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 Here be dragons...

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PostSubject: Here be dragons...   Tue 07 Jul 2015, 18:35

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed..." (Revelation 12:17) - which just goes to show that whatever you think of the King James Version, it sounds good!

Like faeries (as discussed in my previous thread) dragons, or dragon-like creature, are another mythical species that pop up all over the place in different forms, with different interpretations. Some are the classic winged lizard, others are giant serpents or worms (or wyrms, if you prefer). Some breath fire, some poisonous vapours, some water. Some are defeated by holy saints, some by noble knights, at least one because it was too bashful to go near a naked man! They are hoarders of treasure, bringers of death, kidnappers of maidens, allegories of paganism and/or the devil, benevolent spirits, explanations of dinosaur bones. I've just seen one on TV advertising a Peugeot car. It seems there is endless variety with dragons, depending on the time, culture and personal preferences - even in different versions of the same story.

The most notable dragon in Jersey history is the centrepiece of a tale of lust, chivalry, treachery, love and divine justice. The story goes that in the Parish of St Lawrence, near the centre of Jersey, lived a dragon which held the Island under a reign of terror. The land was devastated, livestock (and people) were killed... the usual stuff. A noble knight from Normandy, the Seigneur de Hambye, heard of the sufferings of the Islanders and vowed to free them. He set off with his trusty squire, Francis. Arriving in St Lawrence Hambye drove the beast from its lair and pursued it eastwards into the Parish of Grouville. There he engaged in an epic battle, and finally slew the monster (hoorah!). They he lay down to rest. But all was not well. The seemingly-faithful Francis desired Hambye's wife, so he slit his master's throat as he lay sleeping! affraid He then returned home, and explained to the (understandably) distraught Dame de Hambye that her hubbie had been mortally wounded in the fight. In revenge Francis had boldly killed the dragon; however, the important thing was that his master's last wish was that he should marry his wife. The silly woman fell for it and, although she personally wasn't too keen on Francis, went through with the marriage. However, God - being none too impressed with this turn of events - provoked Francis to talk in his sleep. In doing so he unwittingly confessed his crimes. The good Dame was a tad put out by this, so Francis was duly hanged for his crimes. In remorse for her accidental faithlessness, and as a tribute to her beloved husband, the Dame built a huge mound in Jersey on the spot the Seigneur died - big enough, in fact, that she could see it from her castle and remember him. The mound became known as 'La Hougue Hambye', corrupted over the centuries to 'La Hougue Bie'.

The legend of the Dragon of St Lawrence is a morality tale and a warning that your sins will find you out. It also served as an explanation for the enigmatic but obviously man-made La Hougue Bie (now known to be a Neolithic tomb). It's also been speculated that there is an allegorical element - perhaps the dragon represented a pagan Viking war band, defeated by the Christian locals, making their last stand in Grouville. In fact, whilst 'Hougue' means mound, the origin of 'Bie' is a mystery. It may be from Hambye (perhaps the leader of the resistance), or from the Old Norse bygđ (settlement) or perhaps the Jèrriais bié (leat).
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 00:48

Well, the mushussu - or sirrush - is a prominent feature of the Ishtar Gate and seems to be a good match for the creature poisoned by Daniel in the Apocrypha. Very dragon-like IMO.

Of course the only REAL dragon is Y Ddraig Goch.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 12:12

One dragon story from here (part history, part legend) concerns a dragon on mount Canigou.

Peter III of Aragon (1239-1285) taking a couple of days R&R after having routed the French invasion force of Philip III of France at the Col de Parnissars, set out to climb the Canigou mountain. At the time El Canigo was thought to be the tallest mountain of the whole Pyrenees (in reality, at 2785m, it isn't even in the top 50) since it rises straight up from the Mediterranean coast only some 50km away. Mountains in medieval times were generally viewed with horror and never visited unless of necessity, so King Peter's mountaineering trip is all the more unusual as he seems to have done it just for curiosity or bravado. He took with him two companions, but part way up a violent hailstorm struck and the two fellow knights were too terrified to go further and so Peter continued alone. While he was resting by a small lake near the summit, he absently threw a stone into the water. Suddenly "a horrible dragon of enormous size came out of it, and began to fly about the air, and to darken the air with its breath." The description of the ascent all rings true, and so just because Peter said he saw a dragon on the mountain is no reason to discount his claim to be the first to reach the summit, though I wonder what he actually experienced ... a sudden storm with thick swirling mist, a violent thunderstorm and buffeting howling winds, perhaps.

