A recording of this lecture will be available to ticket holders for two weeks after the lecture

In the modern Western world, dragons occupy a curious dual space. On the one hand for many people and in many stories, they retain a traditional role as terrifying and predatory monsters which must be slain by heroes. On the other, they are as frequently now represented as friends and allies, faithful steeds or embodiments of benign earth energies. Things get more complex and interesting when it is realised that these two aspects are themselves ancient: in the Old World, western dragons have generally been malevolent, and the dragons of the Far East benevolent. So why is this, and why has the western attitude changed in the modern era? Also, did dragons ever exist, and could they exist, and why did so many humans believe in them if they did not? These are the questions which Ronald Hutton sets out to answer in this talk.

Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.