A predominant element of fairy tales and modern fantasy movies and fiction is the all-powerful presence of the mighty dragon. Huge, unstoppable, and truly terrifying, these terrifying lizards are like something out of a nightmare, and one can take comfort that they only exist in the world of imagination. or them? For centuries there have been numerous accounts that treat these fierce monsters as very real, and from the dark corners of time to the present, there are those who claim that the dragons of lore are much more than mere legend and myth. .
Reports of fire-breathing, winged dragon-like creatures from movies and fantasies have been reported since ancient times, from civilizations all over the world. One of the earliest accounts comes from England, describing how the British king Morvidus was assassinated in 336 BC. C. by a great dragon that rose from the Irish Sea and “swallowed the body of Morvidus like a large fish swallowing a small one”. the ancient explorer Titus Flavius Josephus also brought up stories of strange flying reptiles in ancient Egypt and Arabia, and the third-century historian Gaius Solinus also spoke of these creatures, adding that they had a potent poison that could kill a man even faster. that he. realizing that he had even been bitten.
Alexander the Great and his men provided many of the most spectacular accounts of dragons in the fourth century after invading India. One account was reported by Alexander the Great himself, who claimed that he had seen a huge hissing serpent lurking inside a damp cave, and that the local tribes had worshiped it as a god, and his lieutenant, Onesicritus, also reported that it lived there. Indian huge snakes measuring 100 to 200 feet long. This is very interesting, because there are accounts of such creatures in India dating back to the first century, when the Greek historian Strabo described fearsome winged reptiles in his book His Geography: Book XV: On India., of which he says, “In India there are reptiles two cubits long with membranous wings like bats, and that also fly at night, discharging drops of urine, or also of sweat, which rot the skin of anyone who is not there. in his mouth. guard “. Also from India is the account of the 3rd century historian, Flavious Philostratus, who also claimed that India was the home of dragons, and not just a habitat for them, but that, according to his accounts, they crawled with them. . He wrote in his Of He Life of Apollonius of Tyanna :
All of India is covered with dragons of enormous size; for not only the marshes are full of them, but also the mountains, and there is not a single ridge without one. Now the marsh types are slow in their habits and are thirty cubits long, and have no foot crest on their heads.
Some very interesting accounts of historical dragons can be found in the writings of the great fifth-century Greek historian Herodotus, often referred to as “The Father of History” for his systematic method of recording events. According to the famous historian, these monsters lived in groves of spices and frankincense trees, and he told them that the workers used to smoke them away before the harvest, and Herodotus once wrote about these creatures:
There is a place in Arabia, situated very close to the city of Buto, to which I went, on hearing of some winged serpents; and when I got there, I saw snake bones and spines, in quantities so impossible to describe. The form of the serpent is like that of the water serpent; but it has wings without feathers, and as close as possible to the wings of a bat.
In the 8th century, we have the curious account of a Saint John of Damascus, who wrote that during a battle against Carthage, a huge dragon 120 feet long appeared behind the Roman army to approach them. The army had reportedly attacked and killed him, and the skin had been sent to the Roman Senate, though what happened after that is unknown. This report is curious enough because it is a matter of fact, without any obvious embellishment and sitting within other more mundane chronicles of the battle. He would even go as far as to state that these dragons were not magical creatures by any means, but rather large, reptilian animals.
In the centuries that followed, we told the tales of the great explorer Marco Polo, who traveled through Asia, Persia, China, and Indonesia at the end of the 13th century and recovered all kinds of fantastic tales of these exotic lands, their people, and their animals. Some of these reports included what can only be described as dragons. Within Polo’s The Travels of Marco Polo , there is a passage about a place in the Far East that he called “Karajan”, which was apparently infested by the fierce beasts, and which he describes:
Enormous serpents and serpents are found here, ten paces long and ten spans in circumference (ie 50 feet long and 100 inches in circumference). At the front, near the head, they have two short legs, each with three claws, as well as eyes larger than bread and very glaring. The jaws are wide enough to swallow a man, the teeth are large and sharp, and their whole appearance is so formidable that neither man nor any kind of animal can approach them without terror. Others are smaller in size, eight, six, or five paces long.
Again, this is all stated as fact, even going into depth about how the natives hunt and kill the creatures, and it’s hard to know what to do about it. This apparently happens a lot with early reports of dragons, and they even make appearances in reputable zoological compendia. A good example of this can be seen in the pages of the work of Konrad Gesner, who was a great naturalist in the 16th century and wrote about dragons as if they were any other mundane animal, and gives a description of a beast seen in the 16th century. X of a dragon seen in Ireland with a horse-like head, a thick powerful tail, and clawed, duck-like feet.
