Saint George was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origins and a member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian. Saint George was sentenced to death for refusing to give up his Christian faith. He is one of the most venerated saints in Christianity, and he has been especially venerated as a military saint since the Crusades. In our imagination this knight-martyr is the saint that “kills the dragon”.
As narrated in the Golden Legend by The Genoese Bishop Jacobus de Voragine (also known as Legenda Aurea by Jacopo da Varagine), the event is well-known: Selem is a city in Libya and it is besieged by a horrible monster. To keep the monster at peace, the citizens offer the dragon one among the youngest maidens in town as a sacrifice. One day the daughter of the king has to be sacrificed; St. George appears riding his horse and he manages to neutralise the dragon. He then asks the princess to tie the dragon with a rope and to lead it into the town. The dragon appears tamed and quiet: witnessing this prodigious event, the king and the whole population converted to Christianity. The dragon was then killed by the Saint.
The iconography of this saint is based mainly on this episode, while his other miracles and his martyrdom are seldom represented; the dragon becomes his characteristic feature.