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Adrian Wright
Adrian Wright

The George And The Dragon |TOP|

Jim Eckert holds a doctorate in medieval history and is hoping for an instructor position at a Minnesota university, where he works as an assistant to a history professor. He is engaged to marry Angie Farrell, who is working toward a doctorate in English literature and works as a laboratory assistant to psychology graduate Grottwald Weinar Hansen. During one of Grottwald's experiments in astral projection, Angie suddenly disappears. To locate her, Jim puts on the apparatus she was testing and finds his consciousness projected into a world of medieval fantasy, in which his mind inhabits the body of a dragon named Gorbash. In this world, dragons refer to humans as "georges" after the story of Saint George and the Dragon.

The George and the Dragon

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Two other dragons, Smrgol and Bryagh, have captured Angie. Despite being a dragon, Jim is able to convince Angie of his identity and attempts to hypnotize her in order to return her to the real world, but she refuses out of fear that he will be left behind. They seek help from the magician Carolinus, who demands payment in the form of Gorbash's treasure hoard, but Jim does not know its location. Bryagh kidnaps Angie and takes her to Loathly Tower, and Carolinus advises Jim to gather companions to assist in mounting a rescue. Jim meets the knight Sir Brian Neville-Smythe, who is sympathetic to his predicament, and the two set off to rescue Sir Brian's courtly love interest, Lady Geronde, from the clutches of the villainous Sir Hugh. Along the way they are attacked by creatures called sandmirks but are saved by the talking wolf Aragh, who is a friend of Gorbash. Aragh does not believe Jim's story about being stuck in Gorbash's body, but agrees to accompany him and Sir Brian. They are next joined by the archer Danielle, the Welsh bowman Dafydd ap Hywel, and the outlaw Giles of the Wold. Arriving at Malvern Castle, the party attempts to rescue Lady Geronde but Jim is wounded by Sir Hugh. Upon recovering he finds that Smrgol and Carolinus have joined the quest, though Smrgol is developing a stroke and thus is of limited ability. Jim attempts to head to Loathly Tower alone but, upon encountering more sandmirks, returns to his companions.

The next morning, Jim finds that Sir Hugh has captured a dragon named Secoh. With the help of his companions, Jim manages to drive off Sir Hugh and his men, free Secoh, and overcome the sandmirks. The group arrives at Loathly Tower, where they face Bryagh along with a monstrous worm, an ogre, sandmirks, and harpies. With some coaching from Smrgol, Jim fights the ogre while Sir Brian takes on the worm, Aragh deals with the sandmirks, Dafydd fends off the harpies, Smrgol and Secoh attack Bryagh, and Carolinus pitches in using magic. The heroes are able to overcome their enemies, but Smrgol is killed and Dafydd is wounded.

The narrative has pre-Christian origins (Jason and Medea, Perseus and Andromeda, Typhon, etc.),[1] and is recorded in various saints' lives prior to its attribution to St. George specifically. It was particularly attributed to Saint Theodore Tiro in the 9th and 10th centuries, and was first transferred to Saint George in the 11th century. The oldest known record of Saint George slaying a dragon is found in a Georgian text of the 11th century.[2][3]

The iconography of military saints Theodore, George and Demetrius as horsemenis a direct continuation of the Roman-era "Thracian horseman" type iconography.The iconography of the dragon appears to grow out of the serpent entwining the "tree of life" on one hand, and with the draco standard used by late Roman cavalry on the other.Horsemen spearing serpents and boars are widely represented in Roman-era stelae commemorating cavalry soldiers.A carving from Krupac, Serbia, depicts Apollo and Asclepius as Thracian horsemen, shown besides the serpent entwined around the tree. Another stele shows the Dioscuri as Thracian horsemen on either side of the serpent-entwined tree, killing a boar with their spears.[4]

The development of the hagiographical narrative of the dragon-fight parallels the development of iconography.It draws from pre-Christian dragon myths. The Coptic version of the Saint George legend, edited by E. A. Wallis Budge in 1888, and estimated by Budge to be based on a source of the 5th or 6th century, names "governor Dadianus", the persecutor of Saint George as "the dragon of the abyss". a greek myth with similar elements of the legend is the battle between Bellerophon and the Chimera. Budge makes explicit the parallel to pre-Christian myth,

