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Dragons, myth and not universal gods

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The Gremlin

If you didnt want to defend this statement DC....

An entire world of early man considered giant flying reptiles that we call dragons today once were their gods. This i not my speculation, it is fact.

why enter into debate about it?

this statement insists that giant flying reptiles were worshiped as gods, and that you could prove it because its "not my speculation, it is fact."

you have not done so.

Edited by lil gremlin

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Mattshark

linked-image

That picture makes me think shark as a basis. Twin dorsal fins. Would it not a reasonable summation to think that the great white was the origin of this?

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draconic chronicler
linked-image

That picture makes me think shark as a basis. Twin dorsal fins. Would it not a reasonable summation to think that the great white was the origin of this?

I agree, that creature was probably based on seeing a large shark, and Great Whites have been found in the Med.

But the same culture also depicted, long necked, winged, claw footed reptilian dragons as well, that bear an uncanny resemblance to the modern sightings of lake monsters (periscoping head above the water) .

But of course, even though you believe sharks inspired this monster, you probably dismiss the sea dragons they depicted. Interesting double standard.

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draconic chronicler
If you didnt want to defend this statement DC....

why enter into debate about it?

this statement insists that giant flying reptiles were worshiped as gods, and that you could prove it because its "not my speculation, it is fact."

you have not done so.

I have proven it. The ancient Greeks did worhip Drakons. Even when you rather lamely tried to dismiss the Greek depiction of Zeus as a Drakon, we have Glycon, clearly a Drakon worshipped as a beneificent god at the very height of the classical world.

And I have also shown 1000 years of images of winged, claw footed, serpent headed, ketea which appear to the same dragons of the sumerians, chinese, and medieval europeans. And these dragons were clearly believed to be the offpring and assistants of the Gods, if not Gods themselves.

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The Gremlin
I have proven it. The ancient Greeks did worhip Drakons. Even when you rather lamely tried to dismiss the Greek depiction of Zeus as a Drakon, we have Glycon, clearly a Drakon worshipped as a beneificent god at the very height of the classical world.

And I have also shown 1000 years of images of winged, claw footed, serpent headed, ketea which appear to the same dragons of the sumerians, chinese, and medieval europeans. And these dragons were clearly believed to be the offpring and assistants of the Gods, if not Gods themselves.

http://www.livius.org/gi-gr/glykon/glykon.html

Glykon: snake god, associated with the Greek prophet Alexander of Abonutichus

The cult of the snake god Glykon was introduced in in the mid-second century CE by the Greek prophet Alexander of Abonutichus. This is, at least, what we can deduce from the writings by the Greek author Lucian of Samosata (c.120-c.190), who devoted an extremely hostile (and extremely amusing) pamphlet to the charlatan he called Alexander the oracle monger.

Ignoring Lucian\'s bias, we can probably accept from his work that the cult -or at least the snake Alexander venerated- originated in Macedonia, where similar snake cults were already known in the fourth century BCE. (It was told that the mother of Alexander the Great, Olympias, had become pregnant after she had slept with a snake, a point to which we shall return.) The prophet Alexander brought the god, a very large snake, to his home town Abonutichus in Paphlagonia and built a temple, which became an important oracle.

linked-image

It was a real snake, with a glove-puppet head. sssssssssssnake.

BTW

linked-image

Indo-Greek stone palette representing an Hellenistic Nereid goddess riding a Ketos sea-monster, 2nd century BCE, Sirkap.

I wouldnt mind betting those others are late too.

how about this one?

post-50607-1235182666_thumb.jpg

post-50607-1235182302.gif

Edited by lil gremlin

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The Gremlin
linked-image

That picture makes me think shark as a basis. Twin dorsal fins. Would it not a reasonable summation to think that the great white was the origin of this?

definately looks sharkey.

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Mattshark
I agree, that creature was probably based on seeing a large shark, and Great Whites have been found in the Med.

But the same culture also depicted, long necked, winged, claw footed reptilian dragons as well, that bear an uncanny resemblance to the modern sightings of lake monsters (periscoping head above the water) .

