St George: patron saint of England?

  • Jonathan Spencer Mackley (Speaker)

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsSeminar/WorkshopResearch


    This paper considers the literary heritage of St George as National Patron. It explores the legend with which he is most identified (the slaying of the dragon) in terms of Christian allegory. However, George was not an obvious choice for national patron and so the paper surveys other possible candidates and how George has been used and exploited as a cohesive and authoritative force by the monarchy. There is a legend significantly earlier than the medieval legend of the dragon; this paper analyses the tradition of the martyrdom legend from the beginning of the fourth century and addresses the earliest example of fighting “the dragon”. It has been argued that such a vague saint should not have achieved such an importance status and his survival must be because his name has been attached to an older tradition. Thus the paper follows the roots of traditions associated with St George though the writings of religion and mythology, before tracing them down through English folklore to some surprising literary descendants
    Period5 May 2011
    Event titleStaff Research Seminar
    Event typeOther
    LocationNorthampton, United KingdomShow on map