HERALDRY, CHIVALRY & RENAISSANCE


Saint George & The Dragon
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Saint George

The cult of Saint George goes back to the 4th century. From that time he was honored and churches dedicated to him in Syria, Italy, Greece and Gaul. In Venice, he is the second patron after Saint Mark; in 1222 the Council of Oxford appointed 23rd April as his Feast Day. He became the English Patron Saint in 14th Century. He is also the patron saint of Moscow, of Georgia which bears his name, of Aragon.

The legends surrounding Saint George are very varied. One of them concerns the famous dragon, with which he is invariably portrayed. According to legend, a pagan town in Libya was being terrorized by a dragon. The locals kept throwing sheep to it to placate it, and when it still remained unsatisfied, they started sacrificing some of the citizenry. Finally the local princess was to be thrown also to the beast, but Good Saint George came along, slaughtered the dragon and rescued the fair princess. At this the townsfolk converted to Christianity.

In Christian terms, the Dragon he slay represented satan and the Princess represented the Christian Church. Saint George rescued the pagans from evil by vanquishing it and saved the Church from being devoured by the insatiable forces of darkness.

The origin of the legend, which is very well known, came originally from the way in which the Greek Church honored George. They venerated him as a soldier saint and told many stories of his bravery and protection in battle. The western Christians, joining with the Byzantine Christians in the Crusades, elaborated and misinterpreted the Greek traditions and devised their own version. The story we know today of Saint George and the dragon dates from the troubadours of the 14th century.

The reason for his being adopted as the Saint of Battles was partly because he was a soldier, but also because he is said to have appeared to the Christian army before the Battle of Antioch. It is also said that he appeared to our English King Richard I (the Lionheart) during his Crusade against the Saracens, which served as a great encouragement to the troops.

http://www.innotts.co.uk/asperges/george.html


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