Asclepius was the god of medicine. He was also the patron god, and reputed ancestor, of the Asclepiades, the ancient guild of doctors.
Residence: Mount Olympus
Symbols: Serpent-entwined staff
Parents: Apollo and Coronis
Children: Hygeia, Iaso, Aceso, Aegle, Panacea, Machaon, Podalirius, Telesphorus and Aratus
Roman equivalent: Aesculapius
Asclepius was the son of Apollo and the Triccaean princess, Coronis. His mother died in labour and when she was laid out on the pyre, Apollo cut the unborn child from her womb. From this Asclepius received his name which means “to cut open.” Asclepius was raised by the centaur Chiron, who instructed him in the art of medicine. He grew so skilled in the craft that he was able to restore the dead to life. This was a crime against the natural order and so Zeus destroyed him with a thunderbolt.
This angered Apollo who in turn killed the Cyclops who made the thunderbolts for Zeus. For this act, Zeus banished Apollo from Olympus and commanded Apollo to serve Admetus, King of Thessaly for a year. After Asclepius’s death, Zeus placed his body among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus (“the Serpent Holder”).
Later, however, upon Apollo’s request, Zeus resurrected Asclepius as a god and gave him a place on Olympus.