Quantcast

The Caduceus vs Rod of Asclepius

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

YellowTurtle

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Messages
56
Reaction score
87

Members don't see this ad.
I recently learned of the difference between these 2 symbols. And now I can't stop seeing the misuse of the Caduceus everywhere. While, I'm definitely not an expert on ancient Greece, I am especially confused by the use of the Caduceus in the logo for the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Anybody else been noticing the use of these two symbols in the wrong places?
 

Jabbed

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,771
Reaction score
2,102
They used the caduceus on the House logo. That's when I knew it was all fake.
 

bc65

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
808
Reaction score
1,408
The caduceus, with two wings, is carried by Mercury ( aka Hermes) who, in addition to being the messenger of the gods, is also the patron god of thieves. It's commonly used as a symbol of medicine instead of the more correct staff of Aesculapius, a son of the god Apollo. That staff, with a single wing and a snake wrapped around it, is supposed to suggest wisdom. It is also reminiscent of a biblical story in the bible in which Moses cures snakebites by making a bronze staff with a snake coiled around it.
 
D

deleted407021

The caduceus, with two wings, is carried by Mercury ( aka Hermes) who, in addition to being the messenger of the gods, is also the patron god of thieves. It's commonly used as a symbol of medicine instead of the more correct staff of Aesculapius, a son of the god Apollo. That staff, with a single wing and a snake wrapped around it, is supposed to suggest wisdom. It is also reminiscent of a biblical story in the bible in which Moses cures snakebites by making a bronze staff with a snake coiled around it.
Yeah, but why do people confuse the two?
 

bc65

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
808
Reaction score
1,408
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Jabbed

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,771
Reaction score
2,102
The caduceus, with two wings, is carried by Mercury ( aka Hermes) who, in addition to being the messenger of the gods, is also the patron god of thieves. It's commonly used as a symbol of medicine instead of the more correct staff of Aesculapius, a son of the god Apollo. That staff, with a single wing and a snake wrapped around it, is supposed to suggest wisdom. It is also reminiscent of a biblical story in the bible in which Moses cures snakebites by making a bronze staff with a snake coiled around it.
*Patron god of thieves, liars, and lawyers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
D

deleted407021

Wikipedia has an article on it under "Caduceus as a symbol of medicine". Probably just a series of mistakes that have been perpetuated. I would guess that it is partly due to the symmetrical caduceus being more attractive, with wings , rather than a rather ugly single staff and single snake.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caduceus_as_a_symbol_of_medicine
I'm partial to the Asclepius rod, but I guess I'm minimalist in that regard. I think the wings are tacky. :/
 

scoKraz4

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2013
Messages
275
Reaction score
152
I hate seeing it used incorrectly. All over medical devices, white coats, businesses, etc. The best is when people get a tattoo of it thinking it is for medicine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

YellowTurtle

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Messages
56
Reaction score
87
I've seen it on TWO sdn avatars today.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

TaroBubbleTea

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2015
Messages
309
Reaction score
484
I never noticed.

Now I will cringe every time I see a misued
Three paragraphs explaining how the rod of Aesculapius is the true symbol of the medical professions, then "We take pride in offering several gift items featuring the authentic D.O. caduceus."

Probably written by authors of the COMLEX.

LOL...makes me cringe.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

nOchemallday

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2013
Messages
483
Reaction score
417
*Patron god of thieves, liars, and lawyers.
I hate seeing it used incorrectly. All over medical devices, white coats, businesses, etc. The best is when people get a tattoo of it thinking it is for medicine.
There's a funny argument that The Caduceus is more appropriate than The Rod of Asclepius for hospitals because they are thieves, lawyers, and businessmen (commerce) before they are concerned about medicine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

VA Hopeful Dr

Senior Member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Messages
26,437
Reaction score
49,059
When I opened my practice, I purposely used the Caduceus for the logo despite knowing the proper history for 3 primary reasons:

1) If its good enough for the Army Medical Corps, its good enough for me
2) All of the national organizations use the Rod, and I dislike almost all of them
3) Patients recognize the Caduceus more

Since I've opened, I have come up with a couple more:

A) The Caduceus is more aesthetically appealing
B) The type of people who would get worked up over the difference are people I don't want in my practice anyway
C) The Caduceus features heavily in MASH, and let's be honest here - who doesn't want to be Hawkeye Pierce?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 7 users

Donald Juan

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
1,699
Reaction score
2,663
Symbols meanings can change, and the caduceus has pretty prominently represented medicine over the last 100 years, especially in the military. Thinking those people who use it that way are "all wrong" at this point would be like sporting a swastika tattoo and acting like everyone who thought you were a ne0-nazi was just ignorant because it was a Buddhist/hindu/native American symbol first.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

Jabbed

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
1,771
Reaction score
2,102
Regarding the "symbols can change" discussion. It's not that the meaning of the symbol has evolved over time, the confusion between these two symbols is almost exclusively seen in the US. Redefinition through misappropriation is hardly an advancement. Look up the definition for the word "literally"; the definition has been changed to reflect its common usage as a synonym for "figuratively". i.e., the word "literally" means both "figuratively" and "literally". "Literally" literally means nothing. I blame the public school systems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

DoctorSynthesis

Friendly osteopath
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
3,479
Reaction score
1,722
Three paragraphs explaining how the rod of Aesculapius is the true symbol of the medical professions, then "We take pride in offering several gift items featuring the authentic D.O. caduceus."

Probably written by authors of the COMLEX.

Purschased
 
Top