Little is known of the real life of this 3rd century Christian martyr. He was probably born in Asia Minor, became a soldier and achieved high rank. He is said to have met Emperor Diocletian in Nicodemia and conveyed to him his concern at the persecution of the Christians. This so enraged the emperor that he ordered that George be beheaded with a sword. The most interesting of all the legends concerning Saint George is that of his battle with a dragon, which originates in the 11th century: this recounts that the residents of the city Silene in Libya were tormented by a terrible monster which was tamed by George, who then brought it to the town and killed it. This is the symbolic victory of the cross over paganism. The cult of Saint George was brought to the West by Crusaders returning from crusades against the Saracens during the 11th century. The saint was gradually adopted by England, Russia, Germany, Portugal and Greece, as well as a number of cities, as their protector. He is the patron saint of soldiers, equestrians, saddle-makers, armourers and farmers, miners, saddlers, blacksmiths, coopers, scouts, orphans and others, he protects against temptation and war risks, intercedes for good weather, helps to protect against plague, fever and skin diseases. He is depicted as a young knight in armour killing a dragon.