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Author: New World Encyclopedia Contributors
Title: Dragons
Page: N/A
The dragon is a mythical creature that usually holds spiritual or majestic qualities and often appears to be snake like or reptilian like. Dragons appear in stories, legends, and myths around the world but each culture perceives them differently. In Chinese culture and eastern culture the dragon comes across as a spiritual wise creature that represents nature’s primal forces and the universe. In western cultures like Europe and Asia the dragon appears to be evil. Their dragon legends tell it to be malicious and the enemy of mankind with supernatural forces.

The most common use of the dragon is depicted as a serpent like creature eating its own tail, which becomes a symbol of eternity, natural cycles, and completion. Dragons are more known for their fire breathing and flying. They are known as creatures that are enchanted or have mystical powers. Movies, fairytales, fantasy, and video games usually had the dragon shown as evil and dangerous. Although as times have changed so has the role of the dragon. Now in some cases the dragon is depicted as a creature of wisdom that is kind hearted and only uses its powers for good. Dragons are also being shown as the companions of humans like a dog would be or they are there to protect a human like a guardian angel would.

In ancient Greek the etymological root for the word dragon means “to see strong”, but in Greek the word serpent is translated into the work “drakon”. In Latin the word for serpent is “drakonis”. In the English language the creature became known as “dragon” by taking the root and different variations for the word serpent. If you were to translate the words for serpent in different languages, they would be adjectives for the dragon.

Different cultures have different appearances of their dragons. The dragons vary in size and in length, some cultures show the dragon the size of a bear, some the size of a butterfly, and some the size of giants. Depending on where the dragon’s origins are from it will either be more serpents or reptilians, with scales, wings or neither. Whichever the concept dragons are hatched from eggs with large eyes and are either born good or evil.

Scholars have found evidence that in ancient Greek and Chinese cultures they found fossils of large creatures which they could not identify and, so it is to be believed that the myth of dragons and other large mythical creatures have been created because of them. The fossils that were found may have been dinosaur fossil and even though mankind never co-existed, some scholars say that dinosaurs could be the origin of dragons.

In Slavic mythology the dragon is told to be the protector of crops and fertility. They are seen as three headed creatures made up of snakes, humans and birds that are able to shape shift. In Germanic and Norse mythology the dragon appeared to be more snake like that was evil, greedy, and guarded hoards of treasures mostly living in caves underground or high in mountain tops. In British mythology the dragons were similar to the Germanic and Norse mythology. In British mythology it is to be believed that a white dragon and a red dragon fought to the death, with the red dragon being the victor. The white dragon was supposed to be the Saxons (now the English) who tried to invade Britain, which is also to be believed that it originates from the Arthurian Legend. In Basque mythology the dragon was an evil spirit that took the shape of a serpent like creature. In Christianity there are no direct mentioning of dragons but there are mentioning’s of serpent like creatures that fit the description of a dragon. For instance, the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit can be portrayed as a dragon.

Dragons have played a big role in literature as far back as the work of the “Old English” and medieval times. Some know works of literature that feature a dragon are; Beowulf, The Hobbit, Eragon, Puff the Magic Dragon, and King Arthur. With the numerous works or literature that have come around the dragon is no longer portrayed as an evil creature that only a true hero can defeat, but rather as keepers of knowledge, power, wisdom, magic, kindness, and only work for the forces of good.

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Dragon

Elizabeth Roe
English 1301
Direct Quotation
Author: Kevin Owens
Title: Dragons Across Cultures
Page: N/A
“The eastern dragon, sometimes called Lung (in China) or Long (in Vietnam), may almost seem like a completely different creature than the Western Dragon. Their anatomy, their behavior, their symbolism, and what they mean to society are quite different.” “The East seems to value dragons for their magic and beauty.” “However, this view is drastically changed in the West, where dragons were viewed as monsters” “Dragons from the East are used in ceremonies and parades. This creature, like the Western dragon, can sometimes also take on the form of a monster. However, it is made of many different animal qualities and parts. It symbolizes heroism and not so much danger or threat. The Eastern dragon is seen as more of protector than a villain. It is a symbol of beauty and power. The Chinese even have a year of the dragon, and it is said that anyone born in this year will be healthy, wealthy, and wise, all of the things which the dragon of the East represents. The year of the dragon is also said to be a very prosperous year for the people of China.” “Because the Chinese hold dragons in such great respect, there are many tales about dragons and the wealth that they bring to the people of China. One story is about a dr...

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