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The association of the serpent with a monstrous opponent overcome by a heroic deity has its roots in the mythology of the Ancient Near East, including Canaanite (Hebrew, Ugaritic), Hittite and Mesopotamian.
Humbaba, the fire-breathing dragon-fanged beast first described in the Epic of Gilgamesh, is sometimes described as a dragon with Gilgamesh playing the part of dragon-slayer.
Examples include Indra, who, according to the Rigveda, slew the serpent Vritra, Zeus, who, according to Hesiod's Theogony, slew the serpent Typhon, and Thor, who, according to the Eddas, slew the Midgard serpent.They are commonly said to possess some form of magic or other supernatural power, and are often associated with wells, rain, and rivers.In some cultures, they are also said to be capable of human speech.The two most well-known cultural traditions of dragon are: The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact of recent centuries.The English word dragon and Latin word draco derive from Greek δράκων (drákōn), "dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake".
They are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and possessing typically scaly or feathered bodies. Some myths portray them with a row of dorsal spines.