But of course, even though you believe sharks inspired this monster, you probably dismiss the sea dragons they depicted. Interesting double standard.

It is not a double standard.

Sharks = fact.

Dragons = conjecture.

I'm merely going on evidence. As accuracy for a shark drawing goes it is pretty unrealistic. The monk seal isn't bad though.

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Godsnmbr1
It is not a double standard.

Sharks = fact.

Dragons = conjecture.

I'm merely going on evidence. As accuracy for a shark drawing goes it is pretty unrealistic. The monk seal isn't bad though.

Doesn't the fact that all of the drawings are fairly accurate make you think that the main image might also be fairly accurate? Seems pretty basic to me.

And I'm not saying that it proves anything, it's simply the most logical conclusion to make.

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Mattshark
Doesn't the fact that all of the drawings are fairly accurate make you think that the main image might also be fairly accurate? Seems pretty basic to me.

And I'm not saying that it proves anything, it's simply the most logical conclusion to make.

No, it is not. The animal shows clear features of a shark, notably multiple gill slits a feature unique to elasmobranchs (though the number is wrong it should be 5 - 7 gill slits). Most likely is the artist never saw a shark before. It is a damn sight easier to too see dolphins and seals than it is to see a shark. Interestingly one of the meanings of ketos is huge fish.

Edited by Mattshark

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Archosaur

Yay! This thread's open for general discussion!

I'll start with my statement from the Chuppicabra thread in the cryptid forms:

"One of the possible points of contention may be the perceived status of dragons and dragon like creatures within various mythologies. In Greek myths we have dragons, serpent drakons, and ketia (sea dragons, Nessie-like in appearance) working for Hera, Aries, and Posidon, and we have Zeus taking the form of one. The Musshu (see post of that name) of Mesopotamia and the Uareus (winged snakes) of Egypt working directly for the Gods. We have the Seraphim (flying, fiery, serpents) of the Levent (Leventine, people of Levi, any origin from Leviathan?) serving as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth. A position also held by the (polytheistic) Chinese dragons of myth. Quetziquatal is depicted as a winged serpent, but is later depicted as a man.

What does all of this mean?

It seems that the role of the dragon has been reduced over time in myth. Originally often appearing as teachers of men, and sometimes gods themselves, they were relegated to the position of assistants to, or vanquished enemies of, the human form deities of later times. I suspect that this indicates a later conquest by warlike peoples, and the subsequent replacement of the prior religion. Where the original deities and supernatural creatures could be demonized, they were. In other cases, prehaps because of strong local attachment for their previous religious faith, these creatures were demoted to a subservient role. A quick study of these pantheons will reveal a plethora of swaggering conqueror-deities (espousing the very ideals of warrior nomads), who have slain or made pets of such creatures (symbolically asserting dominion over the previous people).

As time passed, many of these beings became either more fanciful and less "real" to the peoples, or became more and more human. For example, many of the, remotely, human appearences of Serephim date from Mid-East Monasteries back to the beginning of Christianity. I suspect that much of this is, as the power of myth faded, and mankind found himself alone, that man indeed became the measure of all things. Certainly, it would be more gratifying to the ego to assume that the greater supernatural beings, indeed anything able to think at all, must look exactly like us."

So: I contend that the original serpent/dragon deities and totems were either replaced by new human appearing dieties, or slowly merged into the new diety.

In Greece I think we can see both happening. Apollo slays the Python of Delphi, and becomes the new patron of Delphi (thus displacing the earlier patron diety, Python). Zeus takes on the appearance (and legends) of many, older, serpent deities of the region, as he similarly takes on the appearance and (and legends) of other bull and swan deities of the area. Zeus, as the supreme Greek deity, either had to destroy, or become, any other supposed supreme deity in the area. Thus I postulate that the serpent/dragon was often not only a deity of cthonic Greek tradition, but most likely their highest diety.

