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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 8:07 am    Post subject: Knights & Dragons         Reply with quote

I have seen a few historical pictures lately of Knights and Dragons. As a young child the Knight and Dragon scenerios were always the most interesting to me... Where did all these stories of Knights battling dragons originate from?
Hisrorical tales wrote by men of old? Or more recent stories have over exaggerated the historical stories?

Please share any historical artwork of such depictions if availible. Thanks.

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher, myths about heroes battling dragons pre-date the time of the medievial knight by centuries in different cultures. For example, in Beowulf (the oldest long work in the English language, and set in Pagan Denmark) the hero ends his career fighting a dragon. There is also the Christian story of St. George and the dragon. St. George is frequently depicted as a knight in medieval artwork - this might be what you have been seeing. A google search of this will bring up many images.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also dragon represents the devil and knights should battle against evil.
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T. Hamilton




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's one of St. George. It's the clasical Knight/Dragon image everyone thinks of. In St. George's case, the dragon is supposed to represent the devil. As mentioned in previous posts, the idea of warriors facing dragons (not to mention other mythical nasties) is a concept that has been around as long as there have been warriors. I'm sorry I can't remember the source off the top of my head, but I have seen carvings of Babylonian warriors fighting dragons/griffins, and the mythology of the Greeks is full of heros taking on all sorts of monsters. I think it's universal and just as true today: We like our heroes larger-than-life, and you can't have a superhero without a supervillain.


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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can think of three stories off the top of my head - not including St George

Lord More, of More Hall, wore a suit of spiked armour when he defeated the Dragon of Wantley. The fight lasted for two days and a night, with neither opponent being able to overcome the otherís armour. The dragon seized More, intent on hurling him into the air, when More saw the beastís vulnerable spot and delivered a fatal kick with a spiked boot.

Sir Peter Loschy fought the Worm of Loschy Mill, which had poisonous breath and blood, and could rejoin severed segments of itself. Loschy was aided by his faithful dog that would grab pieces of the worm whenever his master chopped one off. The worm could not rejoin with its severed segments and was eventually killed.

Sir John Lambton wore spiked armour when he battled with a worm that could rejoin severed segments of itself. He fought the worm in a fast-flowing stream so that every time he hacked off a piece it washed away before it could reattach. When the worm wrapped itself around Lambton, it cut itself on the spikes and razor-edges, and the more it tried to crush him the worse it injured itself. Finally, John killed it with his sword.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tristan (from Tristan and Iseult) also kills a dragon. He cuts its tongue and puts it in his boot, not knowing that it was venomous. He is nearly poisoned. Meanwhile, another knight discovers the dragon and gets the head back to the king, claiming the victory. Iseult does not believe him, goes to the battle scene, finds Tristan and saves him.Tristan then uses the tongue to prove his victory and the lying knight is banned. This all happens before Tristan and Iseult really fall in love... This legend appears in written form in the XIIth century, a more ancient celtic base is possible.

From Norse mythology, you have the story of Sigurd killing the dragon Fafnir, taking its treasure and bathing in his blood, acquiring near-perfect invulnerability. The earliest records of this are from the XIth century.

So yes, dragon and heroes are an old story...

Regards,

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Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Jeff A. Arbogast





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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can go back WAY farther than this. Apollo was supposed to have killed the Python at Delphi before it became the famous oracle site (Homer wrote that "Apollo killed the fearsome dragon Python, piercing it with his darts."). Also, Jason and his Argonauts had to kill the Hydra, a dragon with nine heads which protected the Golden Fleece. So dragons go WAAAY back, probably even farther back in the ancient myths if anybody cares to look, but that's as far back as I'm going.
A man's nose is his castle-and his finger is a mighty sword that he may wield UNHINDERED!
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James Head





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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 10:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've recently been interested in the various tales of knights fighting giants and wild men. You don't hear much about those stories, mostly dragons.
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Gabriele A. Pini




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Jan, 2010 11:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Certainly the dragon was interpreted as a symbol of the serpent-devil in the christian world, and his defeat by saint knights (but even by saint virgins) was the victory of faith against sin.

There is also a theory about the existence of some Goddess-Earth religions in the neolitic era that were defeated by the new God-Sky religions. The victory of the hero against the symbol of precedent god (the serpent, in this case) was then "created" to incorporate the past traditions in the new religion (but this is a topic I'm studying more from a sociology point of view, related to modern feminism, than historical or anthropological, so if someone is more informed of recent developments I will be grateful)
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jan, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeff A. Arbogast wrote:
You can go back WAY farther than this. Apollo was supposed to have killed the Python at Delphi before it became the famous oracle site (Homer wrote that "Apollo killed the fearsome dragon Python, piercing it with his darts.").


