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God of medicine
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Ancient Greece ancient Rome mythology.
Asclepius at ancient Greek asclepeion of Epidaurus.
Asclepius was the god of medicine in ancient Greek Roman mythology and religion (known to the Romans as Aesculapius). Asclepius was a healing god or a god of health. He was associated with the Roman god Vediovis. He was Apollo’s son. The rod of Asclepius , a snake-entwined staff, remains a symbol of medicine even today.
For further reading about medicine staff symbols:
Asclepius was also known as Vejovis, Vejove, Vediovis, Aesculapius in ancient Rome.
Asclepius was the sun of god Apollo and killed by Zeus with a thunderbolt, after bringing people back from the dead. He was the son of Apollo, god of light, and princess Koronis. His mother died in labour and was laid out on fire, but his god father rescued the unborn child, cutting him from his dead mother womb. From this he received the name Asklepios “to cut open.”
This was the first Caesarean section, also commonly known as C-section, a surgical procedure in which an incision is made through a mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver a baby.
The boy was raised by the centaur Cheiron, who instructed him in the art of medicine. Asklepius grew so skilled in medicine, that he was able to restore the dead to life. It is said that in return for some kindness rendered by Asclepius, a snake licked Asclepius’ ears clean and taught him secret knowledge (to the ancients, snakes were sacred beings of wisdom, healing, and resurrection). Asclepius bore a rod wreathed with a snake, which became associated with healing. To this day a species of non-venomous pan-Mediterranean serpent, the Aesculapian snake (Zamenis longissimus) is named for the god. However, because this was a crime against mother gaia or Hades god of the dead, Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt.
“Perseus beheaded their leader Medusa and presented the severed head as a trophy to Athena (Minerva), the Goddess of Wisdom. She had
The gift of life and the role of doctor
This gift of gorgon’s blood became `the gift of life‘ and permited Asclepius to rise the dead.
For the symbolism of gorgon’s blood in the history of medicine and the role of doctor see:
“the concept that the same drug could be a poison or a remedy depending on who administers it. The role played by the ‘iatròs’ or ‘iatèr’ or ‘doctor healer’, is also described by Homer as ‘equal to the gods’ and as an ‘extraordinary heroic’ one”.
Hades thought that no more dead spirits would come to the underworld, so he asked his brother Zeus to stop him. This angered Apollo who in turn killed the Cyclops who made the thunderbolts for Zeus.For medical review about Cyclopia as a congenital disorder see at: (with respect to the medical images pls):
After Asclepius’ death, Zeus placed his body among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus or the Serpent Holder.
Asclepius was frequently represented standing, dressed in a long cloak, with bare breast; his usual attribute was a staff with a serpent coiled around it. This staff is the only true symbol of medicine. A similar but unrelated emblem, the caduceus, with its winged staff and intertwined serpents, is frequently used as a medical emblem but is without medical relevance since it represents the magic wand of Hermes, or Mercury, the messenger of the gods and the patron of trade. The snake symbolized rejuvenation and healing to many ancient Mediterranean cultures. On this 17th-century title page, the single-snake staff of Asclepius and the double snake of the caduceus appear with other ancient medical images involving snakes.
Other sources stated that Asclepius was later resurrected as a god by Zeus to prevent any further feuds with Apollo. It was also claimed that Asclepius was instructed by Zeus to never revive the dead again, without his approval. Homer, in the Iliad, mentions him only as a skillful physician and the father of two Greek doctors at Troy, Machaon and Podalirius; in later times, however, he was worshiped as a god.
For medicine in Homer iliad , see further:
http://www.indiana.edu/~ancmed/Homer.htm from a great project of
Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus, is major temple to the healing god, the Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus.
It was built in the early fourth century BCE. Among the greatest monuments of Greek Antiquity, the famous theatre at the Asklepieion of Epidaurus, is the finest and most renowned of its kind. The Asklepion of Epidaurus was first investigated by the French Scientific Expedition of the Peloponnese in 1829.(As during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign, when a Commission of Sciences and Arts had accompanied the military campaign, a Morea scientific expedition (Expédition scientifique de Morée.) accompanied the troops.
