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Saint Margaret

Another saint is commonly depicted with a dragon beneath her feet: Saint Margaret. Although some people consider her to be the lovely princess rescued by St. George, she has her own legend which is not at all related to that of the knight or of St. Martha. Margaret did not rescue anybody or anything - not even herself. But by killing the dragon she defeated the devil.

Margaret was born in Antiochia as the only daughter of a priest of the ancient gods. Her mother died soon. She was brought up by a woman some 15 kilometers apart from her father, where she got in contact with Christianity and converted to this new religion. Her father was very upset and tried to convince her to quit that - as he would put it - idolatry. But in vain. Thus as a punishment he forced her to tend pigs.
At that time Olybrius, governor of Antiochia, saw Margaret and at once fell in love with the beautiful christian virgin. As she resisted to marry him, he tortured her with iron combs and burned her with torches. But she still considered The LOrd to be her only bride-groom. In prison the devil himself tempted her, first as a charming young man, later as a fierce dragon who threatened to devour her. But Margaret prayed to The LOrd and killed the dragon by making the sign of the cross over him. But this did not save her: Olybrius got tired of that stubborn virgin, and beheaded her.

Weilen sie aber sich auf keine Weise wollte bewegen lassen, auch alles Drohen der Marter nicht achtete, wurde sie mit Ruthen gestrichen, und als sie dieses nicht fühlte, mit eisernen Zacken oder Spitzen geritzt, da ihr denn auch der Teufel in Gestalt eines Drachen im Gefängnis erschien darein man sie geführet hatte, welchen sie aber durch das Zeichen des Creutzes vertrieb.


Zedler, Universal=Encyclopaedie, vol. 19 (1739).
Bock, E. (1922): Die Deutsche Graphik. - 354 p., München (Franz Hanfstaengel).

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last update 28.09.1997