The caduceus is the staff carried by Hermes in Greek Mythology The same staff was also borne by heralds in general, for example by Iris, the messenger of Hera. It is a short staff entwined by two serpents, sometimes surmounted by wings. In Roman iconography it was often depicted being carried in the left hand of Mercury, the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, liars and thieves.
The caduceus is sometimes mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine and/or medical practice, especially in north America, because of widespread confusion with the traditional medical symbol, the rod of Asclepius, which has only a single snake and no wings.
The rod of Asclepius
The rod of Asclepius The rod of Asclepius (sometimes also spelled Asklepios or Aesculapius), also known as the asklepian,is an ancient symbol associated with astrology, the Greek god Asclepius, and with medicine and healing. It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. The name of the symbol derives from its early and widespread association with Asclepius, the son of Apollo, who was a practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. His attributes, the snake and the staff, sometimes depicted separately in antiquity, are combined in this symbol.Hippocrates himself was a worshipper of Asclepius.