A colourful and medieval-looking Google Doodle marking St George’s Day greets users of internet search giant Google in the UK today.
The stylised Google logo on Google’s homepage features a drawing of St George charging at a dragon with a lance, all intertwined with the letters in the word ‘Google’.
St George is the patron saint of England, as well as other cities and nations. He was born in the 3rd century to Christian parents in Cappadocia, an area which is now Turkey. After his father died, his mother returned to her native Palestine with George in tow, and the boy grew up to become a soldier in the Roman army.
In the early 4th century, the Emperor Diocletian began a campaign against Christians, and George resigned his military post – he had risen to the rank of Tribune – in protest. Not only that, but George tore Diocletian’s order against Christians, and as a result George was tortured and imprisoned.
Still refusing to deny his faith, George was dragged through the streets of Diospolis (now Lydda) in Palestine and beheaded. The date of 23 April has been the accepted date of George’s death in AD 303.
Today, the most common image associated with St George is that of him on a horse, sporting a red cross, while piercing a dragon that represents satan and the Roman Empire. That image began to achieve mass appeal after it was published in a book titled The Golden Legend in 1483.