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Mr. Headden's post is indeed interesting, and it's certainly possible
I'm wrong about the Chinese having both "bad" and "good" dragons, since
he characterizes them all as categorically "good." My recollection was
that their natures are mixed. (You'll notice I was very good and didn't
take up the silly argument about how to romanize Chinese words yet once
However, it misses the forest for the trees.
The point is, exactly, that the the term "dragon" is simply too vague as
a word to refer to any single creature that might possibly have been a
"saurian" antecedent. There are far too many variations on the theme
for it to be useful, and I'm specifically attacking cultural centrism as
a single criteria for the definition of the word "dragon."
It is, in fact, most clear that dinosaurs were influential in the origin
of the Chinese "leong" (eg. dragon in (guo yu) pinyin... pick your own
romanization folks if you don't like pinyin, but leave me out of the
argument) since there is genuine anthropological verification of Chinese
peasants uncovering fossil bones (probably dinosaurs) which were
totally not understood, and largely ended up ground into powder as a
TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine) remedy for impotence or some such.
Just to beat this horse to death, there is no similar substantial
evidence for the roots of any of the European or Near Eastern or any
other so-called "dragon" myths in paleontological remains.
Perhaps someone would like to propose that the Icarus myth had it's
roots in a primitive discovery of Archaeopteryx. Some poor ancient Greek
paleontologist dripped wax on a fossil.. and you can guess the rest.
Oh, darn! Now listen up, everybody... the last paragraph is a JOKE. Get
it... J O K E. (muttter mutter, next thing you know I'll get 400
e-mails explaining that the Greeks didn't have paleontologists.)
And, drat, it is DragonHeart not Dragonslayer in which Connery's voice
appears. Neither of those dragons have feathery wings, however.
Jaime Headden wrote:
> <To state the obvious, "dragon" is a European word>
> French form of Old French (or Gaulish) of a word I don't have handy
> <(as contrasted, for example with "leong" or "leung" which are Chinese
> words for a SIMILAR, but not identical creature). Therein the problem.
> I wish to add, though, that including the _long_ of China in this is
> unwise, as the Chinese arrived at their "dragons" quite differently than
> the English did, and these are hardly of the reptilian vein as ours are.
> Feathers or hair, and all that, which _long_ are drawn and painted with.
> Jaime A. Headden
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