Marble statuette of Asclepius, Greek, 400-200 BC.

Image number: 10289149

Marble statuette of Asclepius, Greek, 400-200 BC.

The cult of Asclepius, Greek god of medicine and healing, arose in the 5th century BC. According to legend, Apollo invented healing and the knowledge was passed to his son Asclepius by Chiron the centaur. However, Asclepius was probably a real man whose reputation grew to god-like status after his death. Temples known as asklepia were built to Asclepius throughout the Greek world. The best known was at Epidaurus, near Athens. Sufferers spent the night at the temple and the next day described their dreams and visions of him to the temple priests, who gave them advice. The staff and sacred snake of Asclepius are the symbols of the modern medical profession.

Image number:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Date taken:
12 January 2004 16:06
Image rights:
Science Museum

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