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This article is about the legendary creature. Dragon_sentence_0

For other uses, see Dragon (disambiguation). Dragon_sentence_1

Not to be confused with Draconian (disambiguation). Dragon_sentence_2

A dragon is a large, serpentine legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Dragon_sentence_3

Beliefs about dragons vary considerably through regions, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire. Dragon_sentence_4

Dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence. Dragon_sentence_5

The earliest attested reports of draconic creatures resemble giant snakes. Dragon_sentence_6

Draconic creatures are first described in the mythologies of the ancient Near East and appear in ancient Mesopotamian art and literature. Dragon_sentence_7

Stories about storm-gods slaying giant serpents occur throughout nearly all Indo-European and Near Eastern mythologies. Dragon_sentence_8

Famous prototypical draconic creatures include the mušḫuššu of ancient Mesopotamia; Apep in Egyptian mythology; Vṛtra in the Rigveda; the Leviathan in the Hebrew Bible; Grand'Goule in the Poitou region in France, Python, Ladon, Wyvern, and the Lernaean Hydra in Greek mythology; Jörmungandr, Níðhöggr, and Fafnir in Norse mythology; and the dragon from Beowulf. Dragon_sentence_9

The popular western image of a dragon is based on a conflation of earlier dragons from different traditions, and of inaccurate scribal drawings of snakes. Dragon_sentence_10

In western cultures, dragons are portrayed as monsters to be tamed or overcome, usually by saints or culture heroes, as in the popular legend of Saint George and the Dragon. Dragon_sentence_11

They are often said to have ravenous appetites and to live in caves, where they hoard treasure. Dragon_sentence_12

These dragons appear frequently in western fantasy literature, including The Hobbit by J. Dragon_sentence_13 R. R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by J. Dragon_sentence_14 K. Rowling, and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Dragon_sentence_15

The word "dragon" has also come to be applied to the Chinese lung (traditional 龍, simplified 龙, Japanese simplified 竜, Pinyin lóng), which are associated with good fortune and are thought to have power over rain. Dragon_sentence_16

Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing. Dragon_sentence_17

Many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal mounts or companions. Dragon_sentence_18

Dragons were also identified with the Emperor of China, who, during later Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles. Dragon_sentence_19

Commonalities between dragons' traits are often a hybridization of avian, feline, and reptilian features, and may include: snakelike features, reptilian scaly skin, four legs with three or four toes on each, spinal nodes running down the back, a tail, and a serrated jaw with rows of teeth. Dragon_sentence_20

Several modern scholars believe huge extinct or migrating crocodiles bear the closest resemblance, especially when encountered in forested or swampy areas, and are most likely the template of modern dragon imagery. Dragon_sentence_21

Etymology Dragon_section_0

The word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin: draconem (nominative draco) meaning "huge serpent, dragon", from Ancient Greek , drákōn (genitive , drákontos) "serpent, giant seafish". Dragon_sentence_22

The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not necessarily mythological. Dragon_sentence_23

The Greek word δράκων is most likely derived from the Greek verb (dérkomai) meaning "I see", the aorist form of which is ἔδρακον (édrakon). Dragon_sentence_24

This is thought to have referred to something with a "deadly glance," or unusually bright or "sharp" eyes. Dragon_sentence_25

Myth origins Dragon_section_1

Draconic creatures appear in virtually all cultures around the globe. Dragon_sentence_26

Nonetheless, scholars dispute where the idea of a dragon originates from and a wide variety of hypotheses have been proposed. Dragon_sentence_27

In his book An Instinct for Dragons (2000), anthropologist David E. Jones suggests a hypothesis that humans, like monkeys, have inherited instinctive reactions to snakes, large cats, and birds of prey. Dragon_sentence_28

He cites a study which found that approximately 39 people in a hundred are afraid of snakes and notes that fear of snakes is especially prominent in children, even in areas where snakes are rare. Dragon_sentence_29

The earliest attested dragons all resemble snakes or have snakelike attributes. Dragon_sentence_30

Jones therefore concludes that dragons appear in nearly all cultures because humans have an innate fear of snakes and other animals that were major predators of humans' primate ancestors. Dragon_sentence_31

Dragons are usually said to reside in "dank caves, deep pools, wild mountain reaches, sea bottoms, haunted forests", all places which would have been fraught with danger for early human ancestors. Dragon_sentence_32

In her book The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times (2000), Adrienne Mayor argues that some stories of dragons may have been inspired by ancient discoveries of fossils belonging to dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Dragon_sentence_33

She argues that the dragon lore of northern India may have been inspired by "observations of oversized, extraordinary bones in the fossilbeds of the Siwalik Hills below the Himalayas" and that ancient Greek artistic depictions of the Monster of Troy may have been influenced by fossils of Samotherium, an extinct species of giraffe whose fossils are common in the Mediterranean region. Dragon_sentence_34

In China, a region where fossils of large prehistoric animals are common, these remains are frequently identified as "dragon bones" and are commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine. Dragon_sentence_35

Mayor, however, is careful to point out that not all stories of dragons and giants are inspired by fossils and notes that Scandinavia has many stories of dragons and sea monsters, but has long "been considered barren of large fossils." Dragon_sentence_36

In one of her later books, she states that "Many dragon images around the world were based on folk knowledge or exaggerations of living reptiles, such as Komodo dragons, Gila monsters, iguanas, alligators, or, in California, alligator lizards." Dragon_sentence_37

Robert Blust in The Origin Of Dragons (2000) argues that, like many other creations of traditional cultures, dragons are largely explicable as products of a convergence of rational pre-scientific speculation about the world of real events. Dragon_sentence_38

In this case, the event is the natural mechanism governing rainfall and drought, with particular attention paid to the phenomenon of the rainbow. Dragon_sentence_39

Africa Dragon_section_2

Egypt Dragon_section_3

In Egyptian mythology, Apep is a giant serpentine creature who resides in the Duat, the Egyptian Underworld. Dragon_sentence_40

The Bremner-Rhind papyrus, written in around 310 BC, preserves an account of a much older Egyptian tradition that the setting of the sun is caused by Ra descending to the Duat to battle Apep. Dragon_sentence_41

In some accounts, Apep is as long as the height of eight men with a head made of flint. Dragon_sentence_42

Thunderstorms and earthquakes were thought to be caused by Apep's roar and solar eclipses were thought to be the result of Apep attacking Ra during the daytime. Dragon_sentence_43

In some myths, Apep is slain by the god Set. Dragon_sentence_44

Nehebkau is another giant serpent who guards the Duat and aided Ra in his battle against Apep. Dragon_sentence_45

Nehebkau was so massive in some stories that the entire earth was believed to rest atop his coils. Dragon_sentence_46

Denwen is a giant serpent mentioned in the Pyramid Texts whose body was made of fire and who ignited a conflagration that nearly destroyed all the gods of the Egyptian pantheon. Dragon_sentence_47

