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A cobra in Ptolemaic Egypt

Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles found almost worldwide. A few species are venomous, and colloquially, the word "snake" has become synonymous with slyness or deception. It is a symbolic animal for the Templars, as it represents manipulation and knowledge.

History

Biblical

Moses used a Staff of Eden to create an illusion of it changing into a snake.[1]

6th century BCE

Hermes Trismegistus also held a Staff that was decorated with two intertwined snakes. When he was encountered by Pythagoras and his pupil, Kyros of Zarax, Hermes plunged the staff into the ground and the snakes appeared to speak, informing Pythagoras that he was to be the next possessor of the Staff.[2]

5th century BCE

Snakes featured heavily in the Greek myths, and some signs of the myths still remained in the landscape during the 5th century BCE. The clearest of these were the ruins of the Snake Temple within the Valley of the Snake in Phokis. Named after the skeleton of a gigantic snake wrapped around the stonework, it was believed to have been the Python of legends killed by the god Apollo.[3]

During the Peloponnesian War, many snakes inhabited various tombs and ruins all around Greece. Their poisonous fangs were valued at 9 drachmae apiece.[4]

Snakes were also a vital part of the practices at the Sanctuary of Asklepios, where they were kept in the sanctuary's tholos and used to heal the sick.[5][6] They were so important in the proceedings that the Greek god of healing, Asklepios, was usually depicted with a snake-wrapped staff.[4] His daughter, Hygieia, was also said to able to repel harmful snakes, and aid with recovery from their poison.[7]

The soil from the island of Lemnos was also believed to cure snake bites in 5th century BCE Greece.[8]

Snakes were also connected with the mythological Medusa and the Writhing Dread: the hair of said creatures was said to have taken the form of living snakes.[4]

1st century BCE

In order to take out the order-influenced pharaoh, Cleopatra, the Egyptian Assassin Amunet used a venomous asp to kill her, according to the legend.[9]

The Egyptians themselves worshipped the snake-goddess Wadjet.[7]

9th century

Snakes were pretty common in 9th century England, foraging in the grassy areas whilst sleeping in more dark and damp places, like caves and ruins. Snakes would also often find a good place to sleep inside pots and crates inside houses. Viking shieldmaiden Eivor Varinsdottir of the Raven Clan encountered many snakes during her travels throughout the English countryside[10], but only one during her travels in Ireland.[11]

18th century

During the 18th century, particularly the Seven Years' War, French and Indian War, and the American Revolution, many banners were posted all over Boston, New York and River Valley, depicting a snake, and the writing "Join, or Die" by Benjamin Franklin.[12]

Influence

The Order of the Ancients, a secret society seeking to control humankind, refer to itself as the Snake.[7]

During the Peloponnesian War, another secret society, the Cult of Kosmos, used the imagery of the snake in their Sanctuary of Kosmos.

In 18th century, in esoteric circles snakes were thought to be 'holders of intuitive knowledge'.[13]

The snake was also a symbol for the Templars, as it was the embodiment of manipulation and intelligence of the group.

Gallery

Appearances

References

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