What do dragons represent in mythology?

The dragon is one of the most well-known legendary monsters in contemporary culture; this is not a secret. Nonetheless, many individuals are not aware of its extensive past. Often, when people think of a dragon, they picture a huge reptile-like monster with gigantic wings that assaults castles and breaths fire. But, the dragon had less lofty origins, much like all the animals from ancient myth.

About as long as mankind have lived, there have been dragons in myth. In reality, many early Mesopotamian societies and other ancient peoples of the Near East have extensive oral traditions that describe how powerful storm gods saved the populace from nefarious huge serpents. These serpents frequently possessed a variety of scary abilities, such as glowing skin, fire breathing, and the capacity to fly. The present understanding of dragons was built on these myths.

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So how does one adequately characterize the terrifying dragon? To begin with, it appears that a dragon can be any kind of snake with a particularly terrifying temperament. The term "drakon," from which the English word "dragon" was derived, suggests this. "Drakon" is Greek for "big snake" or "sea serpent." The majority of dragons are also thought to be wicked in nature. Yet Chinese mythology shows that this is not always the case. Dragons can occasionally be shown as being wise and helpful beings.

Dragons are among the most well-known and enduring legendary creatures in existence, and they have long been accepted as genuine.

Several cultures, including those in the Americas, Europe, India, and China, are familiar with dragon legends. They have a lengthy and varied history and continue to appear in our literature, movies, and television programs where valiant heroes often engage in battle to defeat the animals.

It's unclear when or when the earliest dragon tales appeared, although descriptions of the enormous flying serpents date at least as far back as the Sumerian and Greek civilizations. The Penguin Book of Dragons (opens in new tab) by Scott G. Bruce, published by Penguin Classics in 2021, states that "In the ancient world they assumed the shape of huge serpents, ready to crush with their coils and murder with their deadly breath." Dragons were once supposed to be like any other mythological animal: occasionally helpful and protective, occasionally malevolent and terrible. Feel confident wearing one of our Dragon Necklaces 

Dragon's origin

When information about the legendary monsters from antiquity was made public, researchers have worked to determine where the stories of dragons really came from. There is evidence to imply that possibly the belief in dragons was founded on something actual, even if it is highly likely that dragons in the form that is currently popular never existed. Several people have suggested dinosaurs as the solution.

It is well known that ancient civilizations like the Greeks and the Chinese discovered fossilized remnants of enormous monsters that they were unable to easily identify. It is probable that the belief in dragons was developed in the remains of actual animals as such fossils have been believed responsible for the formation of other mythological creatures.

Some go one step farther and assert that dragons are truly a long-forgotten recollection of genuine dinosaurs passed down via human ancestors. This idea explains why dragons are prevalent in almost all cultures and why they resemble dinosaurs more than any other species. [2] Nevertheless, conventional academics ignore such views because they violate the generally accepted timeline of Earth's history, which places a 65 million year gap between humans and dinosaurs. It is more probable that ignorance of nature, specific fossils, a deeper belief in the supernatural, and maybe even a generalized dread of snakes and reptiles all contributed to the development of the concept of the dragon.

Greek literature has some of the first accounts of dragons in the west. When the "father of history," Herodotus, visited Judea in 450 B.C.E., he recorded hearing about dragons, which he characterized as little, flying reptile-like animals. Also, he noted that he had seen the remains of a large dragon beast. Herodotus was not the first to mention dragons in Greek mythology. Many stories about snakes or dragons have a serpent or dragon guarding a valuable item.

According to legend, the first Pelasgian monarchs of Athens were snakes and humans. In accordance with Athena's instructions, Cadmus killed the water-dragon guardian of the Castalian Spring. He then planted the dragon's teeth in the ground, and the resulting Spartes, race of fiercely armed men helped Cadmus construct the citadel of Thebes while also serving as the forefathers of the city's most aristocratic families. The Golden Apples of the Sun of the Hesperides were under the dragon Ladon's protection. The Golden Fleece was guarded by a second serpentine dragon, keeping Jason and the Argonauts from stealing it. Before Apollo captured the Delphic Oracle and wrapped the two serpents around his winged caduceus, which he subsequently delivered to Hermes, Pythia and Python, a pair of serpents, guarded the temple of Gaia and the priestess of the oracle. As Greek culture had such a significant impact on European culture, although these tales are not the first to depict dragon-like creatures, they may serve as a marker for when dragons started to gain popularity in Western beliefs.

Dragons were frequently used as symbols in medieval iconography for apostasy and treason, as well as for rage and jealously, and finally they came to represent terrible tragedy. A number of heads represented heresy as well as decadence and persecution. They also functioned as representations of power, determination, and leadership. Slaying a dragon not only allowed access to its treasure trove but also signified the hero's victory over the most clever of all creatures. Dragons are frequently used as symbols for knowledge. Because the dragon embodies the unification of Heaven and Earth by uniting the snake form, Joseph Campbell saw it as a sign of divinity or transcendence in The Power of Myth.
Dragon in Asian Culture

The mythical dragons of East Asia possess amazing abilities. They move the seasons, breathe clouds, and regulate the levels of rivers, lakes, and oceans. They stand in opposition to yin, the feminine principle of chill, darkness, and repose, and are associated with yang, the masculine principle of heat, light, and action. For more than 4,000 years, dragons have been a component of East Asian civilization. They are revered as sources of power and rainmakers in the religious systems of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

