Dragons, Serpents, and Slayers in the Classical and Early Christian Worlds: A Sourcebook

Paperback | June 3, 2013

byDaniel Ogden

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Stories about dragons, serpents, and their slayers make up a rich and varied tradition within ancient mythology and folklore. In this sourcebook, Daniel Ogden presents a comprehensive and easily accessible collection of dragon myths from Greek, Roman, and early Christian sources. Some of thedragons featured are well known: the Hydra, slain by Heracles; the Dragon of Colchis, the guardian of the golden fleece overcome by Jason and Medea; and the great sea-serpent from which Perseus rescues Andromeda. But the less well known dragons are often equally enthralling, like the Dragon ofThespiae, which Menestratus slays by feeding himself to it in armor covered in fish-hooks, or the lamias of Libya, who entice young men into their striking-range by wiggling their tails, shaped like beautiful women, at them. The texts are arranged in such a way as to allow readers to witness the continuity of and evolution in dragon stories between the Classical and Christian worlds, and to understand the genesis of saintly dragon-slaying stories of the sort now characteristically associated with St George, whoseearliest dragon-fight concludes the volume. All texts, a considerable number of which have not previously been available in English, are offered in new translations and accompanied by lucid commentaries that place the source-passages into their mythical, folkloric, literary, and cultural contexts. Asampling of the ancient iconography of dragons and an appendix on dragon slaying myths from the ancient Near East and India, particularly those with a bearing upon the Greco-Roman material, are also included. This volume promises to be the most authoritative sourcebook on this perenniallyfascinating and influential body of ancient myth.

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Stories about dragons, serpents, and their slayers make up a rich and varied tradition within ancient mythology and folklore. In this sourcebook, Daniel Ogden presents a comprehensive and easily accessible collection of dragon myths from Greek, Roman, and early Christian sources. Some of thedragons featured are well known: the Hydra, s...

Daniel Ogden is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Exeter, UK and Research Fellow in UNISA (University of South Africa). He is the author of numerous books on the ancient world, including another sourcebook, Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds (2nd ed., OUP USA, 2009) and the authoritative treatmen...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.68 inPublished:June 3, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199925119

ISBN - 13:9780199925117

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Table of Contents

DedicationAcknowledgementsList of FeaturesAbbreviationsQuick Key to Some Special Terms and Conventions Used in this BookIntroductionSchema of motifsPART ONE: THE CLASSICAL DRAGON1. The Genealogy of the Great Dragons2. Typhon, Slain by Zeus3. Python, Slain by Apollo4. Heracles' Dragons (i): Baby Heracles and the Dragon-pair Sent by Hera5. Heracles' Dragons (ii): the Hydra6. Heracles' Dragons (iii): Ladon, the Dragon of the Hesperides7. Heracles' Dragons (iv): Cerberus, the Hound of Hades8. The Chimaera, Slain by Bellerophon9. Medusa, Slain by Perseus10. Lamia, Slain by Eurybatus and Others11. The Dragon of Ares, Slain by Cadmus12. The Dragon of Nemea, Slain by the Seven against Thebes13. The Dragon of Colchis, Slain or Put to Sleep by Jason and Medea14. The Dragon-pair Sent against Laocoon and his Sons15. The Dragon of the River Bagrada, Slain by Regulus and his Army16. Some Unique Dragon-slaying and Dragon-averting Narratives in Later Greek Sources17. The Sea-monster of Troy, Slain by Heracles18. The Sea-Serpent of Ethiopia, Slain by Perseus19. Scylla, Slain by Heracles and Encountered by OdysseusPART TWO: THE CHRISTIAN DRAGON20. The Serpents of the Bible and its Apocrypha21. The Dragons of the Early Hagiographical Tradition22. St Philip, the Echidna and the Ophianoi23. St Silvester and the Dragon of Rome24. Saintly Tales Originating between the Fourth and Sixth Centuries AD25. Saintly Tales of the Central Medieval Period26. St Patrick and St GeorgeAppendices:Appendix A: World-foundational Dragon-slaying Tales from the Ancient Near East and IndiaAppendix B: Germanic Dragon fights of the eighth to thirteenth centuries ADAppendix C: A Selection of Dragon- and Serpent-slaying Tales of Folkloric InterestList of Editions UsedReferencesSource IndexGeneral Index