|How could a Roman soldier come to be regarded as the essence of England? Letís find out.|
There is little information available about St. George and what is available is wrapped in myth and legend. What we do know is that St. George wasnít English and that he probably was a Roman soldier. He is known as a great crusader, the slayer of dragons and rescuer of maidens. It is believed he was a Christian martyr in what is today known as Turkey. He was executed during the 3rd century in Palestine.
In the 6th century, tales of St. Georgeís heroic deeds began to circulate. During the 12th century the legend expanded to encompass his slaying of a dragon that had been plaguing the countryside for years. When the dragon was dead, St. George is supposed to have rescued a lovely princess. Some researchers feel that the legend is based on the Greek myth of Perseus and the rescue of Andromeda from a gigantic sea monster. Others feel that St. George did indeed rescue the kingís daughter after slaying some manner of vicious beast.
When Christian knights, known as crusaders, returned to England after having fought religious wars in the Middle East, the legend of St. George became popular. Tales of his having slain a dragon was a great source of entertainment within the castle walls and courtyards. The medieval knights told how St. George had appeared to them wearing white robes that were decorated with a red cross during the siege of Antioch in the 11th century.
In 1425, Henry V was victorious at the Battle of Agincourt. It was then that St. George became the official patron saint of England. The red cross of St. George adorns Britainís national flag, and forms part of the Union Jack.
St. Georgeís powers are used in the Middle East to cast out demons and in many other countries St. Georgeís Day heralds the beginning of summer. He is classed as the guardian of animals in Lithuania and in some countries is associated with fertility. In Spain, St. Georgeís Day includes many festivities, including the giving of gifts and the eating of feasts.
About the Author
Mary M. Alward is a contributing writer for sites such as Online Discount Mart. Please include an active link to our site if you'd like to reprint this article.
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