What dragon comes to mind when you hear that word? To some it may be a Chinese water dragon or a Komodo dragon. However, for the most imaginative, this word makes us fly very high, among the clouds and ride on the back of Fújur from the Neverending Story, Saphira from Eragon or Drogon, the largest of the three from Daenerys Targaryen. But, dragons are not a current invention, these beings have populated the mythology of many different cultures for centuries. Join us in Supercurioso to know 10 curiosities of the Dragons.
10 curiosities of the Dragons that you should know
Two exists different dragon traditions, European and Asian. Although they developed independently, over the centuries they have ended up influencing each other. The European drinks from the sources of Greek and Eastern mythology and also from the popular traditions of other parts of the old continent. The eastern arose in China and received influences especially from Korea and Japan.
In addition to being incredible mythological and fantastic beings, they also have curious data that it is worth knowing. Here you will learn more about them.
1. The Origin of Dragons
The word dragon comes from the Greek δράκων (drákōn) which means “serpent” or “dragon”. and derives from the verb δέρκομαι which means “to stare”. This name would evidence the power that these animals were believed to have to hypnotize with their eyes like snakes.
Historians assume that the belief in the real existence of dragons is based on the discovery of fossil remains of dinosaurs and pterosaurs that made our ancestors think that there were real dragons.
2. Its parts were traded
One of the curiosities of the dragons is that, at the time of the crusades, dragon carcasses could be bought in the markets of Europe. However, they were actually pieces of crocodiles from Egypt or Arabia.
3. Dragons in Christianity
Another of the origins of the dragons comes in the narrative of the Christian religion, specifically in the book of Revelation. In these texts, Saint John highlights the presence of a dragon with seven heads and ten horns, whose tail had the stars of the firmament dragging along the ground. For him, it meant that the end of the world was near.
Right there in the New Testament, St. John calls Satan the “great dragon” or “the old serpent.” From now on, the tradition of considering dragons to be evil creatures originated.
Then, at the time of the Middle Ages, this mythological being represented sin, heresy, apostasy, and even the devil. For this reason, it was common to see images where saints appeared defeating a dragon.
4. Are dragons bad or good?
One of the curiosities of the dragons that mark the difference between the two traditions is that in the Middle East and Europe, these beings represent evil. On the contrary, in the Far East, they are beneficial creatures and they are an omen of good luck.
In early European, Near Eastern, and Egyptian mythologies, dragons were devourers of gods. As for many of these cultures the sun was a god, dragons were related to eclipses. These animals were the cause, because they “ate” the god of the sun or the moon.
5. The Chinese dragon is a mixture of animals
Chinese dragons, unlike the European versions, is that it is made up of different animals. In that sense, It is the result of the combination of parts of lobster, deer, camel, dog, catfish, lion, snake, fish and the eagle..
The fact of the combination of several species is a very common characteristic among magical beings. Another of the clearest examples is that of the unicorn, which is the mixture of a horse, a goat and an antelope.
6. They were talismans for the Vikings
The Vikings carved dragons to adorn the prows of their ships. They believed that these mythological beings they would frighten the spirits that guarded the shores they approached to invade and plunder.
7. Within the curiosities of the dragons we have their diversity
Although they have some ordinary features, such as scaly skin, claws, long snouts, and slanted eyes, they are generally very different from culture to culture. In some they are gigantic and in others small, some can fly and others cannot, some have wings and others look like snakes. His representations are very diverse, which also depends on the time.
8. The colors of dragons in cultures
In China, the meaning of the color of the dragon is very defined: A blue or green dragon symbolizes spring, growth, health and prosperity. Black dragons are associated with winter, power, and storms.
Whites with autumn, being also a harbinger of death. Yellows are the most revered and are associated with the emperor and are symbolic of wealth, wisdom and compassion. Finally, the red dragon is associated with good luck, passion, fire and the heart. Also, it represents summer.
Even, There was a belief that the color of the scales depended on the very nature of the dragon. I mean, about whether he was peaceful or aggressive. In this regard, if one of these beings was benign, it is common for them to be gold, silver, bronze, ocher or any other coppery hue.
While those who were evil by nature were identified by the color red, blue, black, green or white.
9. Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent
Quetzalcoatl, the “feathered serpent”, It is a Mesoamerican god that can be considered the main one of the pre-Hispanic pantheon. According to scholars, its representations in codices, sculptures or pyramids have many similarities with an oriental type dragon.
10. One of the curiosities of the dragons is that they had their science
The appearance and capabilities of dragons had a huge impact on popular beliefs. This gave rise to, since 1958, what is known as dracology was created, a science that would study these mythological beings.
The curious thing, and contradictory, is that this same science is the one that completely ruins the popular representation that we have about dragons. In that sense, they establish that it is biologically impossible for a being to have four legs and two wings. Also, for him to take flight, these creatures had to weigh no more than 25 kilos.
Also, they do away with the idea that they can breathe fire, but maintain that they can burn an enemy. Nevertheless, the difference is that they would do it with a poison similar to that of snakes.
Dragons are present in most cultures. Legendary figures of popular folklore such as Saint George or the Archangel Michael himself faced dragons. Do you know more curiosities about dragons? Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments!