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These dragons appear frequently in western fantasy literature, including The Hobbit by J. Tolkien , the Harry Potter series by J.

Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing.

Many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal mounts or companions. Dragons were also identified with the Emperor of China , who, during later Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles.

Commonalities between dragons' traits are often a hybridization of avian, feline, and reptilian features, and may include: snakelike features, reptilian scaly skin, four legs with three or four toes on each, spinal nodes running down the back, a tail, and a serrated jaw with rows of teeth.

Several modern scholars believe huge extinct or migrating crocodiles bear the closest resemblance, especially when encountered in forested or swampy areas, and are most likely the template of modern dragon imagery.

Draconic creatures appear in virtually all cultures around the globe. Jones suggests a hypothesis that humans, just like monkeys , have inherited instinctive reactions to snakes, large cats , and birds of prey.

In her book The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times , Adrienne Mayor argues that some stories of dragons may have been inspired by ancient discoveries of fossils belonging to dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.

Robert Blust in The Origin Of Dragons argues that, like many other creations of traditional cultures, dragons are largely explicable as products of a convergence of rational pre-scientific speculation about the world of real events.

In this case, the event is the natural mechanism governing rainfall and drought, with particular attention paid to the phenomenon of the rainbow.

In Egyptian mythology , Apep is a giant serpentine creature who resides in the Duat , the Egyptian Underworld. The ouroboros was a well-known Egyptian symbol of a serpent swallowing its own tail.

The druk was adopted as an emblem by the Drukpa Lineage , which originated in Tibet and later spread to Bhutan. Its origins are vague, but its "ancestors can be found on Neolithic pottery as well as Bronze Age ritual vessels.

One of the most famous dragon stories is about the Lord Ye Gao, who loved dragons obsessively, even though he had never seen one. In the Shanhaijing , a classic mythography probably compiled mostly during the Han dynasty , various deities and demigods are associated with dragons.

A large number of ethnic myths about dragons are told throughout China. In China, dragons are closely associated with rain [45] and drought is thought to be caused by a dragon's laziness.

Many traditional Chinese customs revolve around dragons. Silk painting depicting a man riding a dragon , dated to 5th—3rd century BC.

Tang dynasty painting of a dragon boat race attributed to Li Zhaodao. Flag of the Qing dynasty from to , showing a Chinese dragon.

Dragon sculpture on top of Lungshan Temple , Taipei, Taiwan. Chinese dragon in Fengdu Ghost City , China.

The Korean dragon is in many ways similar in appearance to other East Asian dragons such as the Chinese and Japanese dragons. It differs from the Chinese dragon in that it developed a longer beard.

It was said that whoever could wield the Yeouiju was blessed with the abilities of omnipotence and creation at will, and that only four-toed dragons who had thumbs with which to hold the orbs were both wise and powerful enough to wield these orbs, as opposed to the lesser, three-toed dragons.

Dragons in Korean mythology are primarily benevolent beings related to water and agriculture, often considered bringers of rain and clouds.

Hence, many Korean dragons are said to have resided in rivers, lakes, oceans, or even deep mountain ponds. In Korean myths, some kings who founded kingdoms were described as descendants of dragons because the dragon was a symbol of the monarch.

Lady Aryeong , who was the first queen of Silla is said to have been born from a cockatrice , [51] while the grandmother of Taejo of Goryeo , founder of Goryeo , was reportedly the daughter of the dragon king of the West Sea.

Dragon patterns were used exclusively by the royal family. In Joseon Dynasty , the royal insignia, featuring embroidered dragons, were attached to the robe's shoulders, the chest, and back.

The King wore five-taloned dragon insignia while the Crown Prince wore four-taloned dragon insignia. There are a few different versions of Korean folklore that describe both what imugis are and how they aspire to become full-fledged dragons.

Koreans thought that an Imugi could become a true dragon, yong or mireu , if it caught a Yeouiju which had fallen from heaven.

