From legend and mythology to The Hobbit and A Game of Thrones, the dragon is a perennial favorite in the fantasy genre.
With its fiery breath, scaly armour, and baleful, malevolent stare, the dragon became the ultimate symbol of evil and corruption in European folklore and mythology. Often serving as a stand-in for Satan, or the power of evil gods, dragons spread death and hopelessness throughout the land. Only heroes of uncommon valour, courageousness, and purity could hope to battle these monsters and emerge victorious. Those that did became legends. They became dragonslayers. The list of dragonslayers is small, but it is filled with great and legendary names. Hercules, Beowulf, Cuchulain, Sigfried, Lancelot, and Saint George all battled to the death with dragons. Other heroes such as the Danish King Frotho, the French Saint Mercurialis, the Polish champion Krak, and the Russian warrior Dobrynya Nikitch might be less well known to western readers, but also fought and defeated dragons. This book will retell the greatest legends of this select group of warriors, while examining the myth of the dragonslayer in a historical, mythological, and even theological context.
Table of Contents
Cadmus, Founder of Thebes
Hercules and Ladon, the Hundred-Headed Dragon
Daniel of the Lion's Den
Sigurd the Völsung
St. George and the Dragon
Pope Sylvester I
St. Carantoc and King Arthur
John Lambton and the Lambton Worm
Dieudonné de Gozon, Draconis Extinctor
Lord Albrecht Trut
Dobrynya Nikitich and Zmey Gorynych
Dragonslayers form Around the World
Manabozho and the Fiery Serpents
Pitaka and the Taniwha
"Entertaining and a joy to page through, Dragonslayers is a choice pick for personal browsing or public library mythology shelves."
- The Midwest Book Review (May 2013)
"Writings from Greece, Russia, and Western sources explore the evolution of dragons and dragonslayer myths and realities, making for an outstanding synthesis of all the legends surrounding them."
- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review (June 2013)