"there be dragons"

This is a discussion thread · 25 replies
1 2 3
V.Ch.:
Where does this expression come from?
I can see from the context that it's probably used to denote some very foreign or even dangerous place, but it would still be interesting to know the origin.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Laura F. Spira:
[nq:1]Where does this expression come from? I can see from the context that it's probably used to denote some very foreign or even dangerous place, but it would still be interesting to know the origin.[/nq]
Take a look at http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
nancy13g:
[nq:1]Where does this expression come from? I can see from the context that it's probably used to denote some very foreign or even dangerous place, but it would still be interesting to know the origin.[/nq]
Here's a great Web site that tells the truth about that phrase:

http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html
(Bottom line: Don't believe any replies that tell you it's a phrase often found on ancient maps.)
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Donna Richoux:
[nq:1]Where does this expression come from? I can see from the context that it's probably used to denote some very foreign or even dangerous place, but it would still be interesting to know the origin.[/nq]
Interesting. We are told that on ancient maps, regions on the edge were marked "Here be dragons" or "Here be monsters" or similar. Whether anyone can actually point to any map so marked is another question. Quite likely such maps were not labeled in English at all, but in Latin or other language. But if they were marked in Latin, why was the translation specifically given as "Here be dragons"? Is the whole thing a bit of folklore, kept alive in fiction and popular imagery?

http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html
That English mapmakers formerly placed the phrase
"here be dragons" at the edges of their known world has somehow become general knowledge... and here is the list of all known historical maps upon which
these words appear:
[nq:1]*[/nq]
In other words, there aren't any. Of course, it
is not surprising that the English phrase does not appear on maps from a time and place where Latin was the language of learning, so here is the list of all known historical maps where the phrase appears in
Latin:
The Lenox Globe (ca. 1503-07), copper, 13cm in diameter (in the collection of the New York Public Library): "HC SVNT DRACONES" (i.e. "hic sunt dracones", "here are dragons") appears on the eastern coast of Asia
In other words, there is one. Just one.
MapHist's collective wisdom has turned up an
additional list of textual and pictorial references to dragons and beastly creatures, but only the Lenox Globe bears the legendary phrase.
The MapHist article goes on to discuss pictures of dragons on maps, literary references to the "Here Be Dragons" idea, and more.

Best Donna Richoux
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Martin Ambuhl:
[nq:1]Where does this expression come from?[/nq]
Old maps, marking unexplored and presumedly dangerous regions.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
John Dean:
[nq:2]Where does this expression come from? I can see from ... but it would still be interesting to know the origin.[/nq]
[nq:1]Take a look at http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html [/nq]
Excellent find. We should proffer Erin C Blake to join us here. She has a style and tenacity to suit our most stringent and exacting requirements.

John Dean
Oxford
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Anonymous:
[nq:2]Take a look at http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html [/nq]
[nq:1]Excellent find. We should proffer Erin C Blake to join us here.[/nq]^^
Tut, Tut.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
R H Draney:
Laura F. Spira filted:
[nq:2]Where does this expression come from? I can see from ... but it would still be interesting to know the origin.[/nq]
[nq:1]Take a look at http://www.maphist.nl/extra/herebedragons.html [/nq]
Wouldn't it be a great slogan to carve in the gates at the home of the Captain and Tennille?...r
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
John Dean:
[nq:2]Excellent find. We should proffer Erin C Blake to join us here.[/nq]
^^
[nq:1]Tut, Tut.[/nq]
You have a penchant for Egyptian Mummies?

John Dean
Oxford
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
Show more
Live chat
Registered users can join here