Staff of Aesculapius


Staff of Aesculapius
A rod or stick with the snake curled around it is the staff (the rod) of Aesculapius (also called Asklepios), the ancient god of medicine. His Greek name was Asklepios and his Roman name Aesculapius. In reality, Asklepios may have been a real person who was renowned for his gentle, humane remedies and his humane treatment of the mentally ill. His followers established temples called asclepions, temples of Asklepios, temples of healing. The greatest asklepion was in a grove of trees south of Corinth, Greece where the sick had to spend a night while the proper remedies were revealed during a dream to the priests of the temple and the cured had to make a suitable sacrifice (usually a rooster) to the god. According to mythology, Asculapius had a number of children including Hygieia, the goddess of health (from whose name comes the word "hygiene") and Panaceia, the goddess of healing (from whose name comes the word "panacea" for a universal remedy). Today, the staff of Aesculapius is a commonly used symbol of medicine. It is the symbol of the American Medical Association (AMA) and many other medical societies.
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A rod encircled by a serpent; symbol of medicine and emblem of the American Medical Association, Royal Army Medical Corps (Britain), and Royal Canadian Medical Corps. SEE ALSO: caduceus. [L. Aesculapius, G. Asklepios, god of medicine]

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staff of Aes·cu·la·pi·us -.es-kyə-'lā-pē-əs n a conventionalized representation of a staff branched at the top with a single snake twined around it that is used as a symbol of medicine and as the official insignia of the American Medical Association called also Aesculapian staff compare CADUCEUS (a)
Aesculapius or As·cle·pi·us as-'klē-pē-əs mythological character. Aesculapius was the god of medicine in Greek and Roman mythology. Snakes were the god's sacred emblems, and the god was believed to be incarnate in them. According to myth, the chief god Zeus struck him with a lightning bolt for daring to bring the dead back to life.

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a rod or staff with a snake entwined around it, commonly appearing in the ancient representations of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. It is the symbol of medicine and is the official emblem of the American Medical Association. See illustration.

Staff of Aesculapius.


Medical dictionary. 2011.