Mosaic Work Depicting Asclepius


Asclepius (Greek: Ἀσκληπιός Asklēpiós; Latin: Aesculapius) or Hepius is the god of medicine in ancient Greek  mythology. He is the son of Apollo and Coronis, or Arsinoe, or of Apollo alone. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts. From the fifth century BC inwards, the cult of Asclepius grew very popular and pilgrims flocked to his healing temples (Asclepieia) to be cured of their ills.  Those consisted purification to be followed by offerings or sacrifices to the god (according to means), and the supplicant would then spend the night in the holiest part of the sanctuary – the abaton (or adyton). Any dreams or visions would be reported to a priest who would prescribe the appropriate therapy by a process of interpretation

It is quite unknown whether Asclepius had a temple established in Palmyra however, the rituals that has been associated with his cult were quite known yet to other temples and deities of the same period at least in the east Mediterranean region. Some of these rituals still exist in Syria and known to specific religious shrines in various palaces of the country.

Some healing temples also used sacred dogs to lick the wounds of sick petitioners. In honor of Asclepius, a particular type of non-venomous snake was often used in healing rituals, and these snakes — the Aesculapian Snakes — slithered around freely on the floor in dormitories where the sick and injured slept. These snakes were introduced at the founding of each new temple of Asclepius throughout the classical world.

  • Material: Colored stone and mortar.

  • Date:

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  • Excavated from: Palmyra-

  • Archaeological Mission:

  • Archaeological Museum Of Palmyra – 2011

Excavation Site Location

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Wickkiser, Bronwen. Asklepios, Medicine, and the Politics of Healing in Fifth-century Greece: Between Craft and Cult. Johns Hopkins Press, 2008. p. 10

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