Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Greeks Kept Plague Away Through Piety and Physicians

The ancient Greeks were no strangers to disease. In fact, no human culture ever has been. The Greeks knew that disease and disorders were an issue, which is why they had doctors and physicians. The ancient Greeks were the forefathers of modern medicine. They were also highly spiritual and pious people who often gave more to their Gods than they did to themselves, and it was no different when there was a virus going around. They used medicine, doctors, prayer and sacrifice to combat it. They did not think either method was a waste of time. Plato himself wrote about the success the Athenians once had in keeping infection out of their City through spiritual means in the Dialogue of Symposium. 

"I shall try to go through for you the speech about Love I once heard from a woman of Mantinea, Diotima - a woman who was wise about many things besides this: once she even put off the plague for ten years by telling the Athenians what sacrifices to make." 

Plato was not a writer of fiction. He recorded the actual events of his society and the people around him. The Greeks, for an ancient people, knew quite a bit about the medical field, but no matter how much knowledge they gained or philosophy they discussed, it never made their Gods irrelevant or unnecessary. In fact, any good thing that happened or was discovered, was naturally followed by thanks to a God or Gods for the success. They did nothing without their Gods. Or, in other words, they knew that without their Gods, they could accomplish nothing. 

Therefore, even now as we face another virus or plague, I don't think we should forget the importance of our spirituality and the salvation and care that it can bring to us. A while back, I was talking with a member of my temple who lives out of state. They claimed they contracted Covid19 and that Apollon instructed them on how to get rid of it. They have since made a full recovery. I note in this story that neither this person nor Apollon turned away from the medical field. In fact, Apollon IS the God of medicine. If we examine this person's story carefully, we see the hallmark of a Greek mindset, which is the combination of spirituality and science. Science is the pursuit of truth, and the Gods are the truth.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Work Cited: Plato Complete Works, edited by John M. Cooper, page 484, 201d.

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