Mythical creatures and beasts fascinate us so much that they’re the subject of stories, folklore, theatre shows, cartoons, movies and more. Dragons are one of the most popularised mythical beasts, well-known for their tower guarding skills and ferocious fire-breathing talents. But where did the earliest dragon myths originate? Let’s find out more.
Dragons in English Mythology
Dragons have been a staple of English mythology for centuries, with English folklore often portraying heroic knights slaying the dragon and rescuing a damsel in distress from a castle. In the Medieval period, information spread through word of mouth and written chronicles, and people living at this time spread rumours about dragon sightings - each more elaborate than the last. Interestingly, the mythical beast known as the dragon wasn’t always seen as a fire-breathing monster with huge wings. English myths portrayed them as crawling creatures that would terrorise neighbourhoods. They didn’t have wings and lived in caves or marshes.
Dragons in Egyptian Mythology
Early dragon myths from Egypt included the story of Apopis or Apep. This giant serpent was the Egyptian deity of chaos and the foe of the sun god, Ra. This creature had many titles including Enemy of Ra, Serpent from the Nile and Evil Dragon. Although many serpents symbolised divinity and royalty, Apopis was a symbol of evil measuring 16-feet long and boasting a head made of flint. According to legend, Ra and Apopis would meet during the sun god’s journey through the sky every night and engage in a ferocious battle. The sun rising the next morning represented Ra’s victory, but the following night revealed that Apep was not dead and could not be defeated.
Dragons in Chinese Mythology
Dragons are a huge part of Chinese culture. But one of the earliest and most famous dragons from this part of the world has to be Quilong - also known as the Chinese horned dragon. In Chinese mythology, this creature was thin like a serpent but had antlers of a stag, claws of an eagle, ears of a cow and a horse’s tail. Its powers consisted of divinity, water, weather and wealth. Many also owned a giant pearl which was claimed to be the source of their immortality and strength. Quilongs were associated with imperial Chinese rulers and were often found on items belonging to royalty. In Chinese folklore, there are also hundreds of stories about kings boasting the power of a dragon.
Dragons are possibly the oldest myth to ever exist and each and every dragon story is different in some way. Their physical features, powers and history have adapted over the years, making them an extremely intriguing topic of conversation.
If you love anything to do with this celebrated mythical beast, don’t miss Dragons & Mythical Beasts live on stage. This show is suitable for children aged three and above, so why not enjoy a fun day out with the whole family? Expect fantastic puppetry, magical scenery and plenty of interaction.