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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 - Hippocrates.doc

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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2900
Beate Gundert

Hippocrates • Understood medicine as a natural treatment and that disease was a natural process within the body that could be treated • He separated scientific medicine from magical and religious medicine. • Diseases were still somehow connected to God and still used magical practices to cure diseases. Cult of Asklepios • Much closer to scientific medicine than religious medicine • Spans 1000 years from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D. • At this time, there were 200 cult centres spread out all over the ancient world. • Sought relief in all kinds of ailments that ranged from infertility to fever, blindness... Who is Asklepios? • Tribal king, sends his two sons to Troy • Has a skill in medicine that he learned from Cheiron • Possesses medicine as a skill that has been acquired from learning and is a human physician. • Hero for the Greeks is someone with one mortal and one divine parent. His divine parent is Apollo who has a relationship to medicine. Asklepios is the son of Apol- lo. He was such an accomplished physician that he bribed a person to relieve him from death. This was a transgression in the eyes of the Gods so Zeus kills him with a thunderbolt. • In the 5th century, we find Asklepios as a God and he has a temple or sanctuary. • The first temple was in Epidauros. Sometime these temples were pre-existing that were devoted to Apollo and his function as a healer but he was superseded by Asklepios because he is the God of Medicine and the most important in terms of healing. • He is usually represented as bearded with an expression that inspires confidence. • He has a snake and staff. The snake winds itself around the staff. This is the sign of Asklepios and still is the sign of medicine today. • The snake sheds its skin so it is the symbol of rejuvenation. It also is related to the earth so it represents the healing power of the earth. • He is often accompanied by a dog who is also an earthy creature. • He is often accompanied by his children too ◦ 2 daughters which mean health and healing and drugs. ◦ Askesis - healing • His family exists as personifications that have something to do with healing. • Sometimes there is a cutting figure beside Asklepios and it is called telesphores. This is the symbol of the success of medicine. Fig. 18, Page 65 • Have the view inside the temple. He is bearded, has the staff and the snake around him. • They are sometimes out of ivory and gold - it would be awe-inspiring. • It is like a pilgrimage to go there - you would prepare for the trip and go with friends or family. It is on a sacred road where there are shops on either sides. You get in a mood that prepares you for the healing event. • You enter through a gate and would be in the holy precinct - some people who were not allowed to enter were people who were not allowed to die. • You might go to a fountain that would be #10 or #6. • You will find a sacrifice as well - offer a sacrifice to the God. • Dining rooms and guest houses where people might stay. The healing does not take place in those places. There is a sec
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