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COMMENDATORY LETTERS.

DR. T. S. SOZINSKEY:

66

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 24, 1884.

DEAR SIR-Please accept my thanks for your paper on Medical Symbolism," received this morning. I have read it with great interest, more especially as it is in the direction of the higher education of physicians. The preponderance of the so-called practical (empirical) in medical literature, which appeals strongly to the trade element in the profession, makes such a contribution all the more enjoyable.

Very truly yours,

1427 N. SIXTEENTH ST.

FRANCES EMILY WHITE.

DR. SOZINSKEY:

DEAR DOCTOR :-Many thanks. You ought to enlarge the article to a little book. It interested me greatly. In a bas-relief of myself by St. Gaudens, New York, he has set beside the head the caduceus and twin serpents as symbolical; at all events, they will symbolize my relation to snakes.

Yours truly,

1524 WALNUT ST., PHILA.

WEIR MITCHELL.

DR. T. S. SOZINSKEY:

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 23, 1884.

MY DEAR DOCTOR :-I write to thank you for a copy of your interesting and instructive paper on "Medical Symbolism." In Fergusson, on "Tree and Serpent Worship," which you quote, you can readily trace the connection between the emblems of religion and medicine. I recognize that, as priest and physician were once the same person, medicine is yet justly termed "the divine art." It affords me much pleasure to see your studious interest in your profession.

Yours truly,

HENRY H. SMITH.

MEDICAL SYMBOLISM.

CHAPTER I.

REMARKS ON THE MEANING OF SYMBOLS.

When a

A SYMBOL is an illustration of a thing which, to use a poetic phrase, is "not what it seems." familiar object, or figure of any kind, from some cause or other, has attached to it a meaning different from the obvious and ordinary one, it is symbolic. Thus, if one take a poppy-head to convey the idea of sleep, it is a symbol; one may regard it as symbolic of sleep, or, if he choose, of Hypnos (Somnus), the god of sleep. The illustration on the next page will afford a still more apt example. To the eye, it appears to be simply a partly coiled serpent resting on a pedestal. That is, in truth, what it is. But, regarded from the stand-point of the student of medical symbolism, it has another and very different signification. Before such a figure many a human being, diseased and suffering, has bowed in reverence and piously offered to it petitions for relief; to many a noble Greek and haughty Roman, indeed, to generations of such, it was a god, the great god of "the divine art," as medicine was often beautifully called in ancient times. The serpent is the most important of medical symbols.

In any composite figure the elements of it are spoken of as attributes; and of these some are essential and some conventional. The essential ones only are, strictly

speaking, symbols. Thus, in a representation of the

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