The Rhodes Dragon – Fact Or Fiction?

The Rhodes Dragon

Okay, I can hear you all shouting at me “oh come on, no way, a dragon??!!!” I don’t blame you for this at all, but did The Rhodes Dragon really exist or not? What do you know about it?

Well, let us not jump to conclusions. Here I will take you through the story/myth/legend of the dragon of Rhodes. From there you can make up your own mind. Enjoy, and feel free to leave me your thoughts at the end. I would love to hear them all!

The Story Of The Dragon

It is said that in the 1330s, there lived a dragon on the island of Rhodes. It inhabited a cave just off a path on the hill known today as Monte Smith. This path back in those days was known as ‘Mal Paso’. This was to indicate that to go here was a bad move. Mal Paso means a bad path or a bad step. After the death of the dragon, it was renamed ‘Bel Paso’ to indicate then a good path.

The dragon itself was said to be huge in stature and at over 20 meters in length it possessed a heavy leather skin. This of course made it near impossible to attack the dragon with the conventional weapons of those days. It would have been a futile effort to try penetrate the skin with a sword for example.

Fear was spread throughout the island. Children were disappearing, cattle was

the-rhodes-dragon-fact-or-fiction

Depiction of The Rhodes Dragon – Maybe?

being slaughtered and all those sent to kill it (including armed Knights) were never to return.

The serving Grand Master of The Knights at the time was Helion De Villeneuve (1319 to 1346). He forbid any further attempts to bring the dragon down, as he feared further losses to his Knights and the local people. He put out an order that no soldier or Knight should attempt to kill the beast.

However, there was one man who set to violate this order.

The Knight – Dieudonne De Gozon

One Knight by the name of Dieudonne De Gozon set about his own plans to slay the dragon of Rhodes. Going against the words of The Grand master, he asked for leave of absence from his duties in order to visit his father’s castle in France.

From this location, it is said that he built a large scale model of the dragon. This was used as focus to train himself, his dogs and his horse in preparation to do battle with the beast.

Once equipped with the skills and knowledge he needed, he returned to the island of Rhodes.

He went to the location of the dragon and executed his plans to bring it down. The dragon was so huge, naturally De Gozon had a difficult time getting in close. Its huge tail swung violently and eventually it hit De Gozon knocking him off his horse.

His dogs also had a tough time getting in close due to the sheer size of the dragon, and although they tried to attack from the sides, they failed.

De Gozon knew from his practice and studies, that the stomach of the dragon was weak and unprotected. As the dragon approached him, he was able to plunge his sword into its stomach. The dragon fell to its death, trapping the Knight under its body.

A Welcome Hero

De Gozon’s unconscious body was eventually retrieved and he was taken into the city hailed a hero. The children, the cattle and the area was safe once more thanks to his actions.

Grand Master Helion De Villeneuve was extremely angry however. He demanded the Knight be punished for violating his strict orders not to approach the dragon.

The people were in defense of the Knight though, and the charges were dropped.

After the death of Helion De Villeneuve, Dieudonne De Gozon was to replace him as head of the order. He was elected the 27th Grand Master Of The Knights Order and held this position from 1346 until 1353 (his death).

The Rhodes Dragon - What Did It Look Lke?

The Head Of The Rhodes Dragon – Or is it?

Fact Or Fiction?

I want to know your opinion here!

Let’s face it, The Knights Of Saint John and The Grand Masters were, and still are, a legitimate and respected authority.

Would something like this be invented with such a respectable and serious order in place? Personally I do not think so. What do you think?

In my mind, I have no doubts that these events took place (or very similar), but I tend to lean towards one hypothesis that has surfaced.

The dragon, was not in fact a dragon. It was something huge however, and it has been said it could have been a crocodile.

After the death of the beast, its head was put on display above one of the gates in The Medieval City until the year 1837. Over this period, many people were able to view it including scientists. They all said that it was a crocodile that was slain that famous day.

The head of the dragon/crocodile was removed from this location due to renovations and construction work being made to the castle.

Although it is a great story, and one of myth, in my belief it was never a dragon, On saying that, it was hundreds of years ago, so – you never know, do you?

Thanks for reading everyone and leave your comments below! I am looking forward them 🙂

Click From Below To Learn More About Some Important Historical Figures In Rhodes

Chris Towers
Hi there, I am Chris and I live on The Island Of Rhodes In Greece. I am more than happy to assist you in anyway possible if you are looking for information or help on this amazing Greek Island.

Feel free to leave me a message if you have any questions or need advice!

Hey, maybe you have visited this beautiful place yourself and you have something you want to share?

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

20 comments on “The Rhodes Dragon – Fact Or Fiction?

  1. Good story, fact or fiction? Well we all love fictional characters, fairy tales etc. it creates and embellishes our imagination growing up. 

    Had the head survived and been displayed, (museum), that would be great, but then, there may go the myth. 

    So is there a story here, perhaps a fable that generations can learn from, a bad dragon slain by a good knight!!

    (Don’t forget, children disappeared in this myth).

    Mm…great bedtime stories of right over wrong!! I’m enjoying this!! Sorry! 

    Any history to state that crocodiles lived in and around the Greek Isles?

    Great post 

    Michele

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Yes Michele, there is some information here which can be taken seriously, it can be considered a joke and/or a fable.

      Me personally, I believe it was a Crocodile.

      The thing is, Crocodiles are known for settling in areas like Africa, America, Asia and Australia. It is not often you here of crocodiles in Greece. Are they here though? Maybe, as back in 2014 there was a huge 6th Crocodile that appeared in a Lake on the island of Crete!

      So, you never know do you? Something this size, unknown to locals. Who is to say what stories could go around from seeing something like this? 🙂

      Thanks Michele. Happy you enjoyed the information here.

      Chris

  2. April May

    I love all things history. So when I read this, I was like wow. I think it may have been a crocodile or those dragons from long ago, not those that spit out fire. But if there was ever one, that would’ve been cool. How did you get this information?

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thanks April.

      The story of The Dragon here in Rhodes is a popular one, so to learn of it here is not so difficult.

      I am simple here to share the information 🙂

      Thanks

      Chris

  3. julienne murekatete

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story of The Rhodes Dragon.

    After reading this story i can conclude that this is just a story invented by old people to make this place attractive or important in history. This goes with my country history where they show that one of our kings was like God.

    Wherever he passed rested a sign of his dogs and something like that. If i have read well, there is a contradiction of what kind of beast is there. It was a dragon? Or was it is a Crocodile? 

    You see,this is just a fiction. This is my point of view.

    Thank you 

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hi Julienne,

      I will agree, The Dragon Of Rhodes does provide entertainment and debate when it comes to visitors to Rhodes. Did it exist? Did it not? Was it a dragon? Was it a crocodile? Or was it all simply a made up story?

      While I tend to agree some of it is fiction, I also think the story has stemmed from true events, all be it not a Dragon!

      Thanks for your point of view too! I appreciate it 🙂

      Chris

  4. Great Post! 

    If I remember correctly, when i was in biology class my teacher told us that 98% of all species that ever existed on Earth are now extinct. To me this means that there were probably creatures we could never even imagine! That is why this “myth” may not be as fictional as we tend to believe.

    Its weird that people believe in dinosaurs but as soon as you mention “Dragon” you are instantly a crazy person. I think that there are amazing creatures that we still haven’t discovered yet, so it is highly probable that there were incredible creatures lie this roaming around.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      An absolute fair point Renton yes.

      Just because something does not exist today, does not mean it ever did. 

      Dinosaurs offer a great example and they were massive and powerful creatures. Who is to say dragons did not originate back then too?

      Food for thought!

      Thanks my friend. Nice to hear from you.

      Chris

  5. Whether fact or fiction, this is a great story worth our time. It really builds one’s imagination on seeing how things were centuries ago. A lot of evolution has happened over the years and some people believe the crocodile is a distant cousin of the dragon and dinosaurs, so maybe it was a dragon or an evolving crocodile. 

    Fact is a creature did exist and was slain and no more children and cattle disappeared again. Seems I believe the story to be true.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thank you Anita, and yes you make a valid point here.

      it is interesting to hear different opinions, and some of those opinions are backed up with a fact, just like yours.

      Food for thought eh? 🙂

      Thanks for your interest and opinion too!

      Chris

  6. I love to read stories of the history of a place. I never expected there’ll be an island where the authorities stated they slain a dragon. It is very interesting. I think it could be a huge crocodile. Dragons are myths for no one can say in our time that could testify that he/she saw it. 

    However, it can be true. In every myth there’s always something factual connected to it. I’m intrigued more with Rhodes while reading your site’s posts.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thanks Eli,

      I also think that the slain creature that day was a crocodile, all be it a big one.

      It makes for nice reading though, and like you say, who is to say it is not factual? Yes, behind most myth, there is a truth, so let’s not rule anything out 🙂

      Thanks

      Chris

  7. Hey Chris,

    I know this sounds like an odd question, but if the dragon really existed how come there are no museums or anything with it’s bones?  Surely, someone would have saved something.  I mean a 20 meter dragon and no one saved anything?

    Also, I’m not sure how accurate I am on this, but are their museums that have a dragon skeleton or anything?  I mean surely, someone somewhere has collected the bones of a dragon?   

    • Chris Towers Post author

      This is a really great point Garen, but in all honesty, I will say the The Dragon Of Rhodes did not actually exist.

      It was later said to be a crocodile. The skull of this crocodile/dragon was said to be be hung from the gates of the old town in Rhodes until it was taken down for construction purposes. So in a way it was saved, but what has happened from there is not really well documented.

      You are quite right though, especially in Greece, where you find museums dedicated to artifacts thousands of years old, and for a culture that is very proud of its history, why nothing has been saved from the Dragon?

      In all honesty, for me it is myth. I do not think the Dragon actually existed and the different events that have been put into story form have led us to this fable.

      Great point though, but if that Dragon was indeed real, something would have been saved.

      Thanks Garen.

      Chris

  8. I used to read books to my son when he was younger about dragons and dinosaurs. 

    I know they are fiction (and I am sure The Rhodes Dragon is too), but there has been scientific basis for dinosaurs through the bones that have been found by scientists.

    I haven’t read though about researches being done or discoveries about dragon bones somewhere.

    Most probably you are right that it was a bog crocodile since they are still being seen at present.

    Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

    Marita

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Hey Marita, yes I am sure research has been carried out by scientists but I will be honest and say I have never seen anything that provides hard evidence.

      When you say you are sure research has been carried out but you have not read anything, what do you mean? Is there something somewhere that you have seen? I would love to know.

      Thanks Marita, I appreciate your interest.

      Chris

  9. Very cool stories. 

    I’ve always had a love for anything mythical and dragons are no different. They are so majestic and beautiful. These stories about dragons make me want to grab a good fiction book and read all day long. Thanks so much for this. 

    Super cool! Fact or Fiction the fact is that dragons are so cool! 

    • Chris Towers Post author

      Thank you Andrea, I am happy you liked this section on my website 🙂

      I appreciate you having a read.

      Chris

  10. Alex Ng'etich

    Very very interesting topic! When it comes to dragons, I tend to believe they did exist. The reason for that is the creature is passed on from generation to generation and even mentioned or rather described even in the Bible as Leviathan. So do I believe that is a dragon? Actually I do.

    • Thanks very much for your take on this Alex.

      I know this will probably be the subject of debate, so I am looking forward to the different thoughts and ideas about dragons. You mention The Bible too, which of course can open a different direction of debate.

      Thanks my friend. It is nice to hear from you.

      Chris

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