During the Middle Ages and more specifically around 1332, there was the legend and the fear of a great dragon inRhodes. It lived in today’s hill of Monte Smith which was then called “Mal Paso” and it means bad passage.
The residents of the island felt terror in the idea of a creature which was responsible for the disappearance of children and shepherds of the area and also many knights who went to slay it, but never came back. Up on the hill, there was the smallchurchofSt. Stephanand many residents considered highly dangerous the passing from that area in order to go there. Fear had surrounded the whole island.
Then, the Great Magister Helion de Villeneuve, in fear not to lose more knights by the beast of the hill, forbade every attack to it. The skin of the dragon consisted of scales, impenetrable by weapons and arrows, which made it invulnerable against the knights. However, a young knight did not want to obey the order of the Great Magister and started to plan the way in which he would kill the dangerous creature on the island.
The knight named Dieudonne de Gozon asked for permission to be absent for a year and visit his father’s castle inLanguedoc. With his father’s and servants’ help, they designed a model of the dragon and he trained his horse and dogs on it, and also practiced the technique which he would follow.
After a long period of training, the knight returned toRhodesand went on the hill where the dragon lived. He began to attack vigorously the dragon with his sword, while his dogs were dashing against the enormous and dangerous creature. Its tail was so big that the knight was having a hard time avoiding the blows and the danger from its huge teeth. One of these blows was fatal and knocked the unlucky knight off his horse. But he had trained so well that he knew that the dragon’s belly was not covered by scales. As the dragon dashed to devour him, he raised his sword and pricked the beast’s abdomen. The dragon collapsed dead on the knight’s body, who lost consciousness.
After a long time, his servants went up on the hill and found him stuck under the dragon’s body, they released him, took off his helmet and when he regained consciousness, he was transferred to the city ofRhodes. Wherever he was passing by, the people cheered and praised him and applauded his courage.
The Great Magister Helion de Villeneuve was conquered by fury and wanted to punish the knight Gozon who disobeyed his orders. However, the people of the island protested with rage and finally the Great Magister gave him the honorary title of the Great Magister. He was worth this honour, since he set the island free from the fear of the dragon that had conquered it.
The dragon’s head was placed on the Sea gate while the brave knight was crowned Great Magister in Villeneuve’s place when he passed away. The Great Magister Gozon died in 1353 after an excellent administrative service and beloved by the people. On his tomb it was written ‘Here lies the dragon’s slayer’
This legend is saved on theislandofRhodesfrom the Middle Ages until nowadays and the knight’s bravery keeps the memorable grandeur of that era.
This poem was written in honour of this legend by the German poet Friedrich von Schiller, which you can read on the following link: