Epidauros had a temple dedicated to Asklepios where the sacred snakes were kept. It was a small temple developed during the 4C and 3C BC in the Doric style and designed by the architect Theodotos. A statue made of gold and ivory of Asklepios seated on a throne with his left hand placed on the head of a snake once stood inside. Pausanias writes that: "The image of Asclepius is, in size, half as big as the Olympian Zeus at Athens, and is made of ivory and gold...The god is sitting on a seat grasping a staff, the other hand is held above the head of a serpent; there is also the figure of a dog lying by his side." [2.27.2]
The Sanctuary is the earliest organized sanatorium and is significant for its association with the history of medicine, providing the transition from a belief in divine healing to the science of medicine.
The temple was originally excavated by the Greek Archaeological Society from 1881 and 1989. One corner of the temple has been rebuilt with the original pieces.
Pausanias, Description of Greece, trans. Peter Levi (Penguin Classics, 1979)