I doubt much of the whole story of Saint George is anything more than one of the many versions of the old-world story of the conflict between Light and Darkness, or Ra and Apepi, and Marduk and Tiamat, woven upon a few slender threads of historical fact. Tiamat, the scaly, winged, foul dragon, and Apepi the powerful enemy of the glorious Sungod, were both destroyed and made to perish in the fire which he sent against them and their fiends: and Dadianus, also called the 'dragon', with his friends the sixty-nine governors, was also destroyed by fire called down from heaven by the prayer of Saint George.[5]In anticipation of the Saint George iconography, first noted in the 1870s, a Coptic stone fenestrella shows a mounted hawk-headed figure fighting a crocodile, interpreted by the Louvre as Horus killing a metamorphosed Setekh.[6]

Depictions of "Christ militant" trampling a serpent is found in Christian art of the late 5th century. Iconography of the horseman with spear overcoming evil becomes current in the early medieval period.Iconographic representations of St Theodore as dragon-slayer are dated to as early as the 7th century, certainly by the early 10th century (the oldest certain depiction of Theodore killing a dragon is at Aghtamar, dated c. 920).[7]Theodore is reported as having destroyed a dragon near Euchaita in a legend not younger than the late 9th century.Early depictions of a horseman killing a dragon are unlikely to represent St. George, who in the 10th century was depicted as killing a human figure, not a dragon.[8]

The earliest image of St Theodore as a horseman (named in Latin) is from Vinica, North Macedonia and, if genuine, dates to the 6th or 7th century. Here, Theodore is not slaying a dragon, but holding a draco standard.One of the Vinica icons also has the oldest representation of Saint George with a dragon:George stands besides a cynocephalous St. Christopher, both saints treading on snakes with human heads, and aiming at their heads with spears.[9]Maguire (1996) has connected the shift from unnamed equestrian heroes used in household magic to the more regulated iconography of named saints to the closer regulation of sacred imagery following the iconoclasm of the 730s.[4]

In the West, a Carolingian-era depiction of a Roman horseman trampling and piercing a dragon between two soldier saints with lances and shields was put on the foot of a crux gemmata, formerly in the Treasury of the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht (lost since the 18th c.). The representation survives in a 17th-century drawing, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.

The "Christianisation" of the Thracian horseman iconography can be traced to the Cappadocian cave churches of Göreme, where frescoes of the 10th century show military saints on horseback confronting serpents with one, two or three heads. One of the earliest examples is from the church known as Mavrucan 3 (Güzelöz, Yeşilhisar [tr]), generally dated to the 10th century,[10] which portrays two "sacred riders" confronting two serpents twined around a tree, in a striking parallel to the Dioskuroi stela, except that the riders are now attacking the snake in the "tree of life" instead of a boar.In this example, at least, there appear to be two snakes with separate heads, but other examples of 10th-century Cappadocia show polycephalous snakes.[4]A poorly preserved wall-painting at the Yılanlı Kilise [tr] ("Snake Church") that depicts the two saints Theodore and George attacking a dragon has been tentatively dated to the 10th century,[11] or alternatively even to the mid-9th.[12][need quotation to verify]

The transfer of the dragon iconography from Theodore, or Theodore and George as "Dioskuroi" to George on his own, first becomes tangible in the early 11th century.[citation needed]The oldest certain images of St. George combatting the serpent are still found in Cappadocia.

Silene in Libya was plagued by a venom-spewing dragon dwelling in a nearby pond, poisoning the countryside. To prevent it from affecting the city itself, the people offered it two sheep daily, then a man and a sheep, and finally their children and youths, chosen by lottery. One time the lot fell on the king's daughter. The king offered all his gold and silver to have his daughter spared, but the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon.

Saint George by chance arrived at the spot. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to remain. The dragon emerged from the pond while they were conversing. Saint George made the Sign of the Cross and charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance.[a] He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle (zona), and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl like a "meek beast" on a leash.[b]

The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the populace. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if they consented to become Christians and be baptized. Fifteen thousand men including the king of Silene converted to Christianity.[c] George then killed the dragon, beheading it with his sword, and the body was carted out of the city on four ox-carts. The king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George on the site where the dragon died and a spring flowed from its altar with water that cured all disease.[17]Only the Latin version involves the saint striking the dragon with the spear, before killing it with the sword.[18] 350c69d7ab


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