may be the usage of dreams as a means of foretelling an impending doom. In the Atrahasis, the Mesopotamian version of the flood account, the title character, Atrahasis (meaning ‘exceedingly wise’) is warned about the destructive flood in his dream.


Source: origins

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