A wyvern or wivern (derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for serpent, and pronEng|ˈwɪvən), is a legendary winged reptilian creature often found in mediaeval heraldry. Its usual blazon is "statant" (standing). Its origin is in Europe.

The name "wyvern" derived from the Saxon word "Wivere", which means "serpent". The French wyvern is known as the Vouivre. Both words are etymologically related to viper.

The wyvern is regarded as a type of dragon. Depictions often include two legs and two wings. [Pennick, Nigel (1997). "Dragons of the West". Capall Bann Publishing] Sometimes there are eagle's claws on the wingtips. The rest of its appearance can vary, such as appearing with a tail spade or with a serpent-like tail.

The wyvern has a similar appearance to another mythical creature, the cockatrice.

Heraldry and symbolism

In the bestiaries of the Middle Ages, the wyvern was used as an allegory of Satan, and was associated with war, pestilence and sin. It was especially said to spread plague, a heinous charge in a medieval Europe reeling from the horrors of the Black Death. [Lady Gryphon's Mythical Realm [http://www.mythicalrealm.com/creatures/dragon-wyverns.html http://www.mythicalrealm.com/creatures/dragon-wyverns.html] Retrieved Sept. 24, 2008.] However, they are common in heraldry. The wyverns' symbolism is nobler in this aspect. Wyverns have been depicted in heraldry on shields and banners for hundreds of years. They are a sign of strength to those who bear the symbol. They also symbolise power and endurance.

Stephen Friar speculates that the wyvern entered British heraldry as the standard of the Roman cohort and later appeared as the "burning dragon" of Cadwalladr (the origin of the red dragon of Wales).cite book
authorlink=Stephen Friar
title=A New Dictionary of Heraldry
pages= p 380
publisher=Alphabooks/A & C Black

The wyvern was the emblem of the rulers of Wessex and the word "Wyvern" is associated with the many areas of Wessex, reflected in many county and town heraldries of the South West and west of England. It also has been used farther afield in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, as the rivers Wye and Severn run through Hereford and Worcester respectively. Therefore, the wyvern is often used as a mascot in the west and south west. For example, one of the local radio stations is called Wyvern FM, and its first logo, in 1982, featured a wyvern dragon.

;Other British
*A golden wyvern was featured on the flag of King Harold Godwinson of England and is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry. [ Flags of the World: Wessex, England http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb-wessx.html Retrieved May 25, 2007]
*The 43 (Wessex) Division in WW1 and WW2 and latterly the 43 (Wessex) Brigade of the British Army have a golden wyvern as their symbol, worn on the left shoulder of the uniform.
* Vauxhall had a model in its range in the 1950s called the Wyvern.
*The logo of Hummersknott School in Darlington, County Durham has this on it
* The wyvern also appears in the crest of Kingswood School, Lansdown, Bath.
* The wyvern is the crest of Mid-Cheshire District Scouts with a blue background.

*A wyvern appears on the crest of Queen's College (University of Melbourne).
*The Wyvern sits upon the crest of King's College, University of Queensland. The all male college embraces it and each student is taught to embody the spirit of the Wyvern. This is often exampled with a cry of "All Hail the Great Wyvern". The word "Wyvern" is also used as a euphemism in many social situations.
*The Wyvern also sits upon the crest of Wesley College Dublin, Ireland, and also on the shield of Wesley College, Perth (upper right-hand quarter).
*The Wyvern is part of the crest of Newington College, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. One of the preparatory schools is named Wyvern House.

;United States of America
*A red wyvern rampant is the school mascot of Saint Francis High School in Louisville, Kentucky.
*The Distinctive Unit Insignia and arms of the U.S. 37th Armor Regiment are charged with a legless wyvern.
*The Wyvern is the mascot for Kingswood-Oxford School.
*The Wyvern Club was a club founded by several New Orleans men, which met at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans.
*The chemistry professional fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma uses the wyvern as a mascot.


Some cryptozoologists have theorized that wyverns are evidence of surviving pterosaurs, a large flying reptile thought to have gone extinct around 65 million years ago. [Unknown Explorers - Wyvern [http://www.unknownexplorers.com/wyvern.php http://www.unknownexplorers.com/wyvern.php] Retrieved Apr.26, 2007.] There are alleged sightings of pterosaurs in remote areas such as the Kongamato in Africa. [The Wonderful World of Cryptozoology - [http://www.rainsnow.org/wod_cryptozoology.htm http://www.rainsnow.org/wod_cryptozoology.htm] Retrieved Apr. 26, 2007.] There is no evidence to prove these hypotheses or sightings. More probable is that the discovery of fossilized skeletons of long extinct species led people to reconstruct those creatures' appearances, and prehistoric and ancient peoples would not have had any reason to believe the creatures represented by the fossils were all dead.


ee also

* Lindworm

External links

* [http://www.mythicalrealm.com/creatures/dragon-wyverns.html Lady Gryphon's Mythical Realm: Wyvern]
* [http://www.eaudrey.com/myth/wyvern.htm Dave's Mythical Creatures and Places: Wyvern]
* [http://www.dragonsinn.net/fict-wyvern.htm Dragonsinn: Wyvern Facts]

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