A monster of enormous size, common to almost all countries.
Descriptions of its appearance vary, but it is of reptilian
nature, often red or green in color, sometimes with several
heads that spew fire and vapors, and a large tail, not unlike
some dinosaurs.
It is of enormous strength, but the ancients believed that it
could be charmed by music, and the dragon that guarded the
Golden Fleece of Greek legend was soothed by the voice of
Medea. In India at the time of Alexander the Great, a dragon
was worshiped as a god, while in occult history it is the manifestation
of hell.
The dragon, however, is best known in legendary history as
the monster whose duty it is to provide the hero with opportunities
of valor. There is a legend of St. George and the Dragon
and also the dragon that was slain by Sir Lancelot, one of the
knights of King Arthur’s Round Table.
In the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) the word
tannin, commonly rendered ‘‘dragon’’ in older English translations,
generally refers to a variety of animals such as crocodiles,
jackals, and serpents, but occasionally to the dragon (Ezek.
293; 323). In Chapter 12 of the biblical book of Revelation,
the dragon, a representation of the Evil One, is overcome by
the archangel Michael.
The dragon became a symbol of great strength in the European
Middle Ages. In the fifteenth century, the emperor of the
Holy Roman Empire founded the Order of the Dragon to unite
Christian rulers against the incursions of the Turkish Muslims
into the Balkans. Among those invested with the order was
Prince Vlad of Wallachia (Romania). He assumed the name
Vlad Dracul, dracul being the Romanian word for dragon. His
son took the diminutive form of the name as Prince Vlad
During the time of Henry VII (1457–1509), a coin was given
to those who were cured of possession with one side featuring
an angel standing with both feet on a dragon.
The idea of the dragon is perhaps evolved from the concept
of the earth as a living being, a notion that gained currency
from earthquakes and related phenomena