Who doesn’t like dragons? They’re by far the most popular mythical creature ever dreamed up, with a rich historical background that have convinced many people that they may have even once been real – or at least something like dragons.
The first recorded mention of a “dragon” is taken from the Iliad. Agamemnon is described as having a blue dragon symbol on his sword belt and a three-headed dragon on is breastplate. Although, to be fair, the Greek word used to dragon, δράκων drákōn, could also mean “snake”. This would also explain why so many depictions of dragons are more serpent-like in nature than how modern dragons are depicted. They often are depicted with long snake-like bodies and no wings, despite still often being able to fly according to legend.
Around the same time, East Asian countries were also developing similar draconian myths. It’s unclear as to whether or not the myths originated separately from one another, but they were certainly both later influenced by each other’s ideas, creating a standardized idea of what a dragon is/was.
While most people and cultures readily believe dragons have always been mythological, there are some who think they actually existed at one point in time. Claudius Aelianus, a Roman-born author wrote in his book De Natura Animalium (which roughly translates into On the Nature of Animals) that there was a species of dragon in Ethiopia who hunted elephants.
There are a lot of animals that are thought to have inspired the mythical depictions and creation of dragons. Spitting cobras are thought to have inspired the myth of fire-breathing dragons, while Nile crocodiles are often credited with the creation of water dragon myths.
Whatever the case may be, dragons are very much a part of popular culture nowadays. They’re a staple creature in stories based in high fantasy and can be seen in various forms of media, from Japanese anime like Dragonball Z to popular modern television series like Game of Thrones.
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