The Origin Of The Unicorn

The Origin Of The Unicorn

Where does the unicorn come from and what are its origins ?

In the depths of the forest, a creature emerges from behind a tree. Magnificent in its brilliance and dazzling white fur, this breathtaking creature trots between the trees. A single horn protrudes from the centre of its head, erect and proud. You try to chase it, but soon give up, knowing that you will never be able to defeat the proud beast. The unicorn is too fast to be caught by man.

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What's a unicorn ?

A unicorn is a legendary creature with magical powers. Although in modern times it is thought to be nothing more than a myth, ancient cultures have described it as a real animal. In fact, it has been included in many natural history books of the time.

A White Unicorn On The Montain

The most popular Representations Of The Unicorn are known from Greek and European mythology and stories, although there are unicorn-like creatures that have been recorded all over the world. There were many interpretations of the beast. Some saw it as the embodiment of purity and grace and others believed that the horn of the beast had the power to heal diseases and serve as an antidote to poison.

Because of its alleged magical abilities, the unicorn and its horn were highly sought after by all who could afford it in the early days. It was common for people of great wealth or nobility to try to obtain a horn to protect themselves from attacks or to prolong their life. In fact, many “horns” were sold by traders from the north and south. Although they were not unicorn horns (rhinoceros or narwhal horns), they sold for several times their weight in gold and proved to be a very profitable industry.

Asian Unicorn

In Chinese mythology, there are many accounts of a creature known as a qilin. This creature is often considered to be the Chinese equivalent of a unicorn, although it also has the properties of a chimera.

Qilin The Chinese Unicorn

The qilin is known to have the body of a deer, a lion’s head, green scales, and a long horn which was its defining characteristic. There is also a similar Japanese make-up beast called the kirin, but this creature is known to be based on the qilin.

Qilin Are Peaceful Creatures and are known to be very magical and powerful. It is believed that qilin are able to walk on the grass without leaving a trace. However, because these creatures did not want to damage the ground, it was often thought that they walked on clouds or water instead. They were also thought to be good judges of character. Many ancient stories show these creatures as being able to tell if a person was good or bad just by looking at them. They are peaceful by nature and punish only the wicked.

Like the mythology of unicorns, qilin are often considered a symbol of fertility. Although they were not hunted for their horns, they have often been shown in artwork as bringing young children to families.

African Unicorn

In the oral traditions of the Kongo, there is a creature called Ababda That Looks A Lot Like A Unicorn. This creature is known to be the size of a donkey and is said to have the tail of a boar. While it is known to have two horns instead of one like a unicorn, the horn of the Ababda is known to serve as a remedy for many diseases. But perhaps most importantly, the horn of Ababda is known to be an antidote to many poisons.

African Unicorn

South American Unicorn

The legend of the unicorn is also found in South America, particularly in Chile. This creature is called the Camahueto and is known to possess many of the qualities of the unicorn.

South America Unicorn

The camahueto is a creature that looks a lot like a calf or a bull. However, instead of having two horns, it has only one. The camahueto is known to be hunted by machis (healers) because their horn is known to possess cures for diseases. The machis are known to hunt camahueto until she is able to capture it with a lasso and tear off its horn. After catching it, she tapes the opening and lets the beast continue on its way.

One of the most common uses of camahueto horn is to scrape off the shavings from the horn and mix them with sea water and apple cider. This combination has been thought to cure impotence and restore vitality in older men.

It was also believed that the machis would plant small pieces of horn in the ground to allow other camahuetos to grow.

Greek/European Unicorn

The European Unicorn conquered the minds and hearts of many people in European culture, particularly because of the unique properties it was believed to possess and the link it later established with Christianity. The unicorn was often depicted as a magical white horse or a goat-like creature with a long horn rising from the centre of its head. It was often thought to be a woodland creature that was difficult to capture and full of grace and majesty.

It was also thought that the unicorn had cloven hooves and possessed powers that were invaluable for the time. Among other things, the unicorn was thought to be the cure for many diseases, the ability to purify water and the antidote to poisons in its horn. Because it was so innocent and full of purity, it was generally believed that only a virgin would be able to capture the creature.

She was also much sought after by nobility and royalty. There were many who were known to pay an impressive amount of money for the opportunity to possess the legendary horn. Although no real unicorn horn has been found to date, unicorns were thought to be a living creature that was easily found in early cultures. There was no question that the creatures were fictitious – they were often included in natural history textbooks.