Alternatively the dragon bit of the story might be a bit of artistic licence by the person that wrote the story down, a friar, Fra Salimbene, to give a sort of symbolic or moralistic spin to his otherwise straight recounting of the story. A dragon might be seen as a symbol of imminent doom and vengeance. Peter had just utterly destroyed the French army, slaughtering everyone with impunity, and allowing only King Philip and his immediate family to escape. King Philip, already seriously ill (with dysentry as usual), made it to Perpignan and died just days later, while King Peter also fell ill and died only a few months later on his return to Barcelona.


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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 12:17

Dragon shaped launcher for Greek Fire;

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 12:21

Saab 35 Drakens of the Royal Swedish Air Force;

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 13:57

Detail from Olaus Magnus' Carta Marina from the 16th century.

The seas around Scandinavia are populated by killer creatures of immense size.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 14:03

Reward poster for creature supposed to exist in the New Jersey pine barrens;

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 14:49

The expression "here be dragons" exists only on two known maps of the earth, both globes and both produced in 1503, probably in fact an original and a copy based upon it. However a far more commonly found expression on ancient maps was "hic sunt leones" (here be lions) to indicate the "edge" of the known world and the start of the unknown. However it also meant in classical terms, and in total Rumsfeld-speak, the end of the known knowable and the beginning of the unknown knowable earth. It was a limit therefore, but only a temporary one that research and exploration could always extend. The lion was considered the best animal to illustrate this concept, being both a symbol of wilderness as well as a symbolic guardian of libraries, lore and education in ancient iconography.

One of the most well-known variations of this legend exists on the so-called Cotton Tiberius Map from 1025 - "hic abundant leones" (here be many lions).



Interestingly, when Galatasaray were hosting Atletico Madrid in a European Championship match in 2010 they reckoned they would instil the fear of Allah in these visiting Italians by reminding them they were in unchartered territory where normal rules no longer apply (ask Graham Souness) and reckoned Tiberius would provide suitable input for the occasion. The club and fans therefore combined in an amazingly well choreographed flashing of banners which visually presented the following image to the visitors opposite and which they assumed would immediately have them quaking in their caligulae:



The Italians, for whom Latin is as relevant a language as Cornish might be to the average Brummie today, accordingly assumed the Galatasarians were doing an elaborate display of their club's emblem and motto. They smiled and nodded in gratitude and clapped politely in appreciation of this kind, if over elaborate, gesture.

The gesture has not been repeated since, I hear.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 16:11

@nordmann wrote:

One of the most well-known variations of this legend exists on the so-called Cotton Tiberius Map from 1025 - "hic abundant leones" (here be many lions).



Well I suppose there might have been lions there, but if I read that map correctly, I'm pretty sure there weren't many real, wild lions hanging around the Paris basin, even in 1025.

PS : My error, the bit of the world shown 'hic abundant leones' is actually way, way to the north east, somewhere in Russia or even beyond (medieval maps of course usually have east at the top). So maybe no abundant leones but possibly abundant tigres ... or even dragones sinensis.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 19:44

MM, the day I make an obviously stupid observation regarding 11th century maps I will notify you beforehand so you can make the appropriate come-uppance comment. This whole nordmann/great bear/supremo/bullshitter thing is actually getting extremely tiresome and I am seriously thinking of abdicating (is that what website founders do? I am so out of touch). I miss being a contributor, or at least being responded to as one.

What intrigued me about the Tiberius map was the incorrect (grammaticality in Latin but not in English) use of "abundant". Until I learnt that the map had been made in Regensburg, of course. But then, all you map experts out there understand that presumedly silly comment, don't you?
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 08 Jul 2015, 20:20

Ouch!

But honestly my comment wasn't intended as a snide ripost against you as the site creator, it was just an off the cuff remark to a fellow contributor. And I too had trouble reading the latin, and couldn't immediately find a bigger image, and so had mis-interpreted the map as being of western Europe, a stupid error to which I freely admitted.

