- 公益財団法人 史学会
- 史学雑誌 (ISSN:00182478)
- vol.106, no.12, pp.2101-2125, 1997-12-20 (Released:2017-11-30)
The cult of the healing god Asklepios was a very popular one in the Greco-Roman world. The so-called Telemachos monument (SEG. XXV. 226) tells a story about the introduction of this god in Athens in 420 B.C. We already have many studies about Asklepios, but very few of these studies present an appropriate view concerning the significance which the introduction of Asklepios had on politics and religious activities in Athens in the last half of the fifth century. In conclusion, the author argues that the introduction of Asklepios in Athens was a religious policy to reconstruct the Athenian religious piety which had been squashed by the great plague. The new festival for Asklepios involved the following major themes. The Epidauria, the new festival for Asklepios, was an attempt to link the god Asklepios with the Eleusinian goddesses. Such an association would strengthen the Eleusinian cults by providing the Greek people, especially the Delian League, a concept they could easily identify with. In turn, this plan was supposed to provide Athens with a revival from the plague, and to encourage her allies to dispatch offerings of "first fruits" to Eleusis. The introduction of the festival and the construction of a shrine were carried out in cooperation with the Epidaurian priests, Eleusinian priests and Telemachos, all according to a detailed plan. But conflict arose between the Kerykes and Telemachos. The problem involved the enlargement of the Asklepieion, the sanctuary of Asklepios in the city. Telemachos' motive for an enlargement of this site would have concerned the establishment of the healing cult. Finally, this incident clearly identifies the religious changes that were occurring at this time. Furthermore, the multiplicity of values held by the people of Athens during this period can also be identified.