Monday, September 28, 2009

Ancient Greek Goddess of Health

Artist: Gustav Klimt
Temple of Hygieia

In Greek and Roman mythology, Hygieia (Ὑγιεία), or Hygeia (Ὑγεία), was a daughter of the god of medicine, Asclepius. She was the goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation and afterwards[clarification needed], the moon. She also played an important part in her father's cult. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word "hygiene".

Reference source for above excerpt: Wikipedia

"Western medicine inherited twin Greek-derived systems, one of which has come to dominate illness-treated attitudes around the world. But for the early Greeks, their two approaches to health were complementary. One school of thought was naturopathic, regarding health as the norm, an entitlement from living intelligently, represented in the feminine energy of the goddess Hygieia. The other maintained, sceptically, that life's imperfection was manifest in diseases, which had to be corrected by 'doctoring'. This interventionist approach was championed in the name of the male deity, Asclepius."

_ A Practical Guide to Naturopathy by Stewart Mitchell

The Insignia of Asclepius:

My thoughts on symbolism: Interesting how both Asclepius and Hygieia both have snakes. However, the insignia for Hygieia (shown below) is not used in reference to what is generally seen on "modern medical doctor's prescription pads".

1 comment:

  1. Oooh, I really like this painting by Klimt of the goddess of health "Hygieia"...He is such a great artist!