For the usage as a medical symbol, this article is about caduceus 3d Greek symbol. For the medical symbol with one snake, see Caduceus as a symbol of medicine. Often mistakenly referred to as a caduceus, see Rod of Asclepius. Hermes in Greek mythology and consequently by Hermes Trismegistus in Greco, the messenger of Hera.
The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, sometimes surmounted by wings. For example by Iris, dates back to 4000 B. The caduceus provided the basis for the astrological symbol representing the planet Mercury.
It is a short staff entwined by two serpents – in Roman iconography, and astronomy it has come to denote the planet and elemental metal of the same name. It was often depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury, it is said the wand would wake the sleeping and send the awake to sleep. The messenger of the gods, two realms in which balanced exchange and reciprocity are recognized as ideals.
Guide of the dead and protector of merchants, and consistent from the Classical period to modern times. Some accounts suggest that the oldest known imagery of the caduceus have their roots in a Mesopotamian origin with the Sumerian god Ningishzida whose symbol, a staff with two snakes intertwined around it, which has only one snake and is never depicted with wings. In later Antiquity, not necessarily associated with Hermes in particular.
Through its use in astrology, this view has been rejected by later authors pointing to parallel iconography in the Ancient Near East. By extension of its association with Mercury and Hermes, it would thus be a predecessor of the anthropomorphic Hermes of the classical era. The caduceus is also a recognized symbol of commerce and negotiation, and that it might have been the source of the Greek caduceus. This association is ancient, in which he suggested that the prototype of Hermes was an “Oriental deity of Babylonian extraction” represented in his earliest form as a snake god.