Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine. His Roman name was Aesculapius. He was the son of Apollo and Coronis, and the father of Hygeia. Homer described Asclepius not as a god but as "the blameless physician."

Chiron, the wise centaur, is said to have taught Asclepius the art of medicine. One story is that Asclepius' skill in healing was so great that he could bring the dead back to life. This caused Hades, ruler of the underworld of the dead, to complain to Zeus that Asclepius was depriving him of subjects. Zeus responded by killing Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Another account tells how Zeus killed Asclepius because he felt that the physician, in restoring Hippolytus to life, was being too presumptuous by assuming godlike powers. At Apollo's plea, Zeus then made Asclepius god of medicine.

The worship of Asclepius was general throughout Greece; his most celebrated temple was at Epidaurus. The sick came to his temples to be healed by the rites of the priests. It was claimed that those who stayed in the temples overnight were either cured while they slept or had the appropriate treatment for their illness revealed in a dream.