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Characteristics Of Western Dragons

Updated on March 2, 2012

Celtic Dragon

dragon celtic By baron.raphael
dragon celtic By baron.raphael

Western Dragons

When most people think of a dragon, it is usually the visual of a Western dragon that soars through their mind. This massive reptilian beast boasts two hind legs, two forelegs and a mighty set of bat wings. These dragons have a wedge-shaped head that resembles a crocodile with very elaborate ears or horns on top and the body is very decorated. They also commonly have very long thick tails and visual spines down their backs. Western dragons typically have sharp claws and can have traces of feathers or fur, be a variety of colors but are almost always shiny and have forked or fringed tongues.

Many people think that Western dragons were cruel creatures, known to horde gold and spend their time putting small homes through great amounts of torture. Stories of such dragons have been told throughout the years of being fire-breathers, acid-spitters and occasionally ice-breathers. Their scales were believed to be a reflection of their spitting ability. There have even been stories of river dragons that breathed scalding steam at those who crossed their territory.

Western Dragons

Stories Of Western Dragons

There were cultures that believed that Western dragons were superior beings and if you were fortunate and skilled enough to slay one, they would bring you magical gifts and then there were cultures that just felt pain towards them.  There are those that believe you would have the ability to understand birds if you ate a dragon's heart and those that felt if they rubbed their skin with the blood of a dragon it would protect them from any stab wounds.  Additionally, you would portray the power to win any spoken fight if you ate a dragon's tongue.  All of these beliefs stemmed from the thoughts that these dragons were remarkably intelligent and held not only power but also many secrets.

In the West, these dragons would make their homes either in the mountains or in caves.  The cave-dwelling dragons mainly stayed in the darkest part and their residences were full of water and fire and located very close to towns where they could conveniently find food.  The dragons that lived in the mountains did not necessarily live in caves but they would if there were some available.  The mountains would give them a marvelous vantage point where they could be observed diving off the peak of a mountain vertical till it reached its prey.

Western Dragon

Western By KHL-Omi!-Im even more nervous than i hav bin..
Western By KHL-Omi!-Im even more nervous than i hav bin..

St. George And The Dragon

A popular legend in Europe is that of the dragon and St. George.  There was a pond near a town where a Western dragon lived.  To keep the dragon satisfied, people in the village would feed it maidens and sheep.  The maidens that were dwellers of the village would be forced to draw lots to determine who would be the next sacrifice to the dragon.

A princess name Silene drew the lot one day and her father, the King, offered his silver, gold and half of his kingdom to save his daughter.  The people of the town refused because they were terrified of this haunting creature so the princess was dressed up as a bride and sent to the pond.

St. George heard of this news and rode out to the pond on his horse, fortified with a cross and although the princess tried to persuade him to leave, he refused.  While they were talking, the dragon reared from the water so St. George charged at it, piercing its flesh with his lance.  The princess threw him her girdle and they tied it around the dragon's neck, using it as a leash to lead it back to the town.

St. George told the people of the town if they would all be baptized and convert to Christianity that he would agree to slay the dragon.  15,000 men, women and children, including the King did as they said and St. George slayed the dragon.  A church was built where the dragon was killed that housed water, capable of curing all disease.

How to draw a Western Dragon, step by step

The Dragons Of Beowulf

Beowulf was a hero for a North Germanic tribe known as the Geats.  The famous legend is of the three Western dragons he had to battle, one costing him his life.  The events occurred, beginning in the early 6th century.

Grendel is the first dragon and although descriptions are vague, Beowulf does state that the dragon refused the use of any weapons.  This implies that Grendel would have the capability to hold a weapon.  Grendel is also a descendent of Cain who was a human so some believed that he was a troll and others believed that he transitioned into dragon form because of his greed and evil nature since Cain was already represented by evil.

Grendel's mother was his second battle.  She is always described as venomous and her blood was so toxic that it literally dissolved the sword of Beowulf when he slayed her.  She does draw a dagger at some point so although a dragon, she was believed to somehow be of human resemblance.  Grendel lived in a lake that was filled with various smaller monsters.

Dragon Protecting Its Nest

Dragon By barlborough
Dragon By barlborough

Beowulf’s Final Battle

The Fire-Drake was the last dragon that Beowulf faced.  He was approximately 50 feet long, winged and had the ability to breathe fire.  The dragon found a hidden treasure that he took possession of back to his home.  A slave that had run away finds the treasure and steals a cup.  After the dragon wakes up and becomes aware the cup is missing, he begins a search and finds the slave's footprints.  Once he determines that it was a human that stole it, he seeks revenge on the local area by wrath of his fire.  At this time, Beowulf was the King, so he set out to find the dragon with various nobles at his side.  Note that, the viper bringing justices is a biblical reference and after Beowulf is bitten, he dies from the dragon's venomous poison.  The dragon also comes to his death and is pushed over a sea cliff.  The story of Beowulf is one of the most famous legends of Western dragons known across the world.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago from HighPoint, N.C.

      Very Nice!!! I ask that you see some of my 'hub' pages as well! Check out the page on Scotsman: James Clerk Maxwell!

    • JLaszlo profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Northwest

      DarkMetaly have you checked out my article on Chinese Dragons

    • Darkmetaly profile image

      Daníel Guðmundsson 

      7 years ago from Iceland Höfn í Hornafirði.

      I have an obsession when it comes to mythical creatures especially Dragons and vampires. anyway that was a wonderful hub.

    • jamterrell profile image


      7 years ago

      I love your hub. I really enjoyed to read.


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