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ASCLEPIUS - ASKLIPIÓS - ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙΟΣ
Pencil sketch of the marble sculpture of Asclepius in the Chiaramonti Museum in the Vatican, sketch released to the Public Domain.
HellenicGods.org


ORPHIC HYMN TO ASKLIPIÓS 
(trans. Thomas Taylor, 1792)
Fumigation of Mánna

Great Esculapius, skill'd to heal mankind,
All-ruling Pæan, and physician kind;
Whose arts medic'nal, can alone assuage
Diseases dire, and stop their dreadful rage:
Strong lenient God, regard my suppliant pray'r,
Bring gentle Health, adorn'd with lovely hair;
Convey the means of mitigating pain,
And raging, deadly pestilence restrain.
O pow'r all-flourishing, abundant, bright,
Apollo's honor'd offspring, God of light;
Husband of blameless Health, the constant foe
Of dread Disease the minister of woe:
Come, blessed saviour, and my health defend,
And to my life afford a prosp'rous end.


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Asklipiós - (Asclepius; Gr. Ἀσκληπιός, ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙΟΣ. Pronounced: ahs-klee-pee-OHS.) 

Asklipiós is an important deity of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, was one of the Argonáftai (Argonauts; Gr. Ἀργοναῦται) and a great God of Medicine and Healing. Asklipiós is listed in the Hippocratic Oath second only to Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων):

"I SWEAR by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Health (Gr. Ὑγεία), and All-heal (Gr. Πανάκεια), and all the Gods and Goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath..." (trans. Francis Adams).

According to the mythology, Asklipiós is the son of Apóllohn and the Trikkaian princess Korohnís (Coronis; Gr. Κορωνίς), but there are conflicting stories:

"This oracle most clearly proves that Asclepius was not the son of Arsinoë but that Hesiod or one of Hesiod's interpolators composed the verses to please the Messenians.”

Some say (Asclepius) was the son of Arsinoë, others of Coronis. But Asclepiades says that Arsinoë was the daughter of Leucippus, Perieres' son, and that to her and Apollo, Asclepius and a daughter, Eriopis, were born:

'And she bare in the palace Asclepius, leader of men, and Eriopis with the lovely hair, being subject in love to Phoebus (ed. Apóllohn).'

And of Arsinoë likewise:

'And Arsinoë was joined with the son of Zeus (ed. Zefs; Gr. Ζεύς) and Leto (ed. Litóh; Gr. Λητώ) and bare a son Asclepius, blameless and strong.' [1]


The Deification of Asklipiós

The mother of Asklipiós, Korohnís, died in childbirth. Apóllohn saved the child by cutting him from the womb, hence his name Asklipiós, "to cut open." He was raised by Kheirohn (Cheiron; Gr. Χείρων), the Kǽntavri (Centaur; Gr. Κένταυροι), who taught him the art of medicine. According to a familiar version of his mythology, Asklipiós became such a skilled physician that he brought a dead man back to life, causing Aidohnéfs (Aidoneus = Pluto = Hades; Gr. Ἀϊδωνεύς) to complain to Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς). In response to this objection of the God, Zefs then killed Asklipiós with a thunderbolt, resulting in his deification.


The Daughters and Sons of Asklipiós

Asklipiós is the husband of Ipióni (Epione; Gr. Ἠπιόνη) by whom he has six daughters:

Aglaia (Aglaea or Aegle; Gr. Ἀγλαΐα) Radiance of Health
Akæsóh (Akeso; Gr. Ἀκεσώ) Healing
Yyeia (Hygeia; Gr. Ὑγεία) Good Health
Iasóh (Gr. Ἰασώ) Remedy
Panákeia (Panacea; Gr. Πανάκεια) All-Healing

Asklipiós also has sons:

Makháohn (Makhaon; Gr. Μαχάων) and Podaleirios (Podalirius; Gr. Ποδαλείριος), Greek surgeons during the siege of Troy.

According to Pafsanías (Pausanias; Gr. Παυσανίας), Asklipiós had a son named Áratos (Aratus; Gr. Ἄρατος) by Aristodáma (Aristodama; Gr. Ἀριστοδάμα).

