Cult of Asclepius

The Cult of Asclepius

Asclepious was the Greek God of healing. Worshippers built large temple complexes around Greece in his name. Throughout the period, and into the era of the Roman Empire, people would visit these temples to be healed. The cult is remembered to this day through use of the name of his daughters name in everyday language. Her name, Hygeia.

A relief showing a sacrifice to the god Asclepius
A relief showing a sacrifice to the god Asclepius

The Cult of Asclepious, which developed older ideas based on religious healing and introduced many more forms of ‘alternative’ treatment, was at it’s peak from the Fifth century BC through to as late as 400AD.

At a Asclepion (one of the temples) a patient would be expected to partake in a number of rituals, which, it was believed, would cure the infirm. In brief these rituals consisted of:

Making sacrifices
Sleeping in the courtyard
It is widely believed that the priests would have healed many visitors to Asclepion’s through the use of ointments and herbal remedies, a theory that is borne out through a logical examination of some of the available source material.