The Transmission of the Somniale Danielis, from Latin to Vernacular Italian (Laurenziano Martelli 12 and Riccardiano 859)




Somniale Danielis; Dream Interpretation; Medieval Symbolism; Dreams; Daniel the Prophet; Dante Alighieri


The Somniale Danielis is a dream manual widely circulated in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is structured through dream symbols and their concise explanation. Medieval manuscripts of the Somniale—from the ninth century to the end of the fifteenth century—generally bear the same dreams, but show changes in the structure of their entries. The coherence of its symbology throughout several centuries allows for a linguistic analysis across these dream manuals that situates them in specific cultural contexts. This article focuses on two manuscripts, each containing a Latin and an Italian version of the Somniale, and aims to show how the Italian versions develop, and vary from, the Latin texts, as the vernacular versions simplify the language of their source text in order to create shorter entries.

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