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CADUCEUS …. from the Greek, “Heralds Staff”.
A short staff entwined by two serpents and surmounted by a pair of wings.

It is the staff carried by the Gods Hermes (Greek) and Mercury (Roman), both messengers of the Gods, and like all good Airmen several secondary duties too ; Guide to the Dead, Protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, thieves and liars.

Some form of the same staff was carried by heralds through history to indicate their non-combatant status as messengers. Not as demeaning or as cumbersome as a white flag!

The caduceus is mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine or healing, especially in the USA. This is because it has become confused with the ROD OF ASCLEPIUS.
Asclepius is the Greek deity associated with medicine and healing.

It is a rough staff entwined by a single serpent, and no wings. As in the cap badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

The use of a serpent is symbolic of the renewal or refreshing of life when the serpent sheds its skin. Also snake venom was used in early medicine, in small doses I presume !

So, was our caduceus mistakenly selected to indicate our medical trades, or is it to signify our non-combatant status ?
Maybe a mixture of the two, and of course our staff is also topped with the monarchs crown, that's nice.


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