caduceus


caduceus
caducean, adj.
/keuh dooh"see euhs, -syoohs, -sheuhs, -dyooh"-/, n., pl. caducei /-see uy'/.
1. Class. Myth. the staff carried by Mercury as messenger of the gods.
2. a representation of this staff used as an emblem of the medical profession and as the insignia of the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Cf. staff of Aesculapius.
[1585-95; < L, var. of CADUCEUM < Gk (Doric) karýkeion herald's staff, equiv. to karyk- (s. of kâryx) herald + -eion, neut. of -eios adj. suffix]

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Staff carried by Hermes as a symbol of peace.

It served as a badge of protection for ancient Greek and Roman heralds and ambassadors. It was originally depicted as a rod or olive branch ending in two shoots and decorated with garlands or ribbons; in later iconography the garlands became two snakes and a pair of wings was attached to the staff to represent Hermes' speed. The caduceus was adopted as a symbol of physicians because of its similarity to the staff of Asclepius.

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staff
Greek  Kērykeion,  
 staff carried by Hermes, the messenger of the gods, as a symbol of peace. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans it became the badge of heralds and ambassadors, signifying their inviolability. Originally the caduceus was a rod or olive branch ending in two shoots and decorated with garlands or ribbons. Later the garlands were interpreted as two snakes entwined in opposite directions with their heads facing; and a pair of wings, in token of Hermes' speed, was attached to the staff above the snakes. Its similarity to the staff of Asclepius the healer (a staff branched at the top and entwined by a single serpent) resulted in modern times in the adoption of the caduceus as a symbol of the physician and as the emblem of the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Caducĕus — (lat., griech. Kerykeion), der Hermesstab, d. h. der vorn mit zwei verschlungenen und mit den Köpfen einander zugekehrten Schlangen versehene Stab, das gewöhnlichste Attribut des Hermes oder Merkur (Caducifer). Neben dieser durch die ausgebildete …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Caduceus — Ca*du ce*us, n. [L. caduceum, caduceus; akin to Gr. ? a herald s wand, fr. ? herald.] (Myth.) The official staff or wand of Hermes or Mercury, the messenger of the gods. It was originally said to be a herald s staff of olive wood, but was… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • CADUCEUS — Mercurii virga fuisse dicitur, quâ ille ad dissidia, et discordias tollendas utebatur. (unde Caducifer dictus est) a cadendo sic vocata, quod contentiones et bella cadere faceret, nam quemadmodum per Faeciales bella indicebantur, ita per… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • caduceus — 1590s, from L. caduceus, alteration of Doric Gk. karykeion herald s staff, from karyx (gen. karykos) a herald, from PIE *karu , from root *kar to praise loudly (Cf. Skt. carkarti mentions with praise, O.E. hreð fame, glory ). Especially the wand… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Caducĕus — (gr. Kerykeion), Stab von zwei Schlangen umwunden, welche oben die Köpfe einander zukehren, ohne den Kamm zu sträuben. Seine Entstehung soll er daher haben, daß Mercur einst in Arkadien zwischen 2 kämpfende Schlangen einen Stab warf, um welchen… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Caduceus — Caducĕus (lat.; grch. Kerykeion), geflügelter, von zwei verschlungenen und mit den Köpfen einander zugekehrten Schlangen umwundener Stab, Merkurstab [Abb. 306]; Abzeichen des Hermes, Stab der Herolde, Sinnbild des Handels …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Caduceus — Caduceus, der Stab des Mercur von 2 Schlangen umwunden, Symbol des Friedens, deßwegen von den Herolden getragen; von ihm hat Mercur den Beinamen Caducifer …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • caduceus — [kə do͞o′sē əs, kədyo͞o′sē əs] n. pl. caducei [kə do͞o′sē ī΄, kə dyo͞o′sē ī΄] [L, ? via Etr < Gr(Doric) karykeion, for Gr kērykeion < kēryx, herald < IE base * kar , to praise > OHG hruom, Ger ruhm] 1. the staff of an ancient herald;… …   English World dictionary

  • Caduceus — The caduceus (IPA|/kəˈdjuːsiəs/, ʃəs, ˈduː ; κηρύκειον in Greek) or wand of Hermes is typically depicted as a short herald s staff entwined by two serpents in the form of a double helix, and sometimes surmounted by wings. In later Antiquity the… …   Wikipedia

  • Caduceus — A rod with two snakes entwined about it topped by a pair of wings. The caduceus served as the symbol of Hermes and Mercury, the Greek and Roman messenger gods. The caduceus was the sign of a herald and hence a logical symbol for the messenger.… …   Medical dictionary

  • Caduceus — Hermesstab mit zwei Schlangen Der Hermesstab (altgriechisch: τὸ κηρύκειον kerýkeion, von ὁ κῆρυξ , Gen …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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