Dragon in China

In the hierarchy of Chinese animals, the Chinese dragon is at the top. Although its progenitors may be discovered on Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial vessels, its exact origins are unknown. Several well-known tales center on the dragon-rearing process. The Zuo zhuan, which was likely written around the Warring States era, tells the story of Dongfu, a descendant of Yangshu'an, who adored dragons and was skilled at taming and rearing them because he could comprehend a dragon's desire. The family name Huanlong, which means "dragon-raiser," was given to him by Emperor Shun, for whom he served. In accordance with another legend, Kong Jia, the fourteenth emperor of the Xia dynasty, was gifted a male and a female dragon as a token of his devotion to the god of heaven. Unable to train them, however, he recruited Liulei, a dragon trainer who had studied under Huanlong. When the female dragon unintentionally passed away one day, Liulei quietly killed her, fried her flesh, and gave it to the king. The monarch was so enamored with the dish that he insisted on having it again. Liulei left the palace as he had no way of obtaining additional dragon flesh.

Dragon in Korea

The Korean dragon resembles other East Asian dragons like the Chinese and Japanese dragons in many respects. It evolved a longer beard as compared to the Chinese dragon. Seldom is a dragon seen holding an orb known as the Yeouiju, the Korean name for the fabled Cintamani, in its teeth or claws. It was thought that only four-toed dragons, as opposed to the inferior three-toed dragons, were both smart and strong enough to wield these spheres, and that those who did so were gifted with the powers of omnipotence and creation at will. In Korea, like in China, the number nine is significant and lucky, and it is believed that dragons have 81 scales on their backs, which symbolize the yang energy. As a result, it is believed that many Korean dragons lived in rivers, lakes, seas, or even deep mountain ponds. Also, in Korean legend, it is customary for people to go to underwater worlds, particularly the underwater palace of the Dragon King.

Dragon in Japan

Japanese dragon myths amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China. Like some other dragons, most Japanese dragons are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. Gould writes (1896:248),[80] the Japanese dragon is "invariably figured as possessing three claws". A story about the samurai Minamoto no Mitsunaka tells that, while he was hunting in his own territory of Settsu, he dreamt under a tree and had a dream in which a beautiful woman appeared to him and begged him to save her land from a giant serpent which was defiling it. Mitsunaka agreed to help and the maiden gave him a magnificent horse. The seahorse was standing in front of him as he opened his eyes. He took it to the Sumiyoshi shrine and spent eight days in prayer there. The serpent was then faced by him, and an arrow was used to kill it.
Dragon in Norse mythology

In Germanic and Norse mythology, dragons were frequently represented as "Lindworms," a spinoff of the serpentine wyverns. They often appeared as enormous snake-like animals rather than classic dragons, perhaps with wings and legs. The predation of cattle and other animals was frequently attributed to the lindworms, which were thought to be malevolent and a terrible omen. They were exceptionally hungry monsters that frequently resided in deep caverns while keeping vast quantities of gold. The most famous examples of this are the legends of Jormugand, a man who ate so much that he grew to be proportionate to the length of the Earth, and Fafnir, a man who killed his own father to inherit his wealth and transformed into a dragon to protect his treasure. In many Germanic and Norse stories, lindworms are actually people whose own greed have led to their transformation into a creature that resembles their sins.

Dragon in British Mythology

In British folklore, dragons have long been prevalent. The majority of the time, dragons resembled the wyverns of central Europe, but there were also enormous flying fire dragons. Maybe the most well-known dragon in England is the one killed by Saint George, the nation's patron saint.

There are now two separate species of dragon in the British Isles. The Welsh flag has two dragons: a Red dragon and a White dragon, which represent Wales and England respectively. An old legend from Britain describes a battle between a white dragon and a red dragon, with the red dragon coming out on top. The white dragon is said to be a reference to the Saxons, or today's English, who invaded southern Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries. The red dragon is associated with the ancient Britons, who are currently represented by the Welsh. Others have hypothesized that it comes from the Arthurian Legend, when Merlin saw a fight between the white dragon, who symbolized the Saxon invaders, and the red dragon, who represented Vortigern. The fable in question is also mentioned in the Llud and Llevelys tale found in the Mabinogion.

How do dragons breathe fire?

Dragons are omnivores, which means they consume both plants and animals, hence they have two different types of teeth. For eating meat, they have sharp teeth, while for eating vegetables, they have flat teeth. While it seems weird, some authors of dragon stories believe that dragons might crush pebbles with their flat teeth for digesting purposes. Other animals, such as birds, also accomplish this.

Due to birds' two distinct stomachs, grinding rocks can aid in digestion. One stomach breaks down food with acid, much like the human stomach does. The other breaks down tough food items like seeds or bones by grinding them against the rocks. Dragons may digest food similarly to birds, therefore when a dragon grinds up pebbles, a residue would be left on its teeth. In the case of metal-rich rocks, this metallic residue would combine with the air's oxygen as well as the gases produced during digestion to ignite.

Different types of dragons

There are lots of different types of dragons, each resembling different animals. Read below to find out some different types of dragons.


Water serpents called hydra dragons have several heads. If one of their heads is removed, they can develop another one. Hydra dragons may have numerous tails, limbs, or wings as well.


Wyverns are very vicious dragons that have a dragon's head, bat-like wings, and a serpentine tail with an arrowhead or diamond-shaped tip. They may have lizard-like legs or feathery legs.


The name "drake dragon" comes from the Medieval English word "drake," which meant "dragon". These dragons have four legs, large bodies, and hang low to the ground like lizards.

Anthropomorphic dragons resemble humans and occasionally even have fingers and toes. They have shorter forearms and three legs. They can converse and are quite bright.

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