Historic Influence of Dragons On Human Culture
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The dragon has taken many forms and appeared in the myths of many cultures throughout history. This paper will explore the influence of dragons on various cultures throughout history. This examination will demonstrate that the conception of the dragon has varied in different cultures, but continued to evolve into a global image that is offered by the popular mass media, such as books, movies and television. The dragon continues to have a distinct influence on aspects of modern culture, such as Buddhists and Christians. While the dragon once represented the incredible power of nature for many cultures, its transformation in modern times represents man's domination of nature.
The Myth of Dragons
Some historians trace the myth of dragons back to the Uraeon, or winged disk symbol, which existed in the ancient Mexican, Chinese, Persian and Egyptian cultures. In each, it is believed to represent the power of the sun as it moves across the sky, with various other characteristics, such as fertility, also depicted. The symbol of a serpent, which was adapted from the ancient Uraeon, was found on the royal garments of ancient Egyptian and Indian leaders. In this respect, the serpent and dragon were ancient symbols of divine power and royalty. For these ancient cultures, the dragon represented the mysterious powers of the gods that had granted their leaders power and strength, and had the power to destroy them all. The Druids brought this myth of the dragon to ancient Europe, and built many structures in their honor, according to one source.
Eastern Cultures and Dragons
In Eastern cultures, dragons have played an important role since the earliest times. They are typically depicted with a horse's head, a snake's tail, and four claws. The earliest Chinese emperors are traced back to dragons, with teeth, bones and saliva all possessing medicinal qualities. In this respect the dragon is viewed as both valuable to the country's cultural heritage and functional in terms of the well being of the community. There are many types of dragons in Easter lore, including the following:
- Celestial dragons that carry the palaces of the gods
- Terrestrial dragons that determine the courses of streams
- Subterranean dragons that guard treasures, sea dragons and many others.