My apologies if you feel slighted.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 09 Jul 2015, 07:25

Genuine apologies too for my part in the Ursa Major and Winnie Ille Pu  jokes. It was all an affectionate tease, you silly bugger - mostly because we were all concerned that you weren't posting anymore. And El Supremo is actually a title of respect for a brainy leader.

Please do not abdicate.

All this dragon, map and lion stuff is really interesting. Please continue, MM and nord.

Hiding from the wrath.
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PostSubject: I need new specs!   Thu 09 Jul 2015, 10:06

Oh dear, I've a horrible feeling that I may have started the U.M. stuff, sorry. But honestly, it's just we naughty kids lurking behind the bike shed and trying to sound cool by being mildly disrespectful about our favourite teacher. Don't take offence, please, but just sometimes pronouncements descend from above like the critical feedback to badly and lazily composed essays. It doesn't mean that we are not profoundly grateful for either this space in which to discuss nor the erudite and thought provoking responses but having one's intellectual shortcomings and lack of knowledge exposed makes one revert to sulky adolescence.
Will try harder.

So back to dragons. Gil mentioned the 'dragon' on the Ishtar gate, this seems to be rather different from the typical depiction of a dragon in not having wings which I have always thought of as being one of the defining characteristics, do we know when it was first described as such and are there any references to dragons or such beasts in Mesopotamian records?

I've been looking at images and descriptions of Greek dragons and I can't find any where the monstrous serpents, although able to fly, have wings, even Demeter's, described as 'winged', seem to be pulling a winged chariot rather having wings themselves.

                                                                         


Also, can winged dragon myths be plotted against the trade routes from China? When does the first indisputably winged dragon first appear in Western mythology?


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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 09 Jul 2015, 12:27

I was in snapdragon mode yesterday, sorry.

The point about Greeks and dragons is a fair one. They may or may not have had a mental picture of what they meant with "drakon" in Homer's time but certainly by the time they were translating Hebrew into Greek it was used for everything from sea serpents (tannin) to jackals (tann). And still no wings, I notice.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 09 Jul 2015, 15:39

Chinese dragons are wingless too, aren't they?
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 09 Jul 2015, 18:54

Very gracious, sir, and much appreciated.


There is one type of Chinese dragon which flew, the Feilong but although it's referred to as a 'winged dragon' in some sites, I can't find any images to bear this out. Here's a wee flock of the beasts enjoying a game of quidditch:




So when did the dragon get its wings? There's precious little evidence of flapping accessories before the 13th c. when they start popping up everywhere in western art. Even those dragon loving Norse don't seem to have given the beasties wings before that. This is from a stave church, sometime after 1150. (Is that right, nordperson?)





Here's one annoying a thoroughly grumpy elephant from a 13th c. bestiary.




                                                                                           

Lots more in this:
http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2014/04/the-anatomy-of-a-dragon.html
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sun 12 Jul 2015, 10:06

Another tale from hereabouts concerns Babau, a dragon/river monster that briefly terrorised the town of Rivesaltes in the middle ages. Like the story of King Peter of Aragon’s 1285 encounter with a dragon on mount Canigou, the legend of Babau is very specific to people, place and date … and certainly is not a nebulous "long ago in a land far away" sort of legend.

Rivesaltes is now a suburb of Perpignan adjoining the city’s airport but 500 years ago was a small walled town on the banks of the Agly, a shallow river trickling in a stony bed which at Rivesaltes is easily forded on foot. On the night of the 2nd to 3rd of February 1390 all was quiet as the night watchman made his tour of the town. Suddenly however there was a sound like the rattling of stones, followed seconds later by screams and then silence. The watchman got a glimpse of something he described as an immense creature like a lizard but the size of a whale, as it retreated back through a narrow gate in the walls facing onto the river. The monster was named Babau (pronounced Baba-ou) after the terrified watchman’s stammered description: "il va.. il va.. va.." When dawn arrived it was discovered the beast had eaten six children.

For the next two nights the town was on full alert with torches lit on all the towers, archers manning the walls, and spearmen in the narrow streets. But despite all these preparations the monster still gained entrance and, protected by its hard scales from all arrows, he again took his fill of children. Finally the townspeople appealed to the local lord, Galdric Trencavet who was a keen huntsman and experienced soldier (and who certainly did exist). Galdric tethered a pig in the narrow gate leading to the river and waited with his crossbow. That night the beast again attacked but as it opened its vast jaws to snap up the pig and confined as it was by the narrow passage, Galdric managed to get a shot down its throat and into the back of the head. The monster turned and fled back to the river where it eventually expired on the far bank. The body was burned but three ribs were taken … one of which still resides in the town hall (it’s been proved to belong to a whale).

