greece 3: epidaurus and nafplio, greece’s first capital

Epidaurus, Classical Greece’s centre for healing

In the hinterland of Epidaurus, on green hills enjoying mild climate and plentiful water from healing springs, the Epidaureans founded the sanctuary of Asclepius, the most impressive centre of healing in the ancient world.

The worship of gods of healing in Epidaurus goes back to the prehistoric period. In the Mycenaean period, the hero-doctor Malos, or Maleatas was worshipped on one of the peaks of Mt. Cynortium. After 1000 BC, Apollo displaced the prehistoric deity, and assumed his name, Apollo Maleatas, continuing to be worshipped in his sanctuary until the end of the ancient world. His cult evolved into that of Asclepius, culminating in the 6th Century BC with the building of Asclepius’ major sanctuary of healing. According to mythology, Asclepius was the son of Apollo and Coronis and he learned the art of medicine from his father and Cheiron, the wise Centaur.

The Theatre of Epidaurus is the best preserved ancient theatre in Greece, 4th-3rd Century BC Continue reading