The dreams of Aelius Aristides: A psychological interpretation

John C Stephens


The topic of this article is the religious experience of Aelius Aristides, a second century A.D. sophist. Aristides was a member of the cult of Asclepius, a Greco-Roman religious healing cult.  Aristides recorded his experiences in this cult and this personal narrative includes detailed descriptions of many of Aristides’ dreams. This unusual diary is called the Sacred Tales. Our psychological analysis of Aristides’ religiosity will begin by assessing the numerical frequency of the dream images appearing in the manifest-contents of Aristides’ dreams. Our identification of the predominant images in the manifest contents of Aristides’ dreams will help us to decode the latent unconscious meaning of several of Aristides’ dreams.  Our goal is to identify the main source of Aristides’ psychological problems.


Ancient Greece, Aristides, Cult of Asclepius

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