Tiber Island & Temple of Asclepius

Rasheem Edmonds and RJ Ocampo

Tiber Island

The Tiber island is located in the southern bend of the the Tiber as the river that goes through Rome. Tiber island is a small boat shaped island that have been said to heal for a long time. In 292 BCE they adopt a Greek god of medicine Asclepus by stealing his sacred snake from Epidarius and setting up a Temple on a island that is suppose to heal people that come to the island.

Temple of Asclepius Origins

The Temple of Asclepius was built in 380 B.C.E. and was constructed at Epidarius. Romans would go to the temple to be treated for illnesses and diseases. The temple acted as a hospital where medicine and healing were the main aspects of the functions of the temple. The island was most likely chosen as a place of healing because it was secluded from the mainland and thus the ideal place to treat people with contagious diseases.

The temple lasted many centuries but no longer exists. Although its remains are gone, the hospital that dominates the island today is a reminder that this was the ancient city's center for healing and home to healing God Asclepius

Activities at Temple of Asclepius

The main activity at the temple was the treating of patients who were either ill or contagious of diseases. The temple originally began as a healing shrine. The temple was for healing because of the God Asclepius who wielded great healing powers. He had a staff with a snake which represents today's medical symbol. The main act of healing was a process called incubation. This process consisted of the patient spending the night at the temple. During the night the patient would have very vivid dreams with a God appearing to them. The next morning the priests would interpret the dream and prescribe treatments for the patients.

Tiber Island Today

Today little remains of the ancient Roman buildings, although some remnants of the travertine boat construction have survived, including a relief decoration of the snake of Asclepius. The most important buildings on the island date from medieval times, including the aforementioned hospital, a church dedicated to Saint Bartholomew and a fortified Tower.


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