Dragons are mythical creatures of power and imagination. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about them is that we are entirely free to imagine them however we wish - no wings, bat wings, bird wings, insect wings, multiple wings, tiny wings, huge wings... reptilian or mamalian or avian or some fantastic mix; any color and size you can dream of; four limbs or six or eight; claws or fangs or spines or a breath weapon or horns or ears... You stick six legs on a unicorn and it's not a unicorn anymore. I have always thought of dragons as having four limbs + wings and drakes as having only two legs + wings.

The Dragon, or Draco, is a constellation located in the northern hemisphere. Through ancient times it has been associated with dragons or serpents. The Persians knew it as a man-eating serpent, while the Greeks saw it as a dragon which lived within the garden of the Hesperides, or Daughters of the Evening, where he guarded the stars or golden apples which hung from the Pole Tree in the Garden of Darkness.

In Egypt it was known as Typhon or Set, ruler of darkness and enemy of the Sun. Thuban, it's main star, means Serpent or Dragon in Arabic. Around 3000 B.C. Thuban was the Pole Star or North Star, caused by the fact that the celestial north pole slowly moves in a circle which passes through the body of the Dragon. Today the Pole Star is Polaris, and will become Deneb in thousands of years, then later Vega will take it's place.
1952 wood-engraving by M.C. Escher, measuring 32 by 34 centimetres.

"However much this dragon tries to be spatial, he remains completely flat. Two incisions are made in the paper on which he is printed. then it is folded in such a way as to leave two square openings. But this dragon is an obstinate beast, and in spite of his two dimensions he persists in assuming that he has three; so he sticks his head through one of the holes and his tail through the other."

You can see this engraving (known in its original Dutch as Draak) by searching Google Images for "Escher"+"Dragon". I once provided URLs, but they expire; this technique should remain effective for quite some time.

Dr. Fred Mbogo = D = Dragon Book

dragon n.

[MIT] A program similar to a daemon, except that it is not invoked at all, but is instead used by the system to perform various secondary tasks. A typical example would be an accounting program, which keeps track of who is logged in, accumulates load-average statistics, etc. Under ITS, many terminals displayed a list of people logged in, where they were, what they were running, etc., along with some random picture (such as a unicorn, Snoopy, or the Enterprise), which was generated by the `name dragon'. Usage: rare outside MIT -- under Unix and most other OSes this would be called a `background demon' or daemon. The best-known Unix example of a dragon is cron(1). At SAIL, they called this sort of thing a `phantom'.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

The Dragon is indeed a culturally varied creature. In China, Dragons were revered as powerful and noble creatures. The only human good enough to be a Dragon was the Emperor, also the only person allowed to use the Gold Dragon. Not all Dragons were noble. Some were renegade dragons, looting and burning innocent villages and being evil, much like Western Dragons were viewed, although they were totally different in shape and form, the Western Dragon being more akin to a giant scaled bird than to the serpentine wingless Chinese Dragon.

A "dragon" is also a term from the game of Go (Wei Qi/Badouk). It refers to a long chain of connected stones with no eyes. One is shown in the diagram below:


Of course, a dragon won't occur all alone on the goban (board). Rather, it will occur in the presence of other stones, especially the opponent's. Although the dragon has no eyes and isn't technically "alive," there is a Go proverb that says that "Big dragons never die." That's because a dragon tends to have a lot of liberty, so it's hard to get it completely surrounded. In other words, if you think you've killed a big dragon (and probably won the game because of it), always read the situation out very carefully to be sure that you've killed it, because they have sneaky ways of escaping.

The Seven Dragons is a style of fighting designed for LARP weaponry devised by Simon Wright. The style relies strongly on the fact that people are very wary of taking blows to the head; by feinting to the head it forces the opponent's sword high to parry it (or otherwise, allows a hit to the head.)

The steps of the maneuover are:

  • Choose your attack. Will you attack the head, either shoulder, the body from the left or right, or a leg?
  • Position yourself so that your sword-foot is more forward than the other.
  • Step further forwards with your sword-foot whilst attacking your opponents head.
  • As the opponent parries, move the sword around to strike the now unprotected location.
  • As you take a step backwards, aim for the head to force the opponent to parry.
  • Return to the ready position (sword-foot forwards) and decide your next attack.
To perform the Seven Dragons is to go through this sequence seven times, attacking:
  • The head
  • The right shoulder
  • The left shoulder
  • The body from the right
  • The body from the left
  • The right leg
  • The left leg
ie: twenty-one hits in total. These are usually performed against air; one of the most important parts of LARP combat is pulling your blows.

The head

The head is hit by a downwards cut from above, and parried by a horizontal sword above and in front of the head.

The shoulders

The shoulders are hit by a downwards cut, parallel to the head hit but inches to either side. It is parried by moving the sword to the head-parry position, but inches to the side.

The body

The body is hit by a sweeping cut travelling around the body and hitting in the side, and is parried by a vertical sword held low on the correct side.

The legs

The legs are hit by kneeling on the off-leg as sweeping around like the body hits. Care must be taken as you are vunerable to attacks from above. Leg shots are rarely parried; it is usually easier to hop back. If a parry is attempted, the sword should pass the opposite direction to the opponent's sword, otherwise it will just follow the sword and cannot parry.

A further note; care should be taken that the sword-elbow does not jut out; otherwise it is easy to hit.

Dragons. You've heard of them. They're mythical animals that look like a cross between a lizard and my Art teacher. But whatever.