So again what was Babau … a cautionary tale to warn children of the dangers of being swept away by flash floods (to which the Agly is still susceptible), simple mass delusion, or even maybe was it a nile crocodile who’d crossed the Mediterranean (an occurrence that was recorded to have occureed in ancient times) and whose tale, and whose tail, grew in the telling?

Here's Babau munching on a child ... every year during the village festival he gets paraded through the streets before being killed off in a bonfire and fireworks on the bank of the river.



Last edited by Meles meles on Sun 12 Jul 2015, 14:37; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : errant punctuation)
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sun 12 Jul 2015, 12:52

Sorry, I'm not as knowledgeable as some of my fellow Res-historicans.  A while ago I'd seen something featuring dragons (could even have been the film voiced by Sean Connery on TV during some holiday period) and I did a bit of sleuthing online trying to find something out about the possible origin of the dragon myth.  As someone has already observed there are loads of different dragon myths - one size does not fit all but I'll post links to some of the online articles I found just in case anybody fancies reading 'em.

http://www.draconika.com/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203880704578089210833124732

http://www.strangescience.net/stdino2.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 16 Jul 2015, 20:36

In the caves of the low-lying karst of Slovenia and Croatia there is a species of blind cave salamander, the olm, Proteus anguinus. They are rarely bigger than half a dozen inches in length and since they spend all their lives in subterranean streams, they rarely get seen by humans. But these wee beasties do sometimes get washed out of their caves during floods and in the past these occasional discoveries, which resemble no other local creature, were thought to be the fry of dragons - the babies of the adult dragons that could be heard roaring and growling at the bottom of deep potholes, especially in times of flood.

It was the Slovene polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693) who, while researching the caves and karst of Slovenia (then part of the Duchy of Carniola), first recorded the local dragon folklore and then pieced together the mythology with the occasional sightings of living olms, which he correctly identified as a type of salamander wholly adapted for life in caves.

There's a big difference between the inoffensive olm,



And the fearsome beasts on the Dragon Bridge in Ljubljana (and on the city's coat of arms),



.... but it seems that the wee olms did indeed grow up to to be Ljubljana's heraldic dragons.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 12 Aug 2015, 12:41

Here's a bit about dragons from Chris Hitchens's God Is Not Great:

He (Immanuel Kant) overthrew the cosmological proof of god - which suggested that one's own existence must posit another necessary existence - by saying that it only restated the ontological argument. And he undid the ontological argument by challenging the simpleminded notion that if god can be conceived as an idea, or stated as a predicate, he must therefore possess the quality of existence. This traditional tripe is accidentally overthrown by Penelope Lively in her much-garlanded novel "Moon Tiger". Describing her daughter Lisa as a 'dull child', she nonetheless delights in the infant's dim but imaginative questions:

"Are there dragons?" she asked. I said that there were not. "Have there ever been?" I said all the evidence was to the contrary. "But if there is a word dragon," she said, "then once there must have been dragons."


I'm with Lisa - dim but imaginative. Could be worse, I suppose.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 14:39

Hitchens absolutely loathed being called "Chris", especially by people who did not know him. Normally he'd simply mention irritably that he preferred "Christopher" and that would be that. However on one occasion a delicious and absolutely irresistible opportunity for some small revenge arose when the infraction was committed on a debating stage by his adversary, a Muslim cleric with the unfortunate first name of Farthang. Hitchens at least was polite when he graciously asked if the cleric also did not mind him reciprocating with an abbreviation in kind?

But back to dragons. Only today I came across one of those "doh!" moments in etymology when something very obvious is revealed to have eluded one's powers of simple deduction for no good reason beyond outright obtuseness, the connection as blatant as it is infuriating to realise so late in life - "dragoons" are so called because early carbines spat fire and therefore were deemed to resemble dragons in France in the 1620s.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 18:00

Aren't there a whole class of non-incendiary dragons known as cold drakes?
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 21:09

@nordmann wrote:
Hitchens absolutely loathed being called "Chris", especially by people who did not know him. Normally he'd simply mention irritably that he preferred "Christopher" and that would be that. However on one occasion a delicious and absolutely irresistible opportunity for some small revenge arose when the infraction was committed on a debating stage by his adversary, a Muslim cleric with the unfortunate first name of Farthang. Hitchens at least was polite when he graciously asked if the cleric also did not mind him reciprocating with an abbreviation in kind?

