This paper focuses on the intertwining of religious healing and mundane medicine and investigates how this relationship’s dynamic changed throughout the Roman Era. Sources include four archaeological sites: Corinth (Greece), Butrint (Albania), Balkan region, and Allianoi (Turkey). Also, Latin texts from three writers are analyzed: Pliny the Elder, Galen, and St. Augustine. Corinth provides evidence of votive offerings at a sanctuary of Asclepius, showing how important Asclepius was, not only to Roman culture, but to the art of healing as well. At Butrint, another sanctuary of Asclepius is discussed. This sanctuary contained a water source (well), which is characteristic of sanctuaries that were dedicated to Asclepius. Physician tombs in the Balkan region are investigated and found to contain various medical artifacts. In Allianoi, surgical instruments were found. Pliny the Elder argued against the "need" of physicians in the Roman Era. Galen was connected to religion and in particular, Christianity. Finally, St. Augustine is cited to show how early Christians viewed the Roman gods and acted to discredit Asclepius' "power". This deep intertwining of the two forms of medicine discussed remained interconnected. While the two forms remained interconnected, the fall of polytheism allowed mundane medicine to become further developed. With the rise of Christianity, however, mundane medicine began to rise due to the addition of hospitals that reflect modern medical practices.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-9-2019


Kelli Carmean

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work