The Hero Who Releases the Waters and Defeats the Flood Dragon

Emily Lyle

Abstract


The hero who releases the waters is the young king of the gods, and I have argued that the dragon who withheld the waters is actually a dragoness who can be identified as the primal goddess, Earth. The hero who defeats this dragon also has attached to him companion stories where he brings about the release of the sun goddess, and defeats a sea dragon. These episodes can be placed in the annual cycle, and it is worth pausing to look at the implications of this. A cosmogonic event takes place once but is experienced annually by means of ritual re-enactment or reference at a specific season and so it is possible to explore their sequence in seasonal terms. The episode of the release of the waters was apparently followed by a battle with a sea dragon, which can be taken as a victory by the hero over the god of the sea. Through these dragon-battles we can begin to explore a sequence of the hero’s victories over the old gods that can be related to the cosmogony and to the annual cycle and forms part of the “grammar” of myth. 

Keywords

Arthur, cosmicization, dragon, Herakles, hero, Indo-European, Indra, Laurasian mythology, myth, Perseus, Poseidon, primal goddess, sun goddess, Theseus 



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