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#86518 11/11/02 02:08 AM
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The US Army Medical Corps insignia is a caduceus, a staff with wings and two entwined
snakes. I have read that this amuses the Brits, who knew that caduceus belonged to
Mercury. The Brits' knowledge of mythology led the to use caduceus of Aesculapius,
with only one snake.
The two snake caduceus belonged to Mercury. My dictionary says medical can be two
snakes, but British medical insignia has only one, in all illustrations I have ever seen.

Edit: I goofed and put an "e" after the "d" where it does not belong. Shame on me.


#86519 11/11/02 02:17 AM
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old hand
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Huh - I was under the impression that the cadeuceus was a more generally (no pun intended, really) used medical symbol, not just Army. Doesn't the cadeuceus appear on the AMA logo or something similarly universal/ecumenical?


#86520 11/11/02 05:06 PM
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I'm under the same impression as Fiberbabe that the cadeuceus is a symbol of the medical profession.

We won't get into the snake symbolism....


#86521 11/11/02 05:25 PM
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Want to see a statue of Mercury inventing his caduceus?
http://pygmalionart.freehosting.net/cgi-bin/i/idracbig.jpg


#86522 11/11/02 08:22 PM
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See also
http://wordsmith.org/board/showthreaded.pl?Cat=&Board=words&Number=74223
and follow the thread down a few postings for some sidelights to this theme


#86523 11/11/02 08:27 PM
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So help me, wofahulicodoc, I had completely forgotten. Didn't you think that Mercury was
doing a pretty clumsy job of making his emlem?


#86524 11/11/02 08:35 PM
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I'm not sure I would relish taking on a snake that big with a stick that small. No wonder he was holding it all the way out at arm's length!


#86525 11/11/02 08:50 PM
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I once saw a pair of snakes copulating in deep grass, and grabbed what I thought was just
behind the head of one, but was so far behind that he (or she) turned around and bit me.
The two of them would have half filled a bushel basket. I was so busy trying to persuade
the one biting me to let go, I never thought of trying to make a caduceus of them.
And I was unable to get the faintest clue as to who was doing what to whom. Alas.


#86526 11/12/02 11:57 AM
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But the question is, why do the Brits object to a reference to Mercury as far as symbols of medicine go?


#86527 11/12/02 02:06 PM
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Dear Alex: Surely you will agree that the Brits were entirely justified in holding that only
quacks would use Meercury for medicine.



b


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