Bartholomew the Englishman

On Dreams

Introduction by Juris Lidaka

Bartholomew says: "A dream is a certain disposition of sleeping people, in which the forms and imagined likenesses of various things are impressed upon the minds of the sleepers. They arise many ways, as Gregory [Moralia 5.31 or 22] and Macrobius say about the Somnium Scipioni.  On account of the linking and union of the soul with the flesh, sometimes dispositions and emotions arising from the body resound in the mind itself, because of this attachment of the flesh to the soul. Therefore in dreaming we often intuit the images of such things we are accustomed to see with some frequency while awake.

"Again, in the same place [at chapter 14 he says that] in dreams we see the likenesses of things, of species and bodies, and not the things themselves.   Though it is the species of things we see while dreaming, we call them by the names of these things, and soley on the basis of the likeness we attribute [to these image the properties] of these things. When we are awake, we comprehend the forms of things with our senses, but when we are asleep we intuit the images of things with our  spirit."

Original Latin

What's in a dream?
I dream! You dream! We all dream for ice cream! No, wait – that’s not quite right....well, never mind.

We do all dream, and we all know that sometimes dreams are wholly imaginary. Other times they show what we wish to see. Yet other times they may be prophetic (but let’s not get too excited by those dream “interpretation” books by check-outs in grocery stores.)

If you have a dog, you know that dogs dream, too – their legs move and they make sounds like they do when they're awake. And didn’t Bogie say the dingus was “the stuff that dreams are made of” ?

dingus: 1940s slang for "thing". In the film "The Maltese Falcon" it refers to a statuette that crooks killed for in the belief that it was the "Falcon."

Except for what Bogie meant by “dreams,” all the rest was well-known to Bartholomew. But he was concerned to explain more than just how or why dogs dream. He also wanted to make explicit the great variety of causes of dreams, natural and supernatural. Dreams could be caused by demons, by divine inspiration, by desires, or by bodily ailments.

And he wanted to make sure his readers understood that though occasionally dreams could mean something, more often they meant absolutely nothing. How did he know? Well, he tells us who told him! And if you can’t trust the Bible, St. Augustine, Constantine the African, and Aristotle, whom can you trust?