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draconic chronicler

Are legendary "dragons" really dinosaurs?

218 posts in this topic

DemonWatcher,

To answer your last post on the crypto forum, the Hebrew/Christian religious teachings didn't introduce the idea of dragons to the Romans, they were already widely believed in. The famous poet Lucan wrote a poem about flying dragons chasing african herds, Scientists like Pliny the Elder wrote of their habits, suggesting personal observation and there were many representations of them. This man was no crackpot, but the commander of the Roman Fleet based in Naples. These creatures were completely "real" to the Roman world, as surely as any elephant or lion, although unlike these animals, dragons were recognized as servants to their Gods just as in the Judao Christian religions. For example a dragon loyal to Aries guarded the Golden Fleece in a tree, and this fleece granted eternal life, just as the fruit of the tree guarded by a dragon in the Hebrew Eden story, originally a Sumerian story where the dragon's role as its guardian is even clearer. Just as the Jewish God sent dragon servants to punish humans, so did the dragons were sent by Gods to punish humans in Greco-Roman and other cultures. Dragons for example were sent by Athena to devour a priest and his sons who was going to reveal the secret of the Greeks hiding in the Trojan Horse. And of course, the maiden sacrifice to dragon legends stem from angry Greek Gods sending dragons to punish some kingdom in this manner.

This is why the dragons in Judao-Christian theology brought to Rome were readily accepted by them and dragons appear in all of their relgious art. The Romans, being a maritime people, completely understood and depiected whales, sharks and fish in their art, yet always portrayed the creature swallowing Jonah as a dragon, because this is what is was called in the bible before more modern Christians rewrote this scripture and many others concerning dragons, and of course many other subjects. It is very interesting that these dragons depicted in Greco Roman art look very much like the supposed loch ness monster, other sea and lake monsters and long necked dinosaurs. It strongly suggests these peoples all knew these "dragons" as living creatures, unlike most of the "mythological" animals depicted in their art which were impossible combinations of lion or horse bodies with fish tails.

The Greco-Roman dragons are very much like a Pliosaur, but with clawed front feet, and when in water, their wings pressed tightly to their bodies. Were they actually seeing a real marine reptile, which their artistic impressions so uncannily resemble, and just made them fly at times as well? Or if God is real, or some unknown intelligence that deserves a better name, has this entity somehow "improved" existing perhistoric creatures we now call dragons to do his bidding as legends and religious texts all around the world suggest?

Or could the firm belief of dragons as real creatures in the whole ancient world, a world nearly as educated and sophisticated as our own, all be nothing but a worldwide international mass hysteria based just on some alledgedly discovered fossil bones, for which the ancients would have no way of even determining belonged to reptiles, or that these creatures had wings and flew?

To think so, sceptics would have to have more "faith" in the improbable hysteria created by a few bones that spread all over the word turning them all into a near identical creature, than the faith in a "power" above mortal man have which the believers in "religion" have.

Edited by SaRuMaN

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The whole dragon topic is all very interesting, I think its hard to believe that they merely just dreamt up these mythical characters, as they appear in pretty much the same form in cutlures all over the world... and like you say they also have a striking resemblance to certain types of dinosaurs.

I personally think that the dragon/dinosaur did exist at one time and was witnessed by all these cultures.

Its not that hard to believe that science got it wrong and that a select few dinosaurs roamed the earth up until recently, i mean hey there still could be a few species living deep in the undergroath somewhere for all we know.

I also think that the fire breathing dinosaur they tell about could have been true, if you think about it its not THAT amazingly impossible... this reptile could have sacks of a certain flammable gas that it produces, and when angry scraped some type of bone or tooth together in its fore-mouth acting like a flint, breathing out the gas and causing it to literally breathe fire. Nature comes up with some most ingenious defense mechanisms and I personally dont think its totally out of the question that what they talk and draw about was an absolute reality.

