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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wyvern

Monstropedia Eternia
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyvern


A wyvern (or wivern) (IPA: waɪvərn) is a legendary winged reptilian creature often found in medieval heraldry. Its usual blazon is statant (standing). Its origin is in Europe.

The name "wyvern" derived from the Saxon word Wivere, which means "serpent". The French wyvern is known as the Vouivre.

The wyvern can be regarded as a type of or similar to a dragon. Depictions often include two legs and two wings[1]. Sometimes there are eagle's claws on the wingtips. The rest of its appearance can vary, such as appearing with a tail spade or with a serpent-like tail.

Wyvern supporters in the arms of the Borough of Vale Royal
Wyvern supporters in the arms of the Borough of Vale Royal

Variants of the wyvern include the sea-wyvern, which has a fish-like tail. The wyvern has a similar appearance to another mythical creature, the cockatrice.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Cryptozoology

Some Cryptozoologists have theorized that Wyverns are evidence of surviving Pterosaurs, a large flying reptile thought to have gone extinct around 65 million years ago.[2] But like similar theories about dragons, there is no evidence aside from accounts of surviving pterosaurs, which were thought to possibly exist in remote areas such as the Kongamato in Africa.[3]

[edit] Heraldry and symbolism

Wyverns can symbolise envy, war, pestilence, and viciousness.[4]

However, they are common in heraldry. The wyverns' symbolism is nobler in this aspect. Wyverns have been depicted in heraldry on shields and banners for hundreds of years. They are a sign of strength to those who bear the symbol. They also symbolise power and endurance.

Stephen Friar speculates that the wyvern entered British heraldry as the standard of the Roman cohort and later appeared as the "burning dragon" of Cadwallader (the origin of the red dragon of Wales).[5]

The word "Wyvern" is associated with the area of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, as the rivers Wye and Severn run through Hereford and Worcester respectively. Therefore, the wyvern is often used as a mascot in that area. For example, one of the local radio stations is called Wyvern FM, and its first logo, in 1982, featured a wyvern dragon.

The wyvern was the emblem of the rulers of Mercia and was adopted by the Leicester and Swannington Railway and later by the Midland Railway, which ran in Great Britain until 1923. The Midland Railway Centre in Derbyshire, England, publishes a magazine for its members called The Wyvern.

Other British
  • A golden wyvern was featured on the flag of Wessex and is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.[6]
    • 43 'Wessex' brigade of the British Army have a golden wyvern as their symbol, worn on the left shoulder of the uniform.
    • The Wyvern is also the insignia on the cap-badge of the Exeter University Officer Training Corps, appearing in front of the three turreted castle.
  • Wyvern is the name of the building that houses A Squadron (University of St. Andrews), Tayforth University Officers Training Corps.
Commonwealth
  • A wyvern appears on the crest of Queen's College (University of Melbourne).
  • The Wyvern sits upon the crest of King's College, University of Queensland. The all male college embraces it and each student is taught to embody the spirit of the Wyvern. This is often exampled with a cry of "All Hail the Great Wyvern". The word "Wyvern" is also used as a euphemism in many social situations.
United States of America

[edit] Wyverns in popular culture

See also: Wyvern (disambiguation)
See also: World of Warcraft
See also: Lineage II

[edit] References

  1. ^ Pennick, Nigel (1997). Dragons of the West. Capall Bann Publishing
  2. ^ Unknown Explorers - Wyvern http://www.unknownexplorers.com/wyvern.php Retrieved Apr.26, 2007.
  3. ^ The Wonderful World of Cryptozoology - http://www.rainsnow.org/wod_cryptozoology.htm Retrieved Apr. 26, 2007.
  4. ^ The Dragon Stone http://www.polenth.com/myth/europe/wyvern.html Retrieved Apr. 23, 2007.
  5. ^ Friar, Stephen (1987). A New Dictionary of Heraldry. London: Alphabooks/A & C Black, p 380. ISBN 0906670446.
  6. ^ Flags of the World: Wessex, England http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb-wessx.html Retrieved May 25, 2007

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