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St. George and the Dragon

St. George and the Dragon

The name Dracula is derived from the Order of the Dragon which is linked to the legend of St. George and the Dragon, one of the most iconic tales in Christian literature. The story goes that St. George came across a beautiful princess named Cleodolinda who was about to be sacrificed to appease a fire-breathing Dragon that terrorized her land. But when the Dragon emerged from its lair to claim his sacrifice, St. George made the sign of the cross and charged the beast, wounding it with his lance. He then took a sash from the princess and, placing it around the dragon’s neck, tamed the monster.
St. George and the Dragon

St. George Slaying the Dragon

St George and the princess then led the dragon back with them to Silene in Libya, but it terrified the people of the city. St George then offered to kill the dragon if the inhabitants of the city agreed to be baptized and to become Christians. They agreed to do so. St. George then killed the dragon, cutting off its head with his sword. The king, whose daughter St George had saved, built a church to the Holy Virgin Mary and to Saint George on the very spot where the dragon was killed and a spring flowed from the altar in that church with water that cured all disease.

 

Harnessing the Power of Evil

The dragon as a representation of evil predates the Christian era. Representations are found in the cult of Zalmoxis, the ancient religion of the Dacians, from whom the Romanians are descended. The dual meaning of the name Dracula – dragon and devil – reflects this. The ancient Dacians carried a banner with a dragon head into battle. The idea, as reflected in the story of St. George, is to harness the power of evil for good. This idea also permeated the crusading order founded by Sigismund of Luxemburg in 1408, the Order of the Dragon, into which Vlad II was inducted in February 1431. As a result of his joining this order he and his sons would be known as Dracul or Dracula. Elements of these dragon representations have also recently been popularized by the books and television series Game of Thrones. The feast of St. George is celebrated on April 23rd.

For more on Dracula see Dracula: Essays on the Life and Times of Vlad the Impaler, edited by Kurt W. Treptow available on Amazon and at HistriaBooks.com

 

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