Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Asklepion

As I mentioned previously, the possible Byzantine Castle was built partially over the remains of the Asklepion.



The Asklepion was the name given to the ancient Greek temples of healing by followers of the Greek God of Healing, Asklepios.
The temple was said to be a smaller version of the Temple of Athena and so was considered to have been built by Pythius. The temple was recorded to have been started in 330 BCE (4th Century) and completed by the beginning of the 3rd Century BCE.

Here you can see a couple of sections of the site sign showing the floor plan of the Asklepion and a sketch of the Temple housed within the Asklepion.  Apologies for the quality of this first photo, but this part of the sign is in poor condition.




Asklepios was a real physician who lived in Greece around 1200 BCE (13th to 12th century BCE), and over time, myth and legend turned him into the Greek God of Healing.  Asklepios was the first person to have recorded the condition of his patients, the medicine given, with dose, and the outcome of the treatment.  Here is a photo of a statue of him in one of his classic poses with his staff with a snake entwined around it, this symbol is still associated with medicine today.


It is documented that followers who needed to be healed would spend the night in the Asklepion, however, no one near death would be allow to enter, nor pregnant women, as childbirth was so dangerous.  The Asklepion had to maintain its importance as a place of healing and not of death.  The patients would spend nights in rooms that were said to induce dreams they would then report to the Priest the next day and give details of their dreams.  The Priest would then prescribe a cure, often involving one or a combination of diets, massages, surgeries, herbal remedies, a visit to the baths or gymnasium, or even a visit to the theatre considered a place to relax.  Snakes were considered sacred to the God Asklepios, and so they were often used as part of the healing process.  Non-venomous  snakes were often left to crawl around in the rooms of the sick and injured.

The next two photos show the stoa (a covered walk way) which would have been located around the front of the Asklepion and between the Asklepion and the Agora.



The next photo shows the remains of the doorway to the temple in the Asklepion. When I first saw this I could not believe how big the footprint for this doorway was. but then as you look around, you start to see how much ground the Asklepion covered. I find myself quite often miss scaling ruins, you really have to use your imagination.

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