Flying Welsh Dragon

Dragon is a sign of evil and paganism? How wrong can Rev Hargreaves be?!

A recent tabloid press article referred to a questionable claim by a church cleric that the Dragon is a sign of evil and paganism, and that Wales should change its flag accordingly. 

Ha ha ha. Hang on, let me just pick myself up off the floor.

The Dragon flown in Wales today has a long and interesting history it has absolutely nothing to do with evil and paganism as so randomly suggested by the Rev George Hargreaves, whose credit to the present day church is we would suggest very questionable.

It is important to remember that the Dragon symbol originally came to Europe after the defeat by the Emperor Trojan of the invading forces on the eastern frontier of the then Roman Empire.

Having captured the five toed Chinese dragon the symbol of the invading force, Trojan initiated that while the Eagle was still to be the symbol of the legion, the dragon would for the whole empire be the symbol of the Cohort – and in this case a four toed dragon.

When Attila the Hun – rode rough shod in the fifth century throughout Roman Europe, the remaining regions including the Byzantine European based on Constantinople and the island of Britain, survived not only as Christian domains but as Christian domains with dragon symbols. 

There was also a time when the red dragon was flown in what is now Turkey, as well as in our own Britain.  When the two symbols of the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks in the 15th Century, the Turks kept the crescent and discarded the dragon leaving only Celtic Britain with the Red Dragon as their national symbol.

There was of course the white dragon of the Saxons – last seen on the Bayeux tapestry falling with King Harold and the basis of Celtic fables of old and the stories of the Battles between the red dragon and the white dragon.

It so happens that the Red Dragon is one of the last remaining symbols of the ancient Christian Church and when it refers to Celtic countries, it is used on a basis of being treasured and promoted. 

When St Augustine brought Christianity to England, Christianity was already in Wales under the symbol of the red dragon and to suggest the dragon represents anything verging on evil is incorrect, sensationalist and wrong.

Have a rethink (or a lie down) Rev Hargreaves.

Jo Ashburner-Farr

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