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Dragon Lesson for Kids: History & Stories

Instructor: Tammie Mihet

Tammie has taught elementary school for 14 yrs. and holds an MA in Instructional Technology

Are dragons just creators of legends or do we have evidence that they could have really existed? In this lesson, discover the history and legends of these fascinating creators.

Dragons

Have you ever seen the movie How to Train Your Dragon? It is a hilarious and heart-tugging movie about a boy and his dragon that save the boy's people from destruction. Cute idea, but this could not have happened because dragons never really existed right? Well, you may be surprised by what you are about to discover! Put on your investigator hat, and let's take a trip back in history!

Once Upon a Time

Travel to any culture in the world and you will discover stories about dragons. For example, in the Chinese culture a dragon called a loong was often seen as a serpent-like creature with four legs and great mystical powers. The Chinese dragon was also depicted as having great intelligence and strength. The dragon even became the symbol of the Chinese Emperor!

Fairy tales or imaginary legends are filled with stories of dragons. In most of these stories, dragons are the collectors and guardians of expensive loot or even a princess or two, and a brave knight becomes the hero as he slays the dragon. One of the most famous of these stories is about a knight from the Middle Ages (5th-15th century) named St. George who does just that. Books such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and epic poems such as Beowulf depict dragons as evil fire-breathing creatures.

Monument Depicting St. George and the Dragon
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Inspect the Evidence

So, now for the big question, do we have historical evidence that dragon-like creatures really existed? Well, take a look at what some historians and a famous explorer had to say about dragons and decide for yourself!

Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder (born 23 AD) was a Roman naturalist and author who wrote 37 books on natural history. In his eighth book, he wrote about how a dragon was so powerful that it could use its tail to ensnare an elephant!

Dragon Mosaic from the 3rd Century BC (Italy)
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Cassius Dio

Cassius (born 155 AD) was a Roman historian who wrote 80 books on the history of the Roman Empire. He recounted a story about a 120-foot-long serpent creeping up and attacking the Roman army! After killing the dragon using catapults, the commander sent the hide to the Roman senate.

Herodotus

Herodotus lived during the 5th century BC and is considered by many to be the 'Father of History' because of his use of the investigative method for studying history. He wrote about studying bones and investigating stories of winged serpents in Egypt.

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