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"The Itinerant Dragon-Slayer: Forging Paths of Image and Identity in Medieval Anatolia"
Oya Pancarglu
Gesta, 43:2, 2004, 151-164

The image of a figure on horseback impaling a large serpent or "dragon" was reincarnated over many centuries in medieval Anatolia, each reincarnation affirming the iconographic stability and contextual adaptability of the image. Tracing this image from the end of Late Antiquity to the establishment of Turkish polities in Anatolia reveals the wide horizon of identities and functions that characterize this iconography of heroic sainthood. Appearing on amulets, coins, icons, secular courtly decoration, and in funerary settings,the equestrian dragon-slayer assumed multiple and parallel identities in Christian and Muslem contexts. These identities intersect, in turn, with analogous narratives of sainthood and heroism in which the dragon slayer plays a distinct role in forging associations between traditions. The visual and narrative representations of the dragon slayer speaks to the psychological primacy of certain types of images, revealed by their ability to transcend the passage of time and peoples. In the case of medieval Anatolia, the manifestations of the equestrian dragon-slayer challenge easy assumptions about the nature of cultural encounter, difference, and assimilation. From mutation to regeneration, analysis of the visual and textual representations of the dragon slayer facilitates the mapping of complex cultural experiences in medieval Anatolia. - abstract

Language: English

LC: N5950G4
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