Dragons have captured people's imaginations for thousands of years. They are found in literature from around the world, and are part of the legend and lore of many cultures. These creatures have adorned the flags of many nations, including those of Wales and Bhutan to this day.
Dragons will always be a part of human culture. These creatures of mystery will continue to fill the pages of fantasy books and movies for years to come.
Dragons are depicted in many different shapes and sizes. The earliest dragons, such as Tiamat who is found in ancient Chaldean literature, was a giant sea serpent. In western cultures, they are usually depicted as having a pair of wings. They are scaly, and they have a long tail. Dragons often have horns, and their feet have enormous claws or talons like that of an eagle.
In the East, dragons either have very small wings or no wings at all. They have small limbs with claws on the end. Dragons in the East often are not usually viewed as being as ferocious as those in Western cultures.
They have the ability to fly, and are quite maneuverable in the air. Among the dragon's greatest powers is the ability to breathe fire. They are often depicted as being able to fly and breathe fire over a large area laying waste to man, beast and structures. Some have the ability to reduce their size. Others can become invisible.
In many books and films, dragons are able to speak the language of humans.
No one knows for certain when or where these creatures originated. Some believe that people saw dinosaur fossils and believed them to be dragons. Others hold to the theory that very large crocodiles gave rise to them in mythology and lore.
They have been mentioned in various places around the world for centuries and millennia. The ancient Egyptians had a god that resembled a large serpent or dragon. The ancient Greeks also discussed them in their literature. There are dragons mentioned in Chinese literature going back to at least the 4th century BCE.
In some cultures, dragons are associated with all that is evil. In the Christian religion, Satan is referred to as a dragon. Western culture with its Christian influence has tended to regard them as sinister and something that must be destroyed. On the other hand, Eastern cultures have looked on the dragon as a benevolent creature.
Books and Movies
Dragons have been mentioned in many books and movies. In books, they play a prominent role in the books of George R.R. Martin. One of the most infamous of all time is Smaug who appears in the book "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien.
"Eragon" is a more recent book about dragons. Science fiction and fantasy writer Anne McCaffrey has written an entire series of books that feature them, called the Dragonriders of Pern series.
As far as movies are concerned, the dragon in the film version of "The Hobbit" is very well-done. They also appear in a futuristic movie called "Reign of Fire." One of the best depictions of a dragon in the movies is Draco who appears in the film "Dragonheart". Draco is voiced in the movie by Sean Connery.