Barton   Nightingale   Hammurabi   Hippocrates   Aesculapian Wand   Eye of Horus

Hippocrates, about 2400 years ago, formed principles for the development of modern medicine in the 1800's. He said, "Life is short and the Art long, the occasion fleeting, experience fallacious,  and judgment difficult," He believed in investigating and applying logic to medicine. "Our natures are the physicians of our diseases." He paid close attention to peoples habits. Tried to avoid drugs but tested them if they were necessary. Barley gruel was giving to the sick, vinegar and honey for pain, water and honey for thirst. He set fractures and performed surgery as a last resort ("Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases."). The cure was his goal, he said "for where there is the love of man, there is also love of the art". He lived mostly on the Greek island of Cos, but was independent of the hospitals under the priests of Aesculapius, god of medicine. Click here for the text of the Hippocratic Oath.            


Aesculapius was the Greek and Roman mythological god of healing. He was the son of Apollo and Coronis. His skills as the 'first physician" grew to the ability to restore the dead to life. Jupiter (Zeus), urged by Pluto, destroyed Aesculapius and put him in the stars. The Aesculapian Wand was a staff entwined by a serpent. The serpent represented health since it could shed its skin and look young again. (Some refer to the snake as the spinal column or even the double helix.)
               hippoc4.jpg  
        Aesculapian Wand and  Hippocrates          
The British parents of Florence Nightingale were traveling when she was born. In fact, they were in Florence, Italy on May 12, 1820, hence, Florence Nightingale. Her sister was named Parthenope. Her mother taught them social graces. Her father schooled them at home in mathematics, philosophy, Greek, and Latin. The sisters were presented to Queen Victoria and British society, but Florence knew she would devote her life in the service of others. She studied in France and Germany and though her family had objected to her hospital work, she became superintendent of a woman's hospital in London.

Her work in the crimean war changed hospital administration and nursing throughout the world. She walked four miles of the Turkish barrack halls at night, carrying a lamp to check on the sick soldiers. They called her the "Lady with the Lamp". Upon her return to London, she immediately founded the Nightingale Home for Nurses.

Shortly after the American Civil War began, Clara Barton helped the wounded men on the battlefields and brought them supplies. She became known as "The Angel of the Battlefield". Finally, in 1864 she was appointed as superintendent of nurses for the Army of the James.

A few years later she founded the American Red Cross and held the role of president for over 20 years. She was responsible for expanding Red Cross work into areas of disasters such as Florida's 1877 Yellow-fever epidemic and the 1889 Jamestown, PA flood. She organized relief for the Russian and Armenian famines and the 1900 Galveston flood.

Clara Barton was born on December 25, 1821, near Oxford Mass. She became the first woman clerk in the U. S. Patent office in 1854. She wrote several books including "The Red Cross in Peace and War".      

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Florence Nightingale and  Clara Barton        

 Hammurabi, sixth king of the First Dynasty of the Babylonian Empire, was a great military and political leader. The code of Hammurabi included regulations on loans, business, military service, taxes, wages, trade, and family concerns. The code stressed individual rights and that the "strong shall not injure the weak".  Almost 300 laws were carved in stone for all to see!

Shamash, the sun god and patron of justice, gives Hammurabi authority shown in the relief above the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi is standing before Shamash.
     hammur3.jpg     Hammurabi and  Shamash  

Aesculapius was the Greek and Roman mythological god of healing. He was the son of Apollo and Coronis. His skills as the 'first physician" grew to the ability to restore the dead to life. Jupiter (Zeus), urged by Pluto, destroyed Aesculapius and put him in the stars. The Aesculapian Wand was a staff entwined by a serpent. The serpent represented health since it could shed its skin and look young again. (Some refer to the snake as the spinal column or even the double helix.)

EYE OF HORUS - A 5000 year old Egyptian legend - The child Horus lost his sight when he was attacked by the evil Seth. Isis, mother of Horus, had the Scribe ,Troth, to restore the eye, which became a symbol of recovery. During the middle ages, 4 , symbol of jupiter represented the eye. It slowly changed to Rx our modern symbol of recovery.

The Eye of Horus on the right, shows the evolution of the symbol of the eye to the present day symbol Rx of recovery.  

               horus3.jpg       Aesculapian Wand and Eye of Horus 

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