He was ultimately defeated by the Pharaoh, a victory which affirmed the Pharaoh's divine right to rule. Dragon_sentence_48

The ouroboros was a well-known Egyptian symbol of a serpent swallowing its own tail. Dragon_sentence_49

The precursor to the ouroboros was the "Many-Faced", a serpent with five heads, who, according to the Amduat, the oldest surviving Book of the Afterlife, was said to coil around the corpse of the sun god Ra protectively. Dragon_sentence_50

The earliest surviving depiction of a "true" ouroboros comes from the gilded shrines in the tomb of Tutankhamun. Dragon_sentence_51

In the early centuries AD, the ouroboros was adopted as a symbol by Gnostic Christians and chapter 136 of the Pistis Sophia, an early Gnostic text, describes "a great dragon whose tail is in its mouth". Dragon_sentence_52

In medieval alchemy, the ouroboros became a typical western dragon with wings, legs, and a tail. Dragon_sentence_53

A famous image of the dragon gnawing on its tail from the eleventh-century Codex Marcianus was copied in numerous works on alchemy. Dragon_sentence_54

Asia Dragon_section_4

South Dragon_section_5

In the Rigveda, the oldest of the four Vedas, Indra, the Vedic god of storms, battles Vṛtra, a giant serpent who represents drought. Dragon_sentence_55

Indra kills Vṛtra using his vajra (thunderbolt) and clears the path for rain, which is described in the form of cattle: "You won the cows, hero, you won the Soma,/You freed the seven streams to flow" (Rigveda 1.32.12). Dragon_sentence_56

In another Rigvedic legend, the three-headed serpent Viśvarūpa, the son of Tvaṣṭṛ, guards a wealth of cows and horses. Dragon_sentence_57

Indra delivers Viśvarūpa to a god named Trita Āptya, who fights and kills him and sets his cattle free. Dragon_sentence_58

Indra cuts off Viśvarūpa's heads and drives the cattle home for Trita. Dragon_sentence_59

This same story is alluded to in the Younger Avesta, in which the hero Thraētaona, the son of Āthbya, slays the three-headed dragon Aži Dahāka and takes his two beautiful wives as spoils. Dragon_sentence_60

Thraētaona's name (meaning "third grandson of the waters") indicates that Aži Dahāka, like Vṛtra, was seen as a blocker of waters and cause of drought. Dragon_sentence_61

The Druk (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་), also known as 'Thunder Dragon', is one of the National symbols of Bhutan. Dragon_sentence_62

In the Dzongkha language, Bhutan is known as Druk Yul "Land of Druk", and Bhutanese leaders are called Druk Gyalpo, "Thunder Dragon Kings". Dragon_sentence_63

The druk was adopted as an emblem by the Drukpa Lineage, which originated in Tibet and later spread to Bhutan. Dragon_sentence_64

East Dragon_section_6

See also: Vietnamese dragon Dragon_sentence_65

China Dragon_section_7

Main article: Chinese dragon Dragon_sentence_66

Archaeologist Zhōu Chong-Fa believes that the Chinese word for dragon is an onomatopoeia of the sound of thunder or lùhng in Cantonese. Dragon_sentence_67

The Chinese dragon (simplified Chinese: 龙; traditional Chinese: 龍; pinyin: lóng) is the highest-ranking creature in the Chinese animal hierarchy. Dragon_sentence_68

Its origins are vague, but its "ancestors can be found on Neolithic pottery as well as Bronze Age ritual vessels." Dragon_sentence_69

A number of popular stories deal with the rearing of dragons. Dragon_sentence_70

The Zuo zhuan, which was probably written during the Warring States period, describes a man named Dongfu, a descendant of Yangshu'an, who loved dragons and, because he could understand a dragon's will, he was able to tame them and raise them well. Dragon_sentence_71

He served Emperor Shun, who gave him the family name Huanlong, meaning "Dragon-Raiser". Dragon_sentence_72

In another story, Kongjia, the fourteenth emperor of the Xia dynasty, was given a male and a female dragon as a reward for his obedience to the god of heaven, but could not train them, so he hired a dragon-trainer named Liulei, who had learned how to train dragons from Huanlong. Dragon_sentence_73

One day, the female dragon died unexpectedly, so Liulei secretly chopped her up, cooked her meat, and served it to the king, who loved it so much that he demanded Liulei to serve him the same meal again. Dragon_sentence_74

Since Liulei had no means of procuring more dragon meat, he fled the palace. Dragon_sentence_75

One of the most famous dragon stories is about the Lord Ye Gao, who loved dragons obsessively, even though he had never seen one. Dragon_sentence_76

He decorated his whole house with dragon motifs and, seeing this display of admiration, a real dragon came and visited Ye Gao, but the lord was so terrified at the sight of the creature that he ran away. Dragon_sentence_77

In Chinese legend, the culture hero Fu Hsi is said to have been crossing the Lo River, when he saw the lung ma, a Chinese horse-dragon with seven dots on its face, six on its back, eight on its left flank, and nine on its right flank. Dragon_sentence_78

He was so moved by this apparition that, when he arrived home, he drew a picture of it, including the dots. Dragon_sentence_79

He later used these dots as letters and invented Chinese writing, which he used to write his book I Ching. Dragon_sentence_80

In another Chinese legend, the physician Ma Shih Huang is said to have healed a sick dragon. Dragon_sentence_81

Another legend reports that a man once came to the healer Lo Chên-jen, telling him that he was a dragon and that he needed to be healed. Dragon_sentence_82

After Lo Chên-jen healed the man, a dragon appeared to him and carried him to heaven. Dragon_sentence_83

In the Shanhaijing, a classic mythography probably compiled mostly during the Han dynasty, various deities and demigods are associated with dragons. Dragon_sentence_84

One of the most famous Chinese dragons is Ying Long ("Responding Dragon"), who helped the Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, defeat the tyrant Chiyou. Dragon_sentence_85

The dragon Zhulong ("Torch Dragon") is a god "who composed the universe with his body." Dragon_sentence_86

In the Shanhaijing, many mythic heroes are said to have been conceived after their mothers copulated with divine dragons, including Huangdi, Shennong, Emperor Yao, and Emperor Shun. Dragon_sentence_87

The god Zhurong and the emperor Qi are both described as being carried by two dragons, as are Huangdi, Zhuanxu, Yuqiang, and Roshou in various other texts. Dragon_sentence_88

According to the Huainanzi, an evil black dragon once caused a destructive deluge, which was ended by the mother goddess Nüwa by slaying the dragon. Dragon_sentence_89

A large number of ethnic myths about dragons are told throughout China. Dragon_sentence_90

The Houhanshu, compiled in the fifth century BC by Fan Ye, reports a story belonging to the Ailaoyi people, which holds that a woman named Shayi who lived in the region around Mount Lao became pregnant with ten sons after being touched by a tree trunk floating in the water while fishing. Dragon_sentence_91

