Aesculapius, Hippolytus, and the Legend of Phaedra

Jerome M. Schneck, MD
JAMA. 1963;184(3):223-225. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.73700160001013.
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THE STORY of Hippolytus is an integral part of the legend of Phaedra. The tragedy of Phaedra and Hippolytus has never lost its appeal, and the tale has been retold through the ages. A revival of interest in it is now current. This revival should be of special interest to physicians because of the connection between Hippolytus and Aesculapius. The present popularization is a modern and considerably modified film screen version. The story has long been known through the writings of Euripides, Seneca, and Racine. The connection between Hippolytus and Aesculapius is usually not mentioned in accounts of Aesculapius that appear in medical publications. It seems reasonable to do this now and to bring together various items pertaining to their relationship and to the birth and death of Aesculapius.

Aesculapius incurred the wrath of Pluto because of his deeds of healing. It is said, at times, that Aesculapius revived the


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