Dragons are quite possibly one of the most famous mythical beasts, next to the cutesy unicorns and faeries and elves and that. But you do see dragon statues in many gift shops. Heck, I have one myself.

The idea for dragons was probably created in China. Chinese dragons are more reptilian than your commercial European dragon. According to legend, they were made up of many different animals put together.

They have the eyes of a hare, the head of a camel, horns of a deer, ears of a bull, neck of an iguana, the belly of a frog, scales of a carp, tiger paws, eagle claws, tail of a serpent and a partridge in a pear tree. (Kidding)

And that's just the female.

In Chinese mythology, dragons could bring rain, breathe flames and were used to guard treasure.

Even Ancient Egypt had its own dragonlore. Though there is very little information available today, it is thought that they were associated with the brothers Osiris and Seth.

In Europe, dragons had a more fearsome story. The famous Greek dragon Draco was a fighter for the Titans and was cast into the sky as a constellation. There is also the popular Christian story of Saint George and the dragon.

The European dragon seems to get the short end of the stick in most stories. You have your basic dragon fairytale when dragon kidnaps maiden, knight kills dragon, maiden gets rescued. Supposedly a happy ending, however the poor old dragon ends up on the end of some twat's spear.

Mind you, there are people who are fascinated with the legendary strength of dragons. Many sports teams call themselves the Dragons. It's probably useful for intimidating the opposition.

Many books about dragons (factual and fictional) exist today. Some examples are Dragonlinks, The Fire Within, Dragonology and Icefire. (Yes, that's the reason for my name.)

Whatever you believe about dragons, I hope you enjoyed this fact smorgasboard.

Drag"on (?), n. [F. dragon, L. draco, fr. Gr. , prob. fr. , , to look (akin to Skr. dar to see), and so called from its terrible eyes. Cf. Drake a dragon, Dragoon.]

1. Myth.

A fabulous animal, generally represented as a monstrous winged serpent or lizard, with a crested head and enormous claws, and regarded as very powerful and ferocious.

The dragons which appear in early paintings and sculptures are invariably representations of a winged crocodile. Fairholt.

In Scripture the term dragon refers to any great monster, whether of the land or sea, usually to some kind of serpent or reptile, sometimes to land serpents of a powerful and deadly kind. It is also applied metaphorically to Satan.

Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Ps. lxxiv. 13.

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Ps. xci. 13.

He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. Rev. xx. 2.


A fierce, violent person, esp. a woman.


3. Astron.

A constellation of the northern hemisphere figured as a dragon; Draco.


A luminous exhalation from marshy grounds, seeming to move through the air as a winged serpent.

5. Mil. Antiq.

A short musket hooked to a swivel attached to a soldier's belt; -- so called from a representation of a dragon's head at the muzzle.


6. Zool.

A small arboreal lizard of the genus Draco, of several species, found in the East Indies and Southern Asia. Five or six of the hind ribs, on each side, are prolonged and covered with weblike skin, forming a sort of wing. These prolongations aid them in making long leaps from tree to tree. Called also flying lizard.

7. Zool.

A variety of carrier pigeon.

8. Her.

A fabulous winged creature, sometimes borne as a charge in a coat of arms.

Dragon is often used adjectively, or in combination, in the sense of relating to, resembling, or characteristic of, a dragon.

Dragon arum Bot., the name of several species of Arisaema, a genus of plants having a spathe and spadix. See Dragon root(below). -- Dragon fish Zool., the dragonet. -- Dragon fly Zool., any insect of the family Libellulidae. They have finely formed, large and strongly reticulated wings, a large head with enormous eyes, and a long body; -- called also mosquito hawks. Their larvae are aquatic and insectivorous. -- Dragon root Bot., an American aroid plant (Arisaema Dracontium); green dragon. -- Dragon's blood, a resinous substance obtained from the fruit of several species of Calamus, esp. from C. Rotang and C. Draco, growing in the East Indies. A substance known as dragon's blood is obtained by exudation from Dracaena Draco; also from Pterocarpus Draco, a tree of the West Indies and South America. The color is red, or a dark brownish red, and it is used chiefly for coloring varnishes, marbles, etc. Called also Cinnabar Graecorum. -- Dragon's head. (a) Bot. A plant of several species of the genus Dracocephalum. They are perennial herbs closely allied to the common catnip. (b) Astron. The ascending node of a planet, indicated, chiefly in almanacs, by the symbol . The deviation from the ecliptic made by a planet in passing from one node to the other seems, according to the fancy of some, to make a figure like that of a dragon, whose belly is where there is the greatest latitude; the intersections representing the head and tail; -- from which resemblance the denomination arises. Encyc. Brit. -- Dragon shell Zool., a species of limpet. -- Dragon's skin, fossil stems whose leaf scars somewhat resemble the scales of reptiles; -- a name used by miners and quarrymen. Stormonth. -- Dragon's tail Astron., the descending node of a planet, indicated by the symbol . See Dragon's head (above). -- Dragon's wort Bot., a plant of the genus Artemisia (A. dracunculus). -- Dragon tree Bot., a West African liliaceous tree (Dracaena Draco), yielding one of the resins called dragon's blood. See Dracaena. -- Dragon water, a medicinal remedy very popular in the earlier half of the 17th century. "Dragon water may do good upon him." Randolph (1640). -- Flying dragon, a large meteoric fireball; a bolide.


© Webster 1913.

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