Hygeia, Goddess of Health

Hygeia, Goddess of Health

In Greek and Roman mythology, Hygieia (also Hygiea or Hygeia, Greek Ὑγιεία or Ὑγεία, Latin Hygēa or Hygīa), was the daughter of the god of medicine, Asclepius, and Epione. She was the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness and sanitation.

Hygieia and her five sisters each performed a facet of Apollo’s art: Hygieia (“Hygiene” the goddess/personification of health, cleanliness, and sanitation), Panacea (the goddess of Universal remedy), Iaso (the goddess of recuperation from illness), Aceso (the goddess of the healing process), and Aglæa/Ægle (the goddess of beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment).

Hygieia also played an important part in her father’s cult. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word “hygiene”. She was imported by the Romans as the Goddess Valetudo, the goddess of personal health, but in time she started to be increasingly identified with the ancient Italian goddess of social welfare, Salus.

At Athens, Hygieia was the subject of a local cult since at least the 7th century BC. “Athena Hygieia” was one of the cult titles given to Athena, as Plutarch recounts of the building of the Parthenon (447-432 BC):

“A strange accident happened in the course of building, which showed that the goddess was not averse to the work, but was aiding and co-operating to bring it to perfection. One of the artificers, the quickest and the handiest workman among them all, with a slip of his foot fell down from a great height, and lay in a miserable condition, the physicians having no hope of his recovery. When Pericles was in distress about this, the goddess [Athena] appeared to him at night in a dream, and ordered a course of treatment, which he applied, and in a short time and with great ease cured the man. And upon this occasion it was that he set up a brass statue of Athena Hygieia, in the citadel near the altar, which they say was there before. But it was Phidias who wrought the goddess’s image in gold, and he has his name inscribed on the pedestal as the workman of it.”

Info from : Wikipedia

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One response to “Hygeia, Goddess of Health

  1. Pingback: Why “Aceso Under Glass”? | Aceso Under Glass

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