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Books, Journals, New Media
April 18, 2001

AsclepiusAsclepius: The God of Medicine

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2001;285(15):2017-2019. doi:10.1001/jama.285.15.2017-JBK0418-4-1

Any physician who has publicly recited the mysterious first sentence of the original Hippocratic oath has thereby sworn a vow to Asclepius, who appears in the text just after his father Apollo and before his daughters Hygieia and Panacea. Irrespective of what else one might believe about pagan gods or their role in 21st century medical practice, it would in fact be difficult to find a more enduring symbol of the profession than Asclepius. His 2500-year-old logo—the single serpent coiled about a rugged wooden staff—remains as recognizable as any modern corporate marque and may be humanity's oldest continuous badge of vocational identity.

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