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Saturday, 7 January 2012

Thor Vs. Super-Eel Lindorm

Among the other titbits I came across on my sea-serpent photo-search was this Victorian-age illustration of Thor fighting (supposedly) the Midgard Serpent. The illustration is by Lorenz Frolich and shows a Thor probably more inspired by Classical images of the god Zeus. The reason I am running it here is because the creature represented is obviously a Lindorm and obviously an eel.


  1. Dear Dale,

    I started brushing up my knowledge about Lindorms in Europe again after reading your very nice three part article on them.

    Personally I believe that there is a difference between the nordic version (Sweden,Norway,etc.) and the central european one (mostly Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France).
    The central european version seems to prefer swamps and murky waters as habitat being semi-aquatic in the descriptions. Intriguingly the one common feature I found was that it tends to swallow its prey whole, usually killing by constriction. This reminds me more of a serpent than an eel. However, they are always near (fresh)water be it lake, spring or river. Furthermore whatever inspired it must be huge, because the central european Lindorm seems to prey on bulls, calfs, sheeps and goats (if not some unfortunate peasant or some fair maiden). (Sources are the legends about specific lindorms in Austria, Germany, Switzerland. Concerning France its hard not to have it messed up with the Vouivre or some dragon in the texts.)

    The nordic version I too believe to be some form of giant eels.


  2. That is interesting because the Danube "Wurm" (with umlaut) does sound to me to be more of a typical dragon or even an inland Sea-serpent: and there are also isolated reports of the Plesiosaur type in the Danube drainage (old Yugoslavia and parts of Romania are supposed to have "The Loch Ness Monster All Over Again")

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  3. Well, there is a language problem. Depending on time and place, "Lindwurm" refers to any type of dragon. However, there was (at least during a certain period)a specific beast called "Lindwurm" which was different from the classic dragon, wyvern, etc. It cant fly(with wings or without as the wings usually are too small), it doesnt have four legs (usually 2 with claws on the front or none at all), usually cant breathe fire (pictures sometimes portray them as breathing fires,stories tend not to) and is depicted black skinned unlike green for "normal" dragons in heraldry.
    Every legend that I found that mentioned the word "Lindwurm" I read through (in the original language) and checked if the above criteria are fullfilled. In most cases they were and the others (normal dragons, wyverns,plesiosaur like stuff, etc.)I did sort out.
    Not sure what you mean by "Danube Wurm" maybe the Lindwurm of Klagenfurt? The legends get more exact in the description the older the version (at least the german ones) and the famous statue doesnt look like the thing in the legend,at all (no surprise being modelled from the skull of a wooly rhinoceros). Furthermore in that specific case we would have something that "flies" through the water, lives in a swamp, can come on land to feed on cattle and swallows its prey whole(classic german Lindwurm).
    Inland sea serpent is an interesting thought, however, I suppose it would need a very high fresh water tolerance.
    I pretty much left out Romania,Slovakia and all the countries in Ex-Yugoslavia, because I never heard a Lindwurm legend from there... However, Poland,Romania,Slowakia,Czech Republic, seem to be fond of classic flying dragons which are either forest or mountain dwellers. Have to read up on the new Nessie there.

    Best Regards

  4. I was using "Danubian 'Wurm" as a generic rather than specific term: the name relains in place names (there is a lake and a river as sources of the Danube that are both named that)and at one point the common depiction of dragons in Europehad two smal wings and two small legs. That I take was a referenceto a bird but applied too generally. This type could also have four limbs or no limbs. "Flying" through the water is a good description for the Plesiosaur type. I have a personal message from a Romanian friend about the "Loch Ness Monsters" there and I have a book with a report supposedly sent into the LNI from the former-Yugoslavia that was the Plesiosaurian-shaped kind.I only have the reports, not the names they used in those areas.
    If a dragon is described as living in a swamp, eating cattle and black in colour, that would be about a standard Water-Monster description. I don't know if there would ever have been large constrictor snakes in Europe although at one time (early Holocene) there were monitor lizards living in the Balkans.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


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