She gave birth to the sons and the tree trunk turned into a dragon, who asked to see his sons. Dragon_sentence_92

The woman showed them to him, but all of them ran away except for the youngest, who the dragon licked on the back and named Jiu Long, meaning "Sitting Back". Dragon_sentence_93

The sons later elected him king and the descendants of the ten sons became the Ailaoyi people, who tattooed dragons on their backs in honor of their ancestor. Dragon_sentence_94

The Miao people of southwest China have a story that a divine dragon created the first humans by breathing on monkeys that came to play in his cave. Dragon_sentence_95

The Han people have many stories about Short-Tailed Old Li, a black dragon who was born to a poor family in Shandong. Dragon_sentence_96

When his mother saw him for the first time, she fainted and, when his father came home from the field and saw him, he hit him with a spade and cut off part of his tail. Dragon_sentence_97

Li burst through the ceiling and flew away to the Black Dragon River in northeast China, where he became the god of that river. Dragon_sentence_98

On the anniversary of his mother's death on the Chinese lunar calendar, Old Li returns home, causing it to rain. Dragon_sentence_99

He is still worshipped as a rain god. Dragon_sentence_100

In China, dragons are closely associated with rain and drought is thought to be caused by a dragon's laziness. Dragon_sentence_101

Prayers invoking dragons to bring rain are common in Chinese texts. Dragon_sentence_102

The Luxuriant Dew of the Spring and Autumn Annals, attributed to the Han dynasty scholar Dong Zhongshu, prescribes making clay figurines of dragons during a time of drought and having young men and boys pace and dance among the figurines in order to encourage the dragons to bring rain. Dragon_sentence_103

Texts from the Qing dynasty advise hurling the bone of a tiger or dirty objects into the pool where the dragon lives; since dragons cannot stand tigers or dirt, the dragon of the pool will cause heavy rain to drive the object out. Dragon_sentence_104

Rainmaking rituals invoking dragons are still very common in many Chinese villages, where each village has its own god said to bring rain and many of these gods are dragons. Dragon_sentence_105

Although stories of the Dragon Kings are among the most popular dragon stories in China today, these stories did not begin to emerge until the Eastern Han, when Buddhist stories of the serpent rain-god Nāga became popular. Dragon_sentence_106

Taoists began to invent their own dragon kings and eventually such stories developed in every major Chinese religion. Dragon_sentence_107

According to these stories, every body of water is ruled by a dragon king, each with a different power, rank, and ability, so people began establishing temples across the countryside dedicated to these figures. Dragon_sentence_108

Many traditional Chinese customs revolve around dragons. Dragon_sentence_109

During various holidays, including the Spring Festival and Lantern Festival, villagers will construct an approximately sixteen-foot-long dragon from grass, cloth, bamboo strips, and paper, which they will parade through the city as part of a dragon dance. Dragon_sentence_110

The original purpose of this ritual was to bring good weather and a strong harvest, but now it is done mostly only for entertainment. Dragon_sentence_111

During the Duanwu festival, several villages, or even a whole province, will hold a dragon boat race, in which people race across a body of water in boats carved to look like dragons, while a large audience watches on the banks. Dragon_sentence_112

The custom is traditionally said to have originated after the poet Qu Yuan committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River and people raced out in boats hoping to save him, but most historians agree that the custom actually originated much earlier as a ritual to avert ill fortune. Dragon_sentence_113

Starting during the Han dynasty and continuing until the Qing dynasty, the Chinese emperor gradually became closely identified with dragons, and emperors themselves claimed to be the incarnation of a divine dragon. Dragon_sentence_114

Eventually, dragons were only allowed to appear on clothing, houses, and articles of everyday use belonging to the emperor and any commoner who possessed everyday items bearing the image of the dragon were ordered to be executed. Dragon_sentence_115

After the last Chinese emperor was overthrown in 1911, this situation changed and now many ordinary Chinese people identify themselves as descendants of dragons. Dragon_sentence_116


  • Dragon_item_0_0
  • Dragon_item_0_1
  • Dragon_item_0_2
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  • Dragon_item_0_5

Korea Dragon_section_8

Main article: Korean dragon Dragon_sentence_117

The Korean dragon is in many ways similar in appearance to other East Asian dragons such as the Chinese and Japanese dragons. Dragon_sentence_118

It differs from the Chinese dragon in that it developed a longer beard. Dragon_sentence_119

Very occasionally a dragon may be depicted as carrying an orb known as the Yeouiju (여의주), the Korean name for the mythical Cintamani, in its claws or its mouth. Dragon_sentence_120

It was said that whoever could wield the Yeouiju was blessed with the abilities of omnipotence and creation at will, and that only four-toed dragons (who had thumbs with which to hold the orbs) were both wise and powerful enough to wield these orbs, as opposed to the lesser, three-toed dragons. Dragon_sentence_121

As with China, the number nine is significant and auspicious in Korea, and dragons were said to have 81 (9×9) scales on their backs, representing yang essence. Dragon_sentence_122

Dragons in Korean mythology are primarily benevolent beings related to water and agriculture, often considered bringers of rain and clouds. Dragon_sentence_123

Hence, many Korean dragons are said to have resided in rivers, lakes, oceans, or even deep mountain ponds. Dragon_sentence_124

And human journeys to undersea realms, and especially the undersea palace of the Dragon King (용왕), are common in Korean folklore. Dragon_sentence_125

In Korean myths, some kings who founded kingdoms were described as descendants of dragons because the dragon was a symbol of the monarch. Dragon_sentence_126

Lady Aryeong, who was the first queen of Silla is said to have been born from a cockatrice, while the grandmother of Taejo of Goryeo, founder of Goryeo, was reportedly the daughter of the dragon king of the West Sea. Dragon_sentence_127

And King Munmu of Silla, who on his deathbed wished to become a dragon of the East Sea in order to protect the kingdom. Dragon_sentence_128

Dragon patterns were used exclusively by the royal family. Dragon_sentence_129

The royal robe was also called the dragon robe (용포). Dragon_sentence_130

In Joseon Dynasty, the royal insignia, featuring embroidered dragons, were attached to the robe's shoulders, the chest, and back. Dragon_sentence_131

The King wore five-taloned dragon insignia while the Crown Prince wore four-taloned dragon insignia. Dragon_sentence_132

Korean folk mythology states that most dragons were originally (이무기), or lesser dragons, which were said to resemble gigantic serpents. Dragon_sentence_133

There are a few different versions of Korean folklore that describe both what imugis are and how they aspire to become full-fledged dragons. Dragon_sentence_134

Koreans thought that an Imugi could become a true dragon, yong or mireu, if it caught a Yeouiju which had fallen from heaven. Dragon_sentence_135

Another explanation states they are hornless creatures resembling dragons who have been cursed and thus were unable to become dragons. Dragon_sentence_136

