Tempio di Esculapio

Picturesque 1786 Ionic style temple amid a scenic lake & accessible by a wooden pier. In the Garden of the Lake, created by the Asprucci with the collaboration of the English painter Jacob Moore, there is an artificial lake and an island, connected to the mainland by a bridge, where stands the temple, of Greek imitation, dedicated to Aesculapius. MAP of the Pinciano 2 area (Villa Borghese and Pincio) In the decoration of the temple there are several references to the god of medicine. On the entablature of the temple there is the dedicatory inscription in Greek to Aesculapius Salvator. In the tympanum is represented the landing in Rome of a snake from the temple of Asclepius at Epidaurus, which represented the god himself. Legend has it that the snake, sacred animal and symbol of renewal, had landed on the Tiber Island which has since been consecrated to medicine. In the central medallion, there are busts of Hippocrates and Galen, on the roof and in the side parts statues of gods and sacred animals.

The façade of the temple with its four Ionic columns surmounted by the tympanum, is reflected on the surface of the lake, while on both sides two large statues depicting two nymphs, throw water sitting on two fake cliffs. The vegetation all around is so dense as to partly hide the contours of the lake and gives its waters a greenish color.

Aesculapius is a healing god that the Roman authorities import from Greece. The Greek god is Asclepius, son of Apollo and physician of the gods. The mother Coronide during pregnancy yields to the love of a mortal and Apollo kills her, but saves the baby by tearing it alive from her breast. He entrusts him to the centaur Chiron who teaches him medicine, while Athena gives him the blood of the Gorgon that he uses to restore life to the dead. Zeus electrocutes him for this and Apollo kills the Cyclops to avenge him. The art of medicine is practiced by its priests in the Asclepeion, places where the sick person stays to sleep to receive the visit of the god who heals him by giving him a dream.

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