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Where did dragons come from?

Discussion of topics concerning life in the middle ages around the world, including architecture, history, and warfare.

Re: Where did dragons come from?

Postby andhe » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:59 am

I think there is truth in most myths, it's just figuring out the fact from the distortion. e.g Unicorns. Someone had seen a rhino and tried to explain it to his european friend back home "Err it's kinda of like a horse, but has a horn on his head" (I have a similar story to this where my sister, tried to explain Santa Claus to a foreign friend without them understanding what a reindeer, sleigh, or chimney was... describing it a a fat man who rides a cart with no wheels pulled by horses with horns and put presents through a hole in your roof... and you end up with a pretty scary image!!). Or elephant skulls mistaken for cyclops skulls (the trunk space looks like an eye socket).

There are some pretty convincing images, engravings etc of what we now called dinosaurs (and even recognise from recent archaelogical reconstructions) on ancient murals, pots etc. So I think dragons are probably descriptions of dinosaurs, whether you believe it to be firsthand or from bones or stories passed down is open to opinion and debate.
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Re: Where did dragons come from?

Postby ottoatm » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:45 am

I think that it's because the dragon was a shared figure in old (old old old) stories around the world. I believe that it's likely human beings started from one or two clusters in the world and perhaps the dragon was a shared figure in their stories as they spread out... I know... it's a bit of stretch. :-)

It's been pretty remarkable to me to see the role of dragons here in Asia. They look different and have a much different meaning here in China. The dragon being a symbol of power, luck, etc. etc.

Yet it's struck me how very common the word and concept of "dragon" is all over the world. Europe and China have very little in common and yet DRAGON, of all things, is a shared concept! Even if loosely shared, this is pretty amazing to me.

I really think that there is a lot of ancient history we don't know. A lot more we don't understand fully enough to get a clear picture.

All that said I believe that the Dragon is a shared concept the world round because of story-telling and myth telling. I believe that the reason it's so prevelant is because our long-ago ancestors were probably more in touch with each other around the world than we think. As a result they shared a lot of stories at one time long ago that still have some similarities today. The differences are probably due to time and human changes to these stories.

Just a guess!
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Re: Where did dragons come from?

Postby Ferretclaw » Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:00 am

Ok here comes a really long post:

I think dragons did/do exist. However they could exist in countless different ways. But I think that most likely the dragon was either a large reptile, or a large bird. Maybe even a cross-breed between them, if that is even possible. But hey, they both lay eggs!

European dragons are vividly described as huge lizards that fly and breath fire. Eastern dragons are described as long serpentine beasts with manes and no limbs, but that can still fly. In north america, there was said to be a huge flying "bird" that made thunderous sounds. In south america they had huge flying "beasts" that glowed, and they also had quetzoquatles, which were serpentine with no legs but they had birdlike wings.

Theory 1) So all of them fly. Thats one thing they have in common. They are also always described as very large. So all in all I would say that we have a very large serpent-bird thing. (Almost all of them have feathers somewhere on them in the description) Maybe they were some kind of cousin to the archeopteryx, a dinosaur that is in the process of evolving into a bird, that can fly, but still is partly covered in scales and is very large.

Theory 2) it could be a kind of huge bat that was hunted to extinction. Maybe its bones and skin were useful in medicine or something, so no remains were left.

Theory 3) dragons might be just huge flying reptiles that breath fire, just like the stories say, and have retreated undergroud or underwater due to human enroachment.

Theory 4) Dragons might not fly after all. They could be a kind of huge lizard, like a komodo dragon, with a brightly colored tongue like a skink, which could lead to the belief that they breathed fire. A creature like a komodo, but possibly larger, would be hugely terrifying to mideival peasants, and they would have certainly called in knights like saint George to fight them.

Theory 5) Dragons might be huge snakes, like anacondas, maybe even bigger. A snake thats 5 feet thick at thickest, and 50 feet long? Plus they are predatory and would enjoy munching of serfs and livestock. And like I said for theory 4, a bright colored tongue would still be a possibility.

Theory 6) Perhaps someone hated a lord or something, so they travelled to their kingdom and began speading stories of a huge scaly beast that could breath fire and had a taste for human flesh. Then they let loose a nile crocodile into a village, and everyone is terrified. The crocodile eats as much as he can, and the remaining villagers flee and tell the story. So they go from village to village letting the croc eat villagers, and slowly move towards the lords castle. The lord sents a few knights to dispatch the "dragon" , but the people who hate the lord kill the knights and destroy another village. The lord sends more knights, same thing happens, until the lord sends out all of his knights to dispatch the beast. Now he is unpotected, the men sneak into his castle, and assasinate him. But after that, the story spreads of how the "dragon" destroyed the kingdom, and is branded into peoples hearts by fear. In this case, dragons would actually be crocodiles.

Theory 7) Dragons could be dinosaur- like sea creatures. Some very strange creatures similar to dragon descriptions have been found.

Theory 8 ) Dragons may have been a type of dinosaur, but still a dragon, that died out with the rest of the species.

Theory 9) Dragons could be eagles.

Theory 10) Maybe dinosaurs are related to pterradactyles , but some lived on into midieval times. (Note: rumor has it that people have actually very recently seen pterasaurs alive and well living in remote areas of new guinea.)

I have many, many, more theories about dragons, but the point is that every culture in the world cant have a story about dragons without anything to back it at all. And perhaps no one will really ever know if dragons are real or not, but if you believe they are real, I think they are. And even if they are not real, they will forever be real in the hearts and minds ir countless people.

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Re: Where did dragons come from?

Postby Bluesecrets » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:06 pm

Oh the dreaded necropost...but I have a reason!

On topic, I found a new edition of this book today:

http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Fearsome-Monsters-Myth-Fiction/dp/0545013194/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393282919&sr=1-1&keywords=dragons+fearsome+monsters+from+myth+and+fiction

And I had to have it. The pictures are amazing. The facts are pretty cool. For $9 I figured it was a steal!

Do they exist? I don't know but this book is a fun read.
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Re: Where did dragons come from?

Postby Purple Wolf » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:50 pm

Just finished reading everything and I must say very interesting concepts you people have.

I believe that they were misinterpretations of large lizards but if they could actually fly and were large and you say "then were are the bones?" Well maybe seeing as the beat needed to fly the bones needed to be really light and week bones. So when they died there were never very well preserved so no one could every find remains.

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