George and the Dragon - Middle Ages

George and the Dragon - Middle Ages (Illustration) Geography Visual Arts Philosophy Legends and Legendary People Social Studies World History

Do you know the story of St. George and the Dragon? It goes something like this:

One upon a time there was a brave knight called George. Adventurous, George traveled by horse across many lands.

When riding into a village, one day, he met a man who lived in a cave near the village. The man was a hermit, and he told George, the Knight, about the terrible things which were happening there.

An awful dragon had come to live in the lake, and he attacked the village every day! Not knowing what to do, the villagers tried several different methods to appease the dragon.

  • First they gave him all their food.
  • When that didn’t work, the villagers gave the dragon all the animals from their farms.
  • When the attacks didn’t stop, the people gave the dragon all their gold and jewels. The money didn’t satisfy the awful dragon.
  • The King decided to send-in his knights, to rid the town of the dragon, but the dragon was too powerful and the Knights were too scared. They all ran away.
  • With nothing left to give, and nowhere else to turn, the King made a very tough decision. He sent his daughter, the Princess, to the lake to wait for the dragon.

When George heard the story, from the old hermit, he rode his horse to the lake, getting there as fast as he could. Just then the dragon came up from the lake and was about to eat the Princess.

Unafraid, George attacked the dragon. Not only did he fight bravely, he won the battle by killing the monster.

George and the Princess returned to the village where the people were mightily relieved. Thanks to George, they would have no more problems with the dragon.

Today, the story of George and his dragon-slaying bravery is remembered throughout the world, and he is the patron saint of many countries. England is just one of them.

No one knows, for sure, whether the story of George is true, but legend has it that he lived in the 3rd Century AD and was born in Cappadocia (which is in today’s Turkey). At some point, during the centuries which passed, George was made a saint.

In the year 1222, April 23rd was named "Saint George’s Day." That's why April 23rd is also known as England's "national day."

The Medieval Sourcebook, maintained online by Fordham University, tells the story of St. George and the Dragon from a religious point of view. It is included in Volume III of The Golden Legend or Lives of the Saints," compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275 First Edition Published 1470 (first English edition, by William Caxton, published in 1483).

The image at the top of this page—from the Breviary of Martin of Aragon—is part of the Europeana Regia Exhibition.  Published circa 1398, the original is maintained at the  Bibliotheque Nationale de France (BNF, ROTH 2529, fol. 444v).

Martin of Aragon's Breviary—a type of prayer book—is written in Latin. The image, featured here, depicts St. George slaying the dragon.  (Scholars believe, parenthetically, that this particular dragon appears to be female.)

Would you like to view the original Breviary of Martin of Aragon (in a digitized version)?  If so ... it's available online!

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 17, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Jul 26, 2018

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy the European Library.



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"George and the Dragon - Middle Ages" AwesomeStories.com. May 17, 2014. Jan 20, 2020.
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