Most Maddening Historical 'Mysteries'

Mar 2014
6,613
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
The so-called "Dragon of Rhodes" always fascinates me. In 1332, Dieudonné de Gozon, a Hospitaller Knight, against the orders of the Grand Master, stalked and killed a dragon which had been preying on the local cattle and unwary travelers. The story is so well attested that there is no doubt it is a real event. He was known thereafter as The Dragonslayer, and became Grand Master himself in 1346. The head of the dragon was hung on a gate where it could be seen as late as 1847. The only question is, what was it? I'm inclined to believe it was an especially large Nile crocodile, but we will probably never know...
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,745
SoCal
The so-called "Dragon of Rhodes" always fascinates me. In 1332, Dieudonné de Gozon, a Hospitaller Knight, against the orders of the Grand Master, stalked and killed a dragon which had been preying on the local cattle and unwary travelers. The story is so well attested that there is no doubt it is a real event. He was known thereafter as The Dragonslayer, and became Grand Master himself in 1346. The head of the dragon was hung on a gate where it could be seen as late as 1847. The only question is, what was it? I'm inclined to believe it was an especially large Nile crocodile, but we will probably never know...
Do we know exactly when this head disappeared? I mean, photography was already around in 1847.
 
Mar 2014
6,613
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Do we know exactly when this head disappeared? I mean, photography was already around in 1847.
That is the year it was removed. There was a history of the Knights of Rhodes put out that same year and I suspect that the two events are related in some way.

However, Jean de Thevenot left a description of it in the 17th century:

"...larger than that of a horse, with a huge mouth and teeth and very large eyes."

I'd say that fits the super-croc description pretty well. XL Croc.jpeg
 
Likes: Futurist

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,808
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
The so-called "Dragon of Rhodes" always fascinates me. In 1332, Dieudonné de Gozon, a Hospitaller Knight, against the orders of the Grand Master, stalked and killed a dragon which had been preying on the local cattle and unwary travelers. The story is so well attested that there is no doubt it is a real event. He was known thereafter as The Dragonslayer, and became Grand Master himself in 1346. The head of the dragon was hung on a gate where it could be seen as late as 1847. The only question is, what was it? I'm inclined to believe it was an especially large Nile crocodile, but we will probably never know...
By coincidence, William MIller's history of the Empire of Trebizond mentions a letter, written by a bishop to an emperor I think, during the 14th century, that mentions a "dragon" slain by that emperor, and says the bishop was looking at the skull of that "dragon" as he wrote.

Do we know exactly when this head disappeared? I mean, photography was already around in 1847.
But not very common.

That is the year it was removed. There was a history of the Knights of Rhodes put out that same year and I suspect that the two events are related in some way.

However, Jean de Thevenot left a description of it in the 17th century:

"...larger than that of a horse, with a huge mouth and teeth and very large eyes."

I'd say that fits the super-croc description pretty well. View attachment 21287
I believe the photograph is supposed to be a photo of "Krys", the allegedly giant crocodile shot in 1858: Krys Crocodile - Our Planet
 
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MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,808
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
The so-called "Dragon of Rhodes" always fascinates me. In 1332, Dieudonné de Gozon, a Hospitaller Knight, against the orders of the Grand Master, stalked and killed a dragon which had been preying on the local cattle and unwary travelers. The story is so well attested that there is no doubt it is a real event. He was known thereafter as The Dragonslayer, and became Grand Master himself in 1346. The head of the dragon was hung on a gate where it could be seen as late as 1847. The only question is, what was it? I'm inclined to believe it was an especially large Nile crocodile, but we will probably never know...
By coincidence, William MIller's history of the Empire of Trebizond mentions a letter, written by a bishop to an emperor I think, during the 14th century, that mentions a "dragon" slain by that emperor, and says the bishop was looking at the skull of that "dragon" as he wrote.

But not very common.

I believe the photograph is supposed to be a photo of "Krys", the allegedly giant crocodile shot in 1858: Krys Crocodile - Our Planet
This source claims that Emperor Alexios II was said to have killed a dragon in the mountains:

A Forgotten Realm: The Empire of Trebizond

Alexios II lived from 1282 to 1330 and became emperor in 1297. The history by William MIller is Trebizond: the Last Greek Empire of the Byzantine Era 1204-1461 London, 1928.
 
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Oct 2016
1,088
Merryland
The so-called "Dragon of Rhodes" always fascinates me. In 1332, Dieudonné de Gozon, a Hospitaller Knight, against the orders of the Grand Master, stalked and killed a dragon which had been preying on the local cattle and unwary travelers. The story is so well attested that there is no doubt it is a real event. He was known thereafter as The Dragonslayer, and became Grand Master himself in 1346. The head of the dragon was hung on a gate where it could be seen as late as 1847. The only question is, what was it? I'm inclined to believe it was an especially large Nile crocodile, but we will probably never know...
several sources say the skull was identified as a crocodile

in re; lost Jewish treasure, I suspect a fair amount is sitting in safe deposit boxes in Europe, deposited but never to be claimed by German officers and officials.
 
Aug 2015
2,808
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
several sources say the skull was identified as a crocodile

in re; lost Jewish treasure, I suspect a fair amount is sitting in safe deposit boxes in Europe, deposited but never to be claimed by German officers and officials.
A competent zoologist should have v been able to correctly identified a crocodile skull before the skull was last seen in 1847. But of course if the zoologist who identified it as a croc is not named in a source we can't know if he was competent.
 

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