But back to dragons. Only today I came across one of those "doh!" moments in etymology when something very obvious is revealed to have eluded one's powers of simple deduction for no good reason beyond outright obtuseness, the connection as blatant as it is infuriating to realise so late in life - "dragoons" are so called because early carbines spat fire and therefore were deemed to resemble dragons in France in the 1620s.



Nordmann, I am delighted that even you so late in life can learn something new...

Did some research as the term "dragoon" (dragon, dragonder) seems to exiqt a bit everywhere:
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_(militaire)
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonder
The French article gives all kind of explanations and denies the musket origin as it only existed it says in English
The Dutch article says indeed: dragon the name of a French musket and by ethymology to the soldiers on horse. The French wiki says that some think that it comes from the call "Trager", two on a horse, one to guide the horse and the other to shoot the musket, and when fighting at the ground and wanting to go on the horse again they called, as the guides on the horses were mostly Germans the by everyone understood "Trager" (carrier)...

More to your theory the wiki about the "blunderbuss" (which would come from the Dutch "donderbus" (thunder pipe)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blunderbuss

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 21:10

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Aren't there a whole class of non-incendiary dragons known as cold drakes?
Does the ice dragon Noggin the Nog met count? http://www.dragons-friendly-society.co.uk/main.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 21:29



And no discussion of dragons coiuld be complete without.......

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 21:49

Oh they don't make 'em like that anymore, Ferval.  There are dragons in the TV show "Game of Thrones" but the ones from my younger days seem much more benign.  Another dragon I remember is Pongo the baby dragon from "The Rubovian Legends" later remade as "Rubovia"



Pongo is placed extreme right.  This is the link to the site  http://www.turnipnet.com/whirligig/tv/children/other/rubovia.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 22:00

Oh my Ferval ... 'The Clangers' ... from an age when children under the age of 10 were still expected to be able to understand expressions like "peevishness" and "going all broody". I'm not sure that many 18 year olds these days would understand the language of 'The Clangers'. Or am I being too harsh on today's yoof?

Or am I starting to rant like an embittered grumpy old man?! Rolling Eyes

But returning to topic, wasn't there also a dragon ... I believe she was called Idris ... who lived in the smokestack of "Ivor the Engine", just to keep warm because her own fire had gone out? Another 'Cold Drake' I suppose.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Mon 17 Aug 2015, 22:45

And here is the soup dragon - 2015 version. Yes, there's a whole new series this year on Cbeebies for the tinies, narrated by Michael Palin, all shiny and new but lacking the charm of the original I feel.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 07:38

Gilgamesh wrote:
Aren't there a whole class of non-incendiary dragons known as cold drakes?

In Lord Of The Rings there are, right enough. Not sure how authoritative that might be as a military source though.


The Gostir (dread glance) who allegedly resided in the mountains of Barl Syrnac north of Rhûn.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 10:31

Well, the term "Firedrake" seems to go back to at least C13th, so I'd suspect that the antithetical "Cold-drake" might be of similar vintage.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 14:22

Gilgamesh wrote:
Well, the term "Firedrake" seems to go back to at least C13th


Maybe further back - "lig" is an Old English word for "fire" (a relative of "light" and from the same proto-Germanic "leukhtam"). Beowulf, as an old man, resolves to attack a "ligdraca" which had been getting on everyone's tit by the seaside:

Hæfde lígdraca léoda fæsten éalond útan eorðweard ðone glédum forgrunden

The fire-drake had, the fortress of the people by the coast-land, the stronghold ground down with flames.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 14:58

Those who really know the TRUTH understand that dragons were how our ancestors described the dinosaurs with whom they shared this planet.