Greek Unicorn

History of the unicorn

The first mention of the unicorn comes from the Greek writer Ctesias. They are mentioned in his book entitled “Indika” (meaning “About India”). He describes unicorns as a breed of wild donkey that was incredibly fast and light on its feet. Its distinctive feature, of course, was a horn about 28 inches long that grew from the centre of its head. However, unlike the late accounts of unicorns, these horns could be white, red or black instead of the white colour that is characteristic of Modern Understanding Of Unicorns.

Ctesias would have obtained his information from his stay in Persia. Aristotle also gives a similar description of two of these animals that come from the same region – the oryx and the “Indian donkey”. It is thought that many others also drew their descriptions of unicorns from this region. Indeed, sculptures of unicorns have been found on a sculpture in the ancient capital of Persepolis.

There is also a story about the power of unicorns that was found by Cosmas Indicopleustes – a merchant from Alexandria who gave a lot of information about ancient India. During his visit to the king of Ethiopia, he saw four brass statues representing the unicorn and wrote an account of what he had learned. He claimed that all the creature’s strength was in the horn. He also noted the enormous capacity of the creature and its tendency to throw itself off a high cliff rather than be captured. It was supposed to be able to absorb all the impact with its horn and escape safely.

Unicorn Is Flying

The image of the unicorn evolves in the Middle Ages

The image of the Unicorn In The Middle Ages became the fantastic image that we recognize today to the creature. This is partly due to the adaptation of history by the Christian Church. The Church’s claim to the creature has enabled many artists to depict it in a wide variety of works of art. Because there was a great emphasis on religion during this period, this allowed artists to work with mythology without being sued by the church.

The unicorn was also seen in a new light in mythology. The beast was still considered largely invincible – but with a few exceptions.

Painting Of A Unicorn In The Middle Ages

The portrait of the unicorn

The unicorn was known to be a powerful beast that was a creature of the woods and largely invincible by man. However, there was one important exception to this rule – the unicorn could not resist being attracted to a virgin girl. When hunters set out in search of a unicorn, it was often thought that the proud creature would stop every now and then instead of simply escaping to mock the hunters.

To take advantage of this weakness, the story goes that a virgin was sometimes told to wait under a tree for the unicorn to gallop by. When the unicorn saw the girl, she was inevitably attracted and put her tired head in her lap. When she fell asleep, the hunters would gather and trap the creature.

Unicorn Portrait

Unicorn and Romance

There were also links between the story of the unicorn and the love story between men and women in the court process. Many thirteenth-century French authors liked to make the analogy that, just as a unicorn is attracted to the virgin, a lover is attracted to his wife. There were also similar comparisons that sought to speak of the unicorn as a symbol of chaste love and faithful marriage.

Marco Polo's description of the unicorn

Although there are many different interpretations of unicorns throughout the Middle Ages, many of these descriptions echo the magical admiration of the beast. Marco Polo’s account, however, leaves much to be desired.

He describes the creatures as being close in size to elephants and having a mane similar to that of a buffalo. They had a black horn in the middle of their head that could only be described as being similar to that of a boar. He also noted that they liked to bask in mud and slime – a far cry from the pure nature that was characteristic of the beast at the time.

He was shocked to find that the beasts were significantly different from the enchanting creatures that could be captured by virgins. His obvious description of a rhinoceros in his writings leads many to wonder whether he misidentified the creature or whether he was hinting that the beast was an over-exaggeration of the rhinoceros.

Marco Polo Unicorn

The unicorn interpreted by the Christian Church

The unicorn was enthusiastically adopted by the Christian Church, which appreciated the many allegories that could be used to symbolize the creature’s bond with Christ. The two most popular expressions of this idea have been used to describe the Incarnation of Christ and the Passion of Christ.

The Virgin Mary and the Incarnation of Christ

One of the most popular ways of using the legend of the unicorn to link with Christianity was the Incarnation of Christ. This version compares the unicorn approaching the virgin as the process that was undergone to allow the Virgin Mary to be impregnated by Yahweh. It is believed that this reference can be clearly seen by the unicorn resting its head on the lap of the virgin, in the immediate vicinity of the womb.

Unicorn Christian Church

The Passion of Christ

Another interpretation of Christianity’s connection with the Unicorn Is In The Form Of The Passion Of Christ. The hunters represent the sinners who sought to defeat Christ. The unicorn (Christ) could easily outrun the hunters because he was the embodiment of all that is pure and good. However, because of her great desire to save those who are pure of heart (the virgin), the unicorn goes to the virgin and places her head on her lap, sacrificing herself without counting the cost.

