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Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wyvern/ Western Dragon-Bird Information

Owing to the constant interest in the topic by "Troodon Man," I am reviewing the information on the European dragons, Wyverns and dragon-birds, to be written up in a longer detailed article to follow. I have two preliminary scale reconstructions I am working on below with the green form centered in Western Europe from Spain and Portugal to Wales and England, and central Europe and the red phase in Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Balkans and including also Russia and Turkey. The head seems to have little hornlike extensions similar to what is seen in some other types of pheasants, and it seems that both the longer wing and tail feathers are marked with eyespots (ocelli)

European dragons
Catalan dragondracCatalan dragons are serpent-like creatures with two legs (rarely four) and, sometimes, a pair of wings. Their faces can resemble that of other animals, like lions or cattle. They have a burning breath. Their breath is also poisonous, the reason by which dracs are able to rot everything with their stench. A víbria is a female dragon.[NOTE: Also includes local 2-footed Tatzelwurm variant]
French dragonsDragon Meddragon Liber Floridus Lambert of sint Omaars 1460.jpgAuthors tend often to present the dragon legends as symbol of Christianity's victory over paganism, represented by a harmful dragon. The French representation of dragons spans much of European history, and has even given its name to the dragoons, a type of cavalry.
Sardinian dragonscultoneThe dragon named "scultone" or "ascultone" appears in legends in Sardinia, Italy. It had the power to kill human beings with its gaze. It was a sort of basilisk, lived in the bush and was immortal.
Scandinavian & Germanic dragonsLindworm
Dragon héraldique.png
Lindworms are serpent-like dragons with either two or no legs. In Nordic and Germanic heraldry, the lindworm looks the same as a wyvern. The dragon Fafnir was a lindworm.
English dragonsWyvernWyverns are common in medieval heraldry. Their usual blazon is statant. Wyverns are normally shown as dragons with two legs and two wings.
Welsh dragonsY Ddraig Goch
Welsh dragon.svg
In Welsh mythology, after a long battle (which the Welsh King Vortigern witnesses) a red dragon defeats a white dragon; Merlin explains to Vortigern that the red dragon symbolizes the Welsh, and the white dragon symbolizes the Saxons – thus foretelling the ultimate defeat of the English by the Welsh. The ddraig goch appears on the Welsh flag [The anfac  fourlegged , non winged and the twolegged, winged creatures are separate but combined in this dragon]
The worm hill dragon700 AD the Anglo-Saxons settled and called the hill "Wruenele" this translates as "Wruen" worm, reptile or dragon and "ele" hill. According to local folklore the hill at Knotlow was the lair of a dragon and the terraces around it were made by the coils of its tail. Knotlow is an ancient volcanic vent and this may explain the myth.
The Bignor hill dragonThere is a brief mention of a Dragon on Bignor Hill south of the village of Bignor near the famous Roman Villa, apparently "A Large dragon had its den on Bignor Hill, and marks of its folds were to be seen on the hill". Similar legends have been told of ridges around other hills, such as at Wormhill in Derbyshire.
Zomok [Hungary]A giant winged snake, which is in fact a full-grown zomok. It often serves as flying mount of the garabonciás (a kind of magician). The sárkánykígyó rules over storms and bad weather.
sárkányA dragon in human form. Most of them are giants with multiple heads. Their strength is held in their heads. They become gradually weaker as they lose their heads. In contemporary Hungarian the word sárkány is used to mean all kinds of dragons. [It comes from a root meaning "Lord" as in feudal]
Slavic dragonszmey, zmiy, żmij, змей, or zmaj, or drak, or smok
Dragon Crop.svg

