Does not the Caduceus of the Greeks seem likewise to have been an essentially solar emblem? According to the words of Homer it was a rod of gold which alternately "charms the eyes of men and calls them from their slumbers;" it lures the dead to Hades, and can bring them back to the light of day; lastly, like a real magic wand, it changes all it touches into gold.
Thank you tingra, for answering without insults and with clarity. We may not agree, but I sure enjoy discussing and arguing a subject with someone willing to participate.
Yes, tingra, I concede that's one possible obvious mythological origin for the symbol. However, as always, I think accounting for the origin of the symbol is a bit wrongheaded if it ignores its long associations with the god Hermes -- NOT Apollo. (Technically, the rod of Asclepius had a single serpent, not the two entwined ones of the caduceus.)
And his use of that as his emblem only makes sense if you realize it's a the staff of a messenger
Hermes' symbol of office as divine messenger was his staff, or caduceus. This was originally a willow wand with entwined ribbons, traditional badge of the herald
. But the ribbons were eventually depicted as snakes. To support this mythologically, a story evolved that Hermes used the caduceus to separate two fighting snakes which forthwith twined themselves together in peace.http://drblayney.com/Asclepius.html
Many "medical" organisations use a symbol of a short rod entwined by two snakes and topped by a pair of wings, which is actually the caduceus or magic wand of the Greek god Hermes (Roman Mercury), messenger of the gods, inventor of (magical) incantations, conductor of the dead
and protector of merchants and thieves. It is derived from the Greek karykeion = "herald's staff", itself based on the word "eruko" meaning restrain, control
[Now please note what's in italics might be a favorable freebie to your faction. Continuing on...]
The Greek Hermes found his analogue in Egypt as the ancient Wisdom god Thoth, as Taaut of the Phoenicians and in Rome as the god Mercury (all linked with a magic rod with twin snakes).
The mythical origin of his magic twin serpent caduceus is described in the story of Tiresias. Poulenc, in "Les Mamelles de Tiresias" (The Breasts of Tiresias) tells how Tiresias--the seer who was so unhelpful to Oepidus and Family- found two snakes copulating, and to separate them stuck his staff between them. Immediately he was turned into a woman, and remained so for seven years, until he was able to repeat his action, and change back to male. The transformative power in this story, strong enough to completely reverse even physical polarities of male and female, comes from the union of the two serpents, passed on by the wand
. Tiresias' staff, complete with serpents, was later passed on to Hermes...
[BTW, I'm sorry, but I can't help but point out that Guillaume Apollinaire "inaugurated" Surrealism with the Breasts of Tiresias
, and Poulenc, who put it to music, was a member of Cocteau's "Les Six".] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/caducei
1591, from L. caduceus, alt. of Doric Gk. karykeion "herald's staff," from karyx (gen. karykos) "a herald
." Especially the wand carried by Mercury, messenger of the gods, usually represented with two serpents twined round it.
The heralds of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance claimed to trace the origin of our office from the caduceator, a Roman official who, as you can guess, carried a caduceus, the emblem of Mercury, who was the herald of Olympus. His job was delivering messages declaring war and peace, calling for truces, and other duties that heralds have always performed in times of war. The caduceus of the caduceator was not the elaborate winged wand with snakes commonly associated with Mercury in art today. That representation of the caduceus emerged late in Antiquity, when the old Roman religion was fading out. Instead, the caduceator's caduceus, as well as that of Mercury, was about eighteen inches long, with a white ribbon tied near the top. The very top had a snall knob
The caduceator seems to have disappeared as Roman culture decayed and Antiquity gave way to the Middle Ages. Even though the barbarians who took over most of the Empire admired Roman wealth and culture, they had their own customs when it came to war, which shoved Roman war customs into the dustbin of history. Also, the caduceator's clear ties to Mercury would have put the office under attack after the adoption of Christianity as Rome's official religion by Constantine the Great.
And BTW, dear lady, that brings us back to Iris. Neat, isn't it? Notice what she's got in her hand. http://www.fjkluth.com/iris.html
In Greek Ίρις-Ίριδα, the messenger of the gods among themselves in Homer (Il.8.398), and Hesiod (Th.780). Her name comes from Indo-European 'wei-1', 'To turn, twist' and 'rei-2'. 'Striped and in various colors'. This is in contrast to the derivation which Plato gives where he says 'Iris' comes from 'εἵρειν', 'To tell' because she was a messenger.
Iris is goddess of the rainbow and a messenger of the gods. She is often carrying messages for Hera
. She is the daughter of Thaumas and Electra, one of the Oceanids and not the daughter of Agamemnon. Her sisters were the fearful harpies. She had no cult following and no temples dedicated to her. In some legends she is the mother of Eros by Sephyrus.
The wand of Iris indicates she is a herald. The name of the staff, caduceus, is more related to its function than its shape
. The origin of the shape is two intertwined snakes whose detail is lost in the wand of Iris. The name comes from the Indo-European 'kar-2', 'To praise loudly, extol' and is related to the greek word for herald's wand 'κηρύκειον
'. In her other hand she holds an oinochoe jug. This may be needed to speak with spirits
[see --- another freebie?]