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26 27 the draconIopIdes When a new religion conquers an earlier one, old customs and gods are either incorporated into the new order or they become demonised. In the JudeoChristian era the dragon was in for a shock. While Christianity personified the Egyptian Osiris and Greek Dionysus in the figure of Jesus, ancient horned and fertility deities were combined into the sinister horned and hooved Satan, and dragons of wisdom, flow and fertility became envoys of negative, destructive power. Thus a serpentine dragon, Lilith, appears at the very beginning of the Bible in the Garden of Eden persuading Eve to eat forbidden fruita Hebrew text reminds us ... for before Eve was Lilith. She is described elsewhere as the first wife of Adam who refused to lie beneath him and obey his commands, so when Adam spurned Lilith and married Eve in the garden of Eden, she revenged herself on Adams wife. She further appears as a night phantom and enemy of newborn babiesthe very opposite of a good and loving mother. Lilith is thus probably a distortion of a venerable ancient deity worshipped long before Judaism. Interestingly, the later Roman depiction of the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis, who ruled fertility and motherhood, was as a snake with a human head, and this tradition was continued into medieval times when Lilith was shown coiled around the Tree of Knowledge, with the head of a beautiful woman and the body of a serpent, tempting Eve with the apple. This composite and mermaidlike creature is known as a Draconiopides. The Draconiopides in the Garden of Eden, from a stained glass window in Ulm Cathedral 1420.
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