is a legendary creature, typically depicted as a large and powerful
serpent or other reptile, with magical or spiritual qualities. Mythological
creatures possessing some or most of the characteristics typically
associated with dragons are common throughout the world's cultures.
Western representations typically have wings, whereas Eastern ones
typically do not.
The various figures now called dragons probably have no single origin,
but were spontaneously envisioned in several different cultures
around the world, based loosely on the appearance of a snake and
possibly fossilized dinosaur and Tertiary mammal megafauna remains.
They are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching
from eggs and possessing long, typically scaly, bodies; dragons
are often (but not always) portrayed with wings.
Although dragons (or dragon-like creatures) occur commonly in legends
around the world, different cultures have perceived them differently.
dragons (Simplified Chinese: ?; Traditional Chinese: ?; Pinyin:
lóng), and Eastern dragons generally, are usually seen as
benevolent, whereas European dragons are usually malevolent (there
are of course exceptions to these rules). Malevolent dragons also
occur in Persian mythology (see Azhi Dahaka) and other cultures.
Dragons are often held to have major spiritual significance in various
religions and cultures around the world. In many oriental cultures
dragons were, and in some cultures still are, revered as representative
of the primal forces of nature and the universe. They are associated
with wisdom—often said to be wiser than humans—and longevity.
They are commonly said to possess some form of magic or other supernatural
power. In some cultures, they are said to be capable of human
Dragons are very popular characters in fantasy literature and video
games today, especially in role-playing
games. The term dragoon, for infantry that move around by horse,
yet still fight as foot soldiers, is derived from their early firearm,
the "dragon", a wide-bore musket that spit flame when
it fired, and was thus named for the mythical beast. .