I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Saturday, January 13, 2024


I swear by Apollo the Physician and by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the gods ...

That's one of the ancient versions of the Hippocratic Oath, invoking the god of healing, Asclepius, and his daughters Hygieia and Panacea. The sanctuary of Asclepius in Epidaurus was the most famous healing center in Classical Greece. There isn't much left of the sanctuary itself—acres of ruined stone walls that were once guesthouses for the patients, and a large sleeping room where it was believed that the god would visit the patients in dreams and tell them what they needed to do to be healed.

There are also a stadium and a theatre, civic monuments which the prosperity of the sanctuary made possible. The theatre is famous for its acoustics and it still used today. I stood on the stage area and recited the first few lines of the Odyssey. (Something from a drama would have been more appropriate, but that bit of Homer and the beginning of the Gospel of John is all I remember of Classical Greek.) It was fun to hear my voice expand in the space, and to do it in Greek, and on any other day, this would have been the highlight, but our next stop was Mycenae.

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