Asclepius: Relationship Between Religion, Magic, And Medicine

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Perhaps most significant influence on the relationship between religion, magic, and medicine was the Cult of Asclepius, which had spread across much of Greece and numerous temples, called Asclepieions, had been built in his name. These Asclepieions were places of healing that contained facilities, namely baths, gardens, and incubation chambers, where people who were receiving treatment would sleep in front of a statue of Asclepius after performing rituals with the intention of having a divine dream in the hope that he would heal their illnesses. Though there are several surviving accounts detailing the incredible results in health made by people admitted to the Asclepieions, it is highly unlikely that they are accurate and truthful. “Most of the cure inscriptions are reports of chronic sickness cured by divine intervention: paralysis, facial blemishes, blindness, ‘lice’ swellings, and a failure to conceive are all mentioned.” (Nutton, p. 110) Early on in the profession, the doctor’s training consisted of largely trial and error with apprenticeships to pass on the knowledge obtained by the individual, but later, medical schools were established to make the field more widely uniform. While medicine in the civilian sector was highly dependent on practitioners…show more content…
In the sixth and early fifth centuries healers could act like Empedocles as roving shamans, and the boundaries between magic and medicine were almost non-existent. By 350 BC, however, barriers had arisen. Not that doctors rejected totally some therapies that others might consider magical, for chants, charms and so-called sympathetic or white magic all continued to be used, to a greater or lesser extent, within medicine…Those who offered religious healing outside these channels, such as the travelling priest and the exorcist, became marginalized, and their religious credentials were called into question.” (Nutton,

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