Dragons... from myths to fantasy novels, we’ve been obsessed with them for thousands of years, but what is a dragon and where do their stories originate? From 21st Century London to Ancient Mesopotamia, join Classicist Jasmine Elmer on a quest to investigate the Indo-European Dragon.
Jasmine begins on the incredible Dragon Hill in Oxfordshire and then heads via the City of London’s boundary dragons to the majestic Exeter Cathedral to meet one of the only dragon experts in the world, Professor Daniel Ogden. Guided by Daniel Jasmine finds out how medieval christianity is integral to the formation of the winged dragon we know today. Then as we venture further into the medieval world we examine an iconic dragon tale through two incredible artworks by Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Uccello. At St Lawrence’s Church, Cambridge we meet Dr Sam Riches who uncovers a special 14th century wall painting that explores the gendered portrayal of the dragon in art in the late medieval world.
As we head further back 4300 years we explore the Ancient Indo-European dragon at the British Museum. Jasmine unleashes the myths of protective Mesopotamian composite dragons and then we meet up with British Museum Curator Alexandra Villing to find out about one of the most famous dragon killers, Hercules, and his fight against the multi-headed Hydra, a story immortalised in everything from coins, vases to Disney movies.
And if you loved this, listen out for Jasmine on History Hit’s brand new podcast too - After Dark, Myths, Misdeeds & the Paranormal - the podcast that takes you to the shadiest corners of the past, unpicking history’s spookiest, strangest, and most sinister stories.