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January 16, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(3):245-246. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020030039011

Asclepius, Asclepios, Asklepios, Aesculapius (Latin), or [unk] (Greek), if one has a yearning for the good old days of resinated wine and chariot races, is probably the most venerated physician of all times. Scholia in Homer's Iliad suggests that the name Asklepios was derived from words meaning applying (askein) and making the limbs gentle (epia). Another interpretation ascribes his name to "healing soothingly and for deferring the withering that comes with death." Yet a third writer affirms that Asklepios was originally known as Epios because of his gentleness and calmness. After he had cured Askles, the tyrant of Epidaurus who suffered from ophthalmia, he was called Asklepios, with the accent on the penult. Demosthenes changed the pronunciation by accenting the antepenult. Asclepius is to be distinguished from Asclepiad, a generic appellation for a priest of the temple of Asclepius, from Asclepias, a genus of Asclepiadaceous plants, and from Asclepiades, a

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