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2 3 Early naturalists believed that the dragon was a real animaloften maps of foreign countries were inscribed with the words here be dragons, usually on areas of unexplored wilderness, and books like the 17th century Historie of fourefooted Beastes by Edward Topsell showed depictions of dragons next to reptiles such as lizards and snakes. Today, with our ability to visit nearly every part of the world, we can be almost certain that the dragon, in the general form that we visualise it, does not physically exist anywhere on Earth. A modern description of a dragon might be that it has four legs, a long snakelike body with a barbed tail, a fierce wyverns head, bats wings, sharp claws and teeth, and emits fire from its mouth. However, in earlier times the dragon and serpent shapes were completely interchangeable. The words Drakon and Draco were used throughout the Greek and Roman Empires to describe a large snake, and the word Dragon is derived from both of these names. Drakon not only referred to a large snake but also to a flying creature although, like most Chinese dragons, it mysteriously did not need wings to achieve flight. Classical and earlier texts make little distinction between legless serpents and dragons. What Is a dragon Above The animals legendary strength and bravery were possibly the reason why Alexander the Great was said to be fathered by a dragon. Opposite A winged dragon and serpent from A Historie of FoureFooted Beastes.
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