The Morea expedition (French: Expédition de Morée) is the name given in France to the land intervention of the French Army in the Peloponnese (at the time often still known by its medieval name, Morea) between 1828 and 1833, at the time of the Greek War of Independence). Olympia:The expedition spent six weeks, starting on May 10, 1829, in Olympia. Abel Blouet and Dubois undertook the first excavations there. They were accompanied by the painters Poirot, Trezel and Duval.Metopes of Olympia brought back to the Louvre by the Morea expedition.
The French School also, has been active at the site of ancient Delphi since the 19th century.
For further study of Chiron centaur case:
Jan Bremmer University of Groningen, Faculty of Religious Studies and Theology, http://www.rug.nl/
Excavations at Asclepion of lerna Korinth by http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/
The Athenian Asclepion of Acropolis near Partehnon:
For the Cult of Asclepius and the classical traditions of the healing qualities of a physician and the healing power of a personal bond between doctor and patient, traditions that should not be forgotten by the modern doctors, see:
God of medicine ,ancient greece, ancient rome.
Asclepius at ancient Greek asclepeion of Epidaurus.
Mythology Art icon, Gold art gift.
Asclepius god of medicine, god of health, healing god.
Asclepeia provided carefully controlled spaces conducive to healing and fulfilled several of the requirements of institutions created for healing.In ancient Greece and Rome, an asclepeion (or Asclepieion , Latin aesculapīum) was a healing temple, sacred to the god Asclepius, the Grecian God of Medicine.
The leaf cure
According to one account, Asclepius acquired his affinity for serpents during a particularly tough case early in his career. Unable to cure the son of Minos, ruler of Crete, he was sealed into a room with the dying boy. When a snake slithered under the door, Asclepius killed it. Moments later, another snake made its way under the door and placed a leaf on the dead snake’s body, restoring it to life. Asclepius gave the leaf to the boy, who was cured. Another theory has it that Asclepius adopted the rod and snake as his symbol because it depicted the treatment for the then common filarial worm Dracunculus medinensis aka “the fiery serpent,” a horrible parasite that crept around just below the skin and could only be extracted by trapping its front end and winding it slowly around a stick. The cure is much the same to this day, though somewhat more hygienic. Before long, Asclepius became proficient at saving lives and this angered Hades, King of the Underworld, who complained to Zeus that his realm was being depopulated. Zeus thought Hades’ point a good one, and struck Asclepius down with a thunderbolt. Always the diplomat, Zeus soothed Apollo’s fury at the killing of his son with the tried-and-true Greek god’s panacea for murderous acts, placing the dead physician’s body among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus or “the Serpent Holder.” Later, some sources say, Zeus resurrected Asclepius as a god to further mollify Apollo, though Asclepius was given strict instructions never to revive the dead without permission.Asclepius’s influence on medicine did not end there. A cult of Asclepius sprang up and reached a zenith of popularity in the third century BCE, with over 500 temples spanning the ancient world from Scotland to Egypt and as far east as modern-day Iraq. The temples were a combination of health spas and religious centres that employed the help of non-venomous rat snakes in their healing rituals. Contemporary herpetologists think that the spread of the temples correlates with the population dispersion of the snake, now known popularly as the “aesculapian snake” and scientifically as zamenis longissimus.
Hippocrates himself is thought to have been trained as a priest at one such temple in Kos.
And although the Father of Western Medicine took a distinctly different direction, placing great value on experiential knowledge, he continued to honour his roots as an Asclepian.
For further study:
The Hippocratic oath makes this clear: “I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asklepios, and Hygea and Panacea [Asclepuis’s daughters], and all the gods and goddesses…”
For the Hippocratic IDEAL see:
In the Asclepieion of Epidaurus, three large marble boards dated to 350 BC preserve the names, case histories, complaints, and cures of about 70 patients who came to the temple with a problem and shed it there. Some of the surgical cures listed, such as the opening of an abdominal abscess or the removal of traumatic foreign material, are realistic enough to have taken place, but with the patient in a dream-like state of induced sleep known as “enkoimesis” (Greek: ἐγκοίμησις) not unlike anesthesia, induced with the help of soporific substances such as opium.
