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24 25 tYphon It is not just air and water which flow. Fire too undulates, and the ancestor of all firebreathing dragons is surely the monstrous Greek god Typhon. The final son of Gaia, the Earth Mother, and fathered by Tartarus, the void, he represents one of her most destructive aspects. His body from the thighs down was composed of coiling, poisonous serpents, his wings blacked out the light of the sun and his heads touched the stars. A most terrifying sight, Hesiod describes him thus ...and from his shoulders grew a hundred serpents heads, heads of a dread dragon that licked with dusky tongues, and from the eyes of his wonderous heads fires flashed beneath his brows and from all his heads fire burned as he glared. Zeus waged a bitter battle with the monster, eventually driving Typhon to Sicily where he was crushed under the volcano Mount Etna. Today his fires still belch forth from its core and his mouth spews flaming rocks and larva, the fiery molten earth which shapes the world. Typhon also rules the fourth element, air, in its dangerously hot form. Hot winds coil and spiral to produce the cyclonic storms we still call typhoons, the word having being borrowed by the Persians and Arabs.
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