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Viewing Health: Asclepia in their Natural Settings

Baker, Patricia A (2017) Viewing Health: Asclepia in their Natural Settings. Religion in the Roman Empire, 3 (2). pp. 143-163. ISSN 2199-4463. (doi:10.1628/219944617X15008820103342) (KAR id:61857)


In this paper, it is argued that there existed a Greco-Roman perception that the views of the surrounding landscapes from Greek healing sanctuaries contributed towards the heath of the pilgrim who visited the sites. Although much has been written about the religious aspects of the healing event in Asclepia, the physical environment of the sanctuaries has yet to be examined. It is, nonetheless significant, allowing us a further understanding of the pilgrims' experience in these places that extends beyond ritual practice. The Asclepia share similar views, facing the mountains, the sea or both. By comparing the orientation of healing sanctuaries with ancient medical and philosophical literature, it is demonstrated that part of the healing experience in a sanctuary involved the stimulation of the senses. For this study, the focus is on the sense of sight. Pleasant views had a calming effect on the mind, which in turn influenced the health of the viewer. Thus, the healing event was enhanced by the visitor's interactive relationship with the surrounding environment.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1628/219944617X15008820103342
Uncontrolled keywords: Asclepia; health; healthscapes; landscapes; mountains; phenomenology; pilgrims; seascapes; sensory perception; vision
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Patty Baker
Date Deposited: 26 May 2017 10:21 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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