Tarasque

The Tarasque or Tarrasque is a fearsome legendary monster tamed in a story about Saint Martha.

Legend

Legend has it that the creature inhabited the area of Nerluc in Provence, and devastated the landscape far and wide. The Tarasque was a sort of dragon with six short legs like a bear's, an ox-like body covered with a turtle shell, and a scaly tail that ended in a scorpion's sting. It had a lion's head.

The Tarasque was said to have come from Galatia which was the home of the legendary Onachus, a scaly, bison-like beast which burned everything it touched. Some speculate that the story of the Onachus may be related to either that of the Unicorn or the Phoenix. The Tarasque was the offspring of the Onachus and the Leviathan of biblical account; basically—though disputably—a giant sea serpent.

The king of Nerluc had attacked the Tarasque with knights and catapults to no avail. But Saint Martha found the beast and charmed it with hymns and prayers, and led back the tamed Tarasque to the city. The people, terrified by the monster, attacked it when it drew nigh. The monster offered no resistance and died there. Martha then preached to the people and converted many of them to Christianity. Sorry for what they had done to the tamed monster, the newly-Christianized townspeople changed the town's name to Tarascon.

The story of the Tarasque is also very similar to the story of Beauty and the Beast and King Kong. The monster is beguiled and weakened by a woman and then killed when brought back to civilization. A similar idea is found in the myths of Enkidu and the unicorn: both are calmed by sending them a woman.

Cultural impact

The Tarasque is featured on the coat of arms of the city of Tarascon.

A legendary marine creature reported to live in Vietnam's Halong Bay was also called "Tarasque" by the French who ruled the area at the time. ["Ha Long Bay." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 28 Feb. 2007 .]

A festival is held every year on the last Sunday of June to remember the tarasque and Tartarin, the main character of Alphonse Daudet's "Tartarin de Tarascon".

The name Tarasque has been used by the French military as the common name for a towed 20 mm anti-aircraft gun.

On 25 November 2005 the UNESCO included the Tarasque on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. [ [http://www.unesco.org/culture/intangible-heritage/05eur_uk.htm United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization | Culture ] ]

The Tarasque is one of the statues of the Corpus Christi procession of many Spanish cities (Valencia [http://www.jdiezarnal.com/valenciafiestacorpuslatarasca01.jpg] , Granada...)

The Tarrasque (spelled with two "r"s) is listed among the creatures in Wizards of the Coast's (formerly TSR Hobbies) Dungeons & Dragons 1983 Monster Manual II (aka 3rd Edition Monstrous Manual). [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/eo/20051109a]

The Tarasque is Monster in My Pocket #57.

Torrasque is a hero Zerg unit in the video game Starcraft

References

*Karl Shuker (1995). "Dragons: A Natural History." Simon & Schuster, New York.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.fairrosa.info/dragon/tarasque.html Webpage about the Tarasque]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • tarasque — [ tarask ] n. f. • 1655; provenç. tarasco (1369), de Tarascon, nom de ville 1 ♦ Animal fabuleux, dragon des légendes provençales; sa représentation que l on promène en procession dans certaines villes méridionales. Par ext. Monstre sculpté, sorte …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • TARASQUE (LA) — TARASQUE LA La Bête de Noves , monstre hideux aux griffes plantées sur deux têtes humaines dégoulinantes de sang (annexe du musée Calvet, Avignon) peut elle être considérée comme l’ancêtre de la tarasque rhodanienne? (Noves est une localité… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Tarasque — Pour le peuple amérindien, voir Tarasques. Fête de la Tarasque * …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tarasque — Umzugswagen Die Tarasque ist der Drache, dem der Sage nach die südfranzösische Stadt Tarascon ihren Namen verdankt. Im 12. Jahrhundert verbreitete sich die Überlieferung um die Tarasca, das von der Heiligen Martha bezwungene Ungeheuer (1187… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • tarasque — noun A mythical European dragon …   Wiktionary

  • tarasque — (ta ra sk ) s. f. Représentation d un animal monstrueux que l on promène solennellement à Tarascon et dans plusieurs autres villes de France …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • TARASQUE (ethnie) — TARASQUE, ethnie Les Indiens Tarasque occupent le nord est de l’État mexicain de Michoacan (dans les îles et sur les rives du lac Patzcuaro et entre Zacapu et Zamora); on en trouve également dans les régions limitrophes de Jalisco, du Guanajuato… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Tarasque (culture amerindienne) — Tarasques  Cet article concerne un peuple amérindien. Pour la bête imaginaire, voir Tarasque. Des hommes tarasques en train de tisser des nasses …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tarasque (ethnie) — Tarasques  Cet article concerne un peuple amérindien. Pour la bête imaginaire, voir Tarasque. Des hommes tarasques en train de tisser des nasses …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tarasque (peuple) — Tarasques  Cet article concerne un peuple amérindien. Pour la bête imaginaire, voir Tarasque. Des hommes tarasques en train de tisser des nasses …   Wikipédia en Français


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