Very little is known about the real St George. He is thought to have been born into a noble Christian family in the late third century in Cappadocia, an area which is now in Turkey. He followed his father's profession of soldier and became part of the retinue of the Emperor Diocletian. The emperor ordered the systematic persecution of Christians and George refused to take part. In 303, he was himself tortured and executed in Palestine, becoming an early Christian martyr.
The legend of George slaying a dragon and rescuing an innocent maiden from death is medieval. St George's Day is celebrated in England on 23 April, reputed to be the day of George's martyrdom in 303.