By other accounts, an Imugi is a proto-dragon which must survive one thousand years in order to become a fully fledged dragon. Dragon_sentence_137

In either case they are said to be large, benevolent, python-like creatures that live in water or caves, and their sighting is associated with good luck. Dragon_sentence_138

Japan Dragon_section_9

Main article: Japanese dragon Dragon_sentence_139

Japanese dragon myths amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China, Korea and India. Dragon_sentence_140

Like these other Asian dragons, most Japanese ones are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. Dragon_sentence_141

Gould writes (1896:248), the Japanese dragon is "invariably figured as possessing three claws". Dragon_sentence_142

A story about the samurai Minamoto no Mitsunaka tells that, while he was hunting in his own territory of Settsu, he fell asleep under a tree and had a dream in which a beautiful woman appeared to him and begged him to save her land from a giant serpent which was defiling it. Dragon_sentence_143

Mitsunaka agreed to help and the maiden gave him a magnificent horse. Dragon_sentence_144

When he woke up, the horse was standing before him. Dragon_sentence_145

He rode it to the Sumiyoshi temple, where he prayed for eight days. Dragon_sentence_146

Then he confronted the serpent and slew it with an arrow. Dragon_sentence_147

It was believed that dragons could be appeased or exorcised with metal. Dragon_sentence_148

Nitta Yoshisada is said to have hurled a famous sword into the sea at Sagami to appease the dragon-god of the sea and Ki no Tsurayuki threw a metal mirror into the sea at Sumiyoshi for the same purpose. Dragon_sentence_149

Japanese Buddhism has also adapted dragons by subjecting them to Buddhist law; the Japanese Buddhist deities Benten and Kwannon are often shown sitting or standing on the back of a dragon. Dragon_sentence_150

Several Japanese sennin ("immortals") have taken dragons as their mounts. Dragon_sentence_151

Bômô is said to have hurled his staff into a puddle of water, causing a dragon to come forth and let him ride it to heaven. Dragon_sentence_152

The rakan Handaka is said to have been able to conjure a dragon out of a bowl, which he is often shown playing with on kagamibuta. Dragon_sentence_153

The shachihoko is a creature with the head of a dragon, a bushy tail, fishlike scales, and sometimes fire emerging from its armpits. Dragon_sentence_154

The shifun has the head of a dragon, feathered wings, and the tail and claws of a bird. Dragon_sentence_155

A white dragon was believed to reside in a pool in Yamashiro Province and, every fifty years, it would turn into a bird called the Ogonchô, which had a call like the "howling of a wild dog". Dragon_sentence_156

This event was believed to herald terrible famine. Dragon_sentence_157

In the Japanese village of Okumura, near Edo, during times of drought, the villagers would make a dragon effigy out of straw, magnolia leaves, and bamboo and parade it through the village to attract rainfall. Dragon_sentence_158

West Dragon_section_10

Ancient Dragon_section_11

Mesopotamia Dragon_section_12

Ancient peoples across the Near East believed in creatures similar to what modern people call "dragons". Dragon_sentence_159

These ancient peoples were unaware of the existence of dinosaurs or similar creatures in the distant past. Dragon_sentence_160

References to dragons of both benevolent and malevolent characters occur throughout ancient Mesopotamian literature. Dragon_sentence_161

In Sumerian poetry, great kings are often compared to the ušumgal, a gigantic, serpentine monster. Dragon_sentence_162

A draconic creature with the foreparts of a lion and the hind-legs, tail, and wings of a bird appears in Mesopotamian artwork from the Akkadian Period (c. 2334 – 2154 BC) until the Neo-Babylonian Period (626 BC–539 BC). Dragon_sentence_163

The dragon is usually shown with its mouth open. Dragon_sentence_164

It may have been known as the (ūmu) nā’iru, which means "roaring weather beast", and may have been associated with the god Ishkur (Hadad). Dragon_sentence_165

A slightly different lion-dragon with two horns and the tail of a scorpion appears in art from the Neo-Assyrian Period (911 BC–609 BC). Dragon_sentence_166

A relief probably commissioned by Sennacherib shows the gods Ashur, Sin, and Adad standing on its back. Dragon_sentence_167

Another draconic creature with horns, the body and neck of a snake, the forelegs of a lion, and the hind-legs of a bird appears in Mesopotamian art from the Akkadian Period until the Hellenistic Period (323 BC–31 BC). Dragon_sentence_168

This creature, known in Akkadian as the mušḫuššu, meaning "furious serpent", was used as a symbol for particular deities and also as a general protective emblem. Dragon_sentence_169

It seems to have originally been the attendant of the Underworld god Ninazu, but later became the attendant to the Hurrian storm-god Tishpak, as well as, later, Ninazu's son Ningishzida, the Babylonian national god Marduk, the scribal god Nabu, and the Assyrian national god Ashur. Dragon_sentence_170

Scholars disagree regarding the appearance of Tiamat, the Babylonian goddess personifying primeval chaos slain by Marduk in the Babylonian creation epic Enûma Eliš. Dragon_sentence_171

She was traditionally regarded by scholars as having had the form of a giant serpent, but several scholars have pointed out that this shape "cannot be imputed to Tiamat with certainty" and she seems to have at least sometimes been regarded as anthropomorphic. Dragon_sentence_172

Nonetheless, in some texts, she seems to be described with horns, a tail, and a hide that no weapon can penetrate, all features which suggest she was conceived as some form of dragoness. Dragon_sentence_173

Levant Dragon_section_13

In the Ugaritic Baal Cycle, the sea-dragon Lōtanu is described as "the twisting serpent/ the powerful one with seven heads." Dragon_sentence_174

In KTU 1.5 I 2–3, Lōtanu is slain by the storm-god Baal, but, in KTU 1.3 III 41–42, he is instead slain by the virgin warrior goddess Anat. Dragon_sentence_175

In the Book of Psalms, Psalm 74, , the sea-dragon Leviathan, whose name is a cognate of Lōtanu, is slain by Yahweh, the national god of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, as part of the creation of the world. Dragon_sentence_176

In , Yahweh's destruction of Leviathan is foretold as part of Yahweh's impending overhaul of the universal order: Dragon_sentence_177


Original Hebrew text ()Dragon_cell_0_0_0 English translationDragon_cell_0_0_1
א בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִפְקֹד יְהוָה בְּחַרְבּוֹ הַקָּשָׁה וְהַגְּדוֹלָה וְהַחֲזָקָה, עַל לִוְיָתָן נָחָשׁ

בָּרִחַ, וְעַל לִוְיָתָן, נָחָשׁ עֲקַלָּתוֹן; וְהָרַג אֶת-הַתַּנִּין, אֲשֶׁר בַּיָּם. {ס}Dragon_cell_0_1_0

On that day Yahweh shall punish

with his sharp, great, and strong sword,

Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent;

