Where Do Dragons of the Ancient World Come from?

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,325
I would beg to differ. All cultures seem to have verious dragon legends, even in Precolombian America., there is the legend of the fethers serpemt or Quetzacoatl, which is neither European nor Asian.

In Africa, there are various legends such as the Apap serpent of Ancient Egypt or the legend of Bida of the Western Sudan.
They do, but these all have specific traits and aren't necessarily the same. They become 'dragons' because we invented that generic term and anything we discover in foreign cultures that comes close is translated as such.

Traditionally western dragons are iron age monsters, myhtical beasts, ferocious adversaries and creatures that heroes can measure themselves against in time honoured fashion. Oriental dragons are not physical but represent manifestations of supernatuiral power.

The idea of flowing water is interesting but not generically valid, because in the case of the Romans, rivers were usually thought to be the abode of local gods and therefore crossing one was trespassing on their territory - thus note the anger of a god when he (or she) sweeps away those who intrude. The idea of a dragon had not occured to them and was imported from celtic traditions - we see serpentine motifs used in standards during the late empire.
 
Aug 2010
17,765
Central Macedonia
I would beg to differ. All cultures seem to have verious dragon legends, even in Precolombian America., there is the legend of the fethers serpemt or Quetzacoatl, which is neither European nor Asian.

In Africa, there are various legends such as the Apap serpent of Ancient Egypt or the legend of Bida of the Western Sudan.

Wait a second. What you do now is call all scary creatures "dragons". Not all serpents are dragons....
 
Mar 2012
1,039
New Hampshire
I would beg to differ. All cultures seem to have verious dragon legends, even in Precolombian America., there is the legend of the fethers serpemt or Quetzacoatl, which is neither European nor Asian.

In Africa, there are various legends such as the Apap serpent of Ancient Egypt or the legend of Bida of the Western Sudan.
Native-Americans have no legends of dragons. They had legends about giant serpents, feathered in the tales of Mesoamerica, horned and evil in North America. These are not dragons. As others said, dragon is simply an English word used to describe these creatures of myth, rather poorly given that horned/feathered serpent is both more descriptive and more accurate. And the African "dragons" are also serpents. A dragon in the original tales was something other than a giant serpent.

On a side note, I've actually ran into people who believe dragons were real because they made this false assumption that all cultures had stories of dragons. Mildly amusing and deeply worrying, to be sure.
 
Feb 2010
598
Alabama
Native-Americans have no legends of dragons. They had legends about giant serpents, feathered in the tales of Mesoamerica, horned and evil in North America. These are not dragons. As others said, dragon is simply an English word used to describe these creatures of myth, rather poorly given that horned/feathered serpent is both more descriptive and more accurate. And the African "dragons" are also serpents. A dragon in the original tales was something other than a giant serpent.

On a side note, I've actually ran into people who believe dragons were real because they made this false assumption that all cultures had stories of dragons. Mildly amusing and deeply worrying, to be sure.
There was at least at one point "dragons" in North America that were known to Native-Americans. The Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah has a depiction of an Apatosaures along with a man. Dinosaurs would definitly qualify as dragons. Even the 3 mentioned in the Bible. Halfway down this article.
Apologetics Press - Physical Evidence for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans [Part I]
 

Vintersorg

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,938
Belgium
There was at least at one point "dragons" in North America that were known to Native-Americans. The Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah has a depiction of an Apatosaures along with a man. Dinosaurs would definitly qualify as dragons. Even the 3 mentioned in the Bible. Halfway down this article.
Apologetics Press - Physical Evidence for the Coexistence of Dinosaurs and Humans [Part I]
Let's take a look what the smithsonian has to say about the "Angkor Stegosaurus".
Yes, you read that right...it's probably a rhinoceros...
Alson the Apatosaurus at Natural Bridges...you know what I'm going to say.

People see what they want to see. There is no credible proof of mankind coexisting with dinosaurs.
As I said before, dinosaur skeletons may have influenced legends of dragons.
 
Feb 2012
900
Iudaea
As already mentioned here, I believe the folklore of dragons exists thanks to ancient discoveries of dinosaur skeletons, when mines were dug in China, Europe and other regions.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,325
That would be true of the physical monstrous dragon myths. The forces of nature were responsible for others. As I already mentioned, 'dragon' is a generic term which the western world has applied to amything exotic, serpentlike, and powerful. There is no similarity between the beast slain by George at Uffington, Wiltshire, and the unseen presence in the landscape of oriental realms, other than the imagined form in visual terms.