Dragons have been a meaningful element of our culture since around 4000 and 5000 BC. From stories to architecture to collectibles, dragons are supernatural animals that may or may not have roamed the earth in reality but have left massive footprints in our sensibility.
These fantastic reptilian/serpentine animals are seen in numerous different cultures, and each of those dragons is as different as the culture itself. These creatures are thought to dwell everywhere from the depths of the ocean to the center of the earth. Some have wings, some dont. Some have many legs, some have four. Some have nine heads, others have one. Some have five claws, most have a smaller amount. Some are friends and others are fiends. All are a signof amazing strength and power.
Scientific studies put forward that the Tiamat, a goddess that personifies the sea, in ancient Babylonian and Assyrian text is the first allusion to the existence of dragons. Historians, however, can’t substantiate whether or not Tiamat was the same sort of creature as what we refer to as a dragon. Consequently, the history of dragon can not be with assurance linked to Tiamet.
Perhaps the best documented dragons come from the Chinese background. These characters are believed to be made of pieces from nine different animals: the body of a snake, talons of an eagle, antlers of a dear, head of a camel, belly of a clam, ears of a cow, soles of a tiger, 117 scales of a carp, and eyes of a demon. Dragons in Asian cultures are believed to be benevolent beings who command the water, including the rain, and have the power of change. In this sense, dragons are a force of mother nature and the universe as well as guard of Buddhist law. In this cultural system, dragons represent prosperity, fortune, and knowledge .
On the other hand, the Western dragons is considered as fearsome and ferocious. These dragons are like those Hercules battled and Beowolf waged war. In northern Europe, Thor battled the Jrmungandr (the World Serpent). West dragons are fierce creatures that guarded (and horded) treasure and that heroes would have to slay to protect helpless maidens (acts that often ended in matrimony). These were fire breathing dragons, more like the modern American dragons we are familiar today. Battles with these scary creatures became signs of the battle between good and bad.
There are even references to dragons in the Bible–in Revelations, the devil is referred to as the “great dragon.” We’ve all heard the tales of people who have been transformed into dragons as punishment for their self-centeredness. And what about those that warn about children being devoured by dragons and claim that eclipses are also the result of the creatures’ gluttonous appetites.
These days, dragons are the mark of power, of supernatural abilities, and of protection. People embellish their abodes and their bodies with figures of the mystic creatures. All types of dragons turn up in the movies from the good-natured imaginary buddy to violent foes. While we no longer talk about heroes battling dragons, the creatures are still prevalent in our culture, for better or worse.
Jeff Bronson is the owner of Obscuria.com, a darkly unique Gothic shop. Obscuria offers a quality selection of dragon figurines and dragon collectibles, and many custom made, exclusive in the U.S items.