Headless marble figure of Asclepius (Aesculapius) with staff and serpent

100 BCE-200 CE in Roman Empire
Headless marble figure of Asclepius (Aesculapius) with staff

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 


License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library


Headless marble figure of Asclepius (Aesculapius) with staff
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Headless marble figure of Asclepius (Greek: Asklepios; Latin: Aesculapius) with staff and serpent, on polished marble base, probably Roman, 100BC-200AD

Several sources claim that Asclepius was first a physician hero, who was later recognised as the Greek god of healing and medicine with a cult that spread in the 5th century BCE. Various sanctuaries in his name were built throughout Greece as areas of worship and refuges for the ill. These were hospital-like places where priests guided patients through rituals of purification and medical curative practices, regularly involving snakes as part of the healing process.

Asclepius is usually represented as an old, bearded man, leaning on a heavy staff with a single snake coiled around it, known as the ‘Rod of Asclepius’. The staff of Asclepius (not to be mistaken for a caduceus) was soon associated with healing, becoming, throughout the ages, an established emblem of medicine and curative methods.


Classical & Medieval Medicine
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
figure - representation
Arte Antica e Moderna