E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Caduoeus (4 syl.).
A white wand carried by Roman officers when they went to treat for peace. The Egyptians adorned the rod with a male and female serpent twisted about it, and kissing each other. From this use of the rod, it became the symbol of eloquence and also of office. In mythology, a caduceus with wings is placed in the hands of Mercury, the herald of the gods; and the poets feign that he could therewith give sleep to whomsoever he chose; wherefore Milton styles it his opiate rod in Paradise Lost, xi. 133.