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(Epidaurus, Greece 4-2nd C.BC)

 Asclepius, son of Apollon and Coronis, is the (demi-)god of medicine and the father of Hygieia, goddess of health and Panacea, goddess of medicines. Asclepius standard attribute is a staff with a snake wound around it. The ancient Greeks believed snakes were part of the underworld which held the key to the mystery of life and the curing of illness. The orginally full-size sculpture was found in Epidaurus, Asclepius’ principal sanctuary in the north-east of the Peleponnese. It was a popular pilgrimage site from the 3rd century onwards. Ill people could stay the night there and then present their dreams to the priests on the following day. It was seen as a good sign if the former included a snake which they often did, as the floors of the wards writhed with holy snakes.

  • GRE07

  • h. 22 cm.