There is a God mentioned as a son of Asklipiós, Tælæsphóros (Telesphorus; Gr. Τελεσφόρος) [Paus. ii. 11.7]. The name Tælæsphóros means "he who brings completion" because he is the recovery from illness. Tælæsphóros is represented in iconography as a dwarf wearing a hood or cap.

The Cult of Asklipiós

Asklipiós enjoyed cultus throughout the ancient world; his principal shrine was at Æpídavros (Epidaurus; Gr. Επίδαυρος). Temples of Asklipiós were great centers of healing; they were known as Asklipieion (Asklepion; Gr. Ἀσκληπιεῖον. Pronounced: ahs-klee-pee-EE-ohn).

At these hospices, patients would be treated by priests known as Asklipiádæ (Asklepiadae; Gr. Ἀσκληπιάδαι. plural) [2]. The title Asklipiádis (Asklepiades; Gr. Ἀσκληπιάδης. singular) means "son of Asklipiós," hence it is the name for a physician/priest of Asklipiós. The method of healing at these temples would involve dreams the patient had while visiting; these dreams were interpreted by the priests, and usually the cure was suggested in the dream. The practice of dream interpretation is known as oneirokrisía (oneirocrisia; Gr. ὀνειροκρισία), but such techniques would have been specialized for medicine and for the cult of the God.

The sanctuaries kept a species of harmless snakes, Asklipian snakes (Elaphe longissima). So greatly loved was Asklipiós and his temples that this snake can be found all over Europe, far beyond its native region in the south.


Asklipiós in Iconography

In iconography, Asklipiós is depicted as a benevolent, noble, mature, and usually (but not always) bearded man, wearing a long robe with a snake twisted about it, his chest exposed either entirely or half-way. He holds the Asklipian at his side, a staff with a serpent entwined. The sketch at the top of this page is based on the sculpture, a Roman copy of a Greek original, from the hall of the Braccio Nuovo in the Vatican. Beyond the incredible beauty of this statue, it is notable for two reasons: the sculpture portrays Asklipiós as a young and beardless man; the second point of interest is the Orphic egg at his foot.

There is a story in Sparta of a sick boy who had a dream of Asklipiós. The God appeared to the boy dressed in arms, riding a horse and bearing a sword. Asklipiós exclaimed to the boy, "I am in a great hurry as I go to fight for the Spartans! I shall heal you when I return." The boy was later healed of his malady. The Spartans then worshiped Asklipiós as a warrior. Hence, this unusual representation of the God.


The many names of Asklipiós

Please visit this page: Asklipiós: The Epithets



Philostratus about Asklipiós in his book about Apollóhnios of Týana: 

"And he (ed. Apollóhnios) replied: 'I can advise you of what, under the circumstances, will be most valuable to you; for I suppose you want to get well.' 'Yes, by Zeus,' answered the other (ed. a drunkard suffering from dropsy), 'I want the health which Asclepius promises, but never gives.' 'Hush,' said the other, 'for he gives to those who desire it, but you do things that irritate and aggravate your disease..." 
(Philostratus Life of Apollonios of Tyana Book 1.9, trans. F. C. Conybeare, 1912; found here in the 1948 Harvard/Heinemann/Loeb edition [Cambridge MA and London], Vol. 1, p. 21.)


HOMERIC HYMN TO ASKLIPIÓS [3]


     I BEGIN to sing of Asclepius, son of Apollo and healer of sicknesses.  In the Dotian plain fair Coronis, daughter of King Phlegyas, bare him, a great joy to men, a soother of cruel pangs.
     And so hail to you, lord: in my song I make my prayer to thee!


NOTES:

[1] Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος) Yinaikóhn Katálogos (Catalog of Women; Gr. Γυναικῶν Κατάλογος) 63, trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White, 1914. We are using the 1936 edition entitled Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, published by Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge MA USA) and William Heinemann LTD (London England), Loeb Classical Library, where this quotation can be found on p. 189.

[2] Asklipiádis [singular] (Asklepiades; Gr. Ἀσκληπιάδης); Asklipiádæ [plural] (Asklepiadae; Gr. Ἀσκληπιάδαι).

[3] trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-white, Hesiod: The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, Harvard Univ. Press, 1914, 1936, p. 441.


The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.


The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The 
Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς). 



PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.


The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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