Mythical Monday, the Unicorn

The unicorn, who hasn’t seen a unicorn somewhere? Not in the actual sense but you know we see it all over as decor and toys and styles with colorful hair. Welcome to mythical Monday! Let’s take a look at the Unicorn.

The unicorn was a symbol of purity. And yes, the church had a lot to do with the symbolism during the medieval and renaissance periods. The unicorn is usually shown as a sort of donkey, goat, or horse. All of which had the infamous singular horn.

Origins

In the Indus Valley the unicorn had a more cow like appearance. It was found on some stamp seals and other artifacts. Some were ranging in dates from 2600 BC to 1900 BC. The unicorn even had a small part in South Asia, this was during the IVC period . But some historians believe they are not related.

Classical Origins.

In Ancient Greece,the unicorn was not part of the typical mythology. But, rather a part in their natural history. Yes, the Greeks believed in the unicorn so much they put it as an actual creature. According to the, the unicorn lived in India. The description by Ctesias in his book Indika, compared the unicorn to that of a wild ass. Their horns were 700 mm or 28 inches long colored white, black, and red. According to Ctesias, unicorn meat was too bitter for anyone to consume.

Even in Ancient Rome the unicorn was mentioned. Naturalist Pliny the Elder mentioned a unicorn like creature called a monoceras. It was a beast to be feared with a black horn, feet like an elephant, a head like a stag, and body like a horse. Yup. Um.. but when we look at Pliny we have to remember he didn’t even know what a volcano really was and died when Mount Vesuvius erupted in Pompeii after running to shore with a pillow on his head. Oh yeah. That happened.

Familiar faces

Of course the look of the unicorn we are all familiar with comes from the art of medieval Europe and also the Renaissance. That image of the unicorn on the lady’s lap or the unicorn in a fenced circle comes to mind. Which the latter is the piece on my pair of stays I have on in these photos. I am wearing my black Selkie ritz dress with the black stays on, the infamous tapestry on the front. (Buy here)A silver crown on my head, I love this outfit, and am also wearing a petticoat under the dress. It does make it easier to walk around in.

Researching, research, research.

The tapestries they are on are famous for these depictions. Beautiful aren’t they?

Capture and Alicorn uses and frauds.

So, how does one capture a unicorn? How to lure it in and grab that precious Alicorn(it’s horn)? Well, for starters you need a virgin. Yep, a female virgin, because, patriarchy. Unicorns were the symbols of purity and things Christlike. The virgin would just sort of sit there and the unicorn would come and lay it’s head on her lap. If the unicorn allows her to pet it, the unicorn will fall into a trance and right for capture. If not it will bolt. The Alicorn is the prized horn and is what they want when the goat horse is caught. The Alicorn was said to be a cure all, espe against poison. And so a market was made. Apocathories would sell Alicorn powder as remedies. This however was just Narwhal horns ground up into a powder. And it wasn’t until about 1640 when a Danish physician named Ole Worm, determined most Alicorn powder was just that of a narwhal. By the way that is his name. The whole debacle of Alicorn powder continued until the 1740’s. I kid you not.

Modern aspects

Today the unicorn is still widely loved. Although the more purity and religious aspects of the mythical creature is nonsensical as well as the existence. We still adore it, and much like dragons I don’t think it is going anywhere.

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