He will slay the dragon that is in the sea.Dragon_cell_0_1_1

contains a detailed description of the Leviathan, who is described as being so powerful that only Yahweh can overcome it. Dragon_sentence_178

states that the Leviathan exhales fire and smoke, making its identification as a mythical dragon clearly apparent. Dragon_sentence_179

In some parts of the Old Testament, the Leviathan is historicized as a symbol for the nations that stand against Yahweh. Dragon_sentence_180

Rahab, a synonym for "Leviathan", is used in several Biblical passages in reference to Egypt. Dragon_sentence_181

declares: "For Egypt's help is worthless and empty, therefore I have called her 'the silenced Rahab'." Dragon_sentence_182

Similarly, reads: "I reckon Rahab and Babylon as those that know me..." In and , the pharaoh of Egypt is described as a "dragon" (tannîn). Dragon_sentence_183

In the story of Bel and the Dragon from the apocryphal additions to Daniel, the prophet Daniel sees a dragon being worshipped by the Babylonians. Dragon_sentence_184

Daniel makes "cakes of pitch, fat, and hair"; the dragon eats them and bursts open (Daniel 14:23–30). Dragon_sentence_185

Post-classical Dragon_section_14

In Sufi literature, Rumi writes in his Masnavi (III: 976–1066; IV: 120) that the dragon symbolizes the sensual soul, greed and lust, that need to be mortified in a spiritual battle. Dragon_sentence_186

In Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, the Iranian hero Rostam must slay an 80-meter-long dragon (which renders itself invisible to human sight) with the aid of his legendary horse, Rakhsh. Dragon_sentence_187

As Rostam is sleeping, the dragon approaches; Rakhsh attempts to wake Rostam, but fails to alert him to the danger until Rostam sees the dragon. Dragon_sentence_188

Rakhsh bites the dragon, while Rostam decapitates it. Dragon_sentence_189

This is the third trial of Rostam's Seven Labors. Dragon_sentence_190

Rostam is also credited with the slaughter of other dragons in the Shahnameh and in other Iranian oral traditions, notably in the myth of Babr-e-Bayan. Dragon_sentence_191

In this tale, Rostam is still an adolescent and kills a dragon in the "Orient" (either India or China depending on the source) by forcing it to swallow either ox hides filled with quicklime and stones or poisoned blades. Dragon_sentence_192

The dragon swallows these foreign objects and its stomach bursts, after which Rostam flays the dragon and fashions a coat from its hide called the babr-e bayān. Dragon_sentence_193

In some variants of the story, Rostam then remains unconscious for two days and nights, but is guarded by his steed Rakhsh. Dragon_sentence_194

On reviving, he washes himself in a spring. Dragon_sentence_195

In the Mandean tradition of the story, Rostam hides in a box, is swallowed by the dragon and kills it from inside its belly. Dragon_sentence_196

The king of China then gives Rostam his daughter in marriage as a reward. Dragon_sentence_197

Europe Dragon_section_15

Proto-Indo-European Dragon_section_16

Further information: Chaoskampf, Sea serpent, Proto-Indo-European religion § Dragon or Serpent, and Serpents in the Bible Dragon_sentence_198

The story of a hero slaying a giant serpent occurs in nearly every Indo-European mythology. Dragon_sentence_199

In most stories, the hero is some kind of thunder-god. Dragon_sentence_200

In nearly every iteration of the story, the serpent is either multi-headed or "multiple" in some other way. Dragon_sentence_201

Furthermore, in nearly every story, the serpent is always somehow associated with water. Dragon_sentence_202

Bruce Lincoln has proposed that a Proto-Indo-European dragon-slaying myth can be reconstructed as follows: First, the sky gods give cattle to a man named *Tritos ("the third"), who is so named because he is the third man on earth, but a three-headed serpent named *Nghi steals them. Dragon_sentence_203

  • Tritos pursues the serpent and is accompanied by *Hanér, whose name means "man". Dragon_sentence_204

Together, the two heroes slay the serpent and rescue the cattle. Dragon_sentence_205

Ancient Greece and Rome Dragon_section_17

Main article: Dragons in Greek mythology Dragon_sentence_206

The ancient Greek word usually translated as "dragon" (δράκων drákōn, genitive δράκοντοϛ drákontos) could also mean "snake", but it usually refers to a kind of giant serpent that either possesses supernatural characteristics or is otherwise controlled by some supernatural power. Dragon_sentence_207

The first mention of a "dragon" in ancient Greek literature occurs in the Iliad, in which Agamemnon is described as having a blue dragon motif on his sword belt and an emblem of a three-headed dragon on his breast plate. Dragon_sentence_208

In lines 820–880 of the Theogony, a Greek poem written in the seventh century BC by the Boeotian poet Hesiod, the Greek god Zeus battles the monster Typhon, who has one hundred serpent heads that breathe fire and make many frightening animal noises. Dragon_sentence_209

Zeus scorches all of Typhon's heads with his lightning bolts and then hurls Typhon into Tartarus. Dragon_sentence_210

In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, the god Apollo uses his poisoned arrows to slay the serpent Python, who has been causing death and pestilence in the area around Delphi. Dragon_sentence_211

Apollo then sets up his shrine there. Dragon_sentence_212

The Roman poet Virgil in his poem Culex, lines 163–201 , describing a shepherd having a fight with a big constricting snake, calls it "" and also "", showing that in his time the two words were probably interchangeable. Dragon_sentence_213

Hesiod also mentions that the hero Heracles slew the Lernaean Hydra, a multiple-headed serpent which dwelt in the swamps of Lerna. Dragon_sentence_214

The name "Hydra" means "water snake" in Greek. Dragon_sentence_215

According to the Bibliotheka of Pseudo-Apollodorus, the slaying of the Hydra was the second of the Twelve Labors of Heracles. Dragon_sentence_216

Accounts disagree on which weapon Heracles used to slay the Hydra, but, by the end of the sixth century BC, it was agreed that the clubbed or severed heads needed to be cauterized to prevent them from growing back. Dragon_sentence_217

Heracles was aided in this task by his nephew Iolaus. Dragon_sentence_218

During the battle, a giant crab crawled out of the marsh and pinched Heracles's foot, but he crushed it under his heel. Dragon_sentence_219

Hera placed the crab in the sky as the constellation Cancer. Dragon_sentence_220

One of the Hydra's heads was immortal, so Heracles buried it under a heavy rock after cutting it off. Dragon_sentence_221

For his Eleventh Labor, Heracles must procure a golden apple from the tree in the Garden of the Hesperides, which is guarded by an enormous serpent that never sleeps, which Pseudo-Apollodorus calls "Ladon". Dragon_sentence_222

In earlier depictions, Ladon is often shown with many heads. Dragon_sentence_223

In Pseudo-Apollodorus's account, Ladon is immortal, but Sophocles and Euripides both describe Heracles as killing him, although neither of them specifies how. Dragon_sentence_224