Another explanation states they are hornless creatures resembling dragons who have been cursed and thus were unable to become dragons. By other accounts, an Imugi is a proto-dragon which must survive one thousand years in order to become a fully fledged dragon.

In either case they are said to be large, benevolent, python -like creatures that live in water or caves, and their sighting is associated with good luck.

Japanese dragon myths amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China, Korea and India.

Like these other Asian dragons, most Japanese ones are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet.

Gould writes , [55] the Japanese dragon is "invariably figured as possessing three claws". A story about the samurai Minamoto no Mitsunaka tells that, while he was hunting in his own territory of Settsu , he fell asleep under a tree and had a dream in which a beautiful woman appeared to him and begged him to save her land from a giant serpent which was defiling it.

It was believed that dragons could be appeased or exorcised with metal. Ancient peoples across the Near East believed in creatures similar to what modern people call "dragons".

Another draconic creature with horns, the body and neck of a snake, the forelegs of a lion, and the hind-legs of a bird appears in Mesopotamian art from the Akkadian Period until the Hellenistic Period BC—31 BC.

On that day Yahweh shall punish with his sharp, great, and strong sword, Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent; He will slay the dragon that is in the sea.

Job —34 contains a detailed description of the Leviathan, who is described as being so powerful that only Yahweh can overcome it. In Sufi literature, Rumi writes in his Masnavi III: —; IV: that the dragon symbolizes the sensual soul, greed and lust, that need to be mortified in a spiritual battle.

In Ferdowsi's Shahnameh , the Iranian hero Rostam must slay an meter-long dragon which renders itself invisible to human sight with the aid of his legendary horse, Rakhsh.

As Rostam is sleeping, the dragon approaches; Rakhsh attempts to wake Rostam, but fails to alert him to the danger until Rostam sees the dragon.

Rakhsh bites the serpent, while Rostam decapitates it. This is the third trial of Rostam's Seven Labors. Rostam is also credited with the slaughter of other dragons in the Shahnameh and in other Iranian oral traditions, notably in the myth of Babr-e-Bayan.

In this tale, Rostam is still an adolescent and kills a dragon in the "Orient" either India or China depending on the source by forcing it to swallow either ox hides filled with quicklime and stones or poisoned blades.

In some variants of the story, Rostam then remains unconscious for two days and nights, but is guarded by his steed Rakhsh.

On reviving, he washes himself in a spring. In the Mandean tradition of the story, Rostam hides in a box, is swallowed by the dragon and kills it from inside its belly.

The king of China then gives Rostam his daughter in marriage as a reward. The story of a hero slaying a giant serpent occurs in nearly every Indo-European mythology.

The Roman poet Virgil in his poem Culex , lines — [1] , describing a shepherd having a fight with a big constricting snake , calls it " serpens " and also " draco ", showing that in his time the two words were probably interchangeable.

Hesiod also mentions that the hero Heracles slew the Lernaean Hydra , a multiple-headed serpent which dwelt in the swamps of Lerna. In the founding myth of Thebes , Cadmus , a Phoenician prince, was instructed by Apollo to follow a heifer and found a city wherever it laid down.

In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus reported in Book IV of his Histories that western Libya was inhabited by monstrous serpents [] and, in Book III, he states that Arabia was home to many small, winged serpents, [] [] which came in a variety of colors and enjoyed the trees that produced frankincense.

In the New Testament , Revelation , written by John of Patmos , describes a vision of a Great Red Dragon with seven heads, ten horns, seven crowns, and a massive tail, [] an image which is clearly inspired by the vision of the four beasts from the sea in the Book of Daniel [] and the Leviathan described in various Old Testament passages.

Michael and his angels fought against Dragon. Dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in Heaven.

Dragon the Great was thrown down, that ancient serpent who is called Devil and Satan, the one deceiving the whole inhabited World — he was thrown down to earth and his angels were thrown down with him.

The Loeb Classical Library translation by F. Conybeare mentions III,7 that "In most respects the tusks resemble the largest swine's, but they are slighter in build and twisted, and have a point as unabraded as sharks' teeth.

