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Image of a life size statue of Asclepius the son of Apollo, the god of healing who was worshiped at Epidaurus—his main sanctuary

Asclepius was at first considered to be a mortal, but then after his death he was deified as a god – the god of medicine. He is depicted with a serpent wound around a staff – a symbol still used in the medical profession. Indeed snakes were used as part of the healing process.

At times he bore the title "soter," or "savior" and thus as a healer and savior competed with the work of Christ and the early Church.