Dragons - Imaginary And Real

Ξ December 9th, 2007 | → | ∇ Mysteries |

Chinese Art Store Wall Scroll Paintings
 
   I have always had a fascination about dragons. I guess this is why I started to collect a few figurines. The dragon is a mythical creature typically depicted as a gigantic and powerful serpent or other reptile with magical or spiritual qualities.
    As I researched my dragons I found that there are "dragons" that could be from the mythical creatures that have been in our history for thousands of years.
   I found a number of lizards and amphibians that might have inspired dragon legends and proudly still bear the name "dragon":
Basilisk Lizards
Bearded Dragons
Frilled Dragons
Komodo Dragons
Australian Water Dragons
Chinese Water Dragons
Salamanders.
   There have also been many alleged sightings through the years of other dragon-like creatures which have yet to be confirmad or diproved by the herpetologists.
   My favorite of these "real dragons" is the Komodo Dragon lizard: it does not take much of imagination to turn them into real dragons. Read on, I will elaborate on them below.
I for one simply can not believe that dragons never existed. The fact they were all mythical creatures only made up by crazy humans or story tellers does not make sense to me.

   In the early days dragons were blamed for  natural hazards and other unexplainable phenomena. There are many instances in the historical documents of the past and many of the old legends are now forgotten.   I love reading the stories, watching the movies and researching these creatures. I love reading the Bible and on many occasions I have found passages and psalms that contain the word dragon. Does this mean there really were dragons in the time of Jesus?
   I am sure there are people who would question the fact about dragons and the Bible, so I have found some at various parts of the Bible.

Psalm 74:13 "Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Psalm 148:7  "Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons and all deeps."
Isaiah 43:20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
Jeremiah 49:33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.
Malachi 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
Job 30:29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
Psalm 44:19 Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
   The word dragon referring to those legendary monsters is only the secondary meaning of the Greek Drako.

   The first meaning is also preserved via Provençal (Old French) in present-day English: it is a male "first" name characterizing a person guarding fiercely and relentlessly something by supervising what he protects, i.e. relying first of all on his vision and revenges any violation, wrongdoing via horrible, "draconian measures".
   In legends to those mythical monsters divine attributes were attached, this is why this whole dragon tales issue titillating the fantasies of many people up to today is a somewhat suspiciously pagan, deplorable indulgece in the eyes of Christian churches.

   Notice that in the Bible quotes above dragons are almost synonymous with the Devil Himself, the basis on which the greatness of The Almighty Lord is resting.
(Just in case: The Devil is not Almighty, because albeit he can do almost everything The Almighty Lord can do but there is a sole distinction. The Devil cannot create Life… )
   This is why it was a strategically important Eccesiatical policy matter in biblical times to engrave a negative, fearsome, threatening image and replace those not infrequently very positive dragon images and
myths in the minds of the early Christians. With what success that is up to you …      If you insist on it that there must have been dragons then despair not, there was and still is factual nucleus in those dragon stories.
   Notice that dragons by-and-large are depicted as serpents, more often lizard-like but not infrequently as snakes. In biblical times ancestors of the present day giant smakes of the family Boideae (genera Boa, Python and, Anaconda refer) and large monitor lizards belonging in the family of  Varanidae did live in the biblical lands as well and were fearsome for at least two-three reasons.
   Snakes cannot move their eyes and humans feel uncomfortbly if they are stared at, because in our meta-communication and body language widely open and motionless eyes mean threat and foretell immediate aggression, fighting.
    The other factor is the unbelievable strength of  large snakes. They are pretty harmless for adult humans in nature if left alone but it may happen that the snake feels itself in danger and tries to protect itself from a human getting in direct physical contact with it, even accidentally.
   And a say only 3-4 yards long, i.e. about half-grown specimen in terms of sher muscle power already is more than a match even for a heavyweight, experienced professional  wrestler or fister, if the snake has a fix object to cling to with say one-third of its total length or can coil at least one arm or leg, bring a human down to the ground or a sort of tie it to a tree branch, tree trunk or solid rock.
  These large snakes are not poisonous, nevertheless, they can bite like a dog can and as that is the case with other snakes as well their teeth are bent inwards, i.e. the snake may be simply unable to release whatewer it is munching.
   There’s one anatomical specialty of snakes, which has to be experienced personally to understand and realize in full how bewildering that can be to someone, who has to wrestle even with a relatively small and not that powerful snake.
   Snakes move via moving their cervicals and ribs, somewhat similarly to how millipeds are moving. This result in a tactile sensation suggesting that the snake is moving within, inside its skin. Consequently, grasping it firmly with human hands may prove to be patently impossible, if the snake is large and powerful enough. The anatomical basis and kinematology of the movement of snakes became realized and understood in the XIXth Century, i.e. very recently. Visualizing something, which has legs like lizards including larg monitor Lizards, which can indeed be agressive towards humans without any provocation and did live in the biblical lands in biblical times is much easier.

   The large Monitor Lizard known also as Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) surviving on Komoro, Flores and Rinca islands of the Lesser Sunda Archipelago  is a sort of living fossil.  It was discovered in remote habitats as recently as 1910.
   The largest, reliably documented and measured specimen was 3.13 metres (10 feet 3 inches) long and weighed 166 kilograms (365 pounds), including undigested food. Such a large, active predator lizard may indeed be dangerous for humans or other mammals like goats and other, similar size animals are. For example as recently as 4th June, 2007 on Komoro island a large lizard attacked and mauled an eight years old boy so badly that the boy died due to massive blood losses he suffered. Small  wonder that similar, large and not really friendly lizards, which did live before or even during the early biblical era in biblical lands were exterminated and became extinct for good.
   Finally, do you know why those in fact large snake "dragons" of biblical times became extinct? Because they were our competitors preying on the same kind of smaller animals (birds, rabbits, etc.) humans also did and do hunt up to today. On the top of all that, snake meat is a delicious food, somewhat similar to the highly-prized turtle meat, lobster and other seafood delicacies are. Consequenly, for example in West Africa snake meat on weight/weight basis is more expensive from fifty to one hundred percent than beef, pork or goat meat are. yes, you guessed right, there’s a financial incentive to kill any snake, as long as there is protein shortage in many areas of the Third World and there will be customers willing to pay for the carcasses of snakes and any kind of "edible" animals.
   Bottom line: we humans, the most widespread, terminal predators of the food chain on this planet were the animals who exterminated often by literally eating up those dragons in many of their former natural habitats.
   Thus, "dragons" became extinct or are on the very verge of extinction but what is invariant in this very, very long human-"dragon" relationship that is human nature. Kill all your competitors, anything, which scares/bothers/puzzles you, eat it up if you can, that’s all, period.
   Oh yes, least I forget, capitalize on dragon stories and all sorts of  "dragon collectibles" because after all we are humans, aren’t we?!

 

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