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Dies Natalis Aesculapii

The feriae or "dies natalis" of Asculapius on 1 January designates the day on which a temple for this God of Healing was first dedicated in Rome in 460 AUC (293 BCE). Aesculapius was first called to Rome in response to an oracle that suggested He might aid against a plague.

"The year (293 BCE) had been a happy one in many ways, but this was hardly adequate consolation for the one major disaster: the plague that raged through town and countryside alike. The devastation it caused was thought to be an evil omen, and thus the Sibylline Oracles were consulted to find what limits or remedy the Gods proposed for it ravages. The Books revealed that Aesculapius must be summoned from Epidaurus to Rome; however because the consuls were busy engaged in a war, nothing was done about it that year except that one day was set aside for a supplicatio for the God."

The "numen," or presence of Aesculapius, arrived in the form of a large snake who had traveled with Rome's envoys back from Epidaurus .

"They brought with them a snake that had joined them in the ship, and which no doubt was a manifestation of the God; from the ship, it went to the island in the Tiber, to the place where the temple of Aesculapius has been erected."

His Temple was build in the form of the ship He had first arrived in. The Temple became a center for the introduction of Hippocratic medicine to Rome. Eventually it had a hospital attached to the Temple that mainly treated elderly slaves

Aesculapius courtesy of Vroma.jpg


Livy, History 10.47.6; Livy, Perioche 11.3; Fowler, W. W. (1899) "The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Roman Republic," London.

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