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A shepherd's crook
William Blake's hand painted print for his poem ""The Shepherd" depicts the "idyllic scene of a shepherd watching his flock with a shepherd's crook. This image represents copy B, printed and painted in 1789 and currently held by the "Library of Congress.[1]

The shepherd's crook is an important albeit primitive device used by "shepherds. Sheep can feed on rough pasture which is unsuitable for cattle or agriculture, including mountainous terrain. Seasonal herding along mountainous routes gave rise to what are now known as "drovers' roads. A strong, multi-purpose stick can be used for balance, examining dangerous undergrowth and for "defence against attack by "predators. The crooks main purpose is for catching sheep.

Symbolic use[edit]

The crook and flail on the coffinette of "Tutankhamun

The innovation of a "hook facilitates the recovery of fallen animals by ensnaring them by neck or leg. For this reason the crook has been used as a religious symbol of care (particularly in difficult circumstances), including the Christian bishop's "crosier.[2]

In medicine, the term shepherd’s crook is used to describe a "right coronary artery that follows an unusually high and winding route. This variant, which has a prevalence of about 5%,[3] imposes technical problems in "angioplasty procedures.[4]

"Thalia, "Muse of comedy in "Greek mythology, was usually seen holding a shepherd's crook.

The shepherd's crook and the "flail (an agricultural tool) are insignia of pharaonic authority: the "Crook and flail.


  1. ^ Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi (eds.). "Songs of Innocence, copy B, object 4 (Bentley 5, Erdman 5, Keynes 5) "The Shepherd"". "William Blake Archive. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ Caeremoniale Episcoporum (Vatican Polyglott Press, 1985)
  3. ^ Shriki, Jabi E.; Shinbane, Jerold S.; Rashid, Mollie A.; Hindoyan, Antereas; Withey, James G.; DeFrance, Anthony; Cunningham, Mark; Oliveira, George R.; Warren, Bill H. (2012-03-01). "Identifying, Characterizing, and Classifying Congenital Anomalies of the Coronary Arteries". RadioGraphics. 32 (2): 453–468. "doi:10.1148/rg.322115097. "ISSN 0271-5333. 
  4. ^ Gossman, David E.; Tuzcu, E. Murat; Simpfendorfer, Conrad; Beck, Gerald J. (1988-01-01). "Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for shepherd's crook right coronary artery stenosis". Catheterization and Cardiovascular Diagnosis. 15 (3): 189–191. "doi:10.1002/ccd.1810150313. "ISSN 1097-0304. 
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