Ophiucus means "the one who holds the serpent". This refers to Asclepius who became the god of Aesculapius medicine in Roman mythology. An epidemic having broken out, messengers had been sent to Delphi to consult the oracle. The latter advised to take one of the two snakes which formed the caduceus, emblem of the god, & to transport it from Epidaurus to Rome. Aesculapius, son of Apollo & Coronis, was trained in the medical art by the centaur Chiron & became a great doctor capable of raising the dead. The snake represents his sagacity or perhaps his miraculous capacity to save the victims of poisonous animals, which was not to the liking of Zeus, who struck him.