History of Zamenix
The Aesculapian Snake was first described by Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti in 1768 as Natrix longissima, later it was also known as Coluber longissimus and for the most part of its history as Elaphe longissima. The current scientific name of the species based on revisions of the large genus Elaphe is Zamenis longissimus. Zamenis is of unknown origin, however longissimus comes from Latin and means "longest"; the snake is one of the longest over its range.
The common name of the species — "Aesculape" in French and its equivalents in other languages — refers to the classical god of healing (Greek Asclepius and later Roman Aesculapius) whose temples the snake was encouraged around.
It is surmised that the typical depiction of the god with his snake-entwined staff features the species. Later from these, modern symbols developed of the medical professions as used in a number of variations today. The species along with Four-lined Snakes also is carried in an annual religious procession in Cocullo in central Italy, which is of separate origin and was later made part of the catholic calendar.