- Feb 2012
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.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.
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.