Image of the dragon in medieval symbolism

(ORDO NEWS) — Dragons were very popular in medieval symbolism. Most likely, they appeared in the imagination of the time because of the exotic crested snakes that were seen by some travelers and later rumored to have turned into huge flying animals.

Both the medieval forerunner of zoology, the Swabian theologian Albertus Magnus, and the thirteenth-century Italian scholar Brunetto Latini mention the dragon as a type or variety of snakes.

According to the Bible, in the Middle Ages, all types of snakes clearly had a negative connotation. One serpent seducing Eve in paradise destroyed the good future of all her kindred species.

Enemy elephant and dragon from Ethiopia

According to the physiologist, the dragon is the greatest enemy of the elephant. In medieval symbolism, the dragon is poor elephants, just like the devil is a man.

The greatest strength of the dragon is its tail, which, in addition to being strong, is so long that in many illustrations of that era it wraps around the huge body of an elephant.

It is not difficult to guess where the dragon appeared in medieval society. This comes, of course, from India and Ethiopia, where the average medieval European is unlikely to come to see if this is so.

Saint George and the Dragon Hunt

In addition to the scenes depicting the temptation of man, the dragon appears in the play in images associated with Saint Margaret of Scotland.

The beast, according to the Golden Legend, the lives of the saints, written by Jacob de Vorazhin, lived in Libya, not far from the pond, and devoured everything he could.

The dragon received two sheep a day from the locals, but when they ran out, the children were ordered to be returned to him. After all, she was also the king’s daughter.

image of the dragon in medieval symbolism 2

St. George, passing by, saw the princess and promised to save her in the name of Christ, then he opposed the dragon with a sword and a cross stretched out in front of him and defeated the beast (of course, if you already felt the atmosphere of the Middle Ages, you guessed it, that the decisive weapon in that clash was a cross, not a sword).

Devil in the form of a dragon and Saint Margaret

According to the same source, a certain martyr, Saint Margaret of Antioch, also won the battle with the dragon. Once a man fell in love with her, who decided to marry her at any cost, and ordered her to renounce the Christian faith.

Margarita was not going to give up her religion and the truths of faith, so the man sentenced her to death. First she was tortured and then put in jail. There Margarita began to fervently pray to God and ask that she could see her opponent.

Then the devil appeared to her in the form of a dragon, which she drove away with the sign of the cross. You see – the cross is worth carrying with you! The dragon is another beast that you can see in art in combination with the Virgin.


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