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Saturday October 20th 2018Tim Candler9

 

     Asclepius, the rumor goes, was the offspring of a God and a mortal, which made him a demi-god. His mother was ashamed of her son's illegitimacy and chose to abandon him. Apparently the boy child might have been raised by a Goat and a Dog. Zeus was nursed by a Goat, and it was a Dog who guarded the entrance to Hades to stop dead people from leaving. Back in the 1940's a scholar of language concluded that the etymology of Asclepius could be found in the early Greek for Mole Hero. A bold move on the scholar's part and I can understand anyone who might have a bit of an obsession with Moles, but for many a modern mind, despite the supernatural origins of medicine, it was tad on the weird side to give the father of the Snake entwined staff still used to represent the medical profession the title Mole Hero.

 

Past

     Then some time in the 1970's and 1980's someone pointed out that it was entirely possible that finding the origin of the name Asclepius in the very early Greek for Mole Hero was possibly an act of intense wishful thinking. The error, pedants went on, was to assume that the early Greeks in their written language had ever settled on a winning formula for giving a letter to a wide range of all consonants. So the whole Mole Hero thing had resulted from ancient spelling mistakes. Not to mention the eccentricity implicit in associating the name Mole Hero with a  demi-god who'd fathered the Goddess of Hygiene and the Goddess of Recuperation from Illness. Either way you can think of Asclepius as meaning Well Being if it makes you feel better. I'm sticking with Mole Hero.

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