The Dream in the Medicine of Asklepieia

Luciana Rita Angeletti


The passage between teurgical to secular rational medicine in the ancient Greece is due to the naturalistic philosophers of the Ionia and the Hippocratic School, between 5th-4th century. However, we have a testimony that both theurgical and rational medicine coexisted in the temples of healing deified gods of Medicine, i.e. Asklepion, Amphiaraos, etc. In fact, inscriptions, lat. sanationes, found in few Asklepieia, i.e. Epidaurus, Lebena, Roma Tiberina Island, show clinical cases solved by the god. The dream is the bridge between the sick persons and the healer god, who acts during the incubation (incubatio) of semisleeping patients in a forbidden room (the   ), near the temple. On the other hand, the dream in the Hippocratic medicine is useful for diagnostic purpose, other than for therapy. An extraordinary case of therapy for psychoneurotic diseases, such as melancholy or hypochondria, was the example of Aelius Asistides, who described his twelve-year experience of dreams related to Asklepios in the Asklepieion of Pergamon. 


Key words: Asklepieia - Sanationes - Dreams - Aelius Aristides 

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