Egyptian and Mesopotamian myths show their highest deity (typically many deities together) struggling to overcome a mighty serpent/dragon in their religions. I propose that this reflects the replacement of the prior belief system (which had a serpent/dragon being or beings at its head, much as in many traditions in Africa, India, and Aboriginal Australia) by a conquering people with their own deities.

Edited by Archosaur

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draconic chronicler
Yay! This thread's open for general discussion!

I'll start with my statement from the Chuppicabra thread in the cryptid forms:

"One of the possible points of contention may be the perceived status of dragons and dragon like creatures within various mythologies. In Greek myths we have dragons, serpent drakons, and ketia (sea dragons, Nessie-like in appearance) working for Hera, Aries, and Posidon, and we have Zeus taking the form of one. The Musshu (see post of that name) of Mesopotamia and the Uareus (winged snakes) of Egypt working directly for the Gods. We have the Seraphim (flying, fiery, serpents) of the Levent (Leventine, people of Levi, any origin from Leviathan?) serving as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth. A position also held by the (polytheistic) Chinese dragons of myth. Quetziquatal is depicted as a winged serpent, but is later depicted as a man.

What does all of this mean?

It seems that the role of the dragon has been reduced over time in myth. Originally often appearing as teachers of men, and sometimes gods themselves, they were relegated to the position of assistants to, or vanquished enemies of, the human form deities of later times. I suspect that this indicates a later conquest by warlike peoples, and the subsequent replacement of the prior religion. Where the original deities and supernatural creatures could be demonized, they were. In other cases, prehaps because of strong local attachment for their previous religious faith, these creatures were demoted to a subservient role. A quick study of these pantheons will reveal a plethora of swaggering conqueror-deities (espousing the very ideals of warrior nomads), who have slain or made pets of such creatures (symbolically asserting dominion over the previous people).

As time passed, many of these beings became either more fanciful and less "real" to the peoples, or became more and more human. For example, many of the, remotely, human appearences of Serephim date from Mid-East Monasteries back to the beginning of Christianity. I suspect that much of this is, as the power of myth faded, and mankind found himself alone, that man indeed became the measure of all things. Certainly, it would be more gratifying to the ego to assume that the greater supernatural beings, indeed anything able to think at all, must look exactly like us."

So: I contend that the original serpent/dragon deities and totems were either replaced by new human appearing dieties, or slowly merged into the new diety.

In Greece I think we can see both happening. Apollo slays the Python of Delphi, and becomes the new patron of Delphi (thus displacing the earlier patron diety, Python). Zeus takes on the appearance (and legends) of many, older, serpent deities of the region, as he similarly takes on the appearance and (and legends) of other bull and swan deities of the area. Zeus, as the supreme Greek deity, either had to destroy, or become, any other supposed supreme deity in the area. Thus I postulate that the serpent/dragon was often not only a deity of cthonic Greek tradition, but most likely their highest diety.

Egyptian and Mesopotamian myths show their highest deity (typically many deities together) struggling to overcome a mighty serpent/dragon in their religions. I propose that this reflects the replacement of the prior belief system (which had a serpent/dragon being or beings at its head, much as in many traditions in Africa, India, and Aboriginal Australia) by a conquering people with their own deities.

I agree, and it is interesting among the greeks to see a resurgence of the benificient serpent-dragon diety in the form of Glycon in the 2-3 AD centuries Eastern Classical World. It is even more interesting to note that contemporary accounts state that this Glycon actually lived in a temple and was seen by his worshippers.

One wonders that if Glycon was only a puppet, or a costumed python, why even the Emperor of Rome, not mention perhaps millions of other educated people honored this "god". I can imagine people f those times were as sceptical as any other people, and would not blindly believe a puppet were real. This is one of those great ancient mysteries.

Western history has been tainted by a decidedly Anglo-Saxon slant, one culture in which dragons are generally cast as villains and monsters fit only for heroes to slay. I believe this is largely why the 'heavenly dragons' of Christianity were largely swept under the rug.

Edited by draconic chronicler

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The Gremlin
Yay! This thread's open for general discussion!

