“Whether it is suitable for Christian people to believe in dreams and dream interpretation”: the dreambook of Master Laurentiusin the context of mediaeval dream lore
The dreambook of the mediaeval Czech poet, chronicler and translator Laurentius de Březová (c. 1370–c. 1437) is an example of a vernacular rendition of the tenth-century Byzantine dream interpretation manual known as the Oneirocriticon Achmetis. The Czech version seems to follow its source quite faithfully and the only distinct contribution of the Czech author is the dreambook’s original theoretical foreword. The text has the character of dream apologetics and clearly reflects the anxiety and controversy which dreams, especially in the early Middle Ages, stirred. The benevolent attitude towards dreams expressed in the final typology of dream visions and the marginalisation of their hidden dangers, however, unmistakeably place the work in the context of high and late mediaeval oneirology. The author of the foreword demonstrates a solid knowledge of Biblical material and a general acquaintance with Latin historiographic works; however, his erudition in the field of contemporary dream theory is questionable.