Healing in Motion: The Influence of Locotherapy on the Architecture of the Pergamene Asklepieion in the second century CE

by Ece Sayram Okay

Institution: UCLA
Year: 2016
Keywords: Architecture; Classical studies; Science history; Architecture; Asklepieion; Locotherapy; Medicine; Movement; Phenomenology
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2124378
Full text PDF: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/8sp373gm


Healing in Motion introduces the concept of locotherapy in order to examine the relationship between Roman temple healing and architecture in the second century CE. Healing through movement was a new phenomenon that emerged in the Roman period involving collective and individual, formal and informal, ritual and non-ritual kinetic actions specific to therapeutic practices. A close reading of the Asklepieion at Pergamon, a prominent Greco-Roman healing center in Asia Minor, reveals the potent connection between locotherapy and architectural design. The analyses draws upon engaging urban phenomenological theory, the extensive literature on Greco-Roman healing, the meticulous archaeological reports on Pergamon, and first-hand data gathered during site visits. Applying an interdisciplinary approach, Healing in Motion emphasizes the embodied, kinetic aspects at play in the design of ancient healing centers, which had been missing from previous scholarship. By addressing the textual and numismatic evidence and tracing the history of temple healing, the project first substantiates that locotherapy is a direct consequence of the socio-cultural circumstances of the second century CE. The following chapters trace the architectural development of the Pergamon Asklepieion from its beginnings until the second century CE, followed by sections focusing on the architecture of the second century, a period when temple healing and secular healing practices begin to merge. At this point in time, the somatic movement regimen that belonged to the secular medical tradition began to manifest itself in the cures of Asklepieia. The analytical term locotherapy applies specifically to these changing practices and developing relations between medicine and architecture of the second century. In the final chapters, the dissertation demonstrates how the careful coordination of pathways, materials and calculated design choices facilitated and shaped the movements associated with healing. Overall, the project introduces a new kinetic reading, an alternative interpretation contributing to the art historical, archaeological and classical scholarship on the Pergamene Asklepieion.