Votive relief from a healing sanctuary

Greek, about AD 100-200
From the island of Mílos, Aegean Sea

Thanking healing deities for the cure of a bad leg

It was common practice in antiquity to dedicate representations of afflicted parts at a healing shrine, either as an offering of thanks for a cure or in hope of one. The inscription on this marble relief can be translated: 'Tyche [dedicated this] to Asklepios and Hygieia as a thank offering'. Hygieia was the female companion of Asklepios, the god of medicine and son of Apollo, and is often represented with him. The word 'hygiene' derives from her name. The shape of the Greek letter 'S' after the first 'A' allows us to date the relief to the Roman period.

The relief was found in 1828 in the same sanctuary on Mílos as a colossal marble head of Asklepios himself, now also in The British Museum. A round votive altar was also found, inscribed with a dedication to Asklepios and Hygieia by a priest named Claudius Gallinus. However, the altar, along with a number of associated fragmentary statuettes of Hygieia, was not acquired when The British Museum purchased the head and this relief in 1867 from the Duc de Blacas.

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More information

Bibliography

B.F. Cook, Greek inscriptions (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)

Dimensions

Height: 12.000 inches
Width: 8.000 inches

Museum number

GR 1867.5-8.117 (Sculpture 809)

GAA3563

Blacas Collection

Location

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