Medieval Dragons

Dragon History

Medieval Dragons

Medieval Dragons
by Marisa E. Martínez Pérsico

During the Middle Age, the dragons were considered a symbol of apostasy and treason, although also a symbol of rage and envies. Dragons of multiple heads meant decay, oppression and heresy, although also they were considered an independence emblem.

Dragon SkullMany dragons represented Wisdom. To kill a dragon was considered a passport to wealth, and the demonstration of what a hero was really capable of and his astuteness. An example of this symbology we found it in a famous Germanic epic adventure: The Nibelungs (Das Nibelungenlied), whose hero Siegfried slays the dragon Fafnir - guardian of the treasure of the Nibelungs-, which allows him to become owner of his fortune and to bathe in the blood of this fantastic creature. This transforms Siegfried into an invulnerable being, practically invincible except by one small “weak point” that the treacherous Hagen will know so well to take advantage of to defeat him.

In some cultures like the Chinese, or in populations near the Himalayas, dragons are considered amulets to attract good luck.

The dragons in the Christianity

The Latin word, draco, that gave origin to the word “dragon”, means “the serpent”, for that reason the Christianity has associated it historically with this diabolic and sinful animal.

The Biblical identification of the devil with the serpent originated the connotation of “evil”, associated with “dragon”. In The Book of Job it is described as the marine monster Leviathan with the same characteristics of a dragon, and it is called “King of the Beasts”. In the book of the Revelations 12:3 an enormous red beast with seven heads, it reads, whose tail sweeps a third of the stars in the sky on the Earth. This event is related with the fall of the angels.

Finally, in some translations the word “dragon” is used to describe the Beast (that it is: the Devil), whereas in the religious iconography some Christian saints are represented in the act of slaying a dragon. This is a classic illustration of Saint George that appears in English and Aragonese legend. In Italy they also imagine Saint Mercurialis, first bishop of the city of Forli, fighting and killing a dragon.

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