Medicine through time

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The Cult of Asclepious

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 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
  • Bathing
  • 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. (See Activities section)

Recommended link:

Healer Cults and Sanctuaries

Ancient Greece Section - pages in this unit

Unit home page -  Hippocrates: Background - Hippocrates: Theory of the Four Humors - The Cult of Asclepious - The City of Alexandria - Public Health in Ancient Greece - Activities - External Links



Greek and Roman Medicine

The second book in the History of Medicine series. This book is an ideal resource for students following the Medicine Through Time course at GCSE level. The book provides a clear understanding of the key ideas that formed medical practice throughout the Ancient and medieval worlds, making the content 'must know' material. Brilliantly summarised and supported by a wide range of images.

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GCSE History Resource Website - Crime and Punishment Through Time Site - Schools History Resources for all Key Stages