Although its more probable that it was a dinosaur and the fire breathing was an extra add on to spice up the stories

Edited by Uversa

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This is the problem, though, with all of this. You are relying entirely on accounts of ancient people, who were certainly not adverse to magical and religious elements and visions - including the most elite public figures. In order to prove that the Romans somehow saw marine reptiles, or dragons of a sort, we need remnants of bones, corpses, and the like. For a similar example, think of the giant squid. Until recently, there were no live sightings of it, but corpses washed up on the sea. The same goes for the giant birds of New Zealand, where although the natives exterminated them, the bones are still available for study to back up the accounts of the natives.

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This is the problem, though, with all of this. You are relying entirely on accounts of ancient people, who were certainly not adverse to magical and religious elements and visions - including the most elite public figures. In order to prove that the Romans somehow saw marine reptiles, or dragons of a sort, we need remnants of bones, corpses, and the like. For a similar example, think of the giant squid. Until recently, there were no live sightings of it, but corpses washed up on the sea. The same goes for the giant birds of New Zealand, where although the natives exterminated them, the bones are still available for study to back up the accounts of the natives.

but whats your point then?

Millions of dinosaur bones have been dug up. including thousands of flying dinosaurs.

The debate in hand is wether they were alive at the time of ancients, and wether they infact were able to breathe fire.

edit - you are right in saying alot of ancient cultures toyed with magical visions and hilucinagenic (sp) drugs, but what are the chances of them seeing creatures who intricately resemble creatures that actually existed (disregarding the fire breathing part for now)

Although for all we know certain types of dinosaurs were able to breathe fire, its scientifically and logically possible as I breifly explained in my post above

Edited by Uversa

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I don't know where you heard God sends dragons down to punish people?

Edited by Richdog

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DemonWatcher,

To answer your last post on the crypto forum, the Hebrew/Christian religious teachings didn't introduce the idea of dragons to the Romans, they were already widely believed in. The famous poet Lucan wrote a poem about flying dragons chasing african herds, Scientists like Pliny the Elder wrote of their habits, suggesting personal observation and there were many representations of them. This man was no crackpot, but the commander of the Roman Fleet based in Naples. These creatures were completely "real" to the Roman world, as surely as any elephant or lion, although unlike these animals, dragons were recognized as servants to their Gods just as in the Judao Christian religions. For example a dragon loyal to Aries guarded the Golden Fleece in a tree, and this fleece granted eternal life, just as the fruit of the tree guarded by a dragon in the Hebrew Eden story, originally a Sumerian story where the dragon's role as its guardian is even clearer. Just as the Jewish God sent dragon servants to punish humans, so did the dragons were sent by Gods to punish humans in Greco-Roman and other cultures. Dragons for example were sent by Athena to devour a priest and his sons who was going to reveal the secret of the Greeks hiding in the Trojan Horse. And of course, the maiden sacrifice to dragon legends stem from angry Greek Gods sending dragons to punish some kingdom in this manner.

This is why the dragons in Judao-Christian theology brought to Rome were readily accepted by them and dragons appear in all of their relgious art. The Romans, being a maritime people, completely understood and depiected whales, sharks and fish in their art, yet always portrayed the creature swallowing Jonah as a dragon, because this is what is was called in the bible before more modern Christians rewrote this scripture and many others concerning dragons, and of course many other subjects. It is very interesting that these dragons depicted in Greco Roman art look very much like the supposed loch ness monster, other sea and lake monsters and long necked dinosaurs. It strongly suggests these peoples all knew these "dragons" as living creatures, unlike most of the "mythological" animals depicted in their art which were impossible combinations of lion or horse bodies with fish tails.

The Greco-Roman dragons are very much like a Pliosaur, but with clawed front feet, and when in water, their wings pressed tightly to their bodies. Were they actually seeing a real marine reptile, which their artistic impressions so uncannily resemble, and just made them fly at times as well? Or if God is real, or some unknown intelligence that deserves a better name, has this entity somehow "improved" existing perhistoric creatures we now call dragons to do his bidding as legends and religious texts all around the world suggest?

