Cult Of Asclepius

1607 Words 7 Pages
This paper analyzes the medical practice that was built around the cult of Asclepius in Ancient Greece and compares it to other practices from the same period: the Hippocratics and unaffiliated doctors. It starts with a short story about the mythical persona of Asclepius to showcase the perspective the people had about him then it continues to describe how this perspective helped forward the medical profession despite its gross inaccuracies and it ends with a discussion of the symbiotic relationship between the medical practices of Asclepius and those of the Hippocratics. The paper concludes that the cult of Asclepius was a necessary phase in the history of medicine as a basis of trust in the profession and even with all its flaws and perceived …show more content…
It is said that he learned from a snake the art of healing2 and even resurrection, a forbidden act for which he was later killed by Zeus. Now, obviously, it was not a mythical god that left such a remarkable footprint on medical history, but the acts and contributions of the priests in the asclepieions erected in his name. Therefore, it is reasonable to temporarily discard the mythical stories of Asclepius and focus instead on the deeds performed by his followers and their importance in the history of …show more content…
The religion that they were espousing taught that diseases are caused by the wrath of gods and that faith healing was a selective and merciful act4 performed by the gods on those that they have forgiven. Paradoxically, it was such a retrograde view of health that kick-started a primitive form of medical professional in the form of a priest of Asclepius. Under this doctrine of health, a medical failure was imply attributable to a lack of faith in the healing process or absence of forgiveness from the gods, which implied that no mortal had to bear the shame for these failures. As a matter of fact, this divine certificate that the priests of Asclepius had allowed them to engage in riskier procedures than normal doctors could for fear of retaliation in case of

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