How to call your Slavic dragon?
Czech language is being typically confusing about this:
- breaths fire = saň
- four legs = drak (yet from heraldic point of view it’s saň)
- more than one head = saň
- or another point of view = saň is just a little bit more aggressive female dragon because she guards her eggs
Dragons also have ‘stages’. Smok is the first stage of drak (a little dragon), born from a snake that hasn’t been seen by any human for 7 years. Yet in Polish smok is really just a name for dragon. For Slovaks it’s either drak or šarkan.
Zmey, zmiy or zmaj, the root of the world origination from Slavic “zmeja” = adder, snake, are another names for Slavic dragon. The number of heads on South Slavic dragons is almost always an odd number (3, 7, 9).
Zmej Gorynyč (see picture) is a mythical even-headed dragon originating from Ukrainian and Russian mythology, killed by Slavic hero Dobrynya Nikitich. When Russian dragon loses one head a new one will grow on its place.
Slavic dragon is much like any other European dragon an evil creature, with small exceptions like the dragon from Slovenian capital Ljubljana who protected his city.