archived 10-31-99
Archive file# e103199a
donated by James Vandale


From pre-Christian times until the late 17th century, dragons roamed all over Europe. They have been observed by knights, historians and naturalists. Here are 12 sightings that I have found for you.

1. Scandinavia: Recorded in 1572, a dragon inhabited the area north of Lapland. The region was so desolate that the dragon was reduced to a diet of mice.

2. London, England: On November 30, 1222, dragons were seen over the city. The flight preceded - and may have caused thunderstorms and severe flooding.

3. Henham, Essex, England: An amphiptiere nine feet long was discovered on a hillock near the town in 1669. The terrifying serpent remained in the area for some months but inflicted no actual harm.

4. Ireland: According to legends, Tristan of Lyonesse slew a dragon here in the 11th century. The commentator Giraldus Cambrensis, however, announced in 1188 that Ireland was free from all dragons, possibly from the intervention of Saint Patrick in the 5th century.

5. Provence, France: A dragon called a Drac, inhabited the Rhone River throughout the 13th century. The town of Dracguignan was named for it. The worst attack seemed to have occurred in Beaucaire.

6. Isle Ste. Marguerite, France: This island off the French coast sheltered a dragon during much of the Middle Ages. Because of the ferocity of the creature, it was often confused with the Tarrasque. Although, unlike the Tarrasque, it had wings.

7. Drachenfels, Germany: Sometime before a fortress was built here in the 12th century, this mountain hid a dragon that flourished, it was said, on a diet of young women.

8. Sanctogoarin and Neidenburg, Germany: The naturalist, Edward Topsell wrote in 1608 that Sanctogoarin was plagued by a dragon whose flights caused fires. The dragon of Neidenburg poisoned wells by bathing in them.

9. Bonn, Germany: The Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi had in his collection, a lindworm killed near Bonn in 1572.

10. Switzerland: Christopher Schorer, the Perfect of the canton of Solothurn, reported the sighting of a winged mountain dragon near Lucerne in 1619, as well as an encounter in 1654 between a hunter and a dragon. The latter retreated with a rustling of scales into its mountain den.

11. Rome, Italy: The Historia naturalis of Pliny the Elder reported that a dragon killed on Vatican Hill during the reign of the Emporer Claudius (died 54 A.D.) contained the body of a child; centuries later, in 1660, the German Athanatius Kircher, examined a dragon killed near the city. He commented on it's unusual webbed feet.

12. Kiev, Russia: As recorded in the byliny - legends of the heroes - dating from the 11th century, a dragon called Gorynych terrorized this region for years before the hero Dobrynja slew it.

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