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Dragons in the SkyCurve

"In this year terrible portents appeared in Northumbria, and miserably afflicted the inhabitants: these were exceptional flashes of lightning and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air."

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Year 793)


Introduction | Editorial | Contents | Contributors



While we in 2000 CE are unlikely to see dragons in the sky, and the Anglo-Saxons do not report seeing them in 1000 AD, the approach of the millennium then and now occasioned both the dread and the excitement of expectation. It is difficult to imagine a better image for both of those emotions than dragons above, flying under their own sublime power and for their own hidden reasons. Some Anglo-Saxons may have imagined the reference in the Chronicle to signify genuine flights of real dragons in the air, and they are not, perhaps, very different from people today who know that somehow we are threatened from the same direction to which we usually look for the beneficence of our gods by holes in the ozone layers, mushroom clouds, and exploding airplanes. Some Anglo-Saxons, however, knew that dragons serve us as metaphors, and they may have been like many of us today who search less poetically for ways to embody the magic and power of the ciphers we assign to our lives when we tally our own age or that of our world. If the very number is significant when a person turns 16, 21, 30, 50 or 100, how much more significance is felt when we perceive our whole civilization to have reached such a numerical plateau. Indeed, there are dragons in the sky.

Dragons in the Sky is, at its heart, a snapshot of two communities. The present day society of English-speaking communities (i.e. the United Kingdom, USA, Australasia, etc.) and the society of Anglo-Saxon England. Using the recent millennium as a milestone in human history, this electronic-book compares and contrasts human experience in England of the tenth/eleventh century with the conditions of English-speaking people today, now spread over the earth since the last millennium.

Professor Patrick W. Conner                    Dr. Stuart D. Lee
Editor, Dragons in the Sky                          Editor, Dragons in the Sky
West Virginia University                             University of Oxford
pconner@wvu.edu                                    stuart.lee@oucs.ox.ac.uk


Introduction | Editorial | Contents | Contributors