Artist unknown / Caduceus / 2nd centuryArtist unknown
2nd century

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Creator Name: Unknown
Creator Nationality: European; Southern European; Roman
Creator Role: Sculptor
Creator Name-CRT: Artist unknown
Title: Caduceus
View: front
Creation Start Date: 100
Creation End Date: 199
Creation Date: 2nd century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Bronze
Materials and Techniques: bronze
Dimensions: H.26-1/8 x W.12-3/4 x D.5-3/4 in. (approx.)
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 2000.64
Credit Line: The William Hood Dunwoody Fund

The typical form of a caduceus is a rod around which two snakes are entwined, with small wings at the top. In ancient Greece, it was the emblem of messengers, who were always granted safe passage. This type of staff was associated with messengers of the gods in Near Eastern religions before becoming an attribute of the Greek god Hermes, and later of the Roman god Mercury, who was closely derived from Hermes. Mercury, revered by traders, also held a herald's staff and wore a winged cap and winged shoes. According to myth, Mercury threw down his staff at two snakes fighting on the ground, and they became affixed to it.

The caduceus is also a symbol of healing. An attribute of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing, and of his Roman couterpart Aesculapius, it endures today as an international symbol of the medical profession.

AMICA ID: MIA_.2000.64
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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