Hippocrates is said to have received his medical training at an asclepieion on the isle of Kos. Prior to becoming the personal physician to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Galen treated and studied at the famed asclepieion at Pergamon.
Temples to Asclepius were erected throughout the ancient Mediterranean. Those seeking healing would make pilgrimages to the sites and might perform prayers and sacrifices, make monetary gifts, or spend the night in the temple.
For the original work of Asclepius , we used art material from two ancient temples of Asclepius.
The Temple of Asclepius inside the Villa Borghese gardens, in Rome, which was built according to classical models in 1786 by architects Antonio and Mario Asprucci together with painter Cristopher Unterberger, perhaps as a memory of the destroyed ancient temple to the god of Medicine on the Tiber Island and the Cross-sections of restored temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus (From: Lechat, Henri. Epidaure, restauration et description des principaux monuments du sanctuaire d’Asclepios (Paris: Libraires-imprimeries réunis, 1895.
Reconstruction of the interior, altar and statue of temple of Aesculapius at Epidaurus.Ancient Greece; Architecture; Architectures Alphonse Defrasse; Alphonse & Lechat, Henry). The Asclepeion sanctuary of Epidaurus, was first studied by the French Scientific Expedition of the Peloponnese in 1829. Limited excavations of Epidaurus took place, such as by G. Roux of the French School at Athens in the area of the Abaton in 1942-43, and by I. Papadimitriou of the Greek Archaeological Service in 1948-51.
Temple of Aesculapius Rome.
This temple was dedicated on the Tiber Island on January 1, 291 B.C. After a plague in Rome in 293 B.C., ambassadors were sent to the city of Epidaurus in Greece (a well-known center for healing) for the plague in Rome see
They were supposed to bring back the image of the god Aesculapius, the god of healing, who had a large sanctuary in the town. When the ambassadors returned to Rome, they brought not the image but a serpent, the symbol of the god. The serpent abandoned the ship upon arrival in Rome and swam to the island. This was taken as a good omen. The entire island was consecrated to Aesculapius and a temple to the god was built on its southeast end. For further study of the worship of Asclepius at Rome:
“Public and Private Places of Worship in the Cult of Asclepius at Rome,” Gil Renberg Harvard University, Classics, Faculty Memberhttp://harvard.academia.edu/
Villa Borghese is a landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner in Rome, containing a number of buildings, museums (see Galleria Borghese) and attractions.In 1605, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V and patron of Bernini, began turning this former vineyard into the most extensive gardens built in Rome since Antiquity.Inside the gardens is the 18th century “Temple of Aesculapius” built purely as a landscape feature, influenced by the lake at Stourhead, Wiltshire, England.
The Temple of Aesculapius (Tempio di Esculapio) is an eighteenth century addition to the grounds. Built in 1786 by Antonio and Mario Asprucci, the building is of Ionic design and houses a statue of the eponymous god.3 Turner’s sketch looks across at the temple from the opposite side of a small lake. In the bottom right-hand corner he has made an accurate transcription of the Greek inscription which runs beneath the frieze across the façade.
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
In a small valley in the Peloponnesus, the shrine of Asklepios, the god of medicine, developed out of a much earlier cult of Apollo (Maleatas), during the 6th century BC at the latest, as the official cult of the city state of Epidaurus. Its principal monuments, particularly the temple of Asklepios, the Tholos and the Theatre – considered one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture – date from the 4th century. The vast site, with its temples and hospital buildings devoted to its healing gods, provides valuable insight into the healing cults of Greek and Roman times. Further study at:
Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus, was a major temple to the healing god, the Temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus. It was built in the early fourth century BCE. Among the greatest monuments of Greek Antiquity, the famous theatre at the Asklepieion of Epidaurus, is the finest and most renowned of its kind.
