Het Genootschap "Servandis Civibus" (1778-1794). Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis der Geneeskunde (1928) 8:215-220. [In Dutch.]
This article describes the contents of a 10-volume copy of the 16-year run
of the Handeling of the
Geneeskundig Genootschap, onder de Zinspreuk Servandis
Civibus, founded around 1775.
The dates given in the title (1778-1794) clearly refer to the years of the
run of the Handeling.
On p.216 he describes the Society's medal. He indicates that on the one side is a youth standing on a pedestal near the sea shore; the youth is reaching his hand out to a bird carrying a laurel leaf. On the horizon is a rising or setting sun and a rock against which a ship has run aground. The entire thing is encircled by a snake with the words "Memnoni quod mater servandis civibus esto MDCCLXXV". The other side displays a simple laurel wreath.
Although we do not have an authoritative translation of the Latin inscription, the latter is clearly the source for the name of the society. The phrase "servandis civibus" may be translated as "in serving people" or "by serving people" or even "for serving people".
The word "Memnoni" may be a reference to the Ethiopian king Memnon, son of the Greek Goddess Eos (Dawn). The death of Memnon caused such pain to his mother that she asked Zeus to grant her son special honours; as a result the smoke from the funeral pyre of Memnon was transformed to birds called Memnonides, which returned to his grave each year.
The occurrence of the date 1775 (in Roman numerals) in the inscription strongly suggests that the society was founded in 1775 (as opposed to 1778), but without stronger evidence this cannot be concluded definitively.