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Aesculapius


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The miraculous transfer of Asclepius god of healing from Epidaurus to Rome and the origin of the healing‐cult on Tiber island in 291 bc were important moments in the Roman story of their religion; the summoning of a prestigious god from Greece, in accordance with the Sibylline Books (see sibyl), to remedy a Roman crisis (plague), represented a stage in the domestication of external religion and acted as a model for the closely related tale of the summoning of the Magna Mater in 204. (See cybele.) In fact the cult was spreading widely. By the imperial period, in Italy and the provinces, a Roman cult is hard to disentangle from the very popular and varied combinations of healing deities blending local cults with a broadly Asclepian tradition.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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