Smok Wawelski from Sebastian Münster's Cosmographie Universalis, 1544
Similar to the conventional European dragon, but multi-headed. They breathe fire and/or leave fiery wakes as they fly. In Slavic and related tradition, dragons symbolize evil. Specific dragons are often given Turkic names (see Zilant, below), symbolizing the long-standing conflict between the Slavs and Turks. However, in Serbian and Bulgarian folklore, dragons are defenders of the crops in their home regions, fighting against a destructive demon Ala, whom they shoot with lightning.[2][3]
Armenian dragonVishapRelated to European dragons
Siberian dragonYilbegänRelated to European Turkic and Slavic dragons
Romanian dragonsBalaur, ZburatorBalaur are very similar to the Slavic zmey: very large, with fins and multiple heads.
Chuvash dragonsVere CelenChuvash dragons represent the pre-Islamic mythology of the same region.
Asturian and Leonese dragonsCuélebreIn Asturias and León mythology the Cuélebres are giant winged serpents, which live in caves where they guard treasures and kidnapped xanas. They can live for centuries and, when they grow really old, they use their wings to fly. Their breath is poisonous and they often kill cattle to eat. Leonese language term Cuelebre comes from Latin colŭbra, i.e., snake.
Albanian DragonsBolla
File:Bua Shpata coat of arms
Bollas in the Coat of Arms of House of Bua Shpata
In the Albanian mythology Bolla (also known as Bullar in South Albania), is a type of serpentic dragon (or a demonic dragon-like creature) with a long, coiled, serpentine body, four legs and small wings in ancient Albanian folklore. This dragon sleeps throughout the whole year, only to wake on Saint George's Day, where its faceted silver eyes peer into the world. The Bolla does this until it sees a human. It devours the person, then closes its eyes and sleeps again.[4] Bolla was worshiped as the deity Boa by the ancestors of Albanians, Illyrians.[5] Bolla appears in the coat of arms of the House of Bua Shpata.
KulshedraIn its twelfth year, the bolla evolves by growing nine tongues, horns, spines and larger wings. At this time it will learn how to use its formerly hidden fire-breathing abilities, and is now called a kulshedra or kuçedra (hydra). The kuçedra causes droughts and lives off human sacrifices. Kulshedras are killed by Drangue, Albanian winged warriors with supernatural powers. Thunderstorms are conceived as battles between the drangues and the kulshedras.
DreqDreq is the dragon (draco) proper. It was demonized by Christianity and now is one of the Albanian names of the devil.
Portuguese dragonsCoca [ie, Cocadrille]In Portuguese mythology coca is a female dragon that fights with Saint George. She loses her strength when Saint George cuts off one of her ears.
Greek dragonsDrákōn - δράκων
Kadmos dragon Louvre E707.jpg
Cadmus fighting the Ismenian dragon (which guarded the sacred spring of Ares) is a legendary story from the Greek lore dating to before ca. 560–550 B.C. Greek dragons commonly had a role of protecting important objects or places. For example, the Colchian dragon watched the Golden Fleece and the Nemean dragon guarded the sacred groves of Zeus.[6] The name comes from the Greek "drakeîn" meaning "to see clearly".[7]
Tatar dragonsZilant
Flag Kaz.jpg
Really closer to a wyvern or cockatrice, the Zilant is the symbol of Kazan. Zilant itself is a Russian rendering of Tatar yılan, i.e., snake.
Turkish dragonsEjderha or EvrenThe Turkish dragon secretes flames from its tail, and there is no mention in any legends of its having wings, or even legs. In fact, most Turkish (and later Islamic) sources describe dragons as gigantic snakes.
[Actually there are two kinds, see note at end]
Lithuanian DragonsSlibinasThis dragon is more of a hydra with multiple heads, though sometimes it does appear with one head.
ADDITIONAL  Lithuania, Latvia, Estonian and Karelian Dragons:
Ai / Aijatar / Ajatar / Ajattara / Aijo
Region: Estonia, Southern Regions
Time Period: Unknown
Sources: Giants, Monsters, and Dragons

Region: Lithuania
Time Period: 1547 (first mention)
Sources: Giants, Monsters, and Dragons pg 10, Circle of the Dragon others

• Changes appearance - indoors it's a cock, outdoors its a dragon with a fiery tail
• Can bring both good luck and bad luck to it's masters, but will bring stolen money.
• Can be purchased - the price is a soul.
• The bad news - once you have one, they're near impossible to get rid of.
• Eats omelets, eggs and neighbour's chickens
• If injured, would be healed by just touching the ground
Tale 1:
One story says that a new wife wondered by her mother-in-law's corn bin never ran out, so she took a consecrated candle and looked in the bin. There she found an Aitvaras, but the candle scared it away and it disappeared.
Tale 2:
First mentioned when a neighbor suddenly became wealthy and the others investigated
Region: Lithuania
Time Period: Unknown
Sources: Giants, Monsters, and Dragons

• Flying dragon with fiery tail that also manifests as a fowl.
• Brings good fortune and stolen goods and may be the guardians of treasure

Ejderha (Turkey)

Zmej-Slavic, Balkan and Central-European Dragon

Trento-Italy-cathedral-relief_ hunting hound_with_wyvern
This could give the approximate scale for a large pheasant-like bird as measured against an average hunting hound.
In this case it is hard to measure around the tail coil but the whole is about ten feet long..

Front half of dragon statue, can be considered as representing the whole of a Wyvern in  itself  by incorporating the legend this way. The Dragon of Wales started out with just the two (Front)
 legs but later added on the rear pair also, as in this statue.                     


St George and the Dragon, above and below

Turkish lore speaks of a good dragon and a bad dragon in eternal conflict, a tradition supposedly derived from Inner Asia.
Bükrek and Sangal - Altai Turks and  two dragons fighting in mythology. The conflict is reminiscent  of Yin-Yang symbol. Bukri or also known as Bukra (Bukran),  Has good qualities. Harmless to humans, or even to help. Lizard appearance. No wings, and therefore can not fly. All the seas connects the major sea (ocean) live. There is a very strong ["Water tiger"] claws and a long neck. Her voice is also very nice, and it sounds even said to the other end of the world. It is in conflict with Evil dragons who seek escape from his voice. Fought the nine-year-long war with the evil dragon Sangal and won the match. (Twist / bug / Buk) is derived from the root. Twisty, is writhing. It also embodies the meaning of strength and invincibility. In this context, Boke (hero, champion) has to do with the concept. Bogen / Böge (shaman) are also linked with the word.

It seems that the religious myths recognize a sort of long-necked sea serpent or dragon traditionally, whose name is a "String of Buoys" reference originally but which became the common term of reference for Long Necked Sea-serpent when seen around the area of modern Turkey. This is potentially useful to know. I also don't know how extensively the myth reaches into Inner Asia.


  1. Wow, this is awesome! I find it amazing that a creature that large is still capable of flight!

  2. By the way, what were some of the other color schemes that existed before the late Middle Ages?

    1. That is difficult to say because nearly all the documentation is from the Middle Ages. I imagine more mixed types and less extreme colour schemes existed before the populations became so obviously polarized geographically.


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