Hygeia

Hygeia (health) In Greek mythology, goddess of health, daughter of Asclepius and Epione; sister of Acesis, Aegle, Iaso, Janiscus, Machaon, Panacea, and Podalirius; called Salus by the Romans. She was worshipped along with her father, and her name follows after his in the Hippocratic oath.

Source:

Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

Hygeia is the goddess of good health and healing. She protects against all potential dangers to health. The word hygiene derives from her name. She is the daughter of divine healer Asklepios and may be venerated alongside her father. A theory exists that Asklepios’ family is cobbled together of various independent healing deities, who were then worshipped together as a mini-pantheon. Although Hygeia is worshipped alongside her father, she is not particularly subordinate. (The Orphics claimed she was his wife.) She is a goddess in her own right who works with Asklepios. She may also be venerated independently. First venerated at least as early as the seventh century BCE, Hygeia’s primary shrines included those at Epidaurus, Cos, Corinth, and Pergamon.

Iconography:

Her statues were created by the most renowned sculptors of the time. Statues depict her standing alone, with her father or her whole family (mother and siblings, too). Hygeia is traditionally envisioned as a beautiful young woman feeding a large snake entwined around her, often from a vessel held in her hand.

Sacred animal:

Snake

Offerings:

People traditionally offered their hair to Hygeia in her shrines, attaching it to her statues. Clothing or fabric was apparently attached, too.

See Also:

Asklepios; Fauna; Sara la-Kali; Telesforos

Source:

Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

Greek Gods and Goddesses

Back to Greek Gods and Goddesses

Back to European Gods and Goddesses

Back to Gods and Goddesses

Greek Gods and Goddesses