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It is hard to trust a profession that cannot even get its symbols straight. Most physicians in the United States think that the symbol of their profession is something called the caduceus. But this is actually not true. […] Historians have discovered that someone in the U.S. Army Medical Corps mistook the caduceus for the Aesculapion and introduced the Medical Corps' symbol at the beginning of the twentieth century. Soon thereafter, everyone in the United States was emulating the mistake." ” —Daniel P. Sulmasy, A Balm for Gilead: Meditations On Spirituality and the Healing Arts
In later Antiquity the caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury and in Roman iconography was often depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, liars and thieves
AESCULAPIUS TODAY There is only one Temple of Aesculapius that stands today in the Villa Borghese gardens in Rome. Surrounded by a serene artificial lake and only accessible by boat, it was constructed as a memory in 1786 to replicate the temple on Tiber Island. the Temple of Aesculapius in Villa Borghese gardens, Rome
Originally posted by GnosisPhoenix
From what I've read, the caduceus has traditionally represented deception and death,
and so I find it quite fitting that it is used extensively in the modern medical industry.
It was only adopted in the early 1900's by a military medical team. Until then, and still in some areas of medicine, the Rod of Asclepius is used, which is a single snake wrapped around a wooden staff, and this has been used as a symbol of healing for thousands of years, as opposed to the two winged snakes of the caduceus.