Why is it so important to describe the soul of an instrument? Because we believe that it clearly represents the essence, the being of the surgical profession. Why do we believe that it would carry a significant burden in the formation and life of a sur geon? Again, because we believe that it teaches to the young and the mature surgeon all the knowledge and experience that it has amassed in millennia of practice and existence. Because it brings with it the commitment and determination of all dedi cated professions. Let us then describe the instrument, some of its contributions, and its brief history.