ProjectInternationale wissenschaftliche Veranstaltung: "Schlaf-Träume-Ängste im Alten Orient"

Basic data

Internationale wissenschaftliche Veranstaltung: "Schlaf-Träume-Ängste im Alten Orient"
26/10/2023 to 26/10/2023
Abstract / short description:
Attempts to understand the human condition through dreaming, reach back to a myriad of
cultures in antiquity. In the Ancient Near East dreams were conduits to the divine in one’s sleep.
While some dreams were immediately intelligible to the dreamer, other dreams needed
extensive interpretation by a dream-interpreter to decode the portended sign.
In the written Sumerian and Akkadian records from Mesopotamia we find a multitude of
references to dreams ranging from actual dreams described in dream reports to theoretical
dreams enumerated in dream omens, fictional dreams in literary texts and dreams used as
modes of propaganda in royal inscriptions. The first objective of this symposium is to seek
possibilities of interrelation between the various dream images and their consequences
occurring in these different settings reconstructing an innovative frame of reference used by the
ancient Mesopotamian scholars and scribes denoting dreams and dream interpretation.
The second objective is to compare these results with dream references from other
Ancient Near Eastern cultures (i.e. Ḫatti, Ugarit, and Ancient Egypt) allowing us to innovatively
search for patterns of selections and restrictions adjusted to the cultic and cultural background
of the dreamer.
The third objective is to study and discuss the cause and psychological and physical
effects of nightmares and sleep deprivation on the human condition as described in the
emotional response by the dreamer in ancient documents. By comparing descriptions in dream
rituals and therapies with different genres such as epistolary corpora and literary texts, we gain
insights in the ancient perception of the entanglement of the human consciousness in the
waking world and the dream reality.

Involved staff


Department of Ancient Studies and Art History
Faculty of Humanities

Local organizational units

Abteilung für Altorientalische Philologie
Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES)
Department of Ancient Studies and Art History, Faculty of Humanities


Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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