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Historical Article

Argolis, Epidauros - The Birthplace of Asklepios

Reputed to be the birthplace of Asklepios, the god of healing, Epidauros was established as that god’s sanctuary. There, the Asklepieion, or temple dedicated to him, became the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, and the place to which the ill traveled for relief. A massive complex, it contained shrines, healing mineral springs, and dormitories. The central feature of the site was the enkoimitiria, a large sleeping hall, where the ill would spend the night. The dreams they dreamed while there were subsequently interpreted as the god’s advice for the recovery of their health. The site also included a large theater for ritualistic performances. Admired by Pausanias, the theater remains the best-preserved building of its type from the Classical world.

ARGOLIS, Epidauros. Circa 255-250 BC. AR Hemidrachm (2.73 g, 5h). Laureate head of Asklepios left; E behind / Monogram within wreath. Requier Monnayage Series 2, 171 (D1/R1) = BCD Peloponnesos 1238 (this coin); SNG Copenhagen 115-116 var. (no E). Overstruck on a hemidrachm of Phlious - the F still visible on the reverse. Rare.