I'll start with my statement from the Chuppicabra thread in the cryptid forms:

"One of the possible points of contention may be the perceived status of dragons and dragon like creatures within various mythologies. In Greek myths we have dragons, serpent drakons, and ketia (sea dragons, Nessie-like in appearance) working for Hera, Aries, and Posidon, and we have Zeus taking the form of one. The Musshu (see post of that name) of Mesopotamia and the Uareus (winged snakes) of Egypt working directly for the Gods. We have the Seraphim (flying, fiery, serpents) of the Levent (Leventine, people of Levi, any origin from Leviathan?) serving as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth. A position also held by the (polytheistic) Chinese dragons of myth. Quetziquatal is depicted as a winged serpent, but is later depicted as a man.

What does all of this mean?

It seems that the role of the dragon has been reduced over time in myth. Originally often appearing as teachers of men, and sometimes gods themselves, they were relegated to the position of assistants to, or vanquished enemies of, the human form deities of later times. I suspect that this indicates a later conquest by warlike peoples, and the subsequent replacement of the prior religion. Where the original deities and supernatural creatures could be demonized, they were. In other cases, prehaps because of strong local attachment for their previous religious faith, these creatures were demoted to a subservient role. A quick study of these pantheons will reveal a plethora of swaggering conqueror-deities (espousing the very ideals of warrior nomads), who have slain or made pets of such creatures (symbolically asserting dominion over the previous people).

As time passed, many of these beings became either more fanciful and less "real" to the peoples, or became more and more human. For example, many of the, remotely, human appearences of Serephim date from Mid-East Monasteries back to the beginning of Christianity. I suspect that much of this is, as the power of myth faded, and mankind found himself alone, that man indeed became the measure of all things. Certainly, it would be more gratifying to the ego to assume that the greater supernatural beings, indeed anything able to think at all, must look exactly like us."

So: I contend that the original serpent/dragon deities and totems were either replaced by new human appearing dieties, or slowly merged into the new diety.

In Greece I think we can see both happening. Apollo slays the Python of Delphi, and becomes the new patron of Delphi (thus displacing the earlier patron diety, Python). Zeus takes on the appearance (and legends) of many, older, serpent deities of the region, as he similarly takes on the appearance and (and legends) of other bull and swan deities of the area. Zeus, as the supreme Greek deity, either had to destroy, or become, any other supposed supreme deity in the area. Thus I postulate that the serpent/dragon was often not only a deity of cthonic Greek tradition, but most likely their highest diety.

Egyptian and Mesopotamian myths show their highest deity (typically many deities together) struggling to overcome a mighty serpent/dragon in their religions. I propose that this reflects the replacement of the prior belief system (which had a serpent/dragon being or beings at its head, much as in many traditions in Africa, India, and Aboriginal Australia) by a conquering people with their own deities.

what do you mean by 'dragon' here? Are you equating Serpent Worship, which is/was everywhere, with drakones? or are you also of the belief that winged quadrupedal reptiles were the earliest and civilizing patron gods?

Are you forgetting that serpent cults within a culture are always only one of many, other constructed deities are always just as important and sometimes more important than serpentine constructs. Im not convinced that there was ever a time when the dragons ruled.

animist beliefs are pretty well understood, there appears to be no reason to believe that one particular animist belief is more 'real' than any other.

ps. what did you and DC think of the last ketos pic i posted?

Edited by lil gremlin

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draconic chronicler
what do you mean by 'dragon' here? Are you equating Serpent Worship, which is/was everywhere, with drakones? or are you also of the belief that winged quadrupedal reptiles were the earliest and civilizing patron gods?

Are you forgetting that serpent cults within a culture are always only one of many, other constructed deities are always just as important and sometimes more important than serpentine constructs. Im not convinced that there was ever a time when the dragons ruled.

animist beliefs are pretty well understood, there appears to be no reason to believe that one particular animist belief is more 'real' than any other.

ps. what did you and DC think of the last ketos pic i posted?

This Ketos has clawed forearms, and the unusual structures on the shoulder suggest an attempt at portraying tightly folded mebrane wings, since they do not continue along the body. I think most people unfamiliar with the word Ketos would call this a 'dragon'.

