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Monsters and Fantastic Creatures: the Dragon

dragoonHave you ever heard talk of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster?
Have you ever read the story of Saint George, of the princess of the dragon?
The dragon was always an imaginary creature present in the fantasies of man.
The name dragon comes from the Greek drákōn, of the verb dérkomai that means “to fasten the glance” and is present in diverse Greek myths, like that of the dragon Ladone, father of Hesperides, slain by Hercules and then became the constellation of the Dragon, or in the fable of Fedro, where for the first time emerged as the guardian of the treasure hoard.
During the Medieval Ages they found detailed descriptions of dragons at the center of Bestiary: in them they read that these monsters usually live in remote territories and are difficult to pass, fortunately they rarely go out and with their roars succeed in scaring away any type of animal, even the most ferocious. In Chinese mythology the dragon is a wise creature, generally in the West it has negative connotations, it is a symbol of struggle and even Sin and is not part of the legends of saints that confronted these horrible creatures: Saint George, Saint Mark of Paris and Saint Sylvester or Saint Gregory of Rome are only some of the most well-known. The legend of Saint George is one of the subjects most loved from the artists of their time: who, in fact, don’t know the great painters of Paolo Uccello in which Saint George accomplishes the act of blinding the Dragon or in Raphael’s interpretation of the same event? Even a city like Genoa associated just that name of the Saint in the past, many of their cults were diffused. There are various types of dragons but traditional appearance of the dragon is well-known everywhere: it is described as a big reptile, similar to a dinosaur or an enormous crocodile, with wings of a bat. It can come in various colors: from black to green, from grey to brown, but also red, blue or violet. In China, instead, its body was structured from diverse animal parts: the snout of a crocodile, the body of a serpent, the mane and the claws of a lion, and the horn of a deer.
On the internet it is possible to find diverse sites relating to these strange and marvelous creatures, but also on many videos and blogs. A rather spectacular video is here, while here we are able to make a proposition of one illustrator and writer that edited a particular book relative to dragons. Recently it was even rumored to be a dragon in New York, often protagonists of films, like this that narrates the story of sweet-love and a little untraditional view of the good dragon.
This article has been translated into English by Eva and Nicole, students from Bard College. The original article is in Italian.

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