Unicorns are not only fascinating in fantasy novels. The white horse with the twisted horn on its forehead enchants young and old alike with its magical abilities. Numerous legends weave around this mythical creature. Together we will take a closer look at the origin and symbolism of the unicorn 🦄
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THE ORIGIN OF THE UNICORN
In Europe, the unicorn became famous thanks to the Old Testament in the Bible. A Hebrew text was translated into Ancient Greek in the 3rd century B.C. However, the 72 translators did not know what the mysterious animal “Re’em” was. Eventually, they gave it the name “Monokeros” which means unicorn in German 📖
However, this animal has nothing to do with the graceful and majestic creature that makes young and old dream.
Today, we know that there has been talk of aurochs. But how does one go from an animal with two horns to a unicorn ? The mistake was probably made in the Babylonian murals, with which the animal had to be seen, but only in the side view. So the translators only recognized one horn…
It was not until 1779 that Heinrich Sander recognized the translation error. Until then, people assumed that the mythical creature existed in the Bible.
REPRESENTATION OF THE UNICORN IN ANTIQUITY
In Roman and Greek mythology, the unicorn is not mentioned, nor are there any illustrations from this period. However, in the second century A.D., a popular early Christian book, the “Physiologus”, appeared in Greek. It says that only virgins can catch unicorns. A horn represents monotheism and the incarnation of God.
UNICORNS IN MEDIEVAL AND MODERN TIMES
Various travellers reported seeing unicorns. Marco Polo described seeing a specimen in Sumatra. It was probably the Sumatran rhinoceros. The Jesuit Jerónimo Lobo, the adventurer Edward Webbe and the traveller John Bell also want to have seen unicorns somewhere in the world. This was probably due to widespread legends. So people also reported what they thought they saw. The physiologist was very important to the Christian belief in Medieval Unicorns until early modern times.
Medieval alchemists began to see the unicorn as the lion as “Spiritus Mercurius”.
As a result, the being that represented the active purity and penetrating power of Mercurius’ spirit soothed the lion.
THE UNICORN IN MODERN TIMES
Nowadays, the unicorn takes on a lot of importance as a creature in fantasy novels, as a toy, clothing, decoration and even accessories. That’s right ! The unicorn can be found in many fields. Discover for example, our perfect Unicorn Mug for a magical and fairy tale breakfast.
The craze for unicorns in recent years has meant that, in addition to the many unicorn gifts, there is probably also a Unicorn edition for every everyday product. The German railway company Locomore states in its conditions of carriage that the carriage of a unicorn accompanied by a child under 14 years of age is free of charge as long as the safety of the passengers is not compromised. In the meantime, the unicorn has also entered the food industry: from unicorn beer to unicorn mulled wine to unicorn sausages, everything is possible!
THE MEANING OF THE UNICORN
In Chinese, Indian and Christian mythology, we find the magic animal. It is usually a white horse with a crooked horn, but mythological unicorns can also have a lion’s tail, split hooves or sometimes wings like the Pegasus horse in Greek mythology.
THE SYMBOL OF THE UNICORN
Unicorns are fascinating because they are rare, precious and are a spiritual animal. They also have a healing effect and are a symbol of purity, innocence and freedom. They are considered to be an animal of power. This means staying true to oneself and freeing oneself from compulsions. You have to unfold and swim against the current on your own path. Moreover, they fight against dangers, defy all diseases and bring the dead back to life.
The unicorn is militant and powerful, which is why it is often found in the political context. It symbolizes freedom, peace, pluralism and diversity of opinion. The unicorn is often found in combination with a rainbow. The assumption that there is a treasure at the end of the rainbow is well known. It represents a social utopia, the search for a place where everything is more beautiful and more just.
As you have understood, rarity, enchantment, magic and freedom alone represent this majestic animal which is the unicorn.
So if you too want your Unicorn Symbol at home, come and discover these magnificent unicorn paintings.
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