Saturday Scenes

Wed 16 December 2009

Here Be Dragons

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 16:12

On the 12th of December in the year 1408, Sigismund, King of Hungary, created the Order of the Dragon. This chivalric order was created to gain favour with the Catholic Church and to help to defend his lands from the expansion of the Ottoman empire. A copy of the statute from 1707 still exists and states that its initiates must defend the Cross and do battle against its enemies. The Order’s original symbol was a circular dragon with its tail coiled around its neck and the red cross of St. George on its back.

One of the men that Sigismund recruited was the Duke of Wallachia, who was at the time “serving as frontier commander guarding the mountain passes from Transylvania into Wallachia from enemy incursion”. This man, a claimant to the Wallachian throne, was very proud of being included and took on the nickname Dracul (as in draco or dragon) to refer to his membership of the order.

Order of the Dragon

His son Vlad (better known as Vlad the Impaler) used the sobriquet “Dracula” in the context of “son of Dracul” or “son of he who was a member of the Order of the Dragon”.

Once again it was used as a term of honour. On a number of occasions, Vlad (the Impaler) signed documents using the name. The word “dracul”, however, took on a second meaning (“the devil”) which was applied to members of the Dracula family by their enemies and possibly also by superstitious peasants. It was this second meaning that found its way into William Wilkinson’s An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia (1820), the book in which Bram Stoker found the name “Dracula”. There is no evidence whatsoever that Stoker knew about the Order of the Dragon.

And thus it turns out that Sigismund, who later became the Holy Roman Emperor, actually gave us the name for the most famous vampire ever.

On the 12th of December in the year 2009, there were many seemingly trivial (but probably equally auspicious) events, all documented on camera:

These gorgeous December photographs were taking by these wonderful people on Twitter:

You can also keep track of everyone at once by checking out the Saturday Scenes list which includes all of our participants. We’re already up to 36 photographers after only a month!

If you’d like to join in, just take a photograph on Saturday and send it to @SatScenes with the location! We’d love to see your corner of the world.

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