Another famous 16th-century naturalist by the name of Ulysses Aldrovandus also wrote seriously about dragons, recounting several beast stories, such as that of a shepherd driving his herd of cattle in rural Bologna when he came across a small dragon that had locked up. his way and whistled at him. The shepherd then apparently killed the creature and saved the corpse. Aldrovandus claimed to have taken possession of the body and even mounted it, and spends much time looking at this specimen, speculating that it had been a juvenile dragon. No one knows where the body went, but Aldrovandus had a watercolor portrait made of it. The 16th century is actually a treasure trove of true dragon encounters. In 1543 the historian Gesner wrote of a dragon-like creature in Germany,
Cardan claims that when he lived in Paris he saw five winged dragons in the William Museum; these were bipedal, and had wings so thin that it was almost impossible for them to fly with them. Cardan doubted that they had been made, since they had been shipped on ships at different times, and yet all presented the same remarkable shape. Bellonius states that he had seen whole carcasses [sic] of winged dragons, carefully prepared, which he considered to be of the same kind as those that fly from Arabia to Egypt and enter Egypt; they were thick around the belly, they had two feet and two wings, whole like those of a bat, and the tail of a serpent.
Another rather interesting description of dragons was given in the early 16th century in the tome called the Aberdeen Bestiary , which delves into the creatures’ appearance and behavior and treats them as if they were all completely real. One passage reads:
The dragon has a crest, a small mouth, and narrow ventilation holes through which it breathes and sticks out its tongue. Its strength lies not in its teeth but in its tail, and it kills with a blow rather than a bite. It is poison free. They say it doesn’t need poison to kill things, because it kills anything it wraps its tail around. From the dragon not even the elephant, with its enormous size, is safe. In order to lurk on the paths along which elephants are accustomed to pass, the dragon ties its tail around their legs and kills them by suffocation.
Please note that it is explained in a practical way, without really trying to fix it with amazing images. Moving on to the 17th century, we have an account from 1619, in which a nobleman named Christopher Schorerum saw a great flying dragon in Essex, England, of which he reported:
On a warm night in 1619, while gazing into the serenity of the heavens, I saw a large glowing dragon in front of Mt. Pilatus, coming from the opposite side of the lake [or ‘hollow’], a cave called Flue [Hogarth-near Lucerne] moving rapidly in a hectic fashion, is seen flying through it; He was of a large size, with a long tail, a long neck, a reptilian head, and ferocious gaping jaws. As he flew, it was as if iron had been struck in a forge when pressed together which dispersed the sparks. At first I thought it was a meteor from what I saw. But after diligently observing it by myself, I understood that it was really a dragon from the movement of the limbs of the whole body.
A book called Historie of Foure-Footed Beasts was published in 1658 , which like some of the zoological compendia we looked at earlier gave various descriptions of real animals and their behaviors. Once again sitting in between the various detailed descriptions of well-known animals is a surprisingly in-depth section on dragons, explaining them as you would any other normal animal. One passage reads:
This serpent (or dragon as some call it) is reputed to be nine feet, or rather, in length, and is almost in the shape of a tree of a tree: a fair amount thick in the middle, and somewhat smaller at the both ends. The front part, which he throws off like a necklace, is supposed to be an elle [3 feet 9 inches or 1 l4 cms] long; with a white ring, as it were, of scales around it. The scales along its back appear to be blackish, and however much is discovered under its belie, it appears to be red…it is also discovered to have a large fetus, but the eye may be deceived, as some suppose that snakes have no fetus… [The dragon] runs away (as we call it) as fast as a man can run. Their [rabbits] food is thought to be; for the most part, in a conie-warren,
There are some dragons that have wings and have no feet, some again have both feet and wings, and some have neither feet nor wings, but they are only distinguished from the common type of Serpents by the comb growing on their heads and the beard under them. her cheeks. . Gyllius, Pierius and Gervinus. . . I affirm that a Dragon is of a black color, the belly is something green and very beautiful to see, with a row of sharp teeth in the mouth in each jaw, and with the brightest and clearest eyes, which caused the Poets to say in his writings that these dragons are the watchful guardians of the Treasures.
They also have two dew-tails growing under their chin, and hanging down like a beard, which are of a red color: their bodies are formed all over with very sharp scales, and above their eyes are certain flexible eyelids. . When they open with their mouths and stick out their tongues, their teeth appear to closely resemble the teeth of wild pigs: and their necks often have thick thick hair growing from them, like the bristles of a boar.
Their mouth, (especially of the tamer Dragons) is small, not much bigger than a pipe, through which they breathe, since they do not wound with their mouths but with their tails, only striking with them when angry. But Indian, Ethiopian and Phrygian dragons have very wide mouths, through which they often swallow whole birds and beasts. Their tongue is cleft as if it were double, and the Nature Investigators do say that they have fifteen teeth on one side. Males have head combs, but females have none, and are also distinguished by their wattles.
