Dragons

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Dragon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the legendary creature. For other uses, see Dragon (disambiguation).

Dragon

Sculpture of Mario the Magnificent, dragon mascot of Drexel University, US. MythologyEurope and East Asia
GroupingMythology
HabitatMountains, seas, skies
Similar creaturesSirrush, Basilisk, Wyvern, Qilin

Carved imperial Chinese dragons at Nine-Dragon Wall, Beihai Park, Beijing

Dragon effigy, the Graoully, in Metz, France
A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, and the Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries. The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries. The English word "dragon" derives from Greek δράκων (drákōn), "dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake".[1] Contents [hide]

1 Name
2 Morphology
3 Comparative mythology
4 Near Eastern and European
4.1 Greek mythology
4.2 European
4.2.1 Slavic dragon
4.3 Ancient India
4.4 Persian
4.5 Jewish
5 East and Southeast Asian
5.1 Chinese dragon
5.2 Japanese
5.3 Vietnam
5.4 Java
6 Modern depictions
7 Animals that may have inspired dragons
8 Cartography
9 See also
10 References
11 Citations
12 External links
Name

Dragon head on a roof of a temple in Taiwan
The word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin draconem (nominative draco) meaning "huge serpent, dragon," from the Greek word δράκων, drakon (genitive drakontos, δράκοντος) "serpent, giant seafish". The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not necessarily mythological, and this usage was also current in English up to the 18th century. Morphology

A dragon is a mythological representation of a reptile. In antiquity, dragons were mostly envisaged as serpents, but since the Middle Ages, it has become common to depict them with legs, resembling a lizard. Dragons are usually shown in modern times with a body like a huge lizard, or a snake with two pairs of lizard-type legs, and able to emit fire from their mouths. The European dragon has bat-like wings growing from its back. A dragon-like creature with wings but only a single pair of legs is known as a wyvern. Comparative mythology

Further information: Chaoskampf, Sea serpent, Proto-Indo-European religion#Dragon or Serpent, and Serpent (Bible) The association of the serpent with a monstrous opponent overcome by a heroic deity has its roots in the mythology of the Ancient Near East, including Canaanite (Hebrew, Ugaritic), Hittite and Mesopotamian. The Chaoskampf motif entered Greek mythology and ultimately Christian mythology, although the serpent motif may already be part of prehistoric Indo-European mythology as well, based on comparative evidence of Indic and Germanic material. It has been speculated that accounts of spitting cobras may be the origin of the myths of fire-breathing dragons.[2]

Saint George Killing the Dragon, 1434/35, by Martorell
Although dragons occur in many legends around the world, different cultures have varying stories about monsters that have been grouped together under the dragon label. Some dragons are said to breathe fire or to be poisonous, such as in the Old English poem Beowulf.[3] They are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and possessing typically scaly or feathered bodies. They are sometimes portrayed as hoarding treasure. Some myths portray them with a row of dorsal spines. European dragons are more often winged, while Chinese dragons resemble large snakes. Dragons can have a variable number of legs:...
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