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1894 International Medical Congress Medal

Congress held in Rome

The Eleventh International Medical Congress was held in Rome. The opening ceremony took place in the Costanzi Theatre and was attended by the King and Queen of Italy.

A speech was given by Professor Virchow of Berlin who was loudly cheered. The British representative was Sir William MacCormac.

The engraving on the reverse of the medal is based on an original Roman medallion c.143 from the reign of Antoninus Pius (AD138-161). It shows the arrival of Aesculapius, the Greek God of medicine, into Rome in 291BC. Aesculapius, in the form of a snake (his symbol), was brought to Rome by envoys from the Senate from his temple in Epidaurus in 291BC to save Rome from the Plague, which had been raging since 293BC.

The medal shows the serpent Aesculapius jumping into the river Tiber and being greeted by the god Tiber. The snake it was said, swam to an island (the Insula Tiberinus) where there was a healing spring and a temple to Aesculapius was founded. This same island temple later became a Christian hospital called St Bartholomew’s. This was thought to be the inspiration of the mediaeval monk, Rahere, who founded St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Aesculapius (and his snake) are seen on the BAUS Coat of Arms.

The International Medical Congress series started in Paris in 1867, and continued until 1913 in London.

Opening Ceremony

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