• Hygea was a minor diety and classical mythology doesn’t contain much written about her. She is often eclipsed by her father, Asclepius. While he was mostly associated with healing, Hygea was associated with preventing disease and maintaining good health.
• Hygea was worshipped as an independent goddess after the Plague of Athens (430-427 BC). The cult of Hygea’s temples often contained statues of the goddess covered in women’s hair and pieces of clothing. Her cult became a very important healing cult that led to many discoveries in disease prevention.
• Hygea is often depicted as a woman with a snake wrapped around her body. She holds the large snake with one hand and allows it to drink from a bowl in her other hand. In modern medicine, you can see Hygea’s snake in the symbol of medicine. The snake is wrapped around Asclepius’ rod. Hygea’s bowl is also the symbol for pharmacy.
• Hygea’s sisters were also gifted in healing like their father. Panacea was the goddess of universal remedy. Iaso was the goddess of recuperation. Aceso was the goddess of the healing process. Aglaea was the goddess of splendor.
• Hygea also had a brother who always accompanied her. His name was Telesphorus.
• Hygea’s name is the source of the word “hygiene”.
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