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Сон и смерть, тело и душа, Артемидор и Фрейд (заметки о некоторых специфических чертах античного греческого менталитета)

Surikov Igor Evgenyevich, Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences

In the article, several mutually connected features of Ancient Greek mentality are dealt with on the material of various pieces of literary tradition. The Sleep (Hypnos) and the Death (Thanatos) are called brothers by Hesiod. Sleep is connected with dreams, and typical Greek dreams, to judge for instance from Artemidorus’ Oneirocritica, are in many cases rather unlike our modern dreams. If the latter have, according to Freud, a “censorial” function, in Greek dreams such a function was not highly developed. The Greeks often dreamt about genitals, coitus and so on. In this relation the situation is, I dare say, contrary to ours: not neutral symbolic was used to substitute sexual matters, but – quite opposite! – sexual symbolic could be used to substitute non-sexual matters.

And in general one can speak of more frankness of the Greeks in the questions of intimacy as compared with our civilization’s views. It is possible to remember also a kind of ‘cult’ of male nudity in Greece. As Russian poet and thinker Maximilian Voloshin said, the real face of a Greek was his body. It is visible, inter alia, in iconographical representations.

The priority of the theme of body (soma) in Greek connotations of human existence is a very typical feature. It is manifest also in Greek perception of the death and the future life.

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