Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Dragon Slaying

  • Ronald MaddenEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_181

While dragons are imaginary beasts to be found in the mythology of cultures throughout the world, the concept of dragon slaying is unique to the myths of the West. From St. Michael in the book of Revelation in the Christian New Testament, to Beowulf in the eighth century Anglo-Saxon epic poem of the same name, to Sigurd in Norse mythology (or Siegfried in Richard Wagner’s retelling of the story), to Bard the Bowman in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, dragon slayers engage in a heroic fight to the death with a large and powerful beast that threatens a community or the very balance of spiritual forces in the cosmos. These heroes become honored in the myths and legends of their culture and are symbolic of the victory of good over evil.

The word dragon comes from the Greek δρακων or drakon. Dragons appear throughout mythology as magical creatures with great physical and/or spiritual powers. Depending upon the culture, the dragon may be airborne – a great reptile with wings – or more worm- or...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for the PsychotherapiesNew YorkUSA