Why Hygeia?

A statue of Hygeia at Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, PA. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Hygeia (pronounced hi-gee-ah and also used with alternate spelling Hygiea) was and remains the Greek Goddess of Health and the personification of cleanliness and hygiene.

Her father was the god of medicine, Asclepius, and her mother was Epione, the goddess of soothing pain. Hygeia had four talented sisters. Each performed a facet of Apollo‘s key arts of living a good and healthy life:

  • Panacea was the goddess of universal remedy;
  • Laso, the goddess of recuperation from illness;
  • Aceso, the goddess of the healing process; and
  • Aglïa, the goddess of beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment.

Hygeia played an important part in her father’s cult. While her father was more directly associated with healing, her talents were focused on the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word “hygiene.”