detail from 'The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden', a fresco on the Cistine Chapel, Vatican; by Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1509-1510Article

An emblem of Satan and sin. The tempter appeared in that form to our first parents in Eden. When seen in a cup or chalice it indicates poison or an incident of poisoning. On the other hand, a serpent twined around a cross is an emblem of Our Lord, recalling the brazen serpent which Moses erected to cure the Israelites in the desert.

Associated in Art with

MLA Citation

  • “serpent”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 November 2016. Web. 10 May 2021. <>