Incunabula and early printed books

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Photo DANIEL. 

Rare incunabula edition of the “Somnia Danielis”.
Only 6 copies listed in public libraries, all in Europe. Only one in France, in Nantes.

With Sigmund Freud and the invention of psychoanalysis, an essential technique was born: the interpretation of dreams as a way to access unconscious knowledge.
But dreams have always tormented humanity.
While so many ambitious theories, more or less scientific, on the origin or the meaning of dreams have fallen into the most definitive oblivion, the humble interpretations of the "Prophet Daniel" are still alive today, and they have transmitted from century to century beliefs which, in the last analysis, go back to ancient Chaldea.
But it is in Byzantium that the tradition of Daniel's dreams is first attested.
The onirocritics enjoyed great favor there. Artemidorus' treatise was too complete and difficult to understand and was only intended for professionals.
The general public quickly preferred the key to Daniel's dreams.
These are summary keys of dreams where the dreams are classified in a more or less strict alphabetical order. After the statement of the dream theme, the prediction follows without any justification.
The Pseudo-Daniel was translated into Latin in the 6th century under the title Somniale Danielis.
It was then that it reached the West and was very successful, as can be seen from the number of preserved manuscripts, the oldest of which date from the 10th century (in Vienna and the British Library).
These books of dream interpretations, which originated from pagan divination rites, were strongly but ineffectively disapproved by the Roman church.
There were several dozen editions (princeps 1475).
The apparent insignificance of these anonymous prints, probably intended for peddling, has long distracted the attention of scholars and bibliophiles from these puerile leaflets.
"Today these modest pamphlets have become extremely rare, and are hardly to be found except in the great libraries" (Hélin. 1925, p. 65).

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