Greek methods of diagnosis and treatment

Appeals to the gods

Statuette of the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios, 400-200BC

Statuette of the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios, 400-200BC

When their doctors could not heal them, many Greeks still appealed to their gods. Places such as Epidaurus had a temple - called an asklepion [Asklepion: Healing centre of the ancient Greeks, based around a belief in the god Asklepios. People would stay there when they were ill. ] - to Asklepios, the Greek god of healing.

After exercising and resting, and perhaps taking certain potions, patients slept the night in the holy place - called the abaton - of the temple. Here the god and his daughters Hygeia and Panacea came with two holy snakes, and healed the patients.

The snake is still the symbol of chemists, and the words hygiene and panacea have become a part of our language.

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