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The legend of St. George

St George, the patron saint of Georgia and England, was a senior Roman army officer who was martyred in Palestine in about AD300. The legend that he saved a Libyan princess by killing a dragon arose in the 12th century, possibly from the myth of Perseus slaying a sea monster near the site of George's martyrdom. He had nothing to do with England but, also in the 12th century, Crusaders picked up the habit of praying for his help in battle and in 1347 England's Order of the Garter was founded in his name. Nor does he have anything to do with the name 'Georgia', which comes from gurj, the ancient Arabic and Persian name for the country, perhaps derived from gorg or wolf, a pagan idol. In Azeri and Turkish languages Georgia is still called as Gurjustan. George is also patron of Portugal, Aragon, Catalonia and Lithuania, and of horsemen, landowners, herdsmen and travellers.

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