Every time we drive past one of the three ‘Welcome to Ventnor’ signs, our daughter, Alpha, reads the sign and declares proudly “We’re in Ventnor”.
She was in an inquisitive mood yesterday and after telling me we were definitely now in Ventnor, asked “Why has the sign got a lady on it?”
“She’s Hygeia,” I explained, “the goddess of health and well being.”
It reminded me of an article that Brian Lucas wrote for the Blog some time ago, that I hadn’t got around to using. Now seems like the perfect opportunity, so if you don’t know much about this beautiful lady, who has not only been adopted by Ventnor and it’s brewery, but also immortalised by Gustav Klimt, then read on ….
It was a huge a shock to learn that her father had been killed by a thunderbolt, sent by the jealous god Zeus, just because he, Asclepius, had been such a good doctor, and admired by everyone.
Having now to run his temple of healing in Epidura, including caring for all the resident friendly serpents was a huge responsibility for her now to take on, but she, with her sisters, Acecis, Iaso, Aegle, Janiscus and Panacea, had a family reputation to maintain.
Healing, health and cures was the family business, she was a dedicated girl and she owed it to her grandfather Apollo.
Hygeia was her name, Greek Goddess of health and well-being. No wonder then, that Ventnor, known for its healthy climate, adopted her in 1890 as their patron goddess. The golden dish she carried has also been taken as the pharmacist’s symbol.
On the Ventnor Town crest, Hygeia is surrounded with wild roses, linking her further to the garden Isle. You will see her image on the town crest and depicted on many pieces of souvenir china.
Many thanks Brian, for this interesting insight into Hygeia.