All About Dragons
Dictionary - dragon:
A mythical monster traditionally represented as a gigantic reptile having a lion's claws, the tail of a serpent, wings, and a scaly skin.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin drac, dracn-, large serpent, from Greek drakn. See derk- in Indo-European Roots.]
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition// Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.// Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Dragon folklore has been around for a very long time. We first hear about dragons in the ancient works of Greece and even in the Bible. However; it was in the medieval European era and whose imaginations who really expanded on the DRAGON....
As legend has it, dragons are terrifying creatures, and often have large horns, terrible fangs, and nasty breath... And legend has it that a dragon might hold a town hostage and devour young virgins until it was killed by a virtuous knight. The knight usually armed with his magical sword, would come to the village and save the day... The most famous hero in legend to rescue a town maiden was Saint George, whose victory was seen as a triumph over the powers of darkness.
Dragons did not only exist in medieval folklore, they also were very much a part of Chinese folklore as well. However; in China, dragons are not evil or terrifying creatures.... where as the Western world they are considered evil creatures.
Dragons were the model for the fictional character Dracula (vampire), the prince Vlad Tepes, was nicknamed Dracula after the Romanian word for dragon and devil. Even in death, a dragon is said to have extraordinary powers.. A drop of its blood could kill instantly, and its teeth, planted in the earth, sprang up overnight as armed men.
The most common dragon to appear in British folklore and maybe the earliest roots of the legendary dragon is the worm, which stemmed from Norse and Anglo Saxon word Wyrm and vurm. The wyrm is wingless and has scales, with no arms or legs. It is very similar to a giant snake, but like a dragon, has deadly poisonous breath and can rejoin parts of it's body if cut off into pieces.
Dragons were the test of courage for aspiring heroes young and old alike. There was a worm called the Lambton worm that was also known as the dragon of Loschy Hill, and is told to be the making of heroes of young and old. Dragons are often associated with holding young maidens captive or guarding some treasures.
In early Christianity, dragons were a symbol of Paganism, if you were to make a visit to Great Britain, you would find a carving of a dragon on the front side of a church at Avebury. Another instance in British folklore is Saint Sampson of Cornwall is said to have led a dragon out of it's very lair in a moorland cave. It is said that he led it to it's death over the rugged sea cliff on the peninsula, and another Saint, Saint Serf has been said to have destroyed a dragon living in Dragon Hole in Kinnoul, Perthshire in the sixth century. British folklore is scattered with numerous dragon slayings, most not as sever as these examples. Saint Petroc is said to have wispered a prayer in the ear of a Cornish dragon, and it swam out to sea. Saint Carantoc is said to led another dragon away from a swamp to what was known as the wild places, where few dared to venture.
It has even been said that in Winlatter Rocks in Derbyshire
that a priest banished a dragon with such force that his foot prints were
left in the rock. And that the dragon retired to the Blue John mines where
it's fiery breath warms the water of the local springs.
Another type of dragon that is said to have dwelled in England is the Knucker a pool dwelling wyrm. They live deep in pools known as Knucker Holes. There was said to be a Knucker Hole near Lyminster chuch in Sussex. A deep pool that once thought to be bottomless... The dragon that supposedly lived there was slain by a conquering hero, who claimed the hand of the King of Sussex's daughter for saving the town.
The most common dragon the people think of, and is shown in most art and drawings is the Heraldic Dragon, which is the legendary fire breathing dragon. It has legs and arms and very sharp talons and teeth, and wings like those of a giant bat. It is said that the influence for this type of dragon came from the Romans, and may have been developed from the Wyvern, which had legs and wings of eagles and the body of a serpent.
Dragons were also thought of as evil omens.... strange
lights n the heavenly skies were also attributed to or thought to be
dragons. People viewed these signs as evil omens and that something bad was
going to happen in the near or distant future... In the winter months of 793
monks at Lindisfarne saw what they thought were terrible dragons of many
colors flying over the island.
We may never know where exactly the roots of dragon folklore comes from, and the dragon itself is based on many different creatures and in so many cultures, some fierce and dominate, while others are symbols of masculinity and virility.
The truth of the matter is, the dragon is a wonderful creature of our imagination, and is forever etched in history through the ages and no matter where the legend started... it is here to stay..
Long live the Dragons....