—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]
* * *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.
* * *▪ staffGreek 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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