Whether Asclepius was or was not a divine figure remains ambiguous in the history of medicine.
He was one of the earliest men to experiment in healing, and if he were mortal, it is thought that he was raised to divine status when he gained a cult of followers in the 5th century BC—some sources even claim he was the son of Apollo.
Asclepius is always depicted with two snakes coiling a staff. The snake symbolized rejuvenation in ancient Mediterranean cultures and the mystic stories of Asclepius granted him the ability to understand these snakes as they instructed him in the cause of ailments. This ‘Asclepian staff’ has in modern times become the ubiquitous symbol of medicine.