HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY

 

The following is a brief story of our star constellation. Those interested in it will find here
a rather realistic idea of the star.

The origin of the constellation, Draco, and of most dragon lore as well, was probably the Chaldean dragon Tiamat: the sea serpent who existed even before the sea and sky had been divided from each other; it is the dragon of chaos. Tiamat was a monster of primeval darkness, a monster the same as that which exists in almost every mythology and must be overcome by the powers of sunlight before the creation of the world can take place. The Sumerians and Babylonians, those early inhabitants of the Tigris and Euphrates Valley from whom we have inherited so much of our mythology and astronomy alike, envisioned the beginnings of creation as a hazy state of chaos, a gloom that was nothing in itself and yet contained the potentialities of all thing. With the passing of time, the first gods arose from this primordial sea and came into conflict with the force that had given them birth, the deep, wild, creative but evil force of this ocean dragon, Tiamat.

Tiamat gained possession of the Tablets of Fate, which were supposed to confer upon their owner the power to rule the universe, and gave them to her husband for safekeeping. Then she challenged the authority of the newly risen gods and rose against them in rebellion, summoning forth out of the slimy depths all the most frightful creatures that her evil brain could conceive to help her in the struggle, monsters whose like has never been seen again: serpents whose fangs dripped poison, scorpion men and fish men and monster dogs. So horrible were these creations that even the gods took fright and hid themselves safely away in their airy heaven and no one of them would go down to meet Tiamat. No one, that is, until at last Marduk of Babylon came forth from among them and offered to fight as their champion. He was equipped with special magic powers bestowed on him by each one of the other gods at a hurriedly summoned council of war, and thus armed he went down to face the sea serpent in battle.

Even Marduk trembled and almost lost heart at the sight of the dragon and her monster brood. But Marduk had both strength and cunning. He had on his side the winds of heaven and, summoning all their strength together, he sent these on before him and they blew straight into the jaws of the unsuspecting Tiamat. They rushed through her open mouth in a surging current, with all the tearing force of those great hurricanes that sometimes sweep the sea, and blew so fiercely into the very bowels of her body that she was racked and split asunder; then Marduk finished off the helpless monster with a blow of his club. The serpents and the dogs and the scorpion men were useless without the power of their evil genius, and presumably they slunk away and vanished into that yet untamed sea from which they had come. Some say that they are still to be seen in the darkness of sky, where they have taken on the shape of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

The north wind carried away the blood of Tiamat, and Marduk split her skull and tore her dragon skin into two pieces. With these he formed heaven and earth, separating one from the other, and in the upper regions he set the homes of the gods, created the stars in the sky, and ordained the paths they should follow. He outlined the constellations, placing them so that they should serve
as signs to indicate the day, the years and the seasons to humankind. He fixed the dome of heaven in place
with a great bolt, and set a watchman there to guard it. He surveyed the skies, and built the Zodiac. Then he
rested from his labours, hailed by gods and men alike as the dragon slayer.

 

For the Arabs, the sky's Dragon ate a camel (Al Rakis), a camel's mother and its baby (Alwaid), three wolfs (Abid and Adiban), a male hyena (Asich) and even a whole house (Alsafi) in which beduines were cooking their dishes; all these, names of stars belonging to the constellation.

 

Later, the dragon appeared in the medieval iconography, through Saint George's legend.

 

According to the Greek Mythology, Draco was a dragon which spitted fire and watched over the entrance to the Hespérides,

where the golden apples grew, and Hercules killed him. Queen Hera put the dragon in the sky as a sign of its fidelity. After having attacked Atenea while she was fighting against the Titans, battle which lasted ten long years, she picked the dragon and with strength, threw it to the sky.

 

However, while Chaldean, Greeks and Romans saw a dragon, Indian Mythology says it is an alligator called 'Shi-shu-mara' and Persians discovered a man eating a snake called 'Azhdeha'.

Despite Thuban is in the Dragon's tale, its name may cause confussion because it means "the snake's head", although those duties belong to Eltanin and Rastaban.

The Great Egyptian Khufu Pyramids (Keops), located in Giza, seem to have been planned and built with Thuban as reference when Thuban was the polar star around 2500 a.C. And the pyramid was built in such a way that Thuban was visible day and night from the deepest part of the funerarious chamber. Apparently, other pyramids have been planned and built with the polar star as focal point. Basically, one of the axis of the pyramid pointed at the celestial north pole and the other to Orion's belt.

                               

 

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