Snakes have a prominent role in the Bible. The most famous snake shows up in Genesis, as depicted in the tenth century century illustration on the left. Satan, disguised as a snake, tempted Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. This original sin led the first people to be expelled from the Garden of Eden, and became central to much of Christian theology. God also punished the snake: "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:14-15, KJV).
Photographs by Archivo Iconografico, S.A./CORBIS and Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS