Staff of office


Staff of office

A staff of office is a staff, the carrying of which often denotes an official's position, a social rank or a degree of social prestige.

Church sidesmen or dodsmen bear sticks or rods or wands of office; bishops may wield their croziers or crooks; monarchs often have a sceptre signifying their office. A gold- or silver-topped cane can express social standing (or dandyism). Teachers or prefects in schools traditionally carried less elaborate canes which marked their right (and potential threat) to administer canings, and military officers carry a residual threat of physical punishment in their swagger sticks. The conductors of orchestras have in their batons symbols of authority as well as tools of their trade.

There are offices which take their titles from their staff, such as the Black Rod and the Tipstaff. Compare corporate bodies' use of maces, and note Sigmund Freud's views on phallic symbolism.

ee also

*Ceremonial weapon


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