Monday, 21 March 2016

The Unicorn

The Unicorn
The unicorn is a legendary animal, which has been described since antiquity as a beast with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead.
The unicorn was depicted in ancient seals of the Indus Valley Civilization and was mentioned by the ancient Greeks in accounts of natural history by various writers, including Ctesias, Strabo, Pliny the Younger, and Aelian. The Bible also describes an animal, the re'em, which some translations have erroneously rendered with the word unicorn.
Unicorns are not found in Greek mythology, but rather in accounts of natural history. Greek writers of natural history were convinced of the reality of the unicorn, which they located in India, a distant and fabulous realm for them.
In European folklore, the unicorn often was depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves - and sometimes even with a goat's beard. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the unicorn was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin.
The horn itself and the substance it was made of was called alicorn, and it was believed that the horn holds magical and medicinal properties. In the encyclopedias, a unicorn's horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. In medieval and Renaissance times, the horn of the narwhal was sometimes sold as unicorn horn.
(1) The narwhal or narwhale (Monodon monoceros), is a medium-sized