Or could the firm belief of dragons as real creatures in the whole ancient world, a world nearly as educated and sophisticated as our own, all be nothing but a worldwide international mass hysteria based just on some alledgedly discovered fossil bones, for which the ancients would have no way of even determining belonged to reptiles, or that these creatures had wings and flew?

To think so, sceptics would have to have more "faith" in the improbable hysteria created by a few bones that spread all over the word turning them all into a near identical creature, than the faith in a "power" above mortal man have which the believers in "religion" have.

not to sound like a idiot or a$$, but this i knew, i was trying to tell frogfish why the image changed so dramatically, in a more easy to understand way.

Thanks for the info, always an honor and privilage to speak to a historian who is well versed in something beyond high school and first year college history.

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I don't know where you heard God sends dragons down to punish people?

the original Hebrew text mentions it.

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Yes, numerous times in the old testament, and actually in the New Testament as well, though again more recent additions have altered the text. These are the 200,000 fire spewing, sharp toothed and snake tailed creatures that are supposed to devour/destroy on third of the human population. Like so much of Christian doctrine in general and John's book of Revelation in paritcular, much is copied verbatim from Zorastrian theology. In their end of the world, it is dragons that will destroy this exact same third of mankind. I think because John already called Satan a dragon, to call all of these others dragons too, would lessen the impact in the story of the dragon, "Satan". So all St. John did was call them fire spewing, sharp toothed, snake tailed "creatures" or"beasts" and in later translations they were changed to very improbable "horses". But not only are these unquestionably dragons, but other early christian literature clearly proves they are "heavenly dragons" commanded by God, and not some kind of demons or such as the verse has now evolved into. There are many references to heavenly dragons devouring the wicked on judgement day, and this is why the original concept of hell is depicted as a gaping dragon's mouth filled with the damned. This evolved in the pagan Greek hades idea largely with the popularity of Dante's Inferno. Of course, there will still dragons there to devour the wicked.

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yes, i believe you said that more times than you wanted to back in the original dragon thread.

What of the Asiatic Dragon?

I am assuming that you have much information on them as well.

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but whats your point then?

Millions of dinosaur bones have been dug up. including thousands of flying dinosaurs.

The debate in hand is wether they were alive at the time of ancients, and wether they infact were able to breathe fire.

My point was that we need more than accounts from human 'observers' (of whom we have little or no capability of confirming whether they are being truthful or not), who are easily tricked by optical illusions, other creatures, and 'urban legends' (although they would just be folktales back then). In order to actually confirm that the ancients lived among, or at least witnessed, some kind of reptilian flyers, we need bones (they would be too recent for fossils, although you should be able to find fossils linking them to a line of ancestry dating from the time of the dinosaurs), accounts of how they acted in the environment, hardened droppings, the like.

edit - you are right in saying alot of ancient cultures toyed with magical visions and hilucinagenic (sp) drugs, but what are the chances of them seeing creatures who intricately resemble creatures that actually existed (disregarding the fire breathing part for now)

That depends on which account of the dragons you rely upon. The traditional image of a European dragon, with its wings, more dinosaur-ish head, and large size, does not resemble a pterodactyle, which stood on all fours when resting on a cliff or the ground, was a gliding creature, ate primarily bugs, fish, or small creatures, and were incredibly light and fragile for their size (Quetzacoatlus, with a wingspan of over 15 meters in the largest specimens, most likely weighed no more than 100 kg).

Although for all we know certain types of dinosaurs were able to breathe fire, its scientifically and logically possible as I breifly explained in my post above

You could conceivably think of a creature that could breathe fire, but that doesn't mean one will emerge, and especially evolve. For example, why would a dragon need fire, when most of them are portrayed as having sharp teeth and claws? Why would the evolutionary ancestors of the dragon develop the rudiments of breathing fire, including a bladder to hold flammable gas, teeth that can act as a flint, and a mouth that is both dry enough and durable enough to resist the heat of burning gas?

