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Synesian Dreams. Giacomo Cardano on dreams as means of prophetic communication

Citation: Giglioni, Guido (2010) Synesian Dreams. Giacomo Cardano on dreams as means of prophetic communication. Bruniana & Campanelliana, XVI (2). pp. 575-584. ISSN 1724-0441


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

Girolamo Cardano conceived and outlined his four books on dreams ac-cording to Synesius’ philosophy between 1535 and 1537. Originally divided into ten books, the volume underwent subsequent modifications until it was pub-lished in 1562. We know from Cardano’s own testimony how the key episodes in his life were always heralded or accompanied by dreams. From this point of view, the 1562 summa on dreams reflects one of the most critical of such moments. As Jean-Yves Boriaud explains in the introduction to his new Latin edition and French translation of Somniorum Synesiorum libri quatuor, in the year prior to the composition of this work, Cardano was undergoing intense dream activity as a result of the tragic execution in 1560 of his son Giovanni Battista, who had been charged with poisoning his wife. From that moment on, the death of his son would represent a watershed moment in both his life and literary career. For this reason, too, Somniorum Synesiorum libri quatuor deserves to be considered as one of Cardano’s most important writings and Boriaud’s edition should be saluted as a notable accomplishment.

Creators: Giglioni, Guido (0000-0003-1844-2002) and
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Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Divisions: Warburg Institute
  • 2010 (published)


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