This interpretation can be seen in the seven-panel tapestry entitled “The Unicorn Hunt”. This series depicts a unicorn pursued by many nobles. They are unable to capture the creature until it rests on a virgin’s lap. They seem to kill the creature, but the last panel shows a resurrected unicorn living happily in a field of flowers.

Christ And Unicorn

The value of the unicorn in early crops

The unicorn was highly sought after in many cultures, especially in European cultures that hoped to acquire some of the beast’s mythical powers. Many stories from ancient times claim that the secret of the unicorn’s power is hidden in its horn. The horn itself is thought to be made of a substance called Alicorn, which was believed to have the ability to cure various ailments and diseases. In addition to this, it was also thought to cure impotence and give the owner the ability to purify water and protect himself from poisons.

Rainbow Unicorn

The horn was much sought after by many members of the royal family and nobility. In fact, it was common practice for the nobility to use the unicorn to create ceremonial cups that were used by high-ranking members of society. The protective abilities of the horn would prevent them from dying even if their cup had been poisoned.

Horns were also valued as decorative accessories. It was thought that the Danish throne chair had been made of unicorn horns for many years. In reality, these horns were probably narwhal horns that were sold by northern traders. Europeans were not familiar with the narwhal and its unique horn – so it was very easy for northern traders to scam Europeans with fake horns that were sold for much more than their weight in gold.

Possible explanations for the myth

What inspired the story of the unicorn? It is likely that the mythical beast is nothing more than a misunderstanding of the natural fauna of the ancient worlds. It is very likely that the beast was created by European merchants and travellers who studied the drawings, statues and paintings of the cultures they visited on their trade routes.

Although it is possible that there may indeed have been a horse- or goat-like creature called the unicorn, it is doubtful that the creature existed in modern times. It was probably wiped out by hunters who hoped to use its horn to make an impressive profit.

The Rhinoceros

One of the most logical answers to the question of the existence of Unicorns Comes From The Rhinoceros. Many people point to the creature not only because of its unique horn characteristic, but also because of the story of Marco Polo. In his writings, Marco Polo claims to have encountered a unicorn during his travels. However, the brutal account of the beast and the unique black horn that protruded from its head was more characteristic of a rhinoceros than a magical unicorn.

This leads many to believe that the original unicorns were those of rhinos exaggerated by travellers and merchants who sought to profit from their stories.

Unicorn Rhinoceros

The Aurochs

There are also those who believe that the Aurochs Of Europe could have been the inspiration for the tale. Aurochs are an extinct species of cattle that are known to have been very large. As the ancestor of domestic cattle, it is believed that this creature could have inspired many stories because of its great power and strength.

When drawn sideways (as many creatures were in early cultures), it may appear that the aurochs was a single horned creature. Over the years, it would have been possible for early cultures to think that the images referred to a strange and mythical creature. In addition, historical observations could have explained why this unknown creature was recorded in natural history rather than mythology.


The narwhal

Probably one of the greatest authors of the myth were the hunters and traders of the North who decided to pass off Narwhal Horns As Unicorn Horns. These hunters knew that the European population had never seen a narwhal and that they would not be able to tell the difference.

In fact, people often wondered what a unicorn horn looked like until narwhal horn was introduced into the trade. Previously, a unicorn horn could be long or short and many different colours. However, when narwhal horns were introduced into trade, they set the standard for what was considered to be an appropriate horn. They passed all the tests that were in place to check for false horns because they were made of real horn. In addition, their great length and spiral texture were quickly adopted as the standard for what a unicorn horn should look like and were adopted in what is now the understanding of unicorns today.

Unicorn Narwhal

Genetic Engineering

Still many wonder, is it possible that a unicorn existed? And if so, could it be resurrected?

Those who turn to Oberon Zell-Ravenheart would say yes. Zell – a self-proclaimed magician – has been pursuing the magic and secrets of the past for many years. It was this obsession, along with his appreciation for the book, “The Last Unicorn”, that inspired Zell to experiment with goats that were genetically manipulated so that they only wore one horn.

Many of those who watch his successes do not hesitate to describe the experiment as a false replica of a unicorn. Others argue, however, that the results are that the creature is perhaps the best answer we have to how early crop unicorns came into being. Regardless of popular opinion, many Zell followers are certain that Zell is, indeed, a sorcerer and that he brought the unicorn back into existence .

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