I was wandering the internet looking for something interesting for Dragon Thursday. I found the website of the American Museum of Natural History.
They have a section with their past exhibits. From May 26, 2007 – January 6, 2008, they had an exhibit about Mythic Creatures. Dragons were part of this exhibit and listed as Creatures of Power.
I will share this in parts over the next few weeks.
The European Dragon, which is one I often think of when thinking of dragons, is first on the list.
The dragons that lurk in European stories are powerful, wicked and dangerous. In Christian tradition, they can symbolize Satan or sin. Some nest in caves and guard marvelous treasure. When hungry, they may snatch and devour sheep or cattle that wander too near. They may also eat humans–particularly young girls. Epic poems from the Middle Ages tell of warriors and knights who battle cruel and voracious dragons. In some stories, the hero slays his foe and wins fortune and honor. In others, he fails and is killed.
At a Glance: European Dragon
In European tales, dragons often live deep inside caves, or in marshes near places where farm animals graze. Some sleep during the day, and go on the rampage after night falls.
- may have wings.
- kills people with its fiery, poisonous breath.
- can strangle large animals with its tail.
- creeps on four legs, two legs or none.
So They Say
The dragon began to belch out flames
and burn bright homesteads; there was a hot glow
that scared everyone, for the vile sky-winger
would leave nothing alive in his wake.”
–Beowulf, AD 700-1000
To read the entire section on European Dragons click HERE