As I stated before, Greek civilization is much later than that of Sumeria and China with their quadrepedal dragons that supposedly dwelt among their worshippers as 'gods'. It would be natural for ancient people to connect traditional serpents with their serpent headed gods, and continue worshipping serpents. But even so, we see BOTH traditional claw footed dragons and serpents with varying degrees of fantastic features portrayed by the Greeks, and it comes to no surpise that both are connected with "the gods", beng born from them, gods changing into them, etc.

There is good evidence that the Greek gods were originally reptilian in form as I have already shown, and I agree with Grem that gradually these gods became more and more human.... but with possibly some of the most ancient stories hinting to their repilian origins as we have seen. Even as early as the Sumerian culture, gods are depicted in both human and draconic forms.

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The Gremlin
This Ketos has clawed forearms, and the unusual structures on the shoulder suggest an attempt at portraying tightly folded mebrane wings, since they do not continue along the body. I think most people unfamiliar with the word Ketos would call this a 'dragon'.

As I stated before, Greek civilization is much later than that of Sumeria and China with their quadrepedal dragons that supposedly dwelt among their worshippers as 'gods'. It would be natural for ancient people to connect traditional serpents with their serpent headed gods, and continue worshipping serpents. But even so, we see BOTH traditional claw footed dragons and serpents with varying degrees of fantastic features portrayed by the Greeks, and it comes to no surpise that both are connected with "the gods", beng born from them, gods changing into them, etc.

There is good evidence that the Greek gods were originally reptilian in form as I have already shown, and I agree with Grem that gradually these gods became more and more human.... but with possibly some of the most ancient stories hinting to their repilian origins as we have seen. Even as early as the Sumerian culture, gods are depicted in both human and draconic forms.

no dc it is 2ndcentury ad roman.there is no evidence for reptilian, clawfooted ketos before late-classical/hellenistic period in Greek culture.

That influence came from the levant. It is not native to Greek culture. They were never visited by real quadrupedal, flying dragons.

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draconic chronicler
no dc it is 2ndcentury ad roman.there is no evidence for reptilian, clawfooted ketos before late-classical/hellenistic period in Greek culture.

That influence came from the levant. It is not native to Greek culture. They were never visited by real quadrupedal, flying dragons.

I think I'll take Admiral Pliny's observations as an apparent actual witness to these creatures, to your suppositions.

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Mattshark
I think I'll take Admiral Pliny's observations as an apparent actual witness to these creatures, to your suppositions.

In which text?

Cause Pliny the elder mentions dragons in India and Ethiopia (2 places he never went) and it is accepted that these where references to pythons.

Edited by Mattshark

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Archosaur
what do you mean by 'dragon' here? Are you equating Serpent Worship, which is/was everywhere, with drakones? or are you also of the belief that winged quadrupedal reptiles were the earliest and civilizing patron gods?

Are you forgetting that serpent cults within a culture are always only one of many, other constructed deities are always just as important and sometimes more important than serpentine constructs. Im not convinced that there was ever a time when the dragons ruled.

animist beliefs are pretty well understood, there appears to be no reason to believe that one particular animist belief is more 'real' than any other.

ps. what did you and DC think of the last ketos pic i posted?

Well, in some cases serpent worship seems entwined with dragon mythology, in others separate. In the case of Navajo rattlesnake totems, or North African python ancestor-worship, the beings in question remain snakes of a recognizable species. While they may have human intelligence in the myths, they are not indicated to be other than intellegent and supernatural rattlesnakes. In this, they have much in common with other totemic myths involving other natural and well-known animals.

In the case of serpent/dragon myths, the same creature may be depicted as a serpent, legged or winged, or even composite creature. The same creature may be variously be referred to as a serpent, dragon, spirit, or deity. Its almost as if people did not know how to describe the subject. We also see this sometimes today, whereupon a dragon may also be referred to as a serpent. Whereupon a natural animal may be readily be referred to by an artist or poet, the appearance of a dragon, must necessarily be improvised (unless you wish to insist that only actual first-hand witnesses to such creatures be appropriate ;) ).

