Aesculapius was the child of Coronis who was born after his mother died, and Apollo retrieved him and gave him to Chiron to raise.

As a child, Aesculapius was not interested in the usual activities typical of boys at the time; rather, he was interested in the arts of healing, which he hoped to learn from Chiron. Gradually he became a master of medicine and healing, and he surpassed Chiron at one point. However, he soon started to think "thoughts too great for man", and revived the dead and traveled to Italy, where he was worshiped as a god called Virbius.

As expected, Zeus would not allow a mortal to possess power of the gods, and he struck Aesculapius with a thunderbolt. Angered at his son's death, Apollo proceeded to slaughter the Cyclopes creating the bolts. Zeus retaliated by condemning Apollo as a slave to Admetus.

As for Aesculapius, he was greatly honored on earth despite his conflicts with the gods. The sickly traveled to his temple where they hoped to be cured.