Made In England
St George and the new world dragon
For the BBC series Made In England, the Norfolk-based internationally renowned artist and writer Zacron looks at the origins of St George and the relevance of the ethos in 21st century England.
In our England of the 21st century, the spirit of St George signifies the reclaiming of our solidarity and freedom; the true internal will of England's people to stand up to 'dictatorship by stealth'.
The Union Jack, an insignia of 1801, remains a powerful symbol long after devolution.
The red cross of St George on a white argent field, may yet regain the saltires of St Andrew and St Patrick (first combined in 1606) if a universal threat comes to our island.
St George and the dragon - depicted in gothic style by the artist Paolo Uccello, dramatically by Raphael and romantically by Gustave Moreau - excite a sense of medieval pageantry.
The origin of our inherited saint lies far beyond our island in place and time.
St George and the dragon
St George is the patron saint of the Hellenic Army in Greece. His martyrdom is commemorated by the Russian Orthodox Church and he is also venerated by the Russian military.
There are shrines to St George in Kerala, India; and he is identified with the Italian 'Repubblica'. The Lebanese have made him the patron saint of Beirut.
The earliest depiction of the mytheme [the kernel of a myth] and its narrative text is found in early 11th century Cappadocia [an ancient region of Asia Minor] in the iconography of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The real George
St George was born to a Christian family in Anatolia (Turkey) in the late third century and is recorded as a tribune in the army of the Roman Empire.
Emperor Galerius charged Diocletian to issue an edict authorising the persecution of Christians across the Empire in 303 AD. George confessed to being a Christian and criticized the imperial decision; he was tortured and executed on 23 April, 303.
During the fourth century the veneration of George spread throughout the Holy Lands and in 494 he was canonised by Pope Gelasius I.
So why should England have taken to its very heart George of Cappadocia and the palimpsest of the fifth century?
The answer is rooted in the Crusades and the archetypal fight between good and evil. In 'spearing the dragon' George confronted evil (not an emperor or a king).
In return for saving the king's daughter from the dragon George charged the ruler with the care of God's Churches. This element of the story empowered the Crusaders' cause, strengthening the church and its connection with the monarchy.
Here the great mystery unfolds. What exactly is a 'dragon' - this will require a leap of faith!
Ancient history and pre-history
We have to examine our innate fear of the reptile. Dragons are revered as representative of the primal forces of nature, of religion and the universe.
Garden Almanack by Zacron (detail)
Dinosaur finds were often mistaken for being the remains of dragons as long ago as 300 BC (China).
The dragon in the form of a snake (the ouroboros) is a symbol of eternity. To examine the dragon we have to travel to the time of the great flood; the time of the Anunnaki, whose language permeates the Sumerian tablets.
In ancient text from Nippur (Pennsylvania Museum) which pre-dates the Genesis account by 2000 years, the primeval mother of the Anunnaki was Tiamat 'Dragon Queen'.
It is written that the Sumerians were homo sapiens-sapiens, the product of a fusion between the Anunnaki and an existing species of hominid. They were seeded in the 'creation chamber' to bear the yoke of re-cultivating the land of Eden (Southern Iraq) after the great flood.
Nin-khursag an Anunnaki known as 'Lady Earth' bore a child cultured from the seed of a human woman and clinically fertilised by Enki (Anunnaki).
The child's name was Adapa (Adam) - the biblical Adam. His partner Khawa, (the biblical Eve) was created in the same manner.
Interestingly, the Sumerian word 'ti' meant 'to live' but another word 'ti' (pronounced 'tee') meant 'rib'. Hebrew scribes made genuine errors while captive in Syria.
The source of the dragon - a revelation
Now to trace the source of the dragon. The Sumerian word 'hayah' meant 'to live'; a similar Arabic word 'hayya' denoted a female serpent. The definitions of 'life' and 'serpent' were mutually supportive in 4,000 BC.
It is significant that the Anunnaki quarrelled over the giving of knowledge to humankind and in the mixing of our blood with theirs. The concept of original sin has been transferred to us by the Hebrew scribes of this early time.
One Peace One Love by Zacron (detail)
The Anunnaki, who may well have interceded on behalf of a universal God, emanated from a female bloodline.
Here is the wrongly-interpreted origin of a 'sinful' Eve born from a Dragon Queen who had compromised the genetics of a less advanced race which she subsequently deserted.
In writing Genesis (3:16) the Hebrews stated God said to Eve that Adam 'shall rule over thee'. This set a path for a single masculine God, a male dominance within religions resulting in a justifiable fight for equality that still remains in 21st century England.
In fighting the 'dragon' we fight a source of extra-human intervention. We have from ancient times found it difficult to accept that the Anunnaki may have interceded on God's behalf as one of many messengers.
The Sumerians abhorred evil, falsehood, lawlessness and injustice. They cherished goodness, truth and freedom within a well regulated society.
Today, the emblem of St George's Cross is firmly in the hands of the people of England. If they can grasp the spirit of its true meaning, they have cause to unite and uphold St George's Day.
Picture detail: St George and the dragon
This detail is from a watercolour painting by Great Yarmouth's Cornelius Jansson Walter Winter (1821-1891), drawn from a wall-painting discovered in St Gregory's Church, Norwich in 1861.
The wall-hanging is thought to be one of the finest and most complete medieval depictions of St George to be found in England. Picture courtesy of the Norwich Castle Museum And Art Gallery.
Picture detail: Garden Almanack
This detail is from an archival edition print 68x88 cm, by Zacron in 2008. The work explores elements of time, social history, symbolism and the esoteric, to make a cerebral garden that is essentially English.
Picture detail: One Peace One Love One Chance To Share Our World
A detail from an archival edition print 41x56cm by Zacron. Symbolic devices, mythological beings make an astrological constellation. A Dionisian female communes with a stallion. The snake, a reminder of an underlying reptilian deity.
last updated: 06/05/2008 at 11:13