The mythographer Herodorus is the first to state that Heracles slew him using his famous club. Dragon_sentence_225

Apollonius of Rhodes, in his epic poem the Argonautica, describes Ladon as having been shot full of poisoned arrows dipped in the blood of the Hydra. Dragon_sentence_226

In Pindar's Fourth Pythian Ode, Aeëtes of Colchis tells the hero Jason that the Golden Fleece he is seeking is in a copse guarded by a dragon, "which surpassed in breadth and length a fifty-oared ship". Dragon_sentence_227

Jason slays the dragon and makes off with the Golden Fleece together with his co-conspirator, Aeëtes's daughter, Medea. Dragon_sentence_228

The earliest artistic representation of this story is an Attic red-figure kylix dated to c. 480–470 BC, showing a bedraggled Jason being disgorged from the dragon's open mouth as the Golden Fleece hangs in a tree behind him and Athena, the goddess of wisdom, stands watching. Dragon_sentence_229

A fragment from Pherecydes of Athens states that Jason killed the dragon, but fragments from the Naupactica and from Herodorus state that he merely stole the Fleece and escaped. Dragon_sentence_230

In Euripides's Medea, Medea boasts that she killed the Colchian dragon herself. Dragon_sentence_231

In the most famous retelling of the story from Apollonius of Rhodes's Argonautica, Medea drugs the dragon to sleep, allowing Jason to steal the Fleece. Dragon_sentence_232

Greek vase paintings show her feeding the dragon the sleeping drug in a liquid form from a phialē, or shallow cup. Dragon_sentence_233

In the founding myth of Thebes, Cadmus, a Phoenician prince, was instructed by Apollo to follow a heifer and found a city wherever it laid down. Dragon_sentence_234

Cadmus and his men followed the heifer and, when it laid down, Cadmus ordered his men to find a spring so he could sacrifice the heifer to Athena. Dragon_sentence_235

His men found a spring, but it was guarded by a dragon, which had been placed there by the god Ares, and the dragon killed them. Dragon_sentence_236

Cadmus killed the dragon in revenge, either by smashing its head with a rock or using his sword. Dragon_sentence_237

Following the advice of Athena, Cadmus tore out the dragon's teeth and planted them in the earth. Dragon_sentence_238

An army of giant warriors (known as spartoi, which means "sown men") grew from the teeth like plants. Dragon_sentence_239

Cadmus hurled stones into their midst, causing them to kill each other until only five were left. Dragon_sentence_240

To make restitution for having killed Ares's dragon, Cadmus was forced to serve Ares as a slave for eight years. Dragon_sentence_241

At the end of this period, Cadmus married Harmonia, the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. Dragon_sentence_242

Cadmus and Harmonia moved to Illyria, where they ruled as king and queen, before eventually being transformed into dragons themselves. Dragon_sentence_243

In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus reported in Book IV of his Histories that western Libya was inhabited by monstrous serpents and, in Book III, he states that Arabia was home to many small, winged serpents, which came in a variety of colors and enjoyed the trees that produced frankincense. Dragon_sentence_244

Herodotus remarks that the serpent's wings were like those of bats and that, unlike vipers, which are found in every land, winged serpents are only found in Arabia. Dragon_sentence_245

The second-century BC Greek astronomer Hipparchus (c. 190 BC – c. 120 BC) listed the constellation Draco ("the dragon") as one of forty-six constellations. Dragon_sentence_246

Hipparchus described the constellation as containing fifteen stars, but the later astronomer Ptolemy (c. 100 – c. 170 AD) increased this number to thirty-one in his Almagest. Dragon_sentence_247

In the New Testament, , written by John of Patmos, describes a vision of a Great Red Dragon with seven heads, ten horns, seven crowns, and a massive tail, an image which is clearly inspired by the vision of the four beasts from the sea in the Book of Daniel and the Leviathan described in various Old Testament passages. Dragon_sentence_248

The Great Red Dragon knocks "a third of the sun ... a third of the moon, and a third of the stars" out the sky and pursues the Woman of the Apocalypse. Dragon_sentence_249

declares: "And war broke out in Heaven. Dragon_sentence_250

Michael and his angels fought against Dragon. Dragon_sentence_251

Dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in Heaven. Dragon_sentence_252

Dragon the Great was thrown down, that ancient serpent who is called Devil and Satan, the one deceiving the whole inhabited World – he was thrown down to earth and his angels were thrown down with him." Dragon_sentence_253

Then a voice booms down from Heaven heralding the defeat of "the Accuser" (ho Kantegor). Dragon_sentence_254

In 217 AD, Flavius Philostratus discussed dragons (δράκων, drákōn) in India in The Life of Apollonius of Tyana (II,17 and III,6–8). Dragon_sentence_255

The Loeb Classical Library translation (by F.C. Conybeare) mentions (III,7) that "In most respects the tusks resemble the largest swine's, but they are slighter in build and twisted, and have a point as unabraded as sharks' teeth." Dragon_sentence_256

According to a collection of books by Claudius Aelianus called On Animals, Ethiopia was inhabited by a species of dragon that hunted elephants and could grow to a length of 180 feet (55 m) with a lifespan rivaling that of the most enduring of animals. Dragon_sentence_257

Post-classical Germanic Dragon_section_18

Main articles: Sea serpent and Lindworm Dragon_sentence_258

In the Old Norse poem Grímnismál in the Poetic Edda, the dragon Níðhöggr is described as gnawing on the roots of Yggdrasil, the world tree. Dragon_sentence_259

In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr is a giant serpent that encircles the entire realm of Miðgarð in the sea around it. Dragon_sentence_260

According to the Gylfaginning from the Prose Edda, written by the thirteenth-century Icelandic mythographer Snorri Sturluson, Thor, the Norse god of thunder, once went out on a boat with the giant Hymnir to the outer sea and fished for Jörmungandr using an ox-head as bait. Dragon_sentence_261

Thor caught the serpent and, after pulling its head out of the water, smashed it with his hammer Mjölnir. Dragon_sentence_262

Snorri states that the blow was not fatal: "and men say that he struck its head off on the sea bed. Dragon_sentence_263

But I think the truth to tell you is that the Miðgarð Serpent still lives and lies in the surrounding sea." Dragon_sentence_264

Towards the end of the Old English epic poem Beowulf, a slave steals a cup from the hoard of a sleeping dragon, causing the dragon to wake up and go on a rampage of destruction across the countryside. Dragon_sentence_265

The eponymous hero of the poem insists on confronting the dragon alone, even though he is of advanced age, but Wiglaf, the youngest of the twelve warriors Beowulf has brought with him, insists on accompanying his king into the battle. Dragon_sentence_266

Beowulf's sword shatters during the fight and he is mortally wounded, but Wiglaf comes to his rescue and helps him slay the dragon. Dragon_sentence_267

Beowulf dies and tells Wiglaf that the dragon's treasure must be buried rather than shared with the cowardly warriors who did not come to the aid of their king. Dragon_sentence_268

