Any of many scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptiles having long, tapering cylindrical and serpentine form. In Judeo-Christian iconography, snakes have often been employed as symbols of evil, as in the biblical representation of Satan as a snake tempting Adam and Eve, in images of the Virgin Mary standing on a snake to signify victory over sin, and of St. George slaying the Dragon. In even earlier traditions, snakes were often phallic symbols, sometimes signifying fertility, wisdom, or the power to heal. Consider the role played by snakes in the medical symbol called the caduceus, replacing hair on the head of Medusa, and in the Hellenistic sculpture of Laocoon. The Latin word for snake is draco, a bit of linguistic heritage to which J.K. Rowling connects Harry Potter's most unpleasant schoolmate at Hogwarts.Quote: "The most frequently looked up article in the World Book Encyclopedia is 'snake.' " 2005 In ceramics, a "snake" is a rope-like piece of clay with which a coil pot is constructed.Also see coil, Madonna and meander, and Pre-Columbian art.

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