display | more...
Asclepius, a figure from Greek myth, was the son of Apollo and Coronis. He was a mortal, raised by Chiron, the centaur. When he came of age, he left Chiron's cave to help the people of Greece with his vast knowledge of the healing arts. He built the first hospitals when he put beds for the sick in temples made to him. He carried around a staff with two serpents entwined around it, which today is still a symbol for the healing profession. These serpents knew the secrets of the earth, and they would tell him information about the ailments he treated. When the serpents could not reveal to him a cure, he would give the patient a magic elixir and listen to what they muttered in their sleep. They would sometimes reveal the cause and cure for what ailed them.

Asclepius had a wife and seven children. His sons became assistant physicians, and his daughters became nurses. His daughter Hygeia was credited for being the first to clean patients with soap and water.

Eventually, Asclepius became so proficient at his work that he could raise the dead. The gods tolerated this at first, but when he started accepting gold for performing this task, Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt. This made Apollo a bit angry, and he killed the Cyclopses that made Zeus' thunderbolts. So Zeus made Apollo be a slave on earth for a year. But in the end, Asclepius got his own constellation, and was remembered as the first doctor.