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Letters to the Editor   |    
The Asclepius: The Ancient Standard of Physicians
John A. Fromson, M.D.
Am J Psychiatry 2011;168:752-752. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11040539
View Author and Article Information
Boston, Mass.

The author reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Accepted for publication in April 2011.

Accepted April , 2011.

Copyright © American Psychiatric Association

To the Editor: The cover explanation in the March 2011 issue of the Journal erroneously identifies the Caduceus as "the ancient standard of physicians." The Caduceus, a winged staff with two intertwined snakes, was the magical staff of the Greek god Hermes and the Roman god Mercury. They were the gods of "commerce, eloquence, invention, travel, and theft—symbols of heralds and commerce" (1). The Journal is not alone in using the Caduceus instead of the more traditional symbol of medicine, the single-snaked staff of Asclepius (2). It was the ancient Greek physician Asclepius who was deified as the god of medicine (3).

Blayney  K:  The Caduceus vs the Staff of Asclepius (Asklepian). www.drblayney.com/Asclepius.html
 
Friedlander  WJ:  The Golden Wand of Medicine: A History of the Caduceus Symbol in Medicine .  New York,  Greenwood, 1992
 
Wilcox  RA;  Whitham  EM:  The symbol of modern medicine: why one snake is more than two.  Ann Intern Med 2003; 138:673—677
[PubMed]
 
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References

Blayney  K:  The Caduceus vs the Staff of Asclepius (Asklepian). www.drblayney.com/Asclepius.html
 
Friedlander  WJ:  The Golden Wand of Medicine: A History of the Caduceus Symbol in Medicine .  New York,  Greenwood, 1992
 
Wilcox  RA;  Whitham  EM:  The symbol of modern medicine: why one snake is more than two.  Ann Intern Med 2003; 138:673—677
[PubMed]
 
References Container
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