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The Dragon that Swallowed St. George Free essay! Download now

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The Dragon that Swallowed St. George

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The Dragon that Swallowed St. George


Whosoever implores my aid shall receive it.
St. George
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Shakespeare (Hamlet I. v. 166)

St. George 

Saint George is both man and myth. He is considered “The Great Martyr” by the Greek Orthodox Church. He, in fact, did exist, and his chivalric character led to the allegorical fable of his slaying of the great dragon. 

There are no known birth or death dates for Saint George, but it is known that he was born in Cappadocia in Asia Minor, which is now Turkey, into a Christian family of noble lineage. In Asia Minor, it was the reign of Emperor Diocletian, who, in 302 AD, took it upon himself to persecute the believers of Christianity. Saint George opposed the mistreatment and annihilation of these Christians. Upon speaking out against the harshness of Diocletian’s decrees against the Christians, Saint George was imprisoned and tortured, dragged through the streets and beheaded in Nicoimedia, which is presently Palestine, which makes him one of the earliest martyrs. The emperor's wife was so impressed by Saint George's unfaltering faith, she converted to Christianity and was put to death. Saint George was canonized in 494 AD by Pope Gelasius. 

Mythology 

The St. George chronicle comprises two poles: that of martyrdom, and that of Solar Hero or Dragon-Slayer.
Starting with the first pole, such were the ordeals endured by this celebrated Christian knight that if St. Stephen can be called the proto-martyr, then certainly next to Christ St. George can be considered the prototype of martyr, or “Great Martyr,” as he is known to the Greeks. The earliest acts in the Bollandist archives on this subject are in Greek and belong to the sixth century; there are also some eighth-century Latin acts considered to be translations of a work antedating the Greek ones just mentioned and attributed to Pasikrâs, the servant of the hero. Erudite research, it hardly needs adding, now takes all this literature for apocryphal. Pope Gelasius (494 C.E.) says that George is of those “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” The thirteenth century account of Jacobus de Voragine (1230?–?1298) will mainly suffice our purposes—particularly as his Golden Legend did most to familiarize Western tradition with the dragon.
George, then, was a native of Cappadocia who served in the Roman army in Palestine with the rank of tribune during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian. When he witnessed the persecutions the Christians were suffering under the proconsul Dacian (in the Greek acts it is Diocletian, and in the Latin, the Emperor of the Persians, king of the four ...

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