Asclepius was the son of Apollo, born from the sun god's liaison with the mortal Coronis. According to one version of the myth, Apollo had Coronis killed for being unfaithful to him. As her body was laid out on a funeral pyre, he cut away the unborn Asclepius from her womb and left him in the care of Chiron. The wise centaur taught the young god the art of medicine, and it was said that the student surpassed his master after bestowing kindness to a snake, who in return whispered secret knowledge about healing to the god. Thereafter, a wreathed snake became the characteristic attribute of the god. Asclepius went on to marry the goddess Epione (Greek for "soothing") and to sire three sons and five daughters. Each of his daughters was aptly named for a different facet of health and medicine: Hygeia (hygiene), Panacea (universal remedy), Iaso (recuperation), Aceso (the healing process) and Aglaea (glow of good health).
Despite the absence of the head and snake-entwined staff, we can conclude based on the style that the subject of this torso is Asclepius. All of the many surviving variations of the standing figure of the god, known from reliefs, freestanding sculpture, gems and coins, share some common elements. Particularly typical is the treatment of the mantle, which drapes diagonally across the body and envelops the legs in very few folds treated in large smooth expanses. For the type see nos. 332 and 341 in B. Holtzmann, "Asklepios," LIMC, vol. II.