The "Serpent Antagonist" motif is found in all kinds of religions and myths, actually, to the point were you migth start talking about a monomyth.

There's Python, Jormungandr, Yamata no Orochi, Apep, the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, Tiamat, etc, etc.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jan, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons...org%29.jpg
Saint Georg and the Dragon as depicted in the sculptures by Bernt Notke in the Storkykan in Stockholm, finished in 1489 the group was intended as a monument of the Swedish victory over the Danes at the battle of Brunkeberg 1471.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Adam Bodorics
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jan, 2010 10:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gabriele A. Pini: I know at least two such cases in religious history which are pretty much alike. One is the Jotun vs the Aesir, the other is the Titans vs the Olympian gods. In the former case a serious demonizing took place - to the extent that Hela, previously the greatest goddess of all, became an evil hag from whose name hell is derived, while Loki the lightbringer and accuser (a bit like Lucifer and Prometheus) became a mere trickster. In both cases, the new pantheon had more "gods" and they were all much more simplistic in nature (compare the ambivalence of Surt with the plain machismo of Thor for example).
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Risto Rautiainen




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jan, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember reading a history of the Knights Hospitaller which involved killing a dragon or a serpent. It was quite interesting as it was quite recent being from the 14th century IIRC. The serpent killed a lot of knights up to the point where the grand master ordered that every one trying to kill the serpent would get the boot from the order. Well one knight managed to kill it with the use of some decoy and/or dogs, still remain in the order and eventually to become grandmaster himself.
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Boris R.





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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jan, 2010 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

now HERE's a dragon

anyway, everywhere in Europe, Africa and Asia people worshipped various chthonic cults (which more often than not included
human sacrifices) and with the coming of the more widespread religions hey had to be not only fogotten but vilified, such is the case of pre-roman late bronze age and erly iron age ancestral people that lived here, the Liburnians and Illyrians who worshipped such gods as Anzotica, Ika, Bindus and with the arrival of the roman Mithra they apparently ceased to be.

In analytical psychology, the term chthonic was often used to describe the spirit of nature within, the unconscious earthly impulses of the Self, one's material depths, but not necessarily with negative connotations. See anima and animus or shadow. In Man and His Symbols Carl G. Jung explains:
ď "Envy, lust, sensuality, deceit, and all known vices are the negative, 'dark' aspect of the unconscious, which can manifest itself in two ways. In the positive sense, it appears as a 'spirit of nature', creatively animating Man, things, and the world. It is the 'chthonic spirit' that has been mentioned so often in this chapter. In the negative sense, the unconscious (that same spirit) manifests itself as a spirit of evil, as a drive to destroy."

Gender has a specific meaning in cultural anthropology. Teresa del Valle in her book Gendered Anthropology explains "there are male and female deities at every level. We generally find men associated with the above, the sky and women associated with the below, with the earth, water of the underground, and the chthonic deities."

Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
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Helge B.





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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 2:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could it be that the dragon mythology orignated in ancient finds of dinosaur fossils?
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T. Hamilton




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 9:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Helge B. wrote:
Could it be that the dragon mythology orignated in ancient finds of dinosaur fossils?


I have wondered that myself. For example, the dragon is such an important symbol in China where, incidentally, they have some of the richest dinosaur fossil deposits in the world. Also, it would explain the almost uniformity across cultures that would have had no contact with each other about the appearance of dragons in their lore. Consider how Meso-American dragons are so similar to their old World counterparts (of course there are some pretty BIG snakes in the Amazon Laughing Out Loud ).
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Has anyone ever considered the possibility that knights might really have fought actual dragons?
And that the fantastic stories are a by product of over active scribal imaginations based on real events, a sad fact that must be taken in to account when ever reading medieval writings.

Ben Potter Bladesmith

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For any other man's,
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For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Potter wrote:
Has anyone ever considered the possibility that knights might really have fought actual dragons?

Not until someone produces evidence that dragons/dinosaurs actually existed during the time in question.
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Ben Potter wrote:
Has anyone ever considered the possibility that knights might really have fought actual dragons?

Not until someone produces evidence that dragons/dinosaurs actually existed during the time in question.


Secrets of the Ica Stones and Nazca Lines by Dennis Swift. Yes, I am a creationist
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Adam Bodorics
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PostPosted: Mon 01 Feb, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a side thought, but it seems that we're leaving "history" and are entering "religion". That could have all kinds of unforeseen results like a flame war (theist vs atheist, Christian vs Luciferian, or even Asatru vs Rokkr - I'm pretty sure that at least one human from each group is present on this forum) which wouldn't be too good I think.

BTW, just before anyone misinterprets me - I'm deeply religious but I won't discuss my faith. I'm all for keeping religions off an informative site.
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