The Asklepios Cult

Where Brains, Minds, and Bodies Interact With the World, Creating New Realities


  • Olympia Panagiotidou Aristotle University



Asklepios, Asklepieia, Hellenistic era, healing deity, cognitive approach, bio-cultural theory of religion, patterns of practice, cognitive governance systems


The Asklepios cult flourished especially in the Hellenistic era, when the god encountered significant diffusion and popularity. The application of cognitive theoretical suggestions, along with a historical approach, can promote the understanding of the healing of diseases at the Asklepios temples and how people thought about and explained their experiences in his sanctuaries. This essay outlines the ways in which the Asklepios cult drew on the common ideas, conceptions and concepts shared by the people of the Hellenistic world. The construction of the Asklepieia, the propagation of the god’s healing power, the decision to visit one of his temples as well as the particular rules, norms, restrictions and actions, which the supplicants should follow, are presented as the product of the continual interplay of the embrained and embodied individuals living in that era and their social, cultural, conceptual and symbolic environment.

Author Biography

Olympia Panagiotidou, Aristotle University

Olympia Panagiotidou holds a joint MA in Cognitive Science and the Study of Religion from Aristotle University at Thessaloniki and Aarhus University in Denmark, and a BA in the History and Archaeology from Aristotle University. She is currently a PhD candidate and her project focuses on the healing of diseases in the temples of Asklepios and how people think about and explain their experiences in his sanctuaries. This project applies cognitive approaches in the analysis of the cult of Asklepios.


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How to Cite

Panagiotidou, O. (2014). The Asklepios Cult: Where Brains, Minds, and Bodies Interact With the World, Creating New Realities. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 1(1), 14–23.