Tag Archives: symbols

Common Misconceptions: Caduceus and the Rod of Asclepius


The caduceus

Often, we see the symbol of a staff with two wings and two snakes intertwined around it, and we assume that it somehow represents medicine. Even the US Army Medical Corps adopted this symbol as part of its branch plaque. This symbol represents the caduceus, a staff carried by the ancient Greek god Hermes (the messenger of the gods, protector of merchants, and provider of high end luxury goods).

The caduceus, however, has nothing to do with medicine, and when it is associated with medicine, it’s being mistaken for the rod of Asclepius, the ancient Greek god of medicine and healing. They are quite easily mistaken for each other as both involve serpents entwined around a staff. The actual rod of Asclepius, however, depicts only one serpent, and it looks like this:


Pictured: Jafar uses the rod of Asclepius to hypnotize the sultan

Hope you found this edifying!

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