dragon's strength is found in its tail, not in its teeth.
Its lashing tail does great harm, and the dragon kills anything
it catches in its coils. The dragon is the enemy of the elephant,
and hides near paths where elephants walk so that it can catch
them with its tail and kill them by suffocation. It is because
of the threat of the dragon that elephants give birth in the
water. The dragon's venom is harmless. The dragon has a crest
and a small mouth. When the dragon is drawn from its hole
into the air, it stirs up the air and makes it shine. Dragons
are found in India and Ethiopia.
are afraid of the peridexion tree and stay out of its shadow,
which will harm them. Doves roost in the tree to be safe from
cannot stand the sweet smell breathed out by the panther and
hide in a hole when the panther roars.
Devil is likened to a dragon because he is the worst of all
serpents. As the dragon makes the air shine, so the Devil
makes himself appear as the angel of light to deceive the
crest of the dragon represents the Devil crowned with pride.
As the dragon's strength is not in its teeth but in its tail,
the Devil, deprived of his strength, deceives with lies. The
way in which the dragon attacks elephants represents the way
the Devil attacks people, lying in wait along their path to
heaven, wrapping them in his coils, and suffocating them with
Sources (chronological order)
of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 4:4-5):
The dragon is the largest serpent, and in fact the largest
animal on earth. Its name in Latin is draco, derived from
the Greek name drakon. When it comes out of its cave, it disturbs
the air. It has a crest, a small mouth, and a narrow throat.
Its strength is in its tail rather than its teeth; it does
harm by beating, not by biting. It has no poison and needs
none to kill, because it kills by entangling. Not even the
elephant is safe from the dragon; hiding where elephants travel,
the dragon tangles their feet with its tail and kills the
elephant by suffocating it. Dragons live in the burning heat
of India and Ethiopia. (Book 16, 14:7): Dracontites is a stone
that is forcibly taken from the brain of a dragon, and unless
it is torn from the living creature it has not the quality
of a gem; whence magi cut it out of dragons while they are
sleeping. For bold men explore the cave of the dragons, and
scatter there medicated grains to hasten their sleep, and
thus cut off their heads while they are sunk in sleep, and
take out the gems.