For the music art therapy and music therapy of Epidaurus theatre (Asclepeion) and the use of theatrical plays in medical treatment of the patients see:
“Asclepius cured ‘frenetics’, (that is, the insane) with the aid of the symphonia, an instrumental musical composition”.
The Sanctuary of Asklepius at Epidaurus is a remarkable testament to the healing cults of the Ancient World and witness to the emergence of scientific medicine.The Sanctuary is the earliest organized sanatorium and is significant for its association with the history of medicine, providing evidence of the transition from belief in divine healing to the science of medicine.
Initially, in the 2nd millennium BCE it was a site of ceremonial healing practices with curative associations that were later enriched through the cults of Apollo Maleatas in the 8th century BCE and then by Asklepios in the 6th century BCE. The Sanctuary of the two gods was developed into the single most important therapeutic center of the ancient world. These practices were subsequently spread to the rest of the Greco-Roman world and the Sanctuary thus became the cradle of medicine.
Excavations at Asclepion of lerna Korinth by http://www.ascsa.edu.gr/
The Athenian Asclepion of Acropolis near Partehnon:
Asclepion Ancient Athens Acropolis near Partehnon
Epigraphy of Asclepion
The plague of Athens in 430BC during the war: epidemiology and paleopathology. The death of Pericles.Typhus or typhoid fever , EBOLA virus or a smallpox, Scarlet fever or even Measles?
“In 430 BC, a plague struck the city of Athens, which was then under siege by Sparta during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). In the next 3 years, most of the population was infected, and perhaps as many as 75,000 to 100,000 people, 25% of the city’s population, died. The Athenian general and historian Thucydides left an eye-witness account of this plague and a detailed description to allow future generations to identify the disease should it break out again. Because of the importance of Thucydides and Athens in Western history and culture, the Plague of Athens has taken a prominent position in the history of the West for the past 2500 years”.
“In January 1999, the University of Maryland devoted their fifth annual medical conference, dedicated to notorious case histories, to the Plague of Athens. They concluded that disease that killed the Greeks and their military and political leader, Pericles, was typhus”.
The World Heritage property http://whc.unesco.org/en/list contains within its boundaries all the key attributes that convey the Outstanding Universal Value of the Sanctuary. The theatre is admired for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect intelligibility of unamplified spoken words from the proscenium or skēnē to all 14,000 spectators, regardless of their seating (see Ref., in Greek). Famously, tour guides have their groups scattered in the stands and show them how they can easily hear the sound of a match struck at center-stage. A 2007 study by Nico F. Declercq and Cindy Dekeyser of the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that the astonishing acoustic properties may be the result of the advanced design: the rows of limestone seats filter out low-frequency sounds, such as the murmur of the crowd, and amplify high-frequency sounds from the stage.
Last words of Socrates before death and Asclepius debt:
Socrates’ death is described at the end of Plato’s Phaedo. Socrates turned down Crito’s pleas to attempt an escape from prison. After drinking the poison, he was instructed to walk around until his legs felt numb. After he lay down, the man who administered the poison pinched his foot; Socrates could no longer feel his legs. The numbness slowly crept up his body until it reached his heart. Shortly before his death, Socrates speaks his last words to Crito: “Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don’t forget to pay the debt.”
Asclepius was the Greek god for curing illness, and it is likely Socrates’ last words meant that death is the cure—and freedom, of the soul from the body. Additionally, in Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths, Robin Waterfield adds another interpretation of Socrates’ last words. He suggests that Socrates was a voluntary scapegoat; his death was the purifying remedy for Athens’ misfortunes. In this view, the token of appreciation for Asclepius would represent a cure for Athens’ ailments.
Another view for the last words of Socrates, from an excellent publiced article:
sources and further study of ancient medicine, asclepieion and others :
romereborn.com , from IATH (this is a research unit of the University of Virginia established by the University of Virginia in 1992. Our goal is to explore and develop information technology as a tool for scholarly humanities research), http://www.virginia.edu/
Socrates famous last words for Asclepius debt:
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~peter009/debt.pdf (for plato’s phaedo dialogue)