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dont ask me ;)

Im only posing certain possibilities to consider, instead of just saying 'No because theres no proof, end of'

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DW,

When one studies very ancient representations of Oriental dragons from archaeology, we find that they are seem a more realistic animal, complete with wings, virtually identical to the dragons depicted in Western Asia and Europe. This could suggest that in ancient and early medieval times when the rest of the world believed in, and constantly reported seeing "dragons", that these "realistic" dragons were also seen in the orient and "drawn from life". Later, when dragons became less commonly seen (though still believed in as they are today in the oriental world), the oriignal "look" of the dragon was forgotten and the more stylized form evolved. Being "supernatural", they no longer needed wings to fly, and unusual, non reptilian features like antlers sometimes added.

Then if they are the "same" creature, some may ask why the oriental dragons seem more freindly disposed towards humans. Since no post Cretaceous fossils of dragon-like creatures have ever been found, perhaps, like many other "unexplained mysteries" they may indeed have a religious or supernatural origin as virtually all of the worldwide myths suggest anyway. Virtually all of the myths and legends of Europe and Western Asia suggest they are servant creatures to the gods/dieties for dieties themselves. In many of the legends, and even the Bible, these dragons are sent to punish segments of mankind, from indiivuals to whole nations, but those humans related to those specific regions and cultures.

Perhaps this is why the dragons in the far east were considered benificent, and not "evil". Appaently they essentially did not meddle in the affairs of the orientals to any degree, but were still seen. Anything as fantastic as such a creature would likely be regarded as a diety of some sort, and if it didn't hurt you outright, you would believe it is a "good" diety. And if it flew in the sky, you might think it was responsible for bringing rain, as many dragon dieties are credited.

Even so, there are still oriental legends of dragons devouring humans and inflicting other punishments, but usually in these stories, the humans were considered evil, or otherwise warranted their retributions.

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thanks DC, for clearing that up for me.

Even so, there are still oriental legends of dragons devouring humans and inflicting other punishments, but usually in these stories, the humans were considered evil, or otherwise warranted their retributions.

this made me smile, *thinking of not so nice ruler being eaten by big flying reptile like creature.*

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I love dragons more than any mythological creature, but to be honest, I think it's just that; a mythological creature. There may have been large flying reptiles in the prehistoric ages, but it's hard to believe that these reptiles had the ability to breathe out fire through their nose and mouth.

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the fire breathing was added at a later date in time, that is what makes it mythological, however a creature by that description may have been around, even if in an intangible form.

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Again with the dragons, DC? Stop reading those fantasy novels they're confusing you. In no time in history have dragons been mentioned. Anything resembling a "dragon" would be Satan, and the use of dragon was a metaphor.

:devil:

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If you really believe that Atlantis, I would have to say you know very, very, little about history. As late as the 17th century giant, winged fire spewing dragons appear in "scientific" treatises on animal life. They are described along with other reptiled with no hint that a winged dragon was any less real than a python or crocodile. There are literally thousands of recorded sitings of dragons and they are a part of virturally every world religion. They are the highest heavenly servants in the original bible, before it was changed by Christians, but the evidence is there. The Satan you speak of, is merely one of a whole host of these creatures. They are certainly a hell of a lot more real than "Atlantis". Atlantis appears in the writings of one man, (who also wrote about dragons I should add). Dragons were firmly believed in by every world culture. for something like 5,000 years. There is more "evidence" and belief in them, than any individual "God" in the world. This is a simple fact known to everyone somewhat knowledgable about world religions.

The reason there are so many fantasy books about dragons, is because people in even this day and age, still believe they are real. But don't take my word for it, just type dragon in your search engine and see what happens. But I don't read modern fantasy books about dragons, I read the ancient Christian and Hebrew scriptures, and those of many other religions and cultures, that attest to the existence of dragons.

