My conclusion is that obscure messages by means of dreams
are utterly inconsistent with the dignity of gods.
"Let us now consider dreams that are
clear and direct, like the dream of the man who was
killed by the innkeeper at Megara;1
or like that of
Simonides who was warned by the man he had
buried not to sail; and also like Alexander's
dream, which, to my surprise, my dear Quintus,
you passed by without notice: Alexander's intimate
friend, Ptolemaeus, had been struck in battle by a
poisoned arrow and was at the point of death from his
wound and suffering the most excruciating agony.
Alexander, while sitting by the bedside of his
friend, fell fast asleep. Thereupon, so the story goes,
he dreamed that the pet serpent of his mother
Olympias appeared to him carrying a root in its
mouth and, at the same time, gave him the name of a
place close by where it said the root grew. This
root, the serpent told him, was of such great virtue
that it would effect the speedy cure of Ptolemaeus.
As soon as Alexander awoke he related his dream to
his friends and men were sent to find the root. It is
said that when the root was found it worked the cure
not only of Ptolemaeus, but also of many soldiers who
had been wounded by the same kind of arrow.