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Rod of Asclepius

From Academic Kids

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The Rod of Asclepius is an ancient Greek symbol associated with medicine. It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. Asclepius was the god of healing in the ancient Greek pantheon. He was instructed in medicine by the centaur Chiron.

The Rod of Asclepius symbolizes the healing arts by combining the serpent, which in shedding its skin is a symbol of rebirth and fertility, with the staff, a symbol of authority, befitting the god of Medicine. The snake wrapped around the staff is widely acclaimed to be a species of Rat Snake, Elaphe longissima, also known as the Aesculapian (Asclepian) snake. It is native to southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, and some central European spa regions, apparently brought there by Romans for their healing properties.

Some scholars have suggested that the symbol once represented a worm wrapped around a rod; parasitic worms such as the "guinea worm" (Dracunculus medinensis) were common in ancient times, and were extracted from beneath the skin by winding them slowly around a stick. Physicians may have advertised this common service by posting a sign depicting a worm on a rod.

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The Star of Life features a Rod of Asclepius

Widely recognised uses include the logos of the World Health Organization, the Star of Life and the American Medical Association.

A similar symbol, Nehushtan, is mentioned in the Bible as having been used for the healing of snakebite.

The Rod of Asclepius is frequently confused with the caduceus, which is a symbol of commerce associated with the god Hermes See serpent.

External link

de:ńskulapstab it:Bastone di Asclepio nl:Esculaap

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