ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mythical Creatures - Dragon (Western)

Updated on May 10, 2014

Note: This is an extremely basic article (I'm only covering Western dragons). Dragons are very complex and come in hundreds of different types. If you want me to write more in depth about any dragon breed, let me know in the comments :)

Western Dragon

When you think of a dragon, chances are that you think of a Western Dragon. Also called European or Medieval dragons, they were generally considered to be brutal, greedy, and cruel. They were often portrayed battling knights or laying on heaps of treasure.




The typical dragon fought with fire, their claws, and sometimes even their tails. They commonly had a body like a huge red lizard with bat wings, and they breathed fire. Their most commonly used weapon was fire, and many images showed them soaring over a village, eradicating it with its fire.


Humans had very few weapons against dragons. Many stories about dragon fights include a brave knight stabbing a dragon with his sword, but this would have been somewhat unrealistic. It's more likely that they would have been fought with ranged weapons such as spears, bows, and nets. The nets would be most effective when the dragon was in the air, because its wings would have become tangled in it, causing it to fall to the earth.

Types of Dragons

As with phoenixes, different regions of Europe had different dragons. Some examples include modern (fire-breathing), Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Iberian, and Italian.

Smaug | Source


This is the most basic form of dragon. It is a winged, huge, red, fire-breathing lizard that commonly appears in media today. It commonly sets up its underground lair near a village to raid for sheep and treasure. One example of it in media today is Smaug from the Hobbit.

Níðhöggr | Source

Germanic Europe

Unlike dragons from many other regions, there are several species in Germanic Europe and all of them have names. These are a few of the most famous ones:

(Credit for the above list goes to Wikipedia)

The Welsh flag
The Welsh flag | Source

Celtic Europe

The red dragon is most commonly associated with Wales, possibly due to the Arthurian legend where Myrddin has a vision of the red dragon. Because of this, the legendary house of Pendragon and Celtic Britain have become associated with the Welsh dragon standard because of this.

3-Headed Dragon
3-Headed Dragon | Source

Slavic Europe

Slavic dragons have very different attitudes towards human In many legends, they represent brother and sister. While the sister represents violent weather and hates mankind, and she is in a violent battle with her brother, who is trying to protect the humans and their crops. The female is often taken to represent water, while the male has a firey personality. Dragons are portrayed as 3-headed, evil winged creatures with snake's bodies.


Iberian Peninsula

The Culebre is a giant winged serpent that typically lives in a cave and guards its treasure, and keeps xanas (nymph-like beings). They are immortal, but still subject to aging. One legend talks about a Pena Irel mountain that could mesmerize people with its glance, so a young man used a shiny shield to reflect its glance back onto itself. When the dragon mesmerized itself, he could kill it easily.

St. Georgea and the dragon
St. Georgea and the dragon | Source


Many Italian legends, such as the one about Saint George, involve saints slaying dragons. Saints like Saint Mercurialis supposedly killed dragons, so they are most often portrayed slaying them. 'The Golden Legend' tells the story of Saint Margaret the Virgin, who was swallowed by Satan in the form of a dragon and escaped when the cross that she was wearing irritated the dragon's innards. This is another example that was very similar to the many legends about Popes and other saints slaying and driving dragons away from their towns.

Dragons are extremely complex creatures. They come in many different forms and there are legends about them all over the world, from China to the Aztecs. Because of this I was only able to cover one group of dragons. Which dragon or group of dragons would you like me to cover next?

Which dragon should I cover next?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LastRaven profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Thanks for your comment! I've done some more research about the origin of dragons, which you can read here:

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 

      4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Fascinating subject. I have long wondered about the possibility of some truth behind these creatures.

      Tolkein made a big deal out of the fact that dragon's scales were extremely tough material. Others have, too. I'm wondering where this notion comes from.

      Reading the dragon myths of the Eastern Mediterranean yields some possible insights. We have the myths of Cadmus, Cecrops, Medea and Jason, and the Egyptian merchant prince. The details in these myths are consistent with a flying craft with a crew and captain on board. The notion of dragons with wings may well have been added after dragons disappeared. For if a snake were to fly, people who never saw one would suspect it could only fly because of wings -- or, as the Mesoamericans described it, "feathered." The word "dragon" comes from "drakon" which simply means "snake" in Greek -- not feathered or winged.

      What makes this even more interesting is the fact that many of these myths seem to originate in that dark period before history began, between the end of Atlantis and before Egypt's first dynasty. Colchis (where a golden dragon guarded the Golden Fleece) may even be related to the children of Atlantis. The toughness of the scales came to mind when I researched Atlantis and found Plato describing a strange metal called "orichalcum." Some have thought this might be copper, but I suspect it may have been the substance of dragon scales and far tougher. Looking at the properties of copper, I discovered that its melting point is almost exactly the same as that of uranium! Imagine a uranium-copper alloy -- heavy, dense, tough and likely golden in color.

      So, could the real dragon have been a product of prehistoric technology now lost? And could the "fire" of the dragon have been merely a pulsed laser crystal shooting out of its mouth? We may never know for certain.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)