Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Asp, a word derived from the Greek, and often used in classic and English literature in the general sense of "venomous serpent." The asp which Cleopatra made the instrument of her suicide was probably the horned viper (Vipera cerastes). The asp of Scripture cannot be identified with certainty, but as the same Hebrew word which is elsewhere translated "asp," is in Ps. lviii. 4 translated "deaf-adder," the context of this passage ("which will not hearken to the voice of charmers") has been thought to refer to Naja hajc, closely allied to the cobra (q.v.), and used by Egyptian snake-charmers in their performances to the present day. The name is sometimes applied to Vipera aspis, a European viper, more venomous than the English species.