There are indeed many cultures whereupon the serpent cults were a minor (at best) part. There are also ones whereupon it was clearly primary, or co-equal with other mythical beings. As to weather there was a "time when dragons ruled" I merely propose that dragon figures were prominent, and in some cases primary, in the structure of human mythology.

"BTW

linked-image

Indo-Greek stone palette representing an Hellenistic Nereid goddess riding a Ketos sea-monster, 2nd century BCE, Sirkap."

The ketos picture is interesting. The human head may connote intellect, a half-human origin, or half-divine origin. In the case of the Greek Sphinx, (the lioness with a human head) the imagery was used to combine aspects of great intellect, as well as ferocity. Such may the the intention of this sculpture. The wings (behind the paws/hooves ?) suggest an aerial nature, as well as an aquatic one. The artist may well have been attempting to convey an impression of ,what we today, would call a "dragon".

Edited by Archosaur

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Mattshark
The ketos picture is interesting. The human head may connote intellect, a half-human origin, or half-divine origin. In the case of the Greek Sphinx, (the lioness with a human head) the imagery was used to combine aspects of great intellect, as well as ferocity. Such may the the intention of this sculpture. The wings (behind the paws/hooves ?) suggest an aerial nature, as well as an aquatic one. The artist may well have been attempting to convey an impression of ,what we today, would call a "dragon".

The image ain't there mate. However the earlier Ketos image most definitely suggests shark. Would it not be more parsimonious to suggest that this was origin and it in time became altered through foreign influence?

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Archosaur
The image ain't there mate. However the earlier Ketos image most definitely suggests shark. Would it not be more parsimonious to suggest that this was origin and it in time became altered through foreign influence?

OOPS! I was referring to the second to last on post #30 by Gremlin.

As for the other Ketos pic, yeah, that looks like a shark to me too.

PS: I like the bluebird of unhappyness...

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Mattshark
OOPS! I was referring to the second to last on post #30 by Gremlin.

As for the other Ketos pic, yeah, that looks like a shark to me too.

PS: I like the bluebird of unhappyness...

Lol, np mate, I see the one you mean,

Cheers! :D

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Undeadskeptic

Having read the whole debate, it seems to me that lil Gremlin offered up a lot more evidence for his statments and a lot less conjecture than DC. I also feel DC did produce several interesting claims, which, whilst facsinating, were totally absurd.

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legionromanes

I couldn't agree more, DC has no idea of the basic facts surrounding mythology that he claims to be expert in and thinks that his preconceived ideas and speculations are a match for posted evidence. They aren't and Lil Gremlin quite rightly ripped him to pieces

good luck with your book DC you'll need it, any publishers option it yet ?

:tu:

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draconic chronicler
Having read the whole debate, it seems to me that lil Gremlin offered up a lot more evidence for his statments and a lot less conjecture than DC. I also feel DC did produce several interesting claims, which, whilst facsinating, were totally absurd.

Why am I not surprised you would say this? Gremlin was not even aware of the serpent god Glycon until I mentioned it here. In fact, he quite incorrectly stated the Greeks had not reptilian gods at all.......... and he was very wrong as I have proven.

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draconic chronicler
I couldn't agree more, DC has no idea of the basic facts surrounding mythology that he claims to be expert in and thinks that his preconceived ideas and speculations are a match for posted evidence. They aren't and Lil Gremlin quite rightly ripped him to pieces

good luck with your book DC you'll need it, any publishers option it yet ?

:tu:

Why of course you would agree with a 16 year old. You have demonstrated by our own debate that you know even less about ancient mythology than Gremlin.

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draconic chronicler
In which text?

Cause Pliny the elder mentions dragons in India and Ethiopia (2 places he never went) and it is accepted that these where references to pythons.

I was referring to his discussion of Ketos in the Mediterranean and how to prevent them from attacking your ship. Please don't try to tell us he was never in the Mediterranean. He was a Roman ADMIRAL!

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