AsclepiusAndTempleMedicine - Asclepius, p1 Asclepius and...

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Asclepius, p1 Asclepius and Temple Medicine Ps-Galen, Introductio 1 The Greeks ascribe the inventions of the arts either to the children of the gods or to certain men akin to them to whom the gods first imparted every art. Thus also the art of medicine, they say, Asclepius first learned from Apollo his father, and transmitted it to mankind; for this reason he is considered to be the discoverer of it. before the time of Asclepius, the medical art did not yet exist among men, but the men of old had some experience with herbs and drugs, such simples as among the Greeks Chiron the Centaur knew well, and the heroes who were instructed by him, and all those simples that are attributed to Aristaeus and Melampus and Polyidus. Poem by Aeschines, Palatine Anthology vi 330: Despairing of human skill but with all hope in the divine, Leaving Athens, blessed in her sons, and coming to your grove, Asklepios, I was cured in three months of a wound In the head that had lasted for a whole year. For an ailing worshipper in pursuit of a cure, a bath in the sea served as the outward symbol of the inner state prescribed at Epidauros (Porphyrius, De abstinentia ii.19): "Going into the fragrant temple, one must be pure; purity is thinking holy thoughts." Then came the offering of honey cakes at the altar. At Corinth the arrangements suggest that in addition to a sea bath the patient made token ablutions at the eastern water basin, proceeded to both altar and temple and then to the lustral area for proper cleansing before entering the main hall of the abaton or inner sanctum. There the patient lay down on a pallet on the floor, and presently an attendant put out the lights and urged sleep and silence. Then in the patient's dream the god came with an attendant carrying mortar, pestle and medicine chest, mixing a potion, applying a plaster, using the knife or summoning a sacred serpent to lick the afflicted part. If the dream was suggested by an actual priest making his rounds, the cure to which the patient attested on waking was still a thing worthy of wonder and thankfulness. It is from such expressions of thankfulness that there has come down to us the most vivid evidence of the treatment undergone and the cures effected. Corinthian terracotta models of. ..anatomical bits and pieces that were healed. ..illustrate the "case histories" recorded at Epidauros and elsewhere. The accumulated mass of life size votive limbs and organs found in the Asklepieion precinct amounted to some ten cubic meters and included examples of almost all parts of the body: legs, feet, arms, hands, ears and eyes, torsos, heads, female breasts and reproductive organs, and male genitalia. [from: Cure and Cult in Ancient Corinth: a guide to the Asklepieion, American School of Classical Studies at Athens (Princeton 1977)] A literary account of a visit to Asclepius: Philostratus, Apollonius of Tyana 1.9: Now it is well that I should not pass over what happened in the temple while relating the life of a man [Apollonius] who was held in esteem even by the gods. For an
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This note was uploaded on 06/29/2008 for the course CLASSIC 148 taught by Professor Blank during the Spring '08 term at UCLA.

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AsclepiusAndTempleMedicine - Asclepius, p1 Asclepius and...

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