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  • Paul Anthony Jones

Old Snap

(pr. n.) the name of the dragon said to have been slain by St George

painting of old snap the dragon slain by st george

Today is St George’s Day, which we’ve marked over on HH with the fact that the dragon supposedly slain by St George is said by some to have been called “Old Snap”.

Actually, that’s only half the story here. We don’t know what the dragon killed by St George was called because, y’know, dragons don’t exist. But as England’s patron saint, reenactments of St George’s fight with the dragon have long been performed on 23 April, and it’s the costumed dragon that takes part in those performances—a traditional part of local fêtes and mummers’ entertainments—that has long been known as “Old Snap”.

How long? It’s hard to say, but since well before the seventeenth century certainly: in 1645, a law was passed in the city of Norwich that forbade “the beating of drums and sounding of trumpets”, as well as “Old Snap Dragon” and “fellows dressed up as fools on horseback”.

#mythology #Britishhistory #Britain

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