In the Old Norse Völsunga saga, the hero Sigurd catches the dragon Fafnir by digging a pit between the cave where he lives and the spring where he drinks his water and kills him by stabbing him in the underside. Dragon_sentence_269

At the advice of Odin, Sigurd drains Fafnir's blood and drinks it, which gives him the ability to understand the language of the birds, who he hears talking about how his mentor Regin is plotting to betray him so that he can keep all of Fafnir's treasure for himself. Dragon_sentence_270

The motif of a hero trying to sneak past a sleeping dragon and steal some of its treasure is common throughout many Old Norse sagas. Dragon_sentence_271

The fourteenth-century Flóres saga konungs ok sona hans describes a hero who is actively concerned not to wake a sleeping dragon while sneaking past it. Dragon_sentence_272

In the Yngvars saga víðförla, the protagonist attempts to steal treasure from several sleeping dragons, but accidentally wakes them up. Dragon_sentence_273

Post-classical Western Dragon_section_19

Main articles: European dragon, Welsh Dragon, Wyvern, Saint George and the Dragon, Margaret the Virgin, and Dacian Draco Dragon_sentence_274

The modern, western image of a dragon developed in western Europe during the Middle Ages through the combination of the snakelike dragons of classical Graeco-Roman literature, references to Near Eastern European dragons preserved in the Bible, and western European folk traditions. Dragon_sentence_275

The period between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries represents the height of European interest in dragons as living creatures. Dragon_sentence_276

The twelfth-century Welsh monk Geoffrey of Monmouth recounts a famous legend in his Historia Regum Britanniae in which the child prophet Merlin witnesses the Romano-Celtic warlord Vortigern attempt to build a tower on Mount Snowdon to keep safe from the Anglo-Saxons, but the tower keeps being swallowed into the ground. Dragon_sentence_277

Merlin informs Vortigern that, underneath the foundation he has built, is a pool with two dragons sleeping in it. Dragon_sentence_278

Vortigern orders for the pool to be drained, exposing a red dragon and a white dragon, who immediately begin fighting. Dragon_sentence_279

Merlin delivers a prophecy that the white dragon will triumph over the red, symbolizing England's conquest of Wales, but declares that the red dragon will eventually return and defeat the white one. Dragon_sentence_280

This story remained popular throughout the fifteenth century. Dragon_sentence_281

The oldest recognizable image of a fully modern, western dragon appears in a hand-painted illustration from the medieval manuscript MS Harley 3244, which was produced in around 1260 AD. Dragon_sentence_282

The dragon in the illustration has two sets of wings and its tail is longer than most modern depictions of dragons, but it clearly displays many of the same distinctive features. Dragon_sentence_283

Dragons are generally depicted as living in rivers or having an underground lair or cave. Dragon_sentence_284

They are envisioned as greedy and gluttonous, with voracious appetites. Dragon_sentence_285

They are often identified with Satan, due to the references to Satan as a "dragon" in the Book of Revelation. Dragon_sentence_286

The thirteenth-century Golden Legend, written in Latin, records the story of Saint Margaret of Antioch, a virgin martyr who, after being tortured for her faith in the Diocletianic Persecution and thrown back into her cell, is said to have been confronted by a monstrous dragon, but she made the sign of the cross and the dragon vanished. Dragon_sentence_287

In some versions of the story, she is actually swallowed by the dragon alive and, after making the sign of the cross in the dragon's stomach, emerges unharmed. Dragon_sentence_288

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon may be referenced as early as the sixth century AD, but the earliest artistic representations of it come from the eleventh century and the first full account of it comes from an eleventh-century Georgian text. Dragon_sentence_289

The most famous version of the story from the Golden Legend holds that a dragon kept pillaging the sheep of the town of Silene in Libya. Dragon_sentence_290

After it ate a young shepherd, the people were forced to placate it by leaving two sheep as sacrificial offerings every morning beside the lake where the dragon lived. Dragon_sentence_291

Eventually, the dragon ate all of the sheep and the people were forced to start offering it their own children. Dragon_sentence_292

One day, the king's own daughter came up in the lottery and, despite the king's pleas for her life, she was dressed as a bride and chained to a rock beside the lake to be eaten. Dragon_sentence_293

Then, Saint George arrived and saw the princess. Dragon_sentence_294

When the dragon arrived to eat her, he stabbed it with his lance and subdued it by making the sign of the cross and tying the princess's girdle around its neck. Dragon_sentence_295

Saint George and the princess led the now-docile dragon into the town and George promised to kill it if the townspeople would convert to Christianity. Dragon_sentence_296

All the townspeople converted and Saint George killed the dragon with his sword. Dragon_sentence_297

In some versions, Saint George marries the princess, but, in others, he continues wandering. Dragon_sentence_298

Gargoyles are carved stone figures sometimes resembling dragons that originally served as waterspouts on buildings. Dragon_sentence_299

Precursors to the medieval gargoyle can be found on ancient Greek and Egyptian temples, but, over the course of the Middle Ages, many fantastic stories were invented to explain them. Dragon_sentence_300

One medieval French legend holds that, in ancient times, a fearsome dragon known as La Gargouille had been causing floods and sinking ships on the river Seine, so the people of the town of Rouen would offer the dragon a human sacrifice once each year to appease its hunger. Dragon_sentence_301

Then, in around 600 AD, a priest named Romanus promised that, if the people would build a church, he would rid them of the dragon. Dragon_sentence_302

Romanus slew the dragon and its severed head was mounted on the walls of the city as the first gargoyle. Dragon_sentence_303

Dragons are prominent in medieval heraldry. Dragon_sentence_304

Uther Pendragon was famously said to have had two gold dragons crowned with red standing back-to-back on his royal coat of arms. Dragon_sentence_305

Originally, heraldic dragons could have any number of legs, but, by the late Middle Ages, due to the widespread proliferation of bestiaries, heraldry began to distinguish between a "dragon" (which could only have exactly four legs) and a "wyvern" (which could only have exactly two). Dragon_sentence_306

In myths, wyverns are associated with viciousness, envy, and pestilence, but, in heraldry, they are used as symbols for overthrowing the tyranny of Satan and his demonic forces. Dragon_sentence_307

Late medieval heraldry also distinguished a draconic creature known as a "cockatrice". Dragon_sentence_308

A cockatrice is supposedly born when a serpent hatches an egg that has been laid on a dunghill by a rooster and it is so venomous that its breath and its gaze are both lethal to any living creature, except for a weasel, which is the cockatrice's mortal enemy. Dragon_sentence_309

A basilisk is a serpent with the head of a dragon at the end of its tail that is born when a toad hatches an egg that has been laid in a midden by a nine-year-old cockatrice. Dragon_sentence_310

