No, it’s not like the gold standard! Although, given the reputed size of some dragon hoards, dragons could BE the gold standard. But what I’m referring to here is using the dragon as a battle standard.
Lots of countries and individuals have used the dragon as their personal or military symbol. It’s easy to see why. Western dragons are huge and powerful. Using that as your emblem could certainly give your enemies pause. I’ve previously mentioned that a red dragon was the national symbol of Wales, before it became incorporated into Great Britain.
Eastern dragons, on the other hand, still convey power, but also wisdom and grace. So Bhutan, for instance, uses a white dragon on its flag. The white dragon conveys the beauty and serenity of this Himalayan kingdom.
One of the most fun and interesting dragon symbols I’ve read about is the Dacian draco. In Roman times, Dacia was a region in Eastern Europe between the Black Sea and the Carpathian Mountains. The modern countries of Moldova and Rumania, plus parts of Serbia, Hungary, Solvakia, Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria, lie within the ancient domain of Dacia.
You’ve probably figured out already that the dragon was Dacia’s battle emblem. What’s fun is that they actually made a dragon that would roar, and they carried it at the front of their armies.
The draco was a metal tube decorated to look like a dragon, although the surviving images look rather more wolf-like than draconic. Behind the head was a fabric covering. The open mouth contained several thin metal strips.
This contraption was mounted on a pole and carried at the head of the Dacian armies by a man on a horse. Once he reached full gallop, the fabric would flow behind him, moving as if alive. Meanwhile, the metal pieces in the dragon’s mouth caught the wind and emitted a piercing shriek, amplified by the tube. Viola — a dragon that roared!