When Dragonslaying was Cool
I’d like to introduce you to a couple of Cappadocian saints who you’ll get to meet in To Hell and Back, the fourth book in the Mel Goes to Hell series.
Man or myth? Did Saint George really slay a dragon?
Saint George was born in the third century AD in Cappadocia, which is modern-day Turkey. Following the death of his father, he became a soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. He rose to the rank of Tribune, but he objected to the Emperor’s campaign of persecution of Christians.
In punishment, he was imprisoned, tortured and dragged through the streets before he was beheaded.
He’s most famous for his defeat of a dragon. This dragon lived in a lake outside the city of Silene in Libya, where it terrorised the city and the surrounding countryside. The people of Silene appeased it by sacrificing sheep and then its own people. The human sacrifices were chosen by lot and one day the lot chose the king’s unmarried daughter.
George approached the gates of the city and noticed the princess, who exhorted him to leave before the dragon attacked him. Instead, he battled the dragon and had the princess lead the dragon into the city, where he killed it.
The story of Saint George and the dragon first appeared in the 13th century in England, suggesting that this may have occurred as a miracle after his death and not during his life.
Saint Sarkis was a military commander who lived in the fourth century AD. Born in Cappadocia, Sarkis was an Armenian who was appointed as Roman Emperor Constantine’s general in charge of the Roman troops of Cappadocia.
When Constantine was succeeded by his nephew Julian, Sarkis objected to the new emperor’s persecution of Christians and left Cappadocia to command the armies of the Sassanid Empire instead. When Sarkis destroyed a Zoroastrian temple, Shapur, the Sassanid Emperor, retaliated by killing Sarkis’ son, Mardiros. Sarkis was then imprisoned and executed.
Saint Sarkis is the patron saint of Armenia and young people.
Mel Goes to Hell
In the Mel Goes to Hell series, both George and Sarkis have been recruited by Frejya, the leader of the Exousiai, a choir of angels who are dedicated to fighting demons. Given their experience in combat, both have risen to senior ranks among the Exousiai.
And if you’d like to know a little more about the books that make up the Mel Goes to Hell series…you can find them all HERE.