Dragon Lore

The Book of Revelation – possibly the oldest book in the New Testament – certainly the oddest and hardest to decipher. A few years ago, the British Museum exhibited all of Durer’s drawings depicting Revelation. His interpretation was very literal and certainly lingered in my mind. Amazing insight in to the medieval mind.


“A dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of men’s imagination, richer in significance than his barrow in gold.”

J.R.R. Tolkien (p. 16, sources below)

The dragon is known as a mythic creature in many cultures. The word derives from latin “draco”, or greek “drakon”, which probably comes from the verb δρακεῖν (drakeîn) “to see clearly”. Though in the east he has more positive connotations as a a symbol of good luck and fertility, in the west a dragon commonly symbolizes chaos and perdition. Especially in the middle ages. Since the bible was the most wide-spread book back then, it’s not surprising that its mention of the dragon in the Book of Revelation (which tells about the apocalypse) had a great impact. Here is the bit:

1 A great sign appeared in heaven:…

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2 thoughts on “Dragon Lore

    1. I think it may have been nearly ten years ago! The British Museum had a great exhibition last year called Treasures of Heaven – a collection of medieval reliquaries, really awesome for any medievalists. I think the book is available on Amazon.

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