- Multiple Cultures (culture)
- Reptilian (attribute)
- Flying (attribute)
- Heraldic (attribute)
- Deadly (behaviour)
- Dragons (common type)
Perhaps the most common and well known mythical beast who spans the all the mythologies of the world. They are all large reptilian creatures with scaled bodies. Some are predacious to man and usually have an appetite for young maidens. Many like the European ones of medieval bestiaries and of Norse mythology have bat like wings and four limbs. These are usually fire-breathing creatures that bring great destruction to mankind and live in caves where they guard treasure. They feature in Norse belief where heroes such as Beowulf overcame these terrible beast with strength and might. The most famed is Nidhoggr who lives in the world tree and is prophesised to return to the world of men during the great battle of Ragnarok. In medieval mythology the Dragons represent evil or the old pagan way that are defeated by virtue or Christianity. The Christian knight St. George is depicted killing the Dragon of the old English pagan beliefs. The Dragon also feature on the coat of arms as a Heraldic beast.
In Biblical stories the Dragons take the form of great Sea Serpents from Hell that bring terror to civilisations. The snake from the tree of knowledge in the book of Genesis has sometimes been depicted as a winged Dragon.
In Britain the Dragons have featured in stories from the Celtic tradition to tales to only a few centuries ago where Dragons lived in caves a wrecked havoc in the countryside. They were then defeated by a local hero brave enough to take on the Dragon.
In contrast, the Dragons of East Asian mythology are celestial beings that help man or they live in the ocean and control the currents. They are more noble creatures of great benefit. The Ti’en Lung holds up the sky while Fu Tsang guards Imperial
In ancient Greece, the Dragon was a creature that guarded the Golden Apples. There are many Dragons in the myths of Eastern Europe where some would try to swallow the sun and cause an eclipse. However they only swallowed it temporarily unable to withstand the power of heaven.
Early origins of the Dragon come from North Africa and the Middle East where they lived as a species that fed on Elephants. The earliest depiction of a Dragon dates back to the 4th century BC where images of winged serpents have been found. Today there and will be many fictional stories inspired by the legend of the Dragon.
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Background Illustrations (Left top-bottom, right top-bottom): Medusa by Gonzalo Ordonez, Loch Ness Monster by dyb,
Basilisk by JustMick, Shuck by Serphire, Ts Um A Kas - Illustration of a rock painting (from Dover publications).