Title of Presentation or Performance

The Sanctuary of Asklepios: How Symbols in Dreams Heal in the Ancient World

Major

History

Type of Submission

Oral Presentation

Type of Submission (Archival)

Event

Area of Study or Work

History, Humanities, Other

Expected Graduation Date

2022

Location

CNS E105

Start Date

4-9-2022 11:15 AM

End Date

4-9-2022 12:15 PM

Abstract

Asklepios, Greek god of medicine, had a very important cult in the 5th century BCE and two of his most famous sanctuaries were in Epidaurus in the Peloponnese and in Pergamon. In this paper, I will argue that a visitor to the sanctuary sees tablet inscriptions and statuary about the dreams that visitors had as symbols of healing that give every person who walks in a sense of hope that they will be healed through dreams. The primary evidence for dream healing is found on tablets inscriptions and primary sources by Galen of Pergamum, a doctor, and Aelius Aristides, who took a trip to the sanctuary and slept in the abaton. An abaton is like a dormitory and this location is where people have these dreams that heal them. The work of Julia Kristeva will be used in this essay with her ideas of semiotics which is the study of signs and symbols and their use and/or interpretation. Kristeva has the idea that the semiotic is defined in the word that the person speaks and their speech is meaningful when the semiotic and the symbolic are together. For example, a statue of Asklepios with a snake becomes a message of healing because when a person sees the snake or the god himself in a dream, they know that they are being healed through these symbols. All the evidence that surrounds them in the sanctuary gives them hope to be healed. Scholars have built up a picture of healing being done commonly in a sanctuary, now society does not perform healing through dreams. Most people today will not believe you if you said that you were healed in a dream, but this idea was common in the ancient world. In order to understand ancient life, we have to understand religion.

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Apr 9th, 11:15 AM Apr 9th, 12:15 PM

The Sanctuary of Asklepios: How Symbols in Dreams Heal in the Ancient World

CNS E105

Asklepios, Greek god of medicine, had a very important cult in the 5th century BCE and two of his most famous sanctuaries were in Epidaurus in the Peloponnese and in Pergamon. In this paper, I will argue that a visitor to the sanctuary sees tablet inscriptions and statuary about the dreams that visitors had as symbols of healing that give every person who walks in a sense of hope that they will be healed through dreams. The primary evidence for dream healing is found on tablets inscriptions and primary sources by Galen of Pergamum, a doctor, and Aelius Aristides, who took a trip to the sanctuary and slept in the abaton. An abaton is like a dormitory and this location is where people have these dreams that heal them. The work of Julia Kristeva will be used in this essay with her ideas of semiotics which is the study of signs and symbols and their use and/or interpretation. Kristeva has the idea that the semiotic is defined in the word that the person speaks and their speech is meaningful when the semiotic and the symbolic are together. For example, a statue of Asklepios with a snake becomes a message of healing because when a person sees the snake or the god himself in a dream, they know that they are being healed through these symbols. All the evidence that surrounds them in the sanctuary gives them hope to be healed. Scholars have built up a picture of healing being done commonly in a sanctuary, now society does not perform healing through dreams. Most people today will not believe you if you said that you were healed in a dream, but this idea was common in the ancient world. In order to understand ancient life, we have to understand religion.