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Dragons!

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Ribbo
28335.  Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:26 pm Reply with quote

Surprised this hasn't been touched on yet. But here is a question that would make an excellent general ignorance section....

Why did map makers write "Here be Dragons" on their maps?

They didn't! There is not one map in existance with such a phrase, of course, it is not surprising that the English phrase does not appear on maps from a time and place where Latin was the language of learning, so here is the list of all known historical maps where the phrase appears in Latin:

The Lenox Globe, (ca. 1503-07), copper, 13cm in diameter (in the collection of the New York Public Library): "HC SVNT DRACONES" (i.e. "hic sunt dracones", "here are dragons") appears on the eastern coast of Asia


Now that's surely quite interesting! Just once has it appeared, yet it's now common knowledge.

Information taken from http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html

 
Flash
28343.  Tue Oct 25, 2005 4:40 pm Reply with quote

Yes, thanks for that.

 
Anna
28345.  Tue Oct 25, 2005 5:07 pm Reply with quote

That's quite interesing. I wonder how it became such a well-known phrase. One (no offence intended to Mr Lenox) obscure map doesn't seem sufficient explanation.

Perhaps it's attached to some kind of folklore or storytelling...?

 
Pyreo
28363.  Tue Oct 25, 2005 7:17 pm Reply with quote

Perhaps is was just shorthand for "danger!" and the people reading the map obeyed, so they never went there to discover that, in fact, there weren't any dragons after all.

 
Tas
29173.  Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:58 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Perhaps is was just shorthand for "danger!" and the people reading the map obeyed, so they never went there to discover that, in fact, there weren't any dragons after all.


Errrrr.....shorthand?

*counting letters*....."Here be Dragons" 13 letters, "Danger" is six.....so perhaps it was long-hand? Or maybe they preferred "Here be Dragons" as it was more dramatic than "Dunno....no-ones got here yet"!

:D

 
Pyreo
29239.  Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:41 pm Reply with quote

Not shorthand then. Whatever it is I mean.

 
Ciggywink
29510.  Fri Nov 04, 2005 2:00 pm Reply with quote

The dragon represents
Quote:
the union of 2 opposed principles...Its androgynous nature is symbolised most clearly by the Ouroboros – the serpent-dragon which “incarnates sexual union in itself, permanently self-fertilizing, as shown by the tail stuck in its mouth


S: Dictionary of Symbols

 
Mostly Harmless
31568.  Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:34 am Reply with quote

..


Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Celebaelin
32802.  Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:54 am Reply with quote

Dragons can symbolise a lot of things.

M.C. Escher's "Dragon" has much in common with the Ouroboros which might explain a certain fascination with dragons of 'naval' types



but has been used to symbolise quantum gravity, er, apparently!

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0212033

But the theme of the unknown or unfathomable in association with dragons goes a lot further than that. Take Jungian psychology for example, the monsterous depictions of Mercurius, Hermes Trismegistus, Thoth, whatever you elect to call the archetypal image of the collective unconscious owes more to its mysterious nature than any astrological planetary link or secret mutual connivance. That ancient deities from Ishtar (Astaroth) to Moloch (the Archangel Michael) were depicted as, or associated with, Dragons is in part because of Christian monotheistic attitudes in the middle ages and in part because of remnants of ancient myth. The Canaanite Moloch could not be reconciled with monotheistic Judaism so the Angel of Death became incorporated as a subordinate to the patriarch, and a dragon-slaying one at that. Banishing the fear of the unknown perhaps?

I've been looking for a net version of the image of mercurius which looks remarkably like a giant chicken with a mans' head and three intertwined serpent tail-type thingies with planetary objects dangling from them but I can't track it down. If somebody manages to find it I think you'll see the resemblance to Esher's "Dragon". Nose too close to the alembic huh?


Last edited by Celebaelin on Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total

 
djgordy
32836.  Sun Nov 20, 2005 5:54 am Reply with quote

Ribbo wrote:


The Lenox Globe, (ca. 1503-07), copper, 13cm in diameter (in the collection of the New York Public Library): "HC SVNT DRACONES" (i.e. "hic sunt dracones", "here are dragons") appears on the eastern coast of Asia



Of course, there are dragons on the easternn coast of Asia in the form of water monitor lizards.

 
gerontius grumpus
42538.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:08 pm Reply with quote

When was the last recorded sighting of dragons in England?

 
Psychosis_Safari
42541.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:16 pm Reply with quote

gerontius grumpus wrote:
When was the last recorded sighting of dragons in England?


Yesterday...i visited my mum

Sorry couldn't resist...

 
markvent
42547.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:20 pm Reply with quote

further to

Quote:
Of course, there are dragons on the easternn coast of Asia in the form of water monitor lizards.


there do be dragons .. Varanus komodoensis aka komodo dragons ..

 
Mostly Harmless
42574.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:18 pm Reply with quote

..


Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
grizzly
42590.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:06 pm Reply with quote

Ciggywink wrote:
The dragon represents
Quote:
the union of 2 opposed principles...Its androgynous nature is symbolised most clearly by the Ouroboros – the serpent-dragon which “incarnates sexual union in itself, permanently self-fertilizing, as shown by the tail stuck in its mouth


S: Dictionary of Symbols


Ouroboros is also the birth name of Dave Lister, so named because he was his own father and abandoned his own 6 month old self in a cardboard box under a pool table.

Yes, I did just get Red Dwarf series VII for xmas.

 

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