Unicorns, Symbols Of Purity

In its origins, the Unicorn was a creature depicted as a white horse, with antelope hooves, billy-goat beard, and a horn in its forehead.

But with the pass of time, fantasy artists have depicted the Unicorn as a horse with a horn in its forehead and lacking of the other elements. Some also depict the Unicorn winged.

unicorn emma alvarez digital art

There are ancient Greek, Roman, and Macedonian stories that tell about a creature with a single horn.
Some say that the origin of those stories may lay in the travels that they did into the India, and they are describing the Indian rhinoceros.

Other origins of the Unicorn can be found in the viking mythology and tell about a sea creature that has a horn in its forehead and probably it's actually a cetacean called narval.

But both the narval and the rhinoceros are very different from a horse with a horn in its forehead.

One of the first versions about the Unicorn is the one that the Greek physician Ctesias did in 400 B.C., in one of the expeditions to India. He talks about a white animal with the body of a horse...
He also talks about its distrustful and lonely nature.
Then, the belief in the protective power of the Unicorn's horn against poison and diseases is born. And it becomes a synonym of a long life.

There's another reference to the Unicorn in the Greek mythology. It is said that Zeus was fed by a goat called Amalthea. In some stories, that animal that feeds Zeus is not a goat but an Unicorn.
The legend says that one day, Zeus broke the horn of Amalthea and a big amount of food emerged from that horn, that was called The Horn Of Abundance. Zeus rewarded Amalthea turning it into the star Capella.

Aristotle wrote about the Unicorn, and also Julius Caesar in "Bellum Gallicum" (50 BC).

In the Middle Ages, the Unicorns are the symbol of purity, and in some religious artworks they are linked to Christianity.
It was said that only the young female virgins can approach an Unicorn. So in the Middle Ages, the headhunters used virgins to try catch an Unicorn, and get its valuable horn.

The belief in the Unicorn was also present in Asia. In Japan, it was called Kirin, and symbolizes the Justice.

In Persia it was called Shadhavar, and the Unicorn is similar to a gazelle with a single horn. The horn has holes, and when the wind blows, it sounds like a flute. Animals and humans are attracted by its music, and when they are near, the Shadhavar attacks them. This is the reason why this mythical animal is symbol of temptation and danger, in Persia.

In China, the Unicorn (Qilin) is symbol of wisdom, and is classified like the king of all animals. There's a legend in China that says that a king was sat close to a river, and an Unicorn appeared. It had magic symbols in the back, and they helped the king to create the first Chinese writings.

Some adventurers that in the XVIII century traveled to Tibet, said that the fabulous creatures called Unicorns really existed in that place.

In all these stories and legends there's something in common: the spirit of a mythical animal of exceptional beauty, purity, and nobleness.

-Emma Alvarez-

© 2008 by Emma Alvarez. Link to this post without copying the text.

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Mariuca said...

Hi Emma! I think unicorns are simply magical! :):):)

Emma Alvarez said...

I agree Mariuca!

Sincerae (means "Morningstar") said...

Very nice post, Emma. I think I have written here that I really like your blog which is a nice mix of the practical and escapist (Romantic).

There are actually 9 references in the Bible to unicorns. Since we lose hundreds of species of each year, there is a possibly that with the world as old as it is, unicorns night have existed and eventually went extinct. Some people believe the Biblical references to the unicorn actually refers to a rhinoceros too.

Emma Alvarez said...

I remember that I had read that in Medieval Ages the unicorn symbolized Christ, as a being without sin.

I liked very much your definition of my weblog.

Anonymous said...

You rock! I think your description of unicorns is totally perfect! Same w/ Pegasi. Then again, I'm weird and say that there's no way that we can prove that any mythical being didn't once walk this earth.:)

Emma Alvarez said...

Thank you very much Anonymous. The world may be more interesting if, as you say, these beings inhabited the Earth. But they will inhabit in our fantasy forever.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow...

I find unicorns captivating, mysterious and pure. They certainly inhabit a special place in my heart.

Lovely description, Emma! ^^

Unknown said...

So good post i like this post and i like your all blog and i hope to visit my blog Maps of Ancient Greece for Kids and more like Ancient Greece for Kids thanks again admin ,,,

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