Throwback Thursday: Emulating Asclepius

Borrowing from the Greek god Asclepius, a group of med students formed a society to talk shop and discuss literature./Photo courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine Archives
Borrowing from the Greek god Asclepius, a group of med students formed a society to talk shop and discuss literature./Photo courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine Archives

Happy Throwback Thursday, where we take you into Baylor College of Medicine’s past and revisit where the College, and in today’s case, its students, have been.

Students at what was once called Baylor University College of Medicine formed the Aesculapian Society, where its younger members would discuss their courses and the upper classmen would share the experiences and challenges they’d face in the future.

Why borrow from the Greek god Asclepius?

Asclepius is the god of medicine and healing. His nine children are named after words that converge around ideas of health. His dad was Apollo, the healer. Ultimately, Zeus killed Asclepius for bringing people back from the dead.

The symbol largely associated with medicine, the snake wrapped around the staff, is named for the god himself: The Rod of Asclepius.

The Aesculapian Society, whose governing board is pictured above, would meet, talk shop, and on occasion read and discuss literature.

In their 1909 entry in the Baylor University Round Up yearbook, the society described their mission as the need to “…occasionally lose sight of pills and tinctures, chilblains and appendicitis, and surrender ourselves to the full and free enjoyment of the hilarious, and also get close to nature and humanity by living that pathos incorporated within those beautiful literary selections from the masters.”

Interested in more photos from BCM’s past? View our album.

-By Audrey M. Marks

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