The Body in Space: Visual Dynamics in Graeco-Roman Healing Pilgrimage

Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter presents a vivid analysis of the experience of the healing pilgrim in the Roman Empire. The focus is the Asklepieion at Pergamum that offers evidence of several types: architectural evidence, i.e. the layout of the shrine; art-historical evidence, i.e. dedications of body-parts; epigraphic evidence, i.e. the illuminating Sacred Law from Pergamum prescribing ritual practice for visitors; and literary evidence, especially Aelius Aristides' Sacred Tales. From this evidence, it reconstructs an impression of the pilgrim's experience characterised by a tension between the control and order of communal ritual and the individual's experience of his illness and his encounter with the deity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPilgrimage in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the Gods
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191716713
ISBN (Print)9780199237913
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Body-parts
  • Healing
  • Pilgrimage
  • Sacred law
  • Sanctuary


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