Towards the end of the Old English epic poem Beowulf , a slave steals a cup from the hoard of a sleeping dragon , [] causing the dragon to wake up and go on a rampage of destruction across the countryside.

In the Old Norse Völsunga saga , the hero Sigurd catches the dragon Fafnir by digging a pit between the cave where he lives and the spring where he drinks his water [] and kills him by stabbing him in the underside.

The modern, western image of a dragon developed in western Europe during the Middle Ages through the combination of the snakelike dragons of classical Graeco-Roman literature, references to Near Eastern European dragons preserved in the Bible, and western European folk traditions.

The oldest recognizable image of a fully modern, western dragon appears in a hand-painted illustration from the medieval manuscript MS Harley , which was produced in around AD.

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon may be referenced as early as the sixth century AD, [] [] but the earliest artistic representations of it come from the eleventh century [] and the first full account of it comes from an eleventh-century Georgian text.

Gargoyles are carved stone figures sometimes resembling dragons that originally served as waterspouts on buildings.

Dragons are prominent in medieval heraldry. In Albanian mythology and folklore , stihi , ljubi , bolla, bollar, errshaja and kulshedra are mythological figures described as serpentine dragons.

It is believed that bolla , a water and chthonic demonic serpent, undergoes metamorphosis passing through four distinct phases if it lives many years without being seen by a human.

The bollar and errshaja are the intermediate stages, while the kulshedra is the ultimate phase, described as a huge multi-headed fire-spitting female serpent which causes drought, storms, flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters against mankind.

She is usually fought and defeated by a drangue , a semi-human winged divine hero and protector of humans. Heavy thunderstorms are thought to be the result of their battles.

In Slavic mythology , the words "zmey" , "zmiy" or "zmaj" are used to describe dragons. These words are masculine forms of the Slavic word for "snake", which are normally feminine like Russian zmeya.

In Romania , there is a similar figure, derived from the Slavic dragon and named zmeu. Although quite similar to other European dragons , Slavic dragons have their peculiarities.

In Russian and Ukrainian folklore , Zmey Gorynych is a dragon with three heads, each one bearing twin goatlike horns. Dragons and dragon motifs are featured in many works of modern literature, particularly within the fantasy genre.

One of the most iconic modern dragons is Smaug from J. Tolkien 's classic novel The Hobbit. Sandra Martina Schwab writes, "With a few exceptions, including McCaffrey's Pern novels and the film Reign of Fire , dragons seem to fit more into the medievalized setting of fantasy literature than into the more technological world of science fiction.

Indeed, they have been called the emblem of fantasy. The hero's fight against the dragon emphasizes and celebrates his masculinity, whereas revisionist fantasies of dragons and dragon-slaying often undermine traditional gender roles.

In children's literature the friendly dragon becomes a powerful ally in battling the child's fears. After recent discoveries in palaeontology , fictional dragons are sometimes represented with no front legs, but when on the ground walking on their back feet and the wrists of their wings, like pterosaurs did: for example see in Game of Thrones and Smaug, as in the movie.

John Tenniel 's illustration of the Jabberwock for Lewis Carroll 's Through the Looking-Glass , showing the dragon as a myopic professor [7].

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the legendary creature. For other uses, see Dragon disambiguation. Not to be confused with Draconian disambiguation.

Large, serpentine legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world.

It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article titled East Asian dragon. Discuss May The term dragon has no zoological meaning, but it has been applied in the Latin generic name Draco to a number of species of small lizards found in the Indo-Malayan region.

The name is also popularly applied to the giant monitor, Varanus komodoensis , discovered on Komodo, in Indonesia. Article Media.

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Sea serpent , mythological and legendary marine animal that traditionally resembles an enormous snake. The belief in huge creatures that inhabited the deep was widespread throughout the ancient world.

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Der Sturm. Spin-Off: Dragons — Die jungen Drachenretter. März bis zum Christopher Mintz-Plasse. März auf Cartoon Network. Dragons Dragons

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