Saint George is the patron saint of England, but, does anyone know what he used to slay the dragon and where this ancient relic now resides? Was it a spear, a lance or a sword?
What did Saint George do?
Questions that I will answer alongside discussing why I created an illustration to accommodate the story. My pencil drawing is called the ‘Relic of Saint George’ and the story behind Saint George is what inspired it.
The Legend of Saint George
In medieval times, legend tells, that St George slew a dragon and saved a young maiden with a spear and sword. The spear or lance was said to critically injure the beast but death blow came from his blade when he cleaved the dragon’s head from it’s body.
So why did he kill the dragon?
The dragon is said to be an incarnation of the devil and that he demanded the lives of young virgins to satisfy his hunger. When the villagers offered all but one of the young maidens, the king was left with a terrible choice. The dragon pressed with its demands and the king conceded and gave up his daughter – a princess – to protect the village.
And then a knight came.
The knight offered comforting words to the princess and told her that she would not need to forfeit her life and that no more would need to die.
Saint George rode his horse into the valley where dragon dwelled.
On arrival, the dragon rushed the knight from its watery hole but George was too quick for the beast. The dragon met the steel of his spear and it was mortally wounded.
Sources vary, according to some, a fierce fight ensued after George wounded the dragon. Snapping and snarling the dragon spat its venom and gauged at knights armour damaging but ultimately Saint George prevailed and the dragon was beaten. Other sources have said the beast died swiftly.
The knight’s spear was shattered, his armour broken, but Saint George’s spirit and valour remained. St George gathered together the last of this strength – bound beast and placed it onto a cart. He then proceeded to parade his gruesome trophy in front of the terrified villagers as proof of his deed.
He had slain the dragon, freed the villagers and saved a princess.
It is also said if the locals converted to Christians he would ‘finish the kill’ for the dragon it was alleged that the dragon was near death but his sword is what dealt the final killing blow.
And so it goes the legend of St George the dragon slayer.
Saint George’s Spear | Ancient Relic
St Georges spear was allegedly used to slay the dragon or, used to at least dealt a devastating wound.
I named this piece of artwork “The relic of Saint George” and I wanted the illustration to allude to the legend with broken spear planted into the ground with a somewhat demonic-looking dragon skull skewered on the top.
The illustration is a 2 part image which I wanted to tell in two parts. The defeated foe – the dragon skull and the broken spear – victory came in the end but not without cost as is often the case in life. And so this is my take on the story – The Relic of Saint George
Why I decided to draw “The Relic of Saint George”
I wanted to create an illustration that was authentic and stayed true to the story. In my typical pencil illustration style, I wanted to add a bit of dirge and grit to the black and white drawing, as the viewer, you can see the items are dirty and damaged without being able to see the blood and dirt.
And who knows… if there is truth to this legend and historical scholars and religion are accurate in telling a consistent narrative… the broken spear used to slay the dragon is out there, somewhere…
Enjoy St George’s Day on the 23rd of April. Just avoid feeling too heroic and feeling the urge to wrestle an inflatable crocodile in a neighbours pool – like the valiant saviour you are!
Who Was He?
Whether ST George was one person, a crusader or a couple of people and whether he actually slew a dragon wasn’t of consequence to this illustration. My goal was to illustrate the legend in an unconventional way. I wanted to focus on the story, not debate its historical or its religious origins.
Even if the legend is only part-true and St George was an armour-clad crocodile wrestler! He was still a brave man (men?) and shows chivalry in putting yourself before others. A great story however you wish to look at it.
The relic of Saint George – ie his spear or lance was said to be the weapon that stopped the dragon and my illustration is the depiction of this narrative – as is the main focus of this topic.
Thank you for reading this post about the legend of Saint George and taking the time to look at my artwork. Let me know if you have any questions about this illustration.
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My sources of information for Saint George
Source English Heritage
Source From the BBC