Sunday, September 27, 2015

Roman depictions of dragons (in chronological order)

French: "Guivre"; English: "Wyvern"; German: "Wurm"

Depictions of Drakons before and after the theorized "Heinsohn Horizon" are noticeably different. For example, here are two feathered snakes...
* "Scatological Graffiti Was The Ancient Roman Version Of Yelp And Twitter" (2016-10-04, [], photo caption: Fresco from a corridor leading to a latrine with Isis protecting a man relieving himself and the words Cacator cave malum (Defacator, beware the evil eye), Naples Archaeological Museum.

Triple-headed Dragon Fresco -- From the 'Tomb of the Infernal Chariot' -- Etruscan necropolis of Pianacce at Sarteano (Siena)

* Agathos Daimon, detail of a fresco from Pompeii, 1st CE

Of course, mythological cryptids abound in Pompeii

* Roman fresco that survived Pompeii disaster destroyed in Brazil national museum fire, 2018 []

Draco and Drakons:
* Coin obverse at []: Roman Empire, ca. 236 to 237 CE. Minted in Rome, under the SC (approval of the Senate).

Drakons Celtica:
* []: Boucle de ceinture en bronze Epoque de la Tene Autriche Art celte
* []: Roman-British dragonesque brooch 1-2c
* []: Pair of dragonesque brooches. Roman Britain, 1st or 2nd century AD (British Museum)

Dragons of North-Eastern Asia:
* "Dragons of Siberia: Scientists Reveal Mythical Creature Once Lived in Russia Too; The legendary dragon was long thought to be mostly a feature Chinese and other Asian countries' folklore, but Russian scientists have found pictured of these mythical creatures on the ancient belt-plaques found in South Siberia, suggesting that dragons once inhabited Russia (or at least Russia's imagination)" (2017-04-08, []:
Detailed research of bronze belt-plaques, which were found back in 1970 in South Siberia as part of the so-called 'Iyus cache', have given researchers reason to believe that dragons had a unique role to play in Russia's own myths and legends, the Science of Siberia magazine of the Siberian department of Russia's Academy of Sciences reports on Tuesday.
Dragons depicted on the belt-plaques are shown in motion, as if curling spirally, as opposed to the traditional Chinese dragon which is often shown moving in a zigzag fashion.
The image of a dragon served as a talisman and was supposed to protect the owner from danger, researchers suggest. Belt-plaques found in different caches differ in both their size and details, which lead the scientists to believe that they were manufactured in series but according to a single canon.
"Even though the territory of South Siberia was under a strong Chinese influence, the belt-plaques with dragon images were most likely made locally and not copied from Chinese designs. The figure of a dragon might have been a sign typical to this cultural territory," suggested Andrei Borodovsky, a researcher from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences.
The Iyus cache was named after the settlement in South Siberia where it was found. The most ancient caches found in the region date back to the Mesolithic epoch, which are much rarer finds than caches the early Iron Age.

* "Rare sitting dragon sculpture is the treasure of Harbin's museum" (2017-10-06, [] [begin excerpt]: The sculpture dates back to the Jin Dynasty, between 1115 to 1234.  The magnificent beast has a dragon’s head, a dog’s body, a kylin’s back and a lion’s tail. The unique pose makes it stand out among so many dragon sculptures. [end excerpt]


* The Dragon being slain by Saint George is also shown as a large 'serpent' in Italian and French depictions from the 1100s [].

* Crocodiles [] [] from Liber Floridus (Book of Flowers), an encyclopedia by Lambert, Canon of Saint-Omer between 1090 and 1120

* Animals from the Rochester Bestiary, c. 1225-1250
- A crocodile []:

- Dragon, among Elephants []:

- Dragon, among Lions and other animals []:

- Dragon, alongside a colorful panther []:

* circa 1225-1250. Documented at "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in Medieval Bestiaries" ( [].

* circa 1237-1275 depicting an orange fire-breathing dragon with two pairs of wings. Documented at "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in Medieval Bestiaries" ( [].

* A crocodile from the Northumberland Bestiary, fol. 49v, mid-1250s []

* Manuscript resources []: Miniature of Satan returning and attacking the Holy City, from an Apocalypse in Latin with commentary, 2nd half of the 13th century, S.E. England, (?London) []

* circa 1275-1325. Documented at "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in Medieval Bestiaries" ( [].

* 1400s tapestry featuring French farmer with bees, elephant, mushrooms, stag and tiny aquatic dragons [].

* Illustration by Loyset Liédet (d. 1479) for the "Mystère de la Vengeance" manuscript for Duke Phillip [] showing the appearance in the sky of portents of Jerusalem’s destruction.

