Greek Mythology >> Bestiary >> Dragons >> Thespian Dragon (Drakon Thespiakos)


Greek Name

Δρακων Θεσπιακος


Drakôn Thespiakos

Latin Spelling

Draco Thespiacus


Dragon of Thespiae

THE DRAKON THESPIAKOS (Thespian Dragon) was a monstrous serpent which ravaged the land of Thespiai (Thespiae) in Boiotia (Central Greece). It was destroyed through the sacrifice of the hero Menestratos who leapt between the jaws of the beast wearing a spiked breastplate.


Probably GAIA, though nowhere stated


Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 26. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"In Thespiai (Thespiae) [in Boiotia] is a bronze image of Zeus Soter (Saviour). They say about it that when a Drakon (Dragon-Serpent) was devastating their city, the god commended that every year one of their youths, upon whom the lot fell, should be offered to the monster. Now the names of those who perished they say that they do not remember. But when the lot fell on Kleostratos (Cleostratus), his lover Menestratos (Menestratus), they say, devised a trick. He had made a bronze breastplate with a fish-hook, the point turned outward upon each of its plates. Clad in this breastplate he gave himself up, of his own free will, to the Drakon, convinced that having done so he would, though destroyed himself, proved the destroyer of the monster. This is why the Zeus has been surnamed Saviour."




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