Everything is so painstakingly detailed and realistic that you can clearly imagine what they looked like. History is replete with tales and reports like these, and this has only scratched the surface of the countless such tales throughout the centuries and all over the world, from Europe to the Middle East, Africa and the Far East. Places like China where dragons were a prominent feature of the landscape and revered. However, this is not a phenomenon that is confined to remote times, it is not about constructions of simpler times in which people believed in myths, magic and fairy tales, and dragons continue to be reported until the most modern times. Much of the dragon writing in later years is neither as spectacular nor fantastic as the writings of Charles Gould, who documented many cases of dragons and spoke of them as far from magical things of legend, but also very real. He would write in great detail about dragons in 1886, saying:
The dragon is nothing more than a snake of enormous size; and before they distinguished three types of them in the Indies. Verbigracia. such as those found in the mountains, such as those raised in the caves or on the flat country, and those found in the swamps and swamps. The first is the largest of all, and is covered in scales as resplendent as polished gold. These have a kind of beard hanging from their lower jaw, their eyebrows large, and very exactly arched; their appearance is the most hideous that can be imagined, and their cry is loud and shrill…their crests are a bright yellow, and a bump on their heads is the color of a burning coal. Those of the flat country do not differ from the first in anything, except that they have their scales of a silvery color, and in their frequent rivers,
The dragons have remained persistent to this day, and there are sometimes surprisingly recent sightings. In the early 1990s, a report from a woman hiking in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and British Columbia says that she encountered an actual dragon in the desert, much to her disbelief. She says of her incredible experience:
The creature had a beautiful shade of dark green and could easily blend in with the trees while next to them, but the witness reported that it was perched on a rocky outcrop on the mountainside. He was fanning his wings slightly, looking calmly into the valley. He had been climbing this mountain, when the movement of his head caught my attention. I had been like this before, and there was a clump of trees on the cliff where there had been none before. At first I didn’t believe what I had seen, but the shape was too obvious, and he was parallel to me, about seven buses away. I was climbing up one rock, he was on another.
It was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Its head was long, with a large eye crest and two smaller protrusions with a triceratops-like horn on its nose. On the back of its head were two large horns, which protruded backwards, and two smaller horns below them. They were grayish white and caught the light like dull silver. Its front legs were slightly smaller than its hind legs and it clung to the edge of the cliff. It seemed as if it were a quadruped. It had slightly darker dorsal ridges that extended from its longest horns to about the middle of its tail.
As I stood there, gaping like a fish out of water, the dragon turned and looked at me. He cocked his head to the side, almost like a bird, then spread his huge wings and leaped off the cliff. He was absolutely graceful in the air, flapping his wings several times before getting stuck and disappearing down the mountainside. My legs felt so weak that I had to sit down. I’ve been camping in those mountains for over ten years, and I’ve never seen anything to suggest that dragons could actually exist there. But after that meeting I started to think about it. What better place to live a dragon than in the mountains? There are places in Banff and Jasper that no one has been to, and there are plenty of moose and deer and possibly even bear for him to feed. many lakes
Even more recently, in 2001, an apparently apparent dragon was seen by naturalists investigating a quarry in Wales. They described it as “two and a half feet in length, a serpentine dragon with four limbs and a head resembling that of a seahorse.” The creature apparently hovered in midair without the aid of noticeable wings, and the startled men watched it hover for a full 4 minutes before it descends into one of the many dark caves that dot the area.
While it seems absurd that the dragons we know of from fiction, fairy tales, and fantasy could have been real in any sense, the fact is that very similar stories have been reported throughout history by a wide range of civilizations. and disparate cultures, so why are dragon myths and tales so universal? Could anything to this ever have been possible? Theories have ranged from just misidentifications and romanticized accounts of known animals, some form of large reptile such as crocodiles or snakes, an undiscovered species, populations of dinosaurs that survived into modern times, maybe even evolving its environment to deal with them. A different appearance and abilities, or even when Carl Sagan once pondered the constructs of some prehistoric shared racial memory that he infuses us with. Richard Freeman, a zoologist, cryptozoologist, and researcher at the Center for Fortean Zoology, who has spent years studying historical accounts of real dragons for his book.Dragons: More than a myth? He has said of his own ideas on the matter:
There are many creatures that have been linked to the history and legend of what we perceive and see as dragons today, and some of these creatures are clearly different from one another. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that dragons are a real phenomenon. I am absolutely certain, having reviewed many ancient reports of dragon activity, that many sightings, perhaps two or three hundred years ago and probably even earlier, were genuine encounters, but where witnesses saw what I believe to be huge serpents, giant crocodiles, and something like the Australian ‘monster lizard’ Megalania.
In the end, for over a millennium a phenomenon has been reported, of people from various cultures seeing these fierce reptilian beasts and it seems strange that they all build similar legends and see such similar beasts in their respective stories. The dragon seems to be almost an archetype in the landscape of the human psyche, somehow ingrained within us across cultures, and this makes it especially intriguing. Why should this be? Were dragons ever real in some sense, or are they just shared legends that sprang from some universal subconscious? If they are real, what are they and do they exist now or are they extinct? Without real evidence and their stories condemned to mere speculation, it seems that we can never know the answers to these questions,