|“||The phone glowed a brilliant blue.It stretched into a three-foot-long wooden staff with dove wings sprouting out on the top. George and Martha, now full-sized green snakes, coiled together around the middle.It was a caduceus, the symbol of Cabin 11.||”|
The caduceus (originally known as the kerykeion) is a staff carried by Hermes, along with his symbol of power. George and Martha are entwined in it with wings on its top. It is the symbol of Hermes and Hermes' cabin.
When Hermes was a child, he sneaked off from his cave and stole a herd of sacred cattle from Apollo. Outraged, Apollo tracked Hermes down and demanded that he return his cattle. As a sign of forgiveness, Hermes crafted a lyre, a type of musical instrument, which he then gave to Apollo. Accepting the gift, Apollo and Hermes became friends. Soon after, Hermes became an Olympian.
Hermes then crafted the reed pipes, another instrument. When Apollo saw the pipes, he begged Hermes to give them to him. Hermes made a deal with Apollo: he would give him the reed pipes in exchange for the gift of prophecy and Apollo's golden wand-the caduceus. Apollo agreed to the deal, then became the god of music. Hermes got the caduceus, and it has been the symbol for him ever since.
Hermes takes the caduceus with him in different forms, like a modern phone. For example, when going to Camp Half-Blood to talk to Percy. He also takes the caduceus with him again when he delivers a letter to Percy from Poseidon. It turns into a pen so Percy can sign for it.
Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes
The caduceus is stolen from Hermes by Cacus, so Hermes interrupts Percy's date with Annabeth. He then sends Percy and Annabeth to retrieve the caduceus. Cacus uses it in battle against Percy and Annabeth, but Percy retrieves it and uses laser mode to disintegrate him. After Percy and Annabeth gave the caduceus back to Hermes he had to give Percy a night in Paris with Annabeth.
The caduceus can take many different forms, each with George and Martha on it. Here are the known ones:
- Winged Staff (Original form) - three foot long oak staff with dove wings sprouting at the top. George and Martha are full sized green snakes.
- Phone (with "Macarena" as a ringtone)
- High Voltage Cattle Prod
- Laser Mode
- Note Pad
- iPod Shuffle
- The caduceus is used as the logo for the American Red Cross. However, as Annabeth stated, the logo should have been the staff of Asclepius, the god of medicine.
- The caduceus' tip can turn objects to stone.
- George and Martha may have possibly been named after George Washington and his wife Martha Dandridge Washington, or more likely from the two main characters of the play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," a married couple who are frequently venomous towards each other.