Roman ReligionRoman Religion
Religion played a very important role in Roman life.
Greek physicians spread the cult of Aesculapius throughout the Roman Empire. The son of Apollo, Aesculapius and his offspring Hygeia, Acesis and Panacea rose to become the first family of Roman health care. A plague was afflicting Rome in the 3rd century BCE,according to myth, Aesculapius came to a small island on the river Tiber in Rome known as Tiber Island in the form of a snake to cure the pestilence. This led to the construction of the first Roman temple to Aesculapius on Tiber Island.
Anatomical votives depicting a diseased or sickly part of the body were deposited at healing temples as an offering to the gods to affect a cure or as thanks. The number of votives that model the human body has even been used by archaeologists to understand the frequency of disease in the ancient world and understand the difference in disease type between rural and urban populations.