Cave Dwelling Medieval Dragons of the Middle Ages
In Europe, during medieval times tales of terrifying fire-breathing dragons grew far and wide, and have stirred awe and terror in the myths and legends of many cultures ever since. In Western myths, the European dragons, or Medieval dragons, and as they are often known: draco, are generally portrayed as terrible, evil, and dangerously fierce carnivorous reptiles with wings and a tail for added balance. This colossal magical beast has the ability to fly and simultaneously breathe fire to wreak havoc on numerous villages of the Middle Ages. Western Medieval dragons can be categorized by their peculiarly unique physical characteristics, general appearance, and habitat (or dragon liar). During the renaissance period, and according to Western folklore, Medieval dragons have a longstanding association with magic, and they are left with the job of guarding and watching over hidden treasures and fortunes! Western Medieval dragons have an attraction and association with gemstones and probably live in caves in order to give them the best access crystals and cool underground temperatures. Dragons have also been known to use deep lakes to hoard piles of golden treasures, jewels and other precious items kept in the depths of their draconian lair.
What Led to the Downfall of Dragons
According to the mythology of dragon lore, knights of the Medieval times had to protect their kingdom and their elaborate Medieval castles from fierce and menacing dragons by the tradition of fighting and slaying the dragons to not only protect their Medieval culture, but also to capture their hidden and protected treasures. Knights of the round table were eager to prove their faith and would battle dragons to the death. Medieval dragons would also take women, especially young women of the child bearing age and royal bloodlines. Occasionally, dragon monsters would wander into villages, and leave great destruction and death in their wake. This led many a brave knight to attempt to hunt down and slay dragons, as recounted in many medieval writings of the middle ages. In some cases, Medieval knights were successful, in many other situations they were defeated by the immense power of dragons! Even with a slim chance of winning a battle with a fierce fire-breathing dragon, knights soon discovered that dragon-hunting and dragon-defending was very profitable and would bring them plenty of fame and fortune. And so it wasn't long before most of the dragons throughout the world were destroyed, according to medieval folklore and legend.
Dragon Tales of the Norse Viking Warriors
Even the Vikings where fanatics with the dragon figureheads they installed on the prows of their long ships. With the dragon leading their assault their bazurk raids would help frighten and scare the people they were attacking into total submission. Old Norse dragon ships were also believed to endow keen sight and endow cunning to the Viking warriors that sailed in them. Norse dragons were depicted in ancient Viking art and culture as a way of symbolizing power, strength and to instill fear in their enemies. Vikings spread dragon tales with every invasion they led across Europe. In Scandinavian myths, dragons are associated with the dead and it was believed that they where guardians over the graves of the dead. Scandinavia Nordic stories tell of serpents and dragons so unimaginably vast that they encircled the world itself! Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, was one such world encompassing monster that lived deep under the sea.
Even Thor's hammer, a magical golden hammer called Mjollnir, built for Thor by underworld dwelling dwarfs, had a dragonhead attached to its tip.
Welsh Dragons and the Celtic Conversion
Celtic peoples have often shown great reverence for dragons and serpents, depicting them right beside their gods. Early on Medieval dragons came to represent wisdom and nobility in Celtic culture. Even today, the welsh national flag has a dragon with one claw raised as a warning of its power with its dragon neck arched in complete readiness. Though this respect for dragons clashed with the beliefs of a new Celtic religion... Christianity. According to both Christian and Jewish texts, they were true incarnations of evil and were said to be bringers of destruction at the end of the world, as correlated in the Book of Revelations, while the serpent has been blamed for bringing the first sin to humankind when it tempted Eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden.
Greek and Roman Dragons and the Tasks of Hercules
Ancient Greeks and Romans had no doubts at all about the actual existence of dragons, and were already telling stories about them for centuries. They revered dragons for their wisdom but also feared them because of their tremendous powers, both Greek and Roman culture shared this belief. One of the twelve tasks of the legendary hero Hercules (or Heracles) was to pick three golden apples from a sacred tree, protected by a fearsome dragon, or serpent - depending on your perspective. Of all, the most feared monster of the Greeks and Romans was Hydra, a dragon-like serpent creature with multiple heads and poisonous breath. On another task of Hercules he went to slay the freakish Hydra in a dangerous marsh. However, every time Hercules cut off one of the heads of the dragon beast, more grew back in its place. Only by burning the multiple dragon-serpent necks with raw fire, and crushing its body with a giant boulder, was Hercules able to defeat the incredible Hydra.
Dragon Myth or Fact?
For thousands of years, we have been told of fantastic fire-breathing dragons, creatures with supernatural and magical powers, some aligned with the forces of good, and others with the forces of evil. Are these dragonesque creatures merely fabrications of boundless human imagination, or do they represent something of great significance to all earth's cultures? Of all the sensational monster legends of the world, none has slithered into as many of man's myths and legends as dragons. Dragons and serpents have come to represent a huge diversity of different ideas, but perhaps the one prevailing symbolism that unites them all is man's fascination and fear of the unknown. As long as mankind is plagued by mystery, our deep lakes, skies, turbid seas and even our souls will never be freed from the clutches of the dragon.