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West, 9. Dhabhar, pp. All the people came and roused him and he ran down to the sea taking a thousand strides in one. Arriving at the sea he delivered those abducted, seized Gandarw, and killed him. Dragons in astrology.

Zoroastrian and Manichean astrology know of several dragons or snake-like monsters. Persian Rivayat , p. Dragons and dragon-like monsters in Manichean writings. The Manichean texts mention dragons in general terms Mid. Thus in Mir. III p. More important in Manichean cosmology is the class of demoniacal beings called mazan s.

For the history of Iranian mythology, however, the most important fact is that the dragon-killing episode has been fitted into the Manichean cosmological scheme: Here we find the third son of the Living Spirit Mihryazd , Adamas of Light Syr. Boyce, Reader , pp. In the Chinese text edited by Waldschmidt Waldschmidt and Lentz, pp. The mazan which he suppresses is that formed by that part of the ejected seed of the Archons which fell on the moist, and became a horrible monster Mir. Dodge, II, p. In the Manichean Psalm-book p. In another Middle Persian text concerning Adamas and his fight with this sea-monster, the monster is not named Sundermann, Kosmogoniche Texte , pp.

The battle between a god and a sea monster is of course well known from the Babylonian creation myths see e. Clearly a large number of elements from different sources, literary and oral, combined to form the various concepts of dragons. These elements and their various connections and interactions, especially those stemming from the Iranian and the Semitic traditions still have to be investigated in detail.

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Dhabhar, ed. Dresden, ed. Cama Oriental Institute Bombay , Wiesbaden, Nyberg IV, Acta Iranica 7, pp. Schmidt ed. Waag, Nirangistan. West, tr. Delhi, etc. Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, see index pp. Eilers, Sinn und Herkunft der Planetennamen , Sb. Hinnells, ed. Unvala Memorial Volume , Bombay, , pp. Schwartz, review of M.

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Bianchi, Rome, , pp. Waldschmidt and W. Descriptions of dragons. Dhabhar, Bombay, , p. In the epics it has one head and mouth, exhaling fire and smoke from its hellish mouth, and inhaling with enough force to suck in a horse and rider, or a crocodile from the water, or an eagle from the sky.

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In other texts, as in the Old and Middle Iranian texts, it has several heads. Its head resembles a thicket of hair and its bristles stretch down to the ground like nooses. It has two horns the size of the branch of a tree, ten gaz or eighty cubits long. Its eyes are the size of wagon wheels or like two tanks of blood. They shine from afar as brightly as stars at night, as two glittering diamonds, as two blazing torches, or as two mirrors held beneath the sun.

Humans and animals hang from its teeth. When it sticks its long, black tongue out of its mouth it hangs down onto the road like a black tree. Its skin has scales like a fish, each as big as a shield. It has eight feet, though most often it drags itself over the ground, and when it moves it makes the valleys and plains tremble, and a river of yellow poison as deep as a spear flows from its tail and nose.

Its color is variously described, e. It can not be touched with water, fire, or any weapon. Several Iranian heroes battle and slay the dragons. When he regained his consciousness, he gave thanks to an angel. A flag with a dragon emblem appears in a picture from the seventh or eighth century A. Widengren, Der Feudalismus im alten Iran , pl. The dragon was fifty ells gaz long and was killed with a single blow of a specially made mace.

A picture of a dragon trying to coil its tail around the hero has been preserved, see Widengren, op. Petermann, Reisen im Orient , 2nd ed. The dragon swallows them and its stomach bursts. In the variant story Rostam does not get into the box but has fastened poisoned blades on it which kill the dragon. On reviving he washes himself in a spring cf. In the Mandean legend Rostam himself hides in a box, is swallowed by the dragon, and kills it from inside its belly.

As a reward the king of China gives Rostam his daughter in marriage. Reviving he washed himself at a spring cf. The defeat of the hero may symbolize the loss of the crown of an Iranian king to a foreign invader, perhaps Alexander. Symbolism of the dragon-slaying. The dragon in Iranian mythology is a destructive demoniacal force and a symbol of drought. Various theories about the dragon-slaying theme in both Indo-European and Indo-Iranian mythology have been advanced. One theory links the Indo-Iranian legends with solar and lunar eclipses and with lunar waxing and waning, which lay at the root of moon worship.

Then the moon-god kills the dragon from inside its belly and triumphantly reemerges. Later still the celestial combats were brought down to earth.

Persian mythology books 101

Another interpretation of the dragon-slaying by Indo-Iranian gods is that the god in question was a god of thunder and lightning, that the dragon was a black cloud, and that by slaying the dragon, the god released water impounded in its stomach to fall as rain. It would appear that the woman in the Iranian legends has replaced water and rain as the symbol of fertility and life. Structural changes. The kidnapped maiden always disappears and the hero, after slaying the dragon, is rewarded with marriage to another maiden, with no connection with the dragon.

He has to kill the dragon from within himself, or, in a later development, kill the dragon by feeding it skins stuffed with deadly substances. Against this, Christensen Iran Sass. This suggests that belief in the invulnerability of dragon hide was a very old component of the myth. After slaying the dragon, the hero makes a coat for himself out of its invulnerable hide. Benveniste, Textes sogdiens , Paris, , pp. Several different stratagems for the capture of the castle are mentioned, e. In legends where the dragon is presented as a historical person, the maiden is imprisoned by the enemy and set free by the hero, cf.

The dragon-slaying legends in the Avesta by comparison with the Rigveda, have lost their mythico-religious importance. In the national legends this development is carried much further, to the point where the theme of dragon-slaying has nothing whatever to do with service to religion and becomes an instrument of royal or heroic ideology.

The requirement that every king or hero should demonstrate the legitimacy of his status by slaying a dragon or doing some other fabulous deed or receiving miraculous aid prompted not only the tendency to historicize mythology but also a contrary tendency to mythologize history. In the Alexander romance written by Pseudo-Callisthenes, many wondrous feats and bold deeds are ascribed to Alexander, such as going disguised as his own ambassador on a mission to Darius, making the ice break after crossing a river, seeing marvels, etc.

A recent psychoanalytic interpretation of the dragon-slaying theme, propounded by Otto Rank, a pupil of Sigmund Freud, deserves mention. Rank thinks that the entry of heroes into the belly of the dragon is a symbolic expression of the desire of sons to reenter the womb of the mother. Among other evidence for his theory he cites Iranian dragon-slaying legends. See also E. It is curiously missing in myths which are narratives concerned with creation see Bascom.

In the following all motif numbers refer to Thompson, It is endowed with powers of magical invisibility B It usually guards a treasure B The Arabic text was first published in full at Calcutta Kolkata , 4 vol.

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The source for most later translations, however, was the so-called Vulgate text, an Egyptian recension published at Bulaq , Cairo , in , and several times reprinted. Meanwhile, French and English continuations, versions, or editions of Galland had added stories from oral and manuscript sources, collected, with others, in the Breslau edition, 5 vol. Later translations followed the Bulaq text with varying fullness and accuracy.

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