* Photo caption from "Narni: A Medieval Town" ( []: Relief at S. Maria Impensole

* View of the Sala di Constantino, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican (1520 to 1524) []

* Photo caption at []: Initial phase: (left-above) dragon of Pope Gregory XIII; (left-below) dragon and eagle of Pope Paul V

* "DRAGONS AND EAGLES: The Borghese Family" ( [] [begin excerpt]: With Pope Paul V (Camillo Borghese, pope from 1605 to 1621) and his nephew Cardinal Scipione, this family of Siena became one of the most important in the history of Rome. The family survives to these days. Their heraldic symbol is based on the dragon (like that of Pope Gregory XIII of the Boncompagni family) and on the eagle with the latter above the former.
(Photo caption): Stucco decoration of the vault of the Portico of St Peter's

(Photo caption): Entrance to the Sacristy of S. Maria Maggiore and well in the courtyard

(Photo caption): Façade of S. Gregorio and detail of the Cosmatesque pavement of S. Crisogono

(Photo caption): Coats of arms of Monte Compatri, Monte Porzio Catone and entrance to Monte Porzio Catone

South of Rome lies an area of vulcanic hills, the Colli Albani. With the Borghese this area became the preferred countryside of Rome, replacing the area to the north of Rome towards the lakes of Bracciano and Bolsena. Twelve little towns rapidly developed and were called I Castelli Romani (the Roman Castles).
Two of these, Monte Porzio Catone and Monte Compatri retain on their coats of arms the symbols of the Borghese family. The entrance to Monte Porzio Catone is the entrance to yet another palace of the Borghese and below the balcony the eagle and the dragon keep an eye on who is coming in.  [end excerpt]

* "Avignon" or Roma Gallica ( [] [begin excerpt]: The Palais de la Monnaie (the Mint Palace) was originally built in honour of Pope Paul V and its façade is dedicated to his coat of arms. Although heavily restored, it is a masterpiece of Italian Baroque, quite unique in France. One can imagine that the eagle of the Borghese family managed to survive as a symbol of Napoleon. The decoration is quite sophisticated as you can see from the details of the dragon. [end excerpt]

* More about Pope Paul V, from "Abridged History of Rome - Part III page V - Early Baroque Rome" [] [begin excerpt]:
At the following conclave the cardinals, after eight days of heated debate, elected Cardinal Camillo Borghese who at the time was leading the Inquisition and was not regarded as belonging either to the pro-Spanish or to the pro-French party.
His rigid views on the superior authority of the pope soon led him into a confrontation with the Republic of Venice which clearly showed that the times when an excommunication was able to force an emperor to kiss the pope's slipper to ask forgiveness had gone.
The issue at stake was related to the jurisdiction over two priests (actually two noblemen having some ecclesiastical benefits) arrested and charged with several crimes. The pope claimed through his nuncio that they should be tried in Rome. The Venetian Senate refused and the pope excommunicated the entire government of Venice and placed an interdict on the city. To his great dismay the clergy (with the exception of the Jesuits and two other orders) sided with the Republic; the Senate expelled the rebellious orders: masses, weddings, funerals continued to be celebrated. Eventually in March 1607 Pope Paul V withdrew his censure without being able to force Venice to make concessions: the Jesuits remained banned from Venice for nearly sixty years.
One of the first decisions of Pope Paul V was that of appointing cardinal his nephew Scipione Caffarelli, who added to his surname that of the Borghese and adopted his uncle's coat of arms. The eagles and dragons of the Borghese soon appeared on the many buildings erected or modified by the pope and his nephew. A relief in Cappella Paolina (a chapel in S. Maria Maggiore where the pope placed the funerary monument of Pope Clement VIII and his own) shows the pope with his nephew: the chapel was decorated with many references to the family's heraldic symbols. Pope Paul V erected in front of the church a high column and placed on its top a statue of the Virgin Mary; this inspired the erection of many similar monuments especially in Vienna.
Basilica di S. Sebastiano was in such poor condition that Pope Sixtus V replaced it in the traditional pilgrimage to the seven basilicas with S. Maria del Popolo. Cardinal Scipione Borghese entirely renovated the old building which was again "promoted" to its pristine importance. He also renovated (at a later time) S. Crisogono and S. Gregorio Magno.
(Photo caption): S. Maria Maggiore - Cappella Paolina: (left) detail of a relief portraying Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese and Pope Paul V; (right) heraldic symbols of the Borghese family.

* "Cortile della Pigna", from "Giardino e Casino Pontificio del Belvedere" book 10 webpage ( [begin excerpt]: After the long courtyard was divided into two sections by Libreria Vaticana its northen part became known as Cortile della Pigna because Pope Paul V relocated there a gigantic bronze fir cone which previously stood in the portico of Old S. Pietro and was mentioned by Dante in describing Nimrod, a giant: La faccia sua mi parea lunga e grossa/Come la pina di San Pietro a Roma (His face appeared to me as long and large/As is at Rome the pine-cone of Saint Peter's - Divina Commedia - Inferno XXXI - translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).
The southern section of the courtyard is still called Cortile del Belvedere.
(Photo caption): Staircase designed at the time of Pope Clement XI to house "la Pigna"; the pope added his "flying" coat of arms in the niche

(Photo caption): Libreria Vaticana: detail of the ceiling of Sala Paolina with references to the heraldic symbols (eagles and dragons) of Pope Paul V

* Stuffed dragon (from "Mundus Subterraneus" by Kircher, 3rd edition) []:

* Winged, four-legged dragon (from "Mundus Subterraneus" by Kircher, 3rd edition)[]:

* Two-legged, winged, Swiss dragon (from "Mundus Subterraneus" by Kircher, 3rd edition)[]:

* Dragon of Lake Lucerne []

* Dragon kite []

* Dragon in the Barberini Museum []

* Dragon and Tiger mountain (from "China Illustrata" by Kircher) []:



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