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The Dragon In Relation To Royal Or Heroic Figures

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Chapter Summary

In Iranian legends the dragon combat was one of the wonders and heroic feats required as proof of the king's or hero's legitimacy, so becoming by extension an important device of royal or heroic ideology. A royal victory over the dragon was intended to manifest virtuous conduct and endow the royal persona with heroic qualities. The earliest dated instance of the "dragon-throne" is found on the 559/1163 Bobrinski bucket, where it is repeated four times in the main register separated by an epigraphic frieze of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic naskhi, the lower parts of the hastae often terminating in dragon and other animal heads, expressing good wishes for the owner. A seated or standing figure grasping staffs entwined with serpents and topped by birds or stellar symbols represented a mythical giant holding what might represent abbreviated visual formulae of a vegetal motif characterised as the "Tree of Life" with serpent motif.

Keywords: anthropomorphic figure; dragon; heroic ideology; serpent



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