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European Dragon Dragonology

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Roman dragons developed from serpentine Greek ones, combined with the dragons of the Near East, in the context of the hybrid Greek/Eastern Hellenistic culture. From Babylon, the muš-ḫuššu was a classic representation of a Near Eastern dragon. St John's Book of Revelation—Greek literature, not Roman—describes Satan as "a great dragon, flaming red, with seven heads and ten horns". Much of St John's literary inspiration is late Hebrew and Greek, but his dragon is more likely to have symbolized the dragons from the Near East. In the Roman Empire, each military cohort had a particular identifying signum (military standard); after the Parthian and Dacian Wars of Trajan in the east, the Dacian Draco military standard entered the Legion with the Cohors Sarmatarum and Cohors Dacorum (Sarmatian and Dacian cohorts)—a large dragon fixed to the end of a lance, with large, gaping jaws of silver and with the rest of the body formed of colored silk. With the jaws facing into the wind, the silken body inflated and rippled, resembling a windsock.



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