PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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64          PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
that many serious illnesses can be cured solely by the shock administered to the mind/ II5 (p. 49).
The two stelae mentioned above have been published in translations. The first contains accounts of twenty cures and the second of twenty-four. Some of the stories are absurd, while others could easily be explained to-day. Examples of the first type are * a restoration of an atrophied eyeball; or of a lost head of hair ; or the cure of dropsy by cutting off the head, holding up the patient by the heels that the fluid might run out, and the fixing of the head again ! ' Space will not permit to relate many stories of the other type and two will suffice : one is of a dumb boy. ' When he had performed the preliminary sacrifices and fulfilled the usual rites, the temple priest who bore the sacrificial fire turned to the boy's father and said, " Do you promise to pay within a year the fees for the cure, if you obtain that for which you have come ? " Suddenly the boy answered, " I do ". His father was greatly astonished at this, and told his son to speak again. The boy repeated the words, and so was cured. The other story is that of a lame man who came to Epidaurus on a litter. In his sleep he saw a vision of the god ordering him to climb a ladder up to the roof of the temple. At daybreak he departed healed.
Shrines of Asklepios were numbered by the hundred in the time of Alexander the Great. His worship was introduced to Rome in 293 B.C. and he was endowed with a temple on the bank of the Tiber. Temples similar to the one at Epidaurus existed at several other places, including Athens and Cos. That at Cos was rich in votive offerings, which generally represented the parts of the body healed, and an account of the method of cure adopted. From this sacerdotal source a rich accumulation of experience must have reached the early