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Title: The Welsh Dragon
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From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/20/2009 00:47 AM)
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The Welsh Dragon

The Welsh Dragon that represents Wales as its national Emblem has its roots far back in history.

The poets Aneirin and Taliesin use the Welsh word for dragon - 'draig' in the sense of a warrior or leader. This use is reflected in the Arthurian Legends where the British chiefs in times of extreme danger were conferred the title - 'Pendragon' or head-dragon, investing them with supreme power, such as that granted to Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's father.

The symbol of the dragon seems to have emerged from a combination of folklore and Arthurian Legend. The ancient tales tell of how the wizard Merlin advised the 5th Century Welsh King - Vortigern - of two sleeping dragons, one red and one white, that lay beneath the spot he had chosen to build his fortress which was used to repel Anglo-Saxon invaders. The King ordered the beasts to be awoken and a ferocious battle lasting many years, ensued. The Red Dragon, suffering many injuries at first, triumphed the white. Merlin or 'Myrddin' to the Welsh, interpreted this as a prophecy, showing that the Welsh would ultimately, after suffering for years (like the red dragon) overcome the Anglo-Saxon invaders and keep their land, their language, and their traditions.

We at Welsh Historic Inns have based our logo on this ancient tale - with the intertwined dragons forming the letter 'W'. True to legend, we also have our red dragon triumphing over the white, but only through subtle positions of the overlapping tongues - the red on top of the white's!

The dragon's history in Wales goes back to Roman times, and since then has been used by many Kings and leaders in war. Henry Tudor, a Welshman, incorporated the dragon into his Royal coat of arms when he ascended to the English throne in 1485. Could this have been the fulfilment of Merlin's ancient prophecy? (Note that this was only 37 years before the Black Boy Inn was built!)

In 1901, the dragon officially became the symbol of Wales and in 1959, the present Queen made the red dragon on a green and white background the official flag for Wales.

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