Skip to main content


'The birth of the medieval dragon.’ - Professor Daniel Ogden

Greek and Roman myth was full of marauding fiery dragons (drakontes, dracones): the Hydra, slain by Heracles; Python of Delphi, slain by Apollo; and the Serpent of Ares, slain by Cadmus, amongst many others. Their physical form was fundamentally that of an enormous, coiling snake (famously a multi-headed one in the Hydra’s case). What we might term the ‘medieval’ or ‘Romanesque’ dragon –the dragon that thrives still in the modern western imagination – exhibits a similar pattern of behaviour, but has a rather different physical form. It remains fundamentally a serpent, but it boasts a fatter body, wings, legs and an animalian head. By what stages, by what processes and for what reasons did the snake-dragons of Classical Antiquity mutate into the more elaborate creatures we know – and love – today?

Event details


Amory 105