The Golden Wand of Medicine: A History of the Caduceus Symbol in Medicine

By Walter J. Friedlander | Go to book overview
63.
Stillman, Story of Alchemy, p. 321.
64.
Ibid., p. 320.
65.
The American general, Ethan Allen Hitchcock, in the middle of the nineteenth century, concluded that the difficulty in understanding alchemy was because the alchemists were really not concerned with chemistry at all, including the making of gold, but rather they "were religious men. . .in religious contemplations, studying how to realize in themselves the union of the divine and human nature, expressed in man by an enlightened submission to God's will; and they thought out and published, after a manner of their own, a method of attaining or entering upon this state, as the only rest of the soul," (Cohen, I. B. "Ethan Allen Hitchcock: Soldier-Humanitarian-Scholar. Discoverer of the 'True Subject' of the Hermetic Arts," Proc. Amer. Antiquarian Soc. 1951, 6:29-136.) After an extensive study of the Renaissance alchemical literature, Hitchcock concluded that mercury was symbolic of conscience. Conscience is not equally pure with all men, and not equally developed. The difficulty in discovering live mercury, of which all Alchemists write, is nothing more than the difficulty in arousing conscience in men's hearts for their improvement and elevation."

General Hitchcock's ideas were given a degree of respectability by I. Bernard Cohen, a modern authority on the history and philosophy of science. He believed that Hitchcock was to be given credit for offering new insight into the nonchemical aspects of alchemical writings, although he did not give adequate attention to the chemical aspects. Hitchcock's ideas were popularized in the recent psychiatric literature, first by the Viennese psychoanalyst, Herbert Silberer, and then by Carl Jung.

66.
Michelspacher S. "Cabala: Spechulim Artis et Naturae in Alchymia," 1654. In: Kearney H. Science and Change, 1500- 1700. New York: World University Library, 1971, p. 125.
67.
Schupbach W. (Curator, Iconographic Collections, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London). Personal communication, October 1982.

-81-

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The Golden Wand of Medicine: A History of the Caduceus Symbol in Medicine
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Medical Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Foreword xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Note 3
  • 2 - Definition of the Caduceus 5
  • Notes 12
  • 3 - Development of the Structure of the Caduceus 13
  • Notes 29
  • 4 - Hermes 31
  • Notes 59
  • 5 - Egyptian Hermes 61
  • Notes 81
  • 6 - Caduceus in Medicine: Sixteenth Through Nineteenth Centuries 83
  • 7 - Caduceus as a Printer's Mark 109
  • 8 - U. S. Army's Medical Department Adopts the Caduceus 127
  • Notes 144
  • 9 - Present 145
  • Notes 154
  • 10 - Summary 155
  • Appendix I Persistence of Confusion About Hermes 159
  • Notes 165
  • Appendix II History of the American Medical Association's Official Symbol 167
  • Notes 169
  • Selected Bibliography 171
  • Index 175
  • About the Author 183
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