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26

It is important to note that East Asian dragons are in fact quite unrelated to Western dragons. While they may have influenced each other, the two traditions emerged separately. They share the same name essentially only because of translation choices; there is fundamentally no reason why Chinese dragons shouldn't be different to European ones. Hence, the ...


22

Sumer, sometime in the 4th or 3rd millennium B.C. My first instinct was to check out the Wikipedia article again. One interesting quote was The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC from the Yangshao culture in Henan in 1987, and jade ...


12

The excellent answer by HDE mentions the Chinese dragon from 4700-2900BC, but did not explore further. This answer will attempt to source the claim for the Chinese dragon, which is arguably older and more complete than the Sumerian dragon. A photo of the dragon, made from clams embedded within sandstone, can be found here: 1987年在河南省濮陽縣西水坡仰韶文化遺址發現的用蚌殼堆積的龍形圖案,...


10

The Colchian dragon isn't the only dragon protecting treasure in Greek mythology. A couple more examples: Ladon guarded the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides, Python guarded the centre of the earth at Delphi, and Ares assigned a dragon to protect his sacred spring near Thebes (look up the myths of Cadmus). However, if you are looking for a ...


10

I'm going to guess that the stories of toxicity of dragon meat is largely modern, as I can't think of stories from the traditional canons where this is a story element. It may derive from the story of Nessus the Centaur, Hercules and his wife Deianeira. The story can be found in Apollodorus, (Book 2, Chapter 7, Sections 6 & 7), although the Hyginus is ...


9

Bile, Not Blood Technically it was not the Hydra's blood that was venomous at all. The confusion regarding this seems to arise from the fact that it was Hydra-venom in combination with someone else's blood that eventually brought an end to Herakles the Hydra-slayer himself. There does not seem to be any ancient reference to Herakles using the Hydra's blood ...


6

The origin of dragons in the Eastern tradition is disputed. The leading explanation is perhaps that the dragon was originally crocodiles. However, one proposed alternative does argue that dragons (龍) was historically a word describing tornadoes. In Chinese scholarship, there are mainly two hypotheses concerning the essential characteristics of the dragon. ...


6

Perhaps fifty foot long I can actually only think of one other real dragon in "proper" mythology: Nidhögg, which is clearly a cosmological beast and should really not be used as a measure, and if we do, he would have to be taken to be immense: in the final verse of Völuspá he "carries the dead" into the world that has been purified after Ragnarök. If we ...


4

Fafnir, in the Völsunga saga, is a dwarf that slew his father and stole a fabulous treasure, including the cursed ring Andvaranaut. Fafnir then turned into a dragon. Fafnirs brother Regin trains the young hero Sigurd, and eventually goes with him to slay Fafnir. As Fafnir is dying, he speaks to Sigurd, and tells him that his gold and Regin will kill him. ...


3

There isn't a much detailed information on dragons until the modern period, due to the sparser descriptions in ancient mythological canons vs. highly descriptive modern forms like the novel. The first definitive mythological record fire-breathing dragon may come from Beowulf, and the idea definitely got traction in Western folklore. (By contrast, Chinese ...


3

Similar imagery in myths and stories crop up in different cultures around the world; it isn't just dragons. The flood and Ark, vampires, resurrecting Gods, cosmic wars with differing factions...all of these can be found in various myths and religions around the world. Most of them, including mention of dragons, can be traced back to Sumerian writings (which, ...


3

This sounds to me like a (very exaggerated) description of Python molurus, the Indian python; they will sometimes climb trees and kill by constriction, but I don't think they've ever been known to eat an elephant. I think De Natura Animalium was intended as a natural history book, so even if I'm wrong, I think you're more likely to get to the right answer by ...


3

Well, Marco Polo (scan down to Chapter XLIX) describes "vast serpents" that are found in the province of "Carajan" (probably Yunnan). He didn't say he actually saw them and didn't call them "dragons". But all dragon myths probably have a common origin deep in humanity's past: A deep instinctual fear of snakes. It appears that primates are hardwired to ...


3

Know that this is an incredibly complex question in that sense: when we are speaking of "dragon", "wyrm", "drake", "wyvern", we are referring to modern terms, and not necessary at all to medieval terms and what they meant for medieval people. Brief overview In early Middle Age dragons are personification of evil, and especially Satan. They are generally ...


2

In Slavic mythology dragons can speak, they command armies and rule over lands. They can assume human form and do not hoard gold for the most part. Some dragons are more bestial and have several heads, but some can speak. I am sorry that I gave no examples, but I currently don't have the books for reference. In Greek mythology most things that are similar ...


2

The earliest appearance in Western history and literature is in Herodotus. The Scythians are famous for their gold art objects. He says that way up north in the Altai mountains where the Scythians mined their gold and made their gold objects, there were gryphons guarding piles of gold. The gryphon was a four footed bird. That mythical creature easily turned ...


2

This question got me thinking "Why should dragons fly?" There is nothing in the Greek root for dragon that suggests flying. (The word is instead associated with vision, likely a reason the Python becomes associated with Delphi and Apollo.) I thought about the famous Norse dragon Níðhöggr, who also doesn't seem to need to fly, as the creature dwells at the ...


2

According to Indian mythology,the demon Vritra( an indian dragon) representing drought is enemy of Indra (the king of gods and god of rain). Indra rides elephant named Airavata. So elephant representing Indra and dragon representing vritra are enemies.


2

The only vague connection that I can think of is the rivalry between Ganesha and Skanda his brother. Skanda is often associated with and carries around several snakes and ganesha has an elephant head. There is a significant difference in degree in which these Gods are worshiped between northern and southern parts of India. Possibly symbolizing a rivalry.


2

I just want to draw attention to the Perseus search tool, where I found this reference for dragon town Echinus: So called from Echion, fabled to have sprung from the dragon's teeth. Its site is marked by the modern village called Akhino. Of course dragons seem to come from middle eastern civilizations, lots of quotes that show that appear with a ...


2

Tiamat: Tiamat is a Mesopotamian creator goddess who, along with her mate Apsu represent the waters and together give birth to the gods. After the gods murder Apsu to gain power, Tiamat (portrayed as a sea dragon) gives birth to the first dragons and makes war on the gods in revenge. When she is killed by Marduk (sometimes also described as a dragon or being ...


2

It is a bit challenging to delimit the quest of this question. For instant, there are lists (thulas) of serpents, which may, and may not be considered dragons. The mythological Jörmundgandr ("the world serpent"), for instant, I find Jörmungandr reflected in the most classic dragon of all Norse, Fafnir, because of the name, quite simply signifying 'Fathom'. ...


1

Interesting to note that in the Western tradition, Dragons are foes, typically fire-breathing, that must be slain, from Python to Fafnir & Smaug, while in the Eastern tradition (China principally) dragons are benefactors that bring rain. It's possible that these two conceptions arise independently in that the Indo-European languages, including Germanic ...


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