Reptiles have always been associated with mythology and have been credited with magical and supernatural powers. The Egyptians considered the snake to be the Pharaohs reptile and the Cobra was credited with the gift of immortality. Lizards are also associated with the Sun. The movement of a lizard was thought to be able to return sight to a blind person and it also represented good luck and divine knowledge. Turtles were associated with drought and viewed as the enemy of the Sun God. And Crocodiles are associated with deceit, two-facedness, passion and betrayal.
Dragons – The Lizard Kings
The dragon is the most feared and esteemed of beasts. The beast that all the world knows and the creature that never was. It is the impossible creature that exists in art, mythology, religion and legend.
Belonging to the family of extremely large, long-lived winged lizards, true dragons constitute the most advanced race of lizards known, far surpassing other orders in size intelligence and life-span.
Classical Dragon – Common European Dragon (Draco magnificens)
Four-legged creature with tough, scaly hide, an eagles talons, a long sinuous tail, a reptilian snout crowned with a pair of horns. Bat-like wings spring from extended rib-bones just behind the front legs and fiery breath typical of most world dragons.
Dragons in Mythology
The three predators who most threatened our ancestors The Eagle, the Leopard and the Snake, merge in mythology to become a single creature The Dragon. Classical Greek mythology is alive with Dragons… One of the twelve tasks of Hercules was to defeat a fearsome dragon and Zeus also had an unwelcome encounter…
Typhon the Hydra
After defeating Cronus, his father, Zeus was confronted by Typhon, Demon of the Whirlwind, a creature created from hundreds of coiled snakes, hundreds of serpents writhing from its shoulders, vast leathery wings and eyes that flashed fire; its roar shook the Earth and flames shot from its gaping mouth.
Fearful of Typhon Zeus fled, taking refuge in Egypt but accused of cowardice, Zeus return to face his formidable mountain hurling enemy. Zeus won the battle at Thrace, wounding and chasing Typhon to Sicily where he crushed him under Mount Aetna.
Gaea, the ancient Greek earth goddess was impregnated by just one drop of blood that fell from Typhons’s head and gave birth to Actaeus, first King of Athens.
Norse myth (Scandinavian Vikings) of Midgard Serpent – Jormungander
Jormungander, a huge winged serpent with a dragons head and son of Loki and Angerboda, the gods of evil. “Odin the All Wise” recognised its potential danger and threw it into the depths of the sea. He ordered it to stay there, tail in mouth encircling the world until Ragnarok – the Day of the Last Battle when giants, monsters and warrior gods would engage in final battles. The outcomes would define eternity.
At this time Jormungander rose from the sea to battle Thor – the mighty god of thunder. A raging thunderous battle ensued…
Thor hurling thunderbolts Jormungander roaring with mind shattering blasts but eventually both were killed when Thor’s great hammer Miolnir struck Jormungander’s head and Jormungander’s poisoness breath caused Thor’s demise minutes later
Timat, mother of the gods sought revenge for her husband’s killing transforming into a dragon with impermeable scales, two heavily clawed forelegs, a long snake-like neck and head, and a pair of horns. Timat’s battalions comprised of Sirrush – terrifying creatures, a hybrid mix of bird of prey, lion and Scorpion.
Japanese Myth – The Koshi Dragon
The impossibly huge Koshi dragon, could drape its body over eight hills and valleys simultaneously was slain by Storm god, Susa-no-ow, a wild and footloose warrior- hero. Trees and bushes grew on its scaly back as did its eight heads with blood-red eyes and eight serpentine tails.
Japanese Dragon Birds (hai-riyo)
Locals claim a scaled serpent with a dragons head and features and a bird’s wingsand body, lives in the centre of Lake Ukisima. Every 50 years it appears as O-gon-cho, “Golden Plumed Bird” from the lake to sing its terrible song – more howling-wolf than singing-bird. When heard, the season of sickness falls on the people. Last heard in 1834, famine and disease soon spread over the local area…
Wyverns and Drakes
Both are closely related to dragons but do not belong to the same order.
Wyverns have true wings like bats or birds (derived from their forelimbs) and look like miniature dragons but with only two legs. They live in forests and woods and sport Eagle-like talons and tails tipped with barbed stings.
Aggressive by nature they attack potential prey on sight, and breeding females should never be approached when with their young.
Drakes have dragon like wings –developed from extended ribs and look like typical dragons. They are more timid than Wyverns and live in remote mountain areas. Their blood is toxic and they’re saturated in highly corrosive sulphur salt. This is flammable on contact with air; consequently the Drake does not breathe fire! Drakes are also known as Fire Drakes.
Griffons (Raptopanthera gryphos)
In ancient times Griffons were symbols of safeguarding, protection and fair-dealing of justice. For over 5000 years these fierce highly dangerous wild creatures of India Middle East and N Russia have proved both inspiring and terrifying. One of nature’s most majestic creations and the emblem of sovereigns and kingdoms.
Most Griffons live in high unscalable mountain crags and rocky overhangs, though North Russian Griffons differ from Indian Griffons in that they live in hilly forests and mountains. Likened to a combination of reptile, feline and raptor, griffon-dragons stand around 2.4 m (8 feet) high at the shoulder. Their rear half is all lion including paws, and long tail, which acts as a rudder in-flight and a violently lashing expression of pleasure, anger or lust.
Its front half is eagle. With viciously curved front claws, a cruelly hooked beak and powerful wings classed as a genuine third pair of limbs spanning 5.5 m (18 ft) the Griffon is probably descended from an exotic branch of the bird family. An authentic six-limbed creature with long, pointed ears and fiery eyes it can fly at tremendous speeds and easily lift off again carrying heavy-weight prey. Its colours vary from burnished-gold through to the exotic gaudy colours commonly seen on the Indian griffon.
Blog credit to Kïrstin…she who flies on silver wings! Thank you for this blog suggestion…
May your scales shine forever bright!