This wrought-iron grate covers a small window at the Grillo Pharmacy. The symbols used to represent a hospital or a pharmacy are the cross and the caduceus, two snakes entwined around a winged staff. This symbol dates back to the age of the Mesopotamians.
The esoteric meaning of the caduceus can be interpreted from the sum of its parts. The staff was a symbol of authority carried in the hands of messengers. The winged wand of Hermes (a Greek god) is in keeping with the alchemical or astrological importance of Mercury (his Roman version) - often meaning fluidity, transformation, information, and new beginnings. The snake is often depicted in non Judeo-Christian traditions as a source or deliverer of wisdom. The snakes are bound to each other in a double helix - a shape of stability, creation, and life (the very shape our DNA conforms to).
From this we can deduce that the caduceus represents the authority to quickly deliver vital or wise information so as to aid, assist, negotiate, and enlighten. It is no surprise then that the caduceus is used as a symbol by a variety of professions which have a connection with Hermes/Mercury, the god of commerce, eloquence, invention, travel and thievery.
Contemporary users of this symbol include merchants, journalists, postal workers and...hospitals and pharmacies.
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