Edited by draconic chronicler

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This is a simple fact known to everyone somewhat knowledgable about world religions.

also any one who has any knowledge of history.

Anything resembling a "dragon" would be Satan, and the use of dragon was a metaphor.

True, the bible of the Christians says Satan is dragon, explain why in Psalms dragons sing praises to heaven. And i agree dragons can be used as a metaphor, but most likely used to say be wise, and intelligent, such as an ancient dragon.

Atlantis, what do you gargoyles are representative of?

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Well, we all know the story of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, and how he "could not tell a lie." And how that turned out to be mostly myth. I think there is a creature that gave rise to the dragon myth, but I highly doubt it could fly and breathe fire. Maybe it was just very gassy.

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First off to DC: how come that dragons (mostly) only interfered with human business in the middle east? Why didn't they, like u said, get involved further east, in like china? U said that this could be one of the reasons why they are looked up on as good... Just wondering...

And regarding the fiery breathe everyone... I'd imagen a beast with that size must be quite heavy, and therefore rather clumbsy - espesially in the air! And 'cause of that they must have some kind of weapon; so they can slay thier prey. They can't really get around and infront of an animal to spit poison in thier eyes, so they have to breath fire and in that way kill the prey... Just another thought...

Sorry if it's har to read and understand, but I'm quite tired now... :P

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As I mentioned before Vid, it is highly unlikely dragons could be merely a "natural" creature. There would surely be fossil evidence for them if they had. Also, if intelligent, giant flying reptiles were not "controled", they would have likely wiped out the human race in its infancy.

Dragons can only be a kind of supernatural creature, possibly genetically engineered by a higher power with the specific purpose of consuming undesirable humans or terrifying them to his will.

That they seem mostly concerned with matters in Western Asia only confirms that the Hebrew creation epic, with its uncanny similarilities to our current understanding of evolution and life origin, is essentially true, and accordingly then, the "dragons" are creatures of this God. As for the dragons seeming largely benificent in China and terrible in Europe could suggest that they were either ordered not to harm the Chinese, or interfere with them becasue they were already an advanced culture, or that the dragons, when allowed to prey on then, "unimportant" elements of mankind (as legends everywhere attest), that they simply would rather eat large fat Northern Europeans (where there are many legends of nasty dragons), than stringy lean chinese.

It is perhaps no coincidence, that as the people became Christians, dragon attacks stopped.

The fire then, is not a food getting or defensive evolutionary development, but rather an engineered feature to make dragons the original, 100% biological, "weapon of mass destruction".

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Dragons can only be a kind of supernatural creature, possibly genetically engineered by a higher power with the specific purpose of consuming undesirable humans or terrifying them to his will.

Why then haven't God sent forward his/her terrifying dragons to eat humans that have done great harm? I'm thinking Hitler and Stalin... Why were they allowed to roam freely and kill millions? They were a far greater threat than any medievel king or ancient ruler...

The fire then, is not a food getting or defensive evolutionary development, but rather an engineered feature to make dragons the original, 100% biological, "weapon of mass destruction".

What I was trying to do was merely look at the firebreath in asomewhat logical way :) I don't believe in dragons as in "fantasydragons" nor that they breath fire...

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"scientific" treatises on animal life

scientific as in religious?

"dragons" are creatures of this God. As for the dragons seeming largely benificent in China and terrible in Europe could suggest that they were either ordered not to harm the Chinese, or interfere with them becasue they were already an advanced culture, or that the dragons, when allowed to prey on then, "unimportant" elements of mankind (as legends everywhere attest), that they simply would rather eat large fat Northern Europeans (where there are many legends of nasty dragons), than stringy lean chinese.

