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St-Januarius-miracle

Freud tells the story of a chance conversation with a man who could not remember the word “aliquis”(an indefinite Latin pronoun) when trying to quote a line from Virgil (exoriare aliquis nostris ex osseous ultra — an avenger shall arise out of my bones). The poor man forgot a word and found himself in Freud’s book. Dido is calling for some future offspring to arise and avenge her.

When Freud’s companion complained of not remembering the word, Freud asked him for his associations with the word. He said that he broke the word up into a-liquis [which is nothing in Latin]. He had associations with “liquid”. He had associations with the miracle of St. Januarius’ blood liquifying on a feast day .

He had one other association: A female friend of the companion had missed her menstrual cycle.

Thus, there was a peculiar coincidence of events: the man failed to accurately remember a line of Latin poetry which referred to reproduction while worried about a reproduction which may have happened in his own life.  He was thinking of the line at the same time that he was complaining that the rights of people of his own generation were being restricted, thus, he looked to quote a future child who would avenge them: “The speak was lamenting the fact that the rights of the present generation of his people are restricted; a new generation, he foretells, like Dido, will be avenged upon its oppressors. So has expressed a wish for offspring. At the same moment a contradictory idea enters his mind. ‘Do you really want children so much? Surely not…'”