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Ancient Egypt: Demotic Dreambooks
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Demotic Dreambooks

Berlin P 15683
Roman period, found in the Fayum.

(A) plant: he will be pure [///].
Other utensils which somebody sees (in his dream):
"Dry" copper: Do not let him go [///]
A knife (?) of copper: He will be glad in (his) [heart].
Copper of a lamp: His children will emerge [/////]
A mirror for looking at his face: He will see land (?) [////]
A censer: He will know a woman whom he covets.
A
nemset-pitcher: He will prosper and the god will be merciful [towards him].
A
xw-vessel He will be glad in his heart, as his [/////]
A
sSSj-sistrum (or a) sSm-sistrum: He will make [/////]
A scepter: He will overcome his [/////].
An altar [////]: He will be given property.
A
sft-utensil: He will repress his companions.
A bowl stand: There will be no writer of sacred books today.
The replacement for the things which have been taken from him.
A
mr-basin (?): He will be glad in his heart. He will be given beams and tools.
A baking trough of copper: He will [//////]
A
wtH-bowl: He will be given property. One will give him [millions (?) of years (?)]
A
qb.t-vessel of copper: He will [/////].
Worked copper: [/////]
Smoky (?) copper [/////]
.......
- The writing of dreambooks goes back to the Middle Kingdom at least (pChester Beatty III). Dreams were interpreted for a number of reasons: e.g. in order to heal disease, find answers to a problem, or foretell the future. They belonged to the realm of the divine, similar to other kinds of magic.
There were a number of ways dreams were evaluated:
  • The appearance of certain artefacts had a defined meaning (Berlin P 15683)
  • Certain actions presaged aspects of the dreamer's future (Jena 1209)
  • The whole dream was interpreted as one experience (Bologna 3173).
-knife (?) of copper: By this time (the Roman period) few tools would still be made of copper or bronze (Hmt).
-know (Egypt. rx): also used in the Biblical sense.
-millions: HH a great amount, often used in well-wishing: May he celebrate a million sed-festivals! (e.g. Papyrus Florence 8704).

Berlin P 15683, Demotische Textdatenbank, Akademie für Sprache und Literatur Mainz
After the transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae web site

 

Jena 1209
Greek/Ptolemaic Period

Ways of feeding, in detail:
If he feeds a crocodile: A rich man will give him possessions.
If he feeds a person: He will receive the possessions of his father, he will spend a comfortable old age.
If he feeds his mother: He will lead the same way of life this year which he has led last year.
He will consume the property of his father.
He will spend a comfortable old age.
His goddess will be favourable to him.
He will be glad in his heart.
If he feeds his father, his mother, his brother, his sister, his son, his daughter: One will punish on his behalf those who have caused (?) him harm (?).
If he feeds a bull: One will punish on his behalf those who raged against him.
One will give him food and nourishment.
If he feeds a female cow: One will give him grain (and ?) a field, and he will prosper.
If he feeds an ibis: He will have power over him who is greater than him.
If he feeds a billy-goat: He will live [///] in his house.
The god will be merciful towards him.
If he feeds a nanny-goat: [//////]
If he feeds a sheep: His master will send for him that he may live with him.
If he feeds a baboon: He will be saved from (divine ?) rage.
He will find the property [of his father (?)].
[//////]

Jena 1209, Demotische Textdatenbank, Akademie für Sprache und Literatur Mainz
After the transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae web site

Bologna 3173
2nd century BCE, found in the Serapeum at Saqqara

 
The first dream
I ascend to the dromos of Serapis together with a woman named Tawes, a virgin. I say to her: "Tawes. Are you embittered because I have had sex with you?"
She says as follows: "My sister Thothirdis will be ///// towards me, if one says (to her): 'I go //// vulva.'"
The second dream
Somebody says: "Apollonios (is a) Greek (name), Peteharemphois (is an) Egyptian (name).
(One) who knows (it) is this priest (?).
The third dream
I am in the house together with my elder brother and he is crying with (?) [/////] with the words: "I have finished my possessions. They have slipped out of my hands."
I say as follows: "You will find them belonging to you (?), for if one has taken a servant, one has (always) given others property. Do not be afraid!"
The fourth dream
I encounter a person who is going to implore in the place of invocation. This is what he says: "Sakhmet, speak to me! I have touched the lamp of the Serapeum. It has caused all my people to become negligent."
I say as follows: "If they do not do it for you because of the lamp, they will give you satisfaction immediately. You will find what is lost, after they have given you a portion (as) compensation (for) work done."

Bologna 3173, Demotische Textdatenbank, Akademie für Sprache und Literatur Mainz
After the transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae web site

-dromos: (Greek) entrance way
-Serapis: Osiris-Apis, the sacred bull who became one of the most revered deities among the Hellenists.
-I have touched the lamp: touching sacred objects without being properly initiated and purified had generally dire consequences.
-Serapeum: Buildings etc. serving the cult of Serapis. At Saqqara catacombs where the Apis bulls were buried.

 


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© October 2006
Changed: November 2006

 

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