But would they also devour the chinese, as they were not yet Christian, but "pagan" in the eyes of Christians and God...Why didn't God send the dragons down on them if they destroyed the evil

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Vid,

If dragons (or angels) were sent in modern times, everyone would accept Chritianity simply out of fear. When Satan offered Jesus control of the world, it was not a "temptation" as early Chritians misconstrued the story, but to fullfill the old testaments prophecies of a messiah leading a heavenly host to destroy the enemies of Israel. He turned down Satan's offer because he would not force His beliefs on the world with the power of God, (no doubt disappointing Satan and the rest of the dragon host.) It is very possible dragons and angels have affected modern history but only in covert ways. Sometimes they are "discovered", for example there are two accounts of giant sea reptiles attacking German U-Boats observed by a whole crew of witnessess. In one case the creature was driven off by a huge explosion of an allied ship was torpedoed, and in another, bullets drove it away. But who knows how many others they sunk with no one to tell the tale?

Frogfish,

Though they were pagans, the Chinese may not have been attacked by dragons because God thought they were a civilized culture far enough away to be no threat to his "chosen people". Or he might not have cared which pagans dragons attacked on their own time. Consider too that dragons are universally known for possessing great wisdom (as Jesus also stated though it was mistranslated to mean a common snake), so the dragons may have refrained from attacking an advanced culture, and may have enjoyed peaceful contact with these humans that they may have thought entertaining.

On the other hand, there are many mysterious disappearances of human cultures around the world that could be caused by heavenly vengeance. Sodom andGomorroah are mentioned in the bible because they concerned Biblical people and regions, but similar things could have happened all over the world. The Anazazi peoples mysteriously vanished, seeming just abandoning their towns. We now know these people practiced cannibalism and perhpas they displeased God enough to warrant heavenly retribution. And of course, this was long enough ago, that no one will ever know, though it may be no coincidence that before they "vanished" they left a very good pictograph of a great winged dragon near their abandoned city.

Typically though, the many legends of dragon depredation in the Barbarian lands of northern Europe strongly suggests this was a popular place for them until the people there accepted Christianity. And when we understand the culture, it would be a great place to consume humans, for they built huge meadhalls of wood and cowdung, where they would feast and drink until they were incoherent. The Epic of Beowulf explains this quite well, though the part about slaying a dragon was of course, greatly exaggerated, as is evident is the story itself when carefully studied.

Edited by draconic chronicler

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On the other hand, there are many mysterious disappearances of human cultures around the world that could be caused by heavenly vengeance. Sodom andGomorroah are mentioned in the bible because they concerned Biblical people and regions, but similar things could have happened all over the world. The Anazazi peoples mysteriously vanished, seeming just abandoning their towns. We now know these people practiced cannibalism and perhpas they displeased God enough to warrant heavenly retribution. And of course, this was long enough ago, that no one will ever know, though it may be no coincidence that before they "vanished" they left a very good pictograph of a great winged dragon near their abandoned city.

I simply can't let this one slide DC. Please don't try to bring your dragon fantasies into Southwestern Archaeology. The Anasazi people didn't just vanish. Many migrated to different areas because of the severe drought that occurred in the mid to late 13th century. They were essentially absorbed by other groups and some anthropologists believe they are the direct ancestors of the puebloan peoples of today. Besides, which branch of the Anasazi are you referring to, the Kayenta or Virgin River or another branch? Also, the whole cannabalism issue is still hotly debated today. The Mancos site in Colorado is the only site where clear (to some) evidence exists of cannibalsim (i.e. human feces containing human muscle tissue) but even this is questioned by most of us in the archaeological community. Cannabalism was exceedingly rare so I truly doubt these people would have "displeased God enough to warrant heavenly retribution" especially in the form of your dragons! Where is the evidence of this heavenly retribution? I certainly haven't seen any in any of the digs I've been on. And this was not long enough ago that we don't know anything about them. I know (and continue to learn) a great deal about the Anasazi by studying the faunal remains from their sites. We can gain information on what they ate, daily activities, even aspects of their sociopolitical organization through such studies. I'm also very curious as to where this "dragon pictograph" is located since you say "near their abandoned city" as if there was just one "city" in which the Anasazi people lived. Sorry but fantasy simply cannot stand up to science...

Edited by koenig212003

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