Like the cockatrice, its glare is said to be deadly. Dragon_sentence_311

Post-classical Eastern Dragon_section_20

Main articles: Slavic dragon and Kulshedra Dragon_sentence_312

In Albanian mythology and folklore, stihi, ljubi, bolla, bollar, errshaja and kulshedra are mythological figures described as serpentine dragons. Dragon_sentence_313

It is believed that bolla, a water and chthonic demonic serpent, undergoes metamorphosis passing through four distinct phases if it lives many years without being seen by a human. Dragon_sentence_314

The bollar and errshaja are the intermediate stages, while the kulshedra is the ultimate phase, described as a huge multi-headed fire-spitting female serpent which causes drought, storms, flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters against mankind. Dragon_sentence_315

She is usually fought and defeated by a drangue, a semi-human winged divine hero and protector of humans. Dragon_sentence_316

Heavy thunderstorms are thought to be the result of their battles. Dragon_sentence_317

In Slavic mythology, the words "zmey", "zmiy" or "zmaj" are used to describe dragons. Dragon_sentence_318

These words are masculine forms of the Slavic word for "snake", which are normally feminine (like Russian zmeya). Dragon_sentence_319

In Romania, there is a similar figure, derived from the Slavic dragon and named zmeu. Dragon_sentence_320

Exclusively in Polish and Belarusian folklore, as well as in the other Slavic folklores, a dragon is also called (variously) смок, цмок, or smok. Dragon_sentence_321

In South Slavic folklores, the same thing is also called lamya (ламя, ламjа, lamja). Dragon_sentence_322

Although quite similar to other European dragons, Slavic dragons have their peculiarities. Dragon_sentence_323

In Russian and Ukrainian folklore, Zmey Gorynych is a dragon with three heads, each one bearing twin goatlike horns. Dragon_sentence_324

He is said to have breathed fire and smelled of sulfur. Dragon_sentence_325

It was believed that eclipses were caused by Gorynych temporarily swallowing the sun. Dragon_sentence_326

According to one legend, Gorynych's uncle was the evil sorcerer Nemal Chelovek, who abducted the daughter of the tsar and imprisoned her in his castle in the Ural Mountains. Dragon_sentence_327

Many knights tried to free her, but all of them were killed by Gorynych's fire. Dragon_sentence_328

Then a palace guard in Moscow named Ivan Tsarevich overheard two crows talking about the princess. Dragon_sentence_329

He went to the tsar, who gave him a magic sword, and snuck into the castle. Dragon_sentence_330

When Chelovek attacked Ivan in the form of a giant, the sword flew from Ivan's hand unbidden and killed him. Dragon_sentence_331

Then the sword cut off all three of Gorynych's heads at once. Dragon_sentence_332

Ivan brought the princess back to the tsar, who declared Ivan a nobleman and allowed him to marry the princess. Dragon_sentence_333

A popular Polish folk tale is the legend of the Wawel Dragon, which is first recorded in the Chronica Polonorum of Wincenty Kadłubek, written between 1190 and 1208. Dragon_sentence_334

According to Kadłubek, the dragon appeared during the reign of King Krakus and demanded to be fed a fixed number of cattle every week. Dragon_sentence_335

If the villagers failed to provide enough cattle, the dragon would eat the same number of villagers as the number of cattle they had failed to provide. Dragon_sentence_336

Krakus ordered his sons to slay the dragon. Dragon_sentence_337

Since they could not slay it by hand, they tricked the dragon into eating calfskins filled with burning sulfur. Dragon_sentence_338

Once the dragon was dead, the younger brother attacked and murdered his older brother and returned home to claim all the glory for himself, telling his father that his brother had died fighting the dragon. Dragon_sentence_339

The younger brother became king after his father died, but his secret was eventually revealed and he was banished. Dragon_sentence_340

In the fifteenth century, Jan Długosz rewrote the story so that King Krakus himself was the one who slew the dragon. Dragon_sentence_341

Another version of the story told by Marcin Bielski instead has the clever shoemaker Skubę come up with the idea for slaying the dragon. Dragon_sentence_342

Bielski's version is now the most popular. Dragon_sentence_343

Modern depictions Dragon_section_21

See also: List of dragons in fiction Dragon_sentence_344

Dragons and dragon motifs are featured in many works of modern literature, particularly within the fantasy genre. Dragon_sentence_345

As early as the eighteenth century, critical thinkers such as Denis Diderot were already asserting that too much literature had been published on dragons: "There are already in books all too many fabulous stories of dragons". Dragon_sentence_346

In Lewis Carroll's classic children's novel Through the Looking-Glass (1872), one of the inset poems describes the Jabberwock, a kind of dragon. Dragon_sentence_347

Carroll's illustrator John Tenniel, a famous political cartoonist, humorously showed the Jabberwock with the waistcoat, buck teeth, and myopic eyes of a Victorian university lecturer, such as Carroll himself. Dragon_sentence_348

In works of comedic children's fantasy, dragons often fulfill the role of a magic fairy tale helper. Dragon_sentence_349

In such works, rather than being frightening as they are traditionally portrayed, dragons are instead represented as harmless, benevolent, and inferior to humans. Dragon_sentence_350

They are sometimes shown living in contact with humans, or in isolated communities of only dragons. Dragon_sentence_351

Though popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, "such comic and idyllic stories" began to grow increasingly rare after the 1960s, due to demand for more serious children's literature. Dragon_sentence_352

One of the most iconic modern dragons is Smaug from J. Dragon_sentence_353 R. R. Tolkien's classic novel The Hobbit. Dragon_sentence_354

Dragons also appear in the best-selling Harry Potter series of children's novels by J. Dragon_sentence_355 K. Rowling. Dragon_sentence_356

Other prominent works depicting dragons include Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle, George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire, and Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle. Dragon_sentence_357

Sandra Martina Schwab writes, "With a few exceptions, including McCaffrey's Pern novels and the 2002 film Reign of Fire, dragons seem to fit more into the medievalized setting of fantasy literature than into the more technological world of science fiction. Dragon_sentence_358

Indeed, they have been called the emblem of fantasy. Dragon_sentence_359

The hero's fight against the dragon emphasizes and celebrates his masculinity, whereas revisionist fantasies of dragons and dragon-slaying often undermine traditional gender roles. Dragon_sentence_360

In children's literature the friendly dragon becomes a powerful ally in battling the child's fears." Dragon_sentence_361

The popular role-playing game system Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) makes heavy use of dragons. Dragon_sentence_362

After recent discoveries in palaeontology, fictional dragons are sometimes represented with no front legs, but (when on the ground) walking on their back feet and the wrists of their wings, like pterosaurs did: for example see and . Dragon_sentence_363

This often raises debates among fans as to whether or not they should be more specifically called a wyvern and whether as a 'subspecies' of dragons or perhaps an entirely different creature. Dragon_sentence_364


  • Dragon_item_1_6
  • Dragon_item_1_7
  • Dragon_item_1_8

See also Dragon_section_22

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon.