In this paper I scrutinize the origin of the concept of dreams influenced by mens’ daylightexperience. To this end I showcase some texts from Hellenistic literature until English Renaissance which to my mind can be brought into connection with each other in terms of realism of dream-vision. By looking on the common traits one can arrive at the conclusion that the dream-realism is a concept which first became popular in the Hellenism and it was from there that it took its long way through ages.
The present contribution starts with the elimination of the recent hypothesis of an Empedoclean model for Lucretius' hymn to Venus and returns to the general tradition of Hesiodic and Hellenistic didactic poetry being its background. Hesiod's two proems, the Homeric Hymns, Aratus' proem and Cleanthes' Hymn offer the material to elucidate the typology of Lucretius' first proem. Then follows a study of the sources (or that of the traditional background) to the main elements of praise. One of the results of this study seems to be an emphasis on the importance of hominum divumque voluptas as a symbol of the Epicurean message about the gods and man, another, the highlighting of the very extensive influence of the 5th Homeric hymn to Aphrodite on the first twenty verses of Lucretius, and the third, the quotation of Parmenides B12, 3 for the equation of Venus and Natura, combined with the traditional (not the Empedoclean) connexion between Ares and Aphrodite. The interpretation of the hymn as a whole starts from the supposition that there is no contradiction between its symbolic meaning and the teaching of Epicurus. This may find support in a study of the concept of God in Lucretius and his ways of metaphorical usage. The background to this is given by Epicurus' attitude towards traditional religion, an attitude which has been followed by Lucretius and given expression in his attack against turpis religio as well as in his adaptation of traditional religious motifs to his poetry.
In the poetry of the late Republic and the age of Augustus, a gradual expansion and Romanisation of the role of Magna Mater can be observed. In Catullus, she appears only as a goddess from Asia Minor linked to Attis’ repulsive act. In Lucretius, Cybele is identical with Rhea, which remarkably changes her position as she becomes the mother of all Olympian gods. In Vergil, in addition to being the mother of all gods, she is also the Chief Goddess of the Trojans, who plays an active role in shaping Aeneas’ fate. The most thorough picture of the Goddess is provided by Ovid, who covers every detail of the cult, placing emphasis on embracing the cult. He goes to great lengths to attribute Roman origin to its apparently foreign features, i.e., he tries to Romanise the already embraced cult as much as possible. All this must have taken place under the aegis of and in accordance with Augustus’ religious policy.
Vergil’s Eclogues, despite belonging to the bucolic genre and being largely modelled on Theocritus’ Idylls, bear clear marks of cosmic inspiration; these emerge from time to time, now in one poem, next in another, issuing ideas and images apparently inconsistent with the pastoral world: this happens especially in the three central Eclogues. Non-pastoral ideas and images often refer to philosophical or mythological themes, possibly coming either from poets with a cosmic vein (such as Hesiod and Lucretius), or from philosophic schools dealing with cosmogony (such as Orphism and Stoicism). Vergil develops these themes in innovative ways. This broadening of perspective concerns the power of song that seduces and dominates nature (with remarkable self-reflexive implications), the human desire to interact with the gods (even to enter their realm and identify with them through apotheosis), and the longing for purification and rebirth, hand-in-hand with the universal aspiration for peace and happiness.