                                                                               

http://creationmuseum.org/whats-here/exhibits/dragon-legends/

It appears that the hic sunt dracones phrase only appears on one map - or maybe two, I'm trying to find out which -  the Lenox Globe and probably is a geographically misplaced reference to the Kingdom of Dragoian on the island of Sumatra described by Marco Polo in his Travels (De Regionibus Orientalis), Book Three, Chapter XVII, "De Regno Dragoiam". Just from wiki I'm afraid and this website: http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html

                                                   
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 15:18

@ferval wrote:

.... the Lenox Globe and probably is a geographically misplaced reference to the Kingdom of Dragoian on the island of Sumatra described by Marco Polo in his Travels ..... 
                                                   

The island of Komodo together with several neighbouring islands are home to the living Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis, and are of course in the same archipeligo as Sumatra. And the beasts once lived on more islands than their current very limited distribution, although I don't think they ever existed on Sumatra itself, at least not in historic times. Also the Moluccas, the so-called Spice Islands and originally the only source of nutmeg amongst other spices, are not really that far away so the Komodo group of islands, with their large reptillian inhabitants, may well have been known by Arab, Indian and Chinese merchants since antiquity. So the "hic sunt dracones" bit may have actually been true.

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 16:23

@ferval wrote:
Those who really know the TRUTH understand that dragons were how our ancestors described the dinosaurs with whom they shared this planet.

   ...                                                                            

http://creationmuseum.org/whats-here/exhibits/dragon-legends/

It appears that the hic sunt dracones phrase only appears on one map - or maybe two, I'm trying to find out which -  the Lenox Globe and probably is a geographically misplaced reference to the Kingdom of Dragoian on the island of Sumatra described by Marco Polo in his Travels (De Regionibus Orientalis), Book Three, Chapter XVII, "De Regno Dragoiam". Just from wiki I'm afraid and this website: http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html

                                                   

While never claiming to know the TRUTH, ferval, let me point to yet another possible source to the sentence and perhaps map as well, Munster's Cosmographia Universalis.

I must say that my source for this reference is in a short story by Dorothy L. Sayers, "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head."
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 16:26

@Meles meles wrote:




As an aside, MM, the picture here shown reminds me sorely of a former mother-in-law of mine, just that she was half as large yet double as poisonous ...


Whenever I am reminded of her I need a drink!
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Tue 18 Aug 2015, 17:53

@nordmann wrote:
Gilgamesh wrote:
Well, the term "Firedrake" seems to go back to at least C13th


Maybe further back - "lig" is an Old English word for "fire" (a relative of "light" and from the same proto-Germanic "leukhtam"). Beowulf, as an old man, resolves to attack a "ligdraca" which had been getting on everyone's tit by the seaside:

Hæfde lígdraca léoda fæsten éalond útan eorðweard ðone glédum forgrunden

The fire-drake had, the fortress of the people by the coast-land, the stronghold ground down with flames.
Well that suggests that Tolkien would have been familiar with the term. Maybe there are references to Cold-drakes in similar sources? He certainly used many names from Norse mythology - IIRC all Thorin's companions share the names of the "original" dwarfs created.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 20 Aug 2015, 10:47

There's an excellent bespotted dragon in Spenser:



From Book One, Canto XI of The Faerie Queen

X
His flaggy winges, when forth he did display,
Were like two sayles, in which the hollow wynd
Is gathered full, and worketh speedy way:
And eke the pennes, that did his pineons bynd,
Were like mayne-yardes, with flying canvas lynd,
With which whenas him list the ayre to beat,
And there by force unwonted passage fynd,
The cloudes before him fled for terrour great,
And all the heavens stood still amazed with his threat.

XI
His huge long tayle, wound up in hundred foldes,
Does overspred his long bras-scaly backe,
Whose wreathed boughtes when ever he unfoldes,
And thicke entangled knots adown does slack,
Bespotted as with shieldes of red and blacke,
It sweepeth all the land behind him farre,
And of three furlongs does but litle lacke;
And at the point two stings in-fixed arre,
Both deadly sharpe, that sharpest steele exceeden farre.

XII
But stings and sharpest steele did far exceed
The sharpnesse of his cruel rending clawes;
Dead was it sure, as sure as death in deed,
What ever thing does touch his ravenous pawes,
Or what within his reach he ever drawes.
But his most hideous head my toungue to tell
Does tremble; for his deepe devouring jawes
Wyde gaped, like the griesly mouth of hell,
Through which into his darke abysse all ravin fell.

XIII
And that more wondrous was, in either jaw
Three ranckes of yron teeth enraunged were,
In which yett trickling bloud and gobbets raw
Of late devoured bodies did appeare,
That sight thereof bredd cold congealed feare;
Which to increase, and all at once to kill,
A cloud of smoothering smoke and sulphure seare
Out of his stinking gorge forth steemed still,
That all the ayre about with smoke and stench did fill.

XIV
His blazing eyes, like two bright shining shieldes,
Did burne with wrath, and sparkled living fyre;
As two broad beacons, sett in open fieldes,
Send forth their flames farre off to every shyre,
And warning give, that enemies conspyre,
With fire and sword the region to invade;
So flam'd his eyne with rage and rancorous yre:
But farre within, as in a hollow glade,
Those glaring lampes were sett, that made a dreadfull shade.

XV
So dreadfully he towardes him did pas,
Forelifting up aloft his speckled brest,
And often bounding on the brused gras,
As for great joyance of his newcome guest.
Eftsoones he gan advance his haughtie crest,
As chauffed bore his bristles doth upreare;
And shoke his scales to battell readie drest;
That made the Redcrosse knight nigh quake for feare,
As bidding bold defyaunce to his foeman neare.




The following is a bit wordy, but may perhaps be of some interest. I like the idea of a Catholic dragon lurking under the Vatican.

http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/texas_studies_in_literature_and_language/v054/54.1.hodges.html



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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 20 Aug 2015, 13:27



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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 20 Aug 2015, 14:36



RIP, Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Thu 20 Aug 2015, 15:21

Very Happy

Brilliant.

I love the Knave - " When you've seen one dragon, you've seen 'em all...It was just a run-of-the-mill dragon."
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sun 23 Aug 2015, 19:46



The only dragon to appear on a British stamp (1994).
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sun 23 Aug 2015, 20:33

Have they changed the definition of Britain again?



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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sun 23 Aug 2015, 21:47

@Temperance wrote:


The only dragon to appear on a British stamp (1994).
Sorry to disagree, but :-





In fact since 1958, Welsh definitive stamps such as the 7p one above issued for sale in Wales bear Y Ddraig Goch.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sun 23 Aug 2015, 22:05

I meant the only dragon to appear on a British an Englsh stamp in 1994.

Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sun 23 Aug 2015, 22:38

@Temperance wrote:
I meant the only dragon to appear on a British stamp in 1994.

Smile
vide supra

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Wed 09 Mar 2016, 08:00

The Guardian : Slovenia awaits birth of baby dragons

... the Guardian helpfully says olms are "lizard-sized amphibians", but as lizards can range from 3cm to 3m in length that's probably not the best size comparison, and I'm also not sure that amphibians can ever be described as being "pregnant".
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Fri 01 Apr 2016, 23:53

Someone brought it to my notice that before Noggin the Nog met his friend the ice dragon E Nesbit wrote about a less benign one in 1899 [which melts] and Andrew Lang wrote about an ice 'worm' in 1889 so seems there's nothing new under the (fictional) sun.  E Nesbit wrote a lot but I know her best for The Railway Children.
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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sat 09 Apr 2016, 10:59

We are now advancing rapidly on the feast day of one of, if not the most famous of dragon-slayers, St George.  I can't help feeling a bit sorry for that dragon, as so many depictions show it as a bit of a tiddler - in this case only about the size of a large dog!




Here is a detail from another one, this time by Rubens c.1630.  The vanquished dragon is of a larger size.  But wait!  Is that George and the Maiden... or is it Charles I and Henrietta Maria?

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sat 09 Apr 2016, 12:59

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PostSubject: Re: Here be dragons...   Sat 09 Apr 2016, 13:45

I feel sorry for some of those rather sweet looking wee dragons but this one is an altogether scarier proposition. The fact that it has crapped itself however makes it a tiny bit more sympathetic.




It's from the Storkyrkan in Stolkholm and attributed to Bernt Notke (1489). The statue, commissioned to commemorate the Battle of Brunkeberg (1471), also serves as a reliquary, containing relics supposedly of Saint George and six other saints; Saint Blasius, Saint Germanus, Saint Leo, Saint Martinus, Saint Donatus and Saint Cyriacus.
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