10 incredible ‘dragons’ from cultures across the world

6) Kukulkan (from Mesoamerica) –

Quetzalcoatl

Also known as Quetzalcoatl, the Kukulkan was worshiped as the great ‘feathered serpent’ god in the pantheon of Aztecs, Toltecs and the Mayans. The major entity seems to have played a multifaceted role while practicing his ‘godly’ business. To that end, Kukulkan was the god of creation, the sire of both the Morning and Evening Star, the protector the craftsmen, the rain-maker, the wind-blower and also the fire-bringer. Interestingly, both the Mayans and the Aztecs were not too keen on solar eclipses (given the sacredness of the sun), as such their mythic traditions used to depict such rare scenarios with the Earth Serpent swallowing the great Quetzalcoatl. Furthermore, as opposed to their cultural penchant for human sacrifices, Kukulkan was supposedly not fond of such bloodthirsty practices.

7) Kur (from Sumeria) –

Kur

The primordial Kur is often considered as the first dragon within the literary web of vast mythic traditions from Sumeria. He is described as residing in the void above the earth’s layer and below the primal sea. The monstrous entity is also often related to the Sumerian concept of underworld, and such, among its numerous wicked exploits, the dragon once kidnapped the goddess Ereshkigal by taking her into his netherworld realm. The rescuing task fell to a hero called Enki, and he successfully slew the dragon – a myth which serves as a prologue to the renowned ‘Epic of Gilgamesh‘. Interestingly, the act of ‘slaying a dragon’ is a common motif repeated in later Babylonian traditions, which might have also found its parallels or expansion (in tales) in other parts of the world.

8) Python (from Greece) –

Apollo_Killing_the_Python

Python is depicted as the earth dragon that came from a slime in Delphi, while other sources claim the entity to be a female offspring of Gaia, the Earth goddess. She was described as being so humongous that her gargantuan coils stretched around the entire site of the Delphi oracle – thus ably protecting her mother. She was also counted as one of the pets of Hera (wife of Zeus), and that gave her the ‘privilege’ to cause harm and destruction to the surrounding lands, without getting punished. However, the happy romping sessions were finally curtailed by the Olympian deity Apollo, when he slew the monster with his weapon of choice – the bow and arrow. The god of ‘light and sun’ also took over the stronghold of Delphi, and grandly refurbished it with his own predilections.

9) Stoor worm (from Scotland) –

Stoor worm

Stoor worm or Mester Stoor Worm (also known as Master Stoor Worm) is an evil monster from Orcadian mythology (myths pertaining to Orkney Islands, north of Scotland) with the fetid capacity to cause pestilence and contamination among both plants and animals. He was also known to be a glutton, and would randomly pick seven victims from the nearby settlement for his weekly meal. Fortunately, in an interesting turn of events, it was little boy named Assipattle, who killed the dragon by going inside its belly with a boat and burning the creature’s liver. However, the scope of the Stoor worm might go beyond this little tale, as some experts believe the monster dragon was a Orkney version of the famous Jörmungandr from Norse mythology (the World Serpent who is predicted to be killed by the mighty Thor during Ragnarok).

10) Vritra (from India) –

Vritra

Mentioned in the ancient Aryan Vedic texts as the main adversary of the Indra (the king of Devas or ‘demi-gods’), the Vritra was an Asura (a spirit that seeks power and dominance) who was projected as a massive dragon-like entity. Also known by his Vedic name of Ahi, which translates to ‘snake’, the Vritra personified the droughts that ‘imprisoned’ numerous rivers and water bodies. On the other hand, Indra was the God of thunderstorms and rain, and hence their enmity is well justified within the literary scope. To that end, in an epic battle, Indra successfully destroyed 99 fortresses of the beast, and finally slew the dragon himself by breaking his jaw into two – with his imbued power being generated from an enchanted drink called ‘Soma’. This heroic feat finally led to the freedom of the flowing rivers.

* Some of the images may not depict the lore version of the dragons, but they were still used due to lack of pictorial depictions in the related media.

Image Credits: Hibbary / Andre Kosslick / Vampire Princess 007 / Guterrez

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