Religion Past and Present

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Incubation
(469 words)

[German Version]

Incubation (Lat. incubare, Gk enkatheúdein, enkoimán, “to sleep in a sanctuary”) is the ritual practice of sleeping in a sanctuary for the purpose of experiencing a divine epiphany in one's dreams and of receiving help. The practice was especially cultivated in the healing sanctuaries of Asclepius, although it is also attested in other cults in which healing (Amphiaraos in Oropus, Isis and other gods in Kanopos-Menouthis in the Nile Delta) or dream oracles were sought. Incubation is attested since Homer, while numerous inscriptions (many also addressing gods…

Cite this page
Graf, Fritz, “Incubation”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 16 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1877-5888_rpp_SIM_10421>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013



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