St George--Knight, Martyr, Patron Saint, and Dragonslayer: The Pocket Essential Guide [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Giles Morgan
eBook Category: History/General Nonfiction
eBook Description: St. George is a figure that bridges many worlds. At the heart of the myths and legends surrounding this English icon lies the story of an Early Christian Martyr persecuted by the Roman Empire around the third century AD. But England is only one country to have adopted this legendary soldier saint as their patron. Other countries including Germany, Armenia, Hungary, Portugal and Malta have all claimed him as their own. The cult of St. George is astonishingly widespread with churches being dedicated to him in Ethiopia, Egypt, Greece and France. His heroic struggle and victory against the dragon can be interpreted as representing the bravery of an individual Christian or as the eternal battle been good and evil. But closer examination of the cult of St. George yields unexpected results. There are clear parallels between his legendary battle and that of earlier pre-Christian heroes such as Perseus and Beowulf. St. George is also identified with the Islamic hero Al Khidr who is said to have discovered the fountain of youth. He has been associated with the coming of spring and has functioned as fertility symbol and been closely linked to the Green Man of Pre-Christian Myth. St. George has also acted as a symbol of chastity and served as a healing saint. His flag has been appropriated by the far right but in recent times come to identify a multi-cultural England. David Beckham arguably embodies many of the contradictory aspects of St. George as sex symbol, multi-racial icon and national hero.
eBook Publisher: Pocket Essentials/Pocket Essentials
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2007
It is claimed that a vision of St George was seen during the English victory at Agincourt in 1415. Many such appearances
have been ascribed to St George, from the crusades through to spectral manifestations on the battlefields of the First World War. A warrior saint, very often identified with patriotic and sometimes jingoistic concerns, he has come to be seen by many as an unequivocally English icon. His legend is evident in every aspect of society from the dedication
of churches in his honour to secular representations in advertising and, particularly, in the use of his flag, the red cross of St George. And yet for all his notoriety and identification
with such familiar institutions as the English village pub, he remains both an elusive and enigmatic figure. The popularity of the story of his mythical battle with the dragon has come to obscure his origins as a real Christian martyr, who is thought to have lived around the third century AD. Persecuted by a cruel ruler for his beliefs, St George?s legendary courage stems from accounts of his refusal to worship pagan gods even when faced with torture and eventual execution. Some early accounts of his life suggest that he may have been from the province of Cappadocia in Central Turkey, others that he was Palestinian or possibly even of Nubian ancestry. The story of how an early Christian martyr from the Eastern Mediterranean came to be the patron saint of England is a fascinating if contradictory and confused one. Some people may be surprised to find that St George is also patron saint of many other countries and is recognised on a global scale. He has been claimed by countries as diverse as Germany, Armenia, Lithuania, Portugal, Malta and Hungary. St George is the patron of Barcelona, Antioch, Genoa and many French towns. The European state of Georgia was named after him. Closer examination of the cult of St George reveals not only his significance to a wide range of countries and societies
but also some of the varying and differing roles he has fulfilled in those cultures. He has been a symbol of fertility and champion of the spring, defeating the dragon of winter, and yet he has also served as a role model of chastity. As the ultimate Christian knight, George has been depicted slaying
female dragons as he fights the lustful temptations of the flesh. But his exploits have not been limited solely to Christian contexts. He has been identified with the Islamic hero Al Khidr who was said to have discovered the mythical
Fountain of Youth. As Christian martyr, St George was said to have been tortured to death (several times!), only to be resurrected by God, and his story is often linked with concepts of renewal, re-birth and revival. His legends often contain allusions to magic springs and the release of water, which has been ?held back? by the dragon and flows again when the beast is killed. The celebration of his feast day on 23 April may be connected with the coming of spring and the death of winter. Many parallels can also be drawn with pre-Christian heroes who fight terrible monsters such as Beowulf, Siegfried and Theseus, who defeats the terrible Minotaur. Close analysis of these legends shows the differing
cultural values that inform them but demonstrates the seemingly universal need for a heroic figure who is lauded and revered.