The History of the Snake Staff Symbol & Why its on Ambulances

you're dead well not yet but you're

dying quick call 9-1-1 need an ambulance

oh thank god the ambulance is here wait


why does an ambulance have a symbol from

alchemy on it hmm

what do you mean now's not the time for

that just because you're bleeding

profusely doesn't mean it's not time for

learning so let's learn


welcome to hands off University where we

explain everything everything we feel

like at the moment that is and why do

some ambulances and hospitals have a

snake on a pole sometimes two snakes on

a wing into pole well the intro and

simulated that it originated from

alchemy but that is not 100% true rather

Greek alchemy and mythology adopted and

advanced the symbol and its use to the

point where it's just as important to

the origin but not the whole story so

what is the whole story well it dates

back to the biblical account of Moses

so with God's blessing Moses was all hey

Pharaoh could you do me a favor and let

my people go it would really mean a lot

to me man also to God God would like it

a bunch and then use a bunch of frogs

and death and stuff to convince him and

after freeing the slaves they began

their journey through the desert and a

lot of the slaves were ungrateful

because now they are in a desert and

nobody likes deserts especially before

air-conditioning but regardless God

didn't like their lack of appreciation

for his frogs and death and stuff that

got them out so he punished them with

venomous snakes as any loving parent

would really so now like everyone in the

camp is just dying miserably on the

floor and a bunch of them did start

feeling pretty guilty so God and Moses

have mercy and with God's blessing Moses

made a bronze snake wrapped around a

staff and everyone who looked up at the

staff would be healed

so obviously snake staff equals antidote

so today snake staff equals all medical

care but that's jumping over a lot of

really cool history like jumping forward

to the ancient Greeks there is the rod

of a sips sent to the rod of a seppius

which is as you guessed a rod with a

snake wrapped around it likely inspired

by the biblical tale of Moses this was

the rod from the Greek god a slippiest

hoping uh pronouncing that wrong

regardless the deity of healing and

medicine so again the reason it's

associated with hospitals and health is

pretty clear but the symbolism the

Greeks applied to this naked staff is

pretty awesome too

after all snakes shed their skin which

in a way read

use them and rejuvenates them just like

if you were to be healed from a sickness

he would be rejuvenated but it goes even

deeper than that

the snake reflects the dual nature of

the physician the ancient doctors

responsibilities were both to deal with

healing the living means taking care of

the dead plus snakes symbolized the

ambiguity of medicine as a whole back

then after all ancient humans were

pretty stupid well I mean they were a

lot smarter than people these days give

him credit for but they were still

stupid at least at least in the field of

medicine so more than half of the time

the doctors had no idea what was going

on they would give you a medicine not

knowing if it would help or hinder hey

it may even kill you and that's why the

Greek word for medicine pharmacon is

also the Greek word for poison pharmacon

thus the snake symbolism continues to

work perfectly because snake venom can

kill you but snake venom was also a

super common medicine back then it

pretty much summarizes the entire field

of ancient doctoring and that's way cool

plus in honor of their God slippiest

many dormitories for the ill and injured

would be littered with ask Allah peon a

school of pain a school a peon a school

a peon snakes which are yes named after

that God and yes were non-venomous so

not really all that scary thank goodness

now at first you might think ah oh man

geez snakes are terrifying and they're

so unsanitary why would they do that but

actually whether the ancient dudes knew

it or not the snakes did help

significantly you know what ancient

cities are full of mice and rats

you know what's significantly more

unsanitary than snakes mice and rats and

what are mice and rats scared of

snakes by filling these sick Bay's with

snakes they kept the mice and rats away

which built people heal unless they were

scared of snakes but like these were the

non-venomous ones at this point people

were probably used to snakes because

like all of the doctor offices are

filled with them so in a way because all

of the sick Bay's were filled with

snakes snakes became even more heavily

associated with healthcare amongst the

populace but where does the alchemy come

in come on and what about that double

snake and staff with wings where's that

one well to answer both questions at the

same time also in ancient Greece we have

Hermes a son of Zeus and the second

youngest of the Gods he's a messenger

and has wings on his feets

he also has wings on his staff which

also has two snakes and he's also kind

of a jerk a trickster who loves messing

with people and is often associated with

gamblers cheaters and thieves so rightly

so his staff became a symbol for the

medical industry in the United States in

1902 all right all right I left out some

details there but the joke was too good

to pass up but really Hermes himself had

little to nothing to do with medicine

rather he was well known for his speed

and assistance to travelers so the

medical branch of the u.s. military

adopted the symbol in the context of

that speed treating wounded soldiers on

the battlefield but there is some more

context that the designers of the

medical corps badge may or may not have

known it's ambiguous history regarding

alchemy so Roman mythology is pretty

much Greek mythology with a bunch of

gastric PSA's and they took the great

account of Hermes and their own account

of the god mercury and decided they were

the same God so they're symbols and

stories merged this is where the

confusion begins so a lot as in most

symbols and alchemy are the same as

Roman and Greek symbols and the symbol

for mercury the element is this little

dingle but in alchemy mercury is one of

the three base elements the most

important LM

for life the others being salt and

sulfur but mercury ruled over the other

two it's the most important and these

three elements were the main ingredients

not only for the Philosopher's Stone but

also for the elixir of life the supposed

to cure to all diseases and reverser of

ages and in many alchemical

illustrations this staff of mercury and

even Hermes himself would be

symbolically used as a key piece to this

creation of this elixir and also of the

Philosopher's Stone and that stone is

also said to be able to cure anything

because you would get infinite wisdom

and control over as off.not this channel

actual as off which I guess would

include this channel since as off is

basically the spiritual power of

literally everything interestingly the

modern rear eyes of alchemy started in

the 1800s and being that this US Medical

Corps design was made in 1902 it's very

plausible someone on the design team was

dabbling into some magic II stuff after

all there was literally nothing else to

do back then so either way both symbols

work well as both have loads of context

and symbolism with medicine and stuff so

the next time you're hospitalized give

the nurse a neato little history lesson

this kind of stuff fascinates a lot of

people so also you should try this video

that'd be pretty swell so until the next

lesson learn on and thanks for joining

as author University