Tarasque Syndrome


The blog Daily Window on a World of Wonder recently featured pictures of St. Martha with a dragon-like creature, which obviously intrigued me. It turns out that this creature is the Tarasque, a monster with six legs, a shell, a scaly tail with a scorpion’s sting at the end, and the head of a man or lion.

Before we get into that, though, let’s look at Martha herself. She appears in the Bible along with her sister Mary and brother Lazarus, the guy Jesus raised from the dead. In Catholic tradition, this Mary is regarded as one and the same with Mary Magdalene, even though Mary was a pretty common name in that time and place. It was, for instance, Jesus’ mother’s name. Anyway, legend has it that, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the three siblings journeyed to France to serve as missionaries. In the year 46, Martha came across a village being terrorized by the Tarasque, and charmed the monster with hymns and prayers. The townspeople then killed it, but upon learning that it had become peaceful, named their town Tarascon after the monster.

The Tarasque was the namesake for creatures in the Dungeons & Dragons and Final Fantasy universes, although neither of them have the weird composite anatomy that the legendary Tarasque was often said to have. Neither does the Tarascosaurus, which is said to be a ceratosaur, but it probably received its name because it was native to France.

This entry was posted in Catholicism, Christianity, Monsters, Mythology, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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