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A new building located in the Asclepieion of Epidaurus

Featured A new building located in the Asclepieion of Epidaurus

A building that gives new details to the Asclepieion (aesculapium), the famous sanctuary of antiquity, mainly in the early years of its creation.

It is an unknown building of the archaic era, which was built on the site where the Tholos was built later, in the 4th century. BC , the most emblematic building of the Asclepieion, was erected.

The building at Epidaurus dates back to about 600 BC.
The building, rectangular in plan, had an underground space corresponding to the ground floor with a mosaic floor and a ground floor peristyle.
According to the present data of the excavation, which is in progress, it is dated around 600 BC. "That is, the worship of Asclepius appears to begin earlier in Epidaurus. 

Until now it was believed that veneration of Asclepius had begun around 550 BC, ie in the middle of the 6th century. Now it is dated earlier, and this is especially important for the history of the sanctuary and for the history of Asclepius," Professor Vassilis Lamprinoudakis, head of the excavations at the University of Athens in Ancient Epidavros, maintains.

Open presentation of the excavations at Epidaurus
The professor, along with his associates Alexandra Sfyroera and Vangelis Kazolia, will present the results of the excavation work on Monday, February 3, 2020, at 19:00, at the "Alkis Argyriadis" Amphitheater at the University of Athens' 30th building. Speech title "Excavations at Epidaurus Asklepieion: Revelation of Tholos' precursor building".

What exactly happened in Epidaurus
"At the site where the Tholos was later built, a part of the building, a double building, with basement and ground floor has been found. Because it had a basement, like the Tholos, we consider it to be a forerunner of this' mysterious' building called the Tholos, 'Mr. Lamprinoudakis said. "When it was decided to make the Tholos this building was demolished.
The empty space created by its basement was filled with relics from the old building, but also from other parts of the sanctuary. That is, because the great program of the 4th century BC began, some other buildings were also demolished, the material of which was buried in this area," he adds.

What was the Tholos?

“It is a name given by the ancient traveler Pausanias in the 2nd century. A.D.

Its original name, as we know it from the inscriptions of the 4th century. BC, it was Thymeli. Thymeli was a kind of altar, in which bloodless offerings were made, as characterize chthonic deities. " As research tells us, research has concluded that the Tholos was a kind of underground house of Asclepius, where patients were treated by hypnosis.

That is, the patient who was sleeping in this special place dreamt of the god Asclepius himself to reveal to him the cure for his illness.
"This former building had a function similar to that of the Tholos, that is, its basement served as the seat of the chthonic Asclepius in the earth," says the head of the excavations. The new building, however, gives important information on the topography of the sanctuary. "It explains the orientation of some of the other constructions that follow/".

The Asclepieion of Epidaurus
Excavations at the sanctuary of Asclepius of Epidaurus have been carried out by the Department of Archeology and Art History of the Department of History and Archeology of the University of Athens from 2016 until today. The excavation, carried out with the constant support of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Argolis, was funded in 2016-2017 by the company "Asclepius" and the years 2018-2019 by the "Stavros Niarchos" Foundation.

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