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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Dragons Never Existed. So Why Are They Found in Absolutely Every Ancient Folklore?

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You don't have to read the ancient folklore of China, Sumeria, or anywhere else long before you encounter a dragon. Sometimes they guard treasure. Sometimes they kidnap local maidens. Sometimes they are the primary antagonist for a hero to conquer. Mostly they perform all three roles. But the problem is they never existed. Outside of a handful of cryptozoologists, nobody argues that they are real. So why do cultures that had no contact with each other produce remarkably similar myths?

This episode looks into the theories of the spread of dragon myths. Perhaps there was an Ur-myth in Egypt or Mesopotamia that slowly spread across the world. Or it's an anthropological reaction to the fear that most humans have of lizards. More exotic theories claim dragons are the genetic memory of dinosaurs. Even more exotic theories claim they are the embodiment of rainbows (we'll explain that last one in more detail).
January 21, 2020
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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