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"The Sanctuary of Asklepios, god of medicine. I'd rather trust a physician than a god to heal me."
ACOD Sanctuary of Asklepios

Sanctuary of Asklepios

The Sanctuary of Asklepios was a temple complex dedicated to Asklepios, the Greek god of healing, located within the Valley of Dreams in Argolis, Greece.


As a complex, the sanctuary housed multiple buildings.

  • The Abaton, where the patients, after purifying themselves and making offerings or sacrifices to the god, came to sleep. It was believed that Asklepios would show them their cure in their dreams, as interpreted by the priests of the sanctuary.[1]
  • The Epidauros Sanctuary, where a large statue of Asklepios sat, flanked by images of snakes and where most of the offerings and sacrifices were made.[1]
  • The guesthouse, where travellers spent their time before proceeding with the rituals. During the Peloponnesian War, the guesthouse also accommodated military members and the elder priest Mydon.[1]

In addition to these, there was also a stadium, a tholos, and the Epidoteion on the grounds.


The priests kept sacred snakes on the grounds of the sanctuary. They were usually kept in a tholos and brought out when they were needed. During the Peloponnesian War their caretaker was Doreios, who treasured them.[2]

The priests of the sanctuary kept records of all the patients, their ills and their cures. These they inscribed into stone, so "that the glory of Asklepios can be celebrated."[3]


At some point the priestess of Hera, Chrysis, seized the control of the sanctuary and the priests within. While most acquiesced out of fear, some joined her like Pleistos and some protested. Though she allowed the daily life to go on as it had, she forbid collaboration with Hippokrates, considering his methods and ways impious. Chrysis also sought to demolish all mention and memory of the visit of a Spartan woman with an injured baby, going as far as to scratch out most of the stone slab wherein her visit was recorded,[3] and cut out the tongue of the priest who had treated them the most, Mydon.[4]

When rumours reached Chrysis about the Spartan misthios Kassandra looking for her mother, she tightened her hold, and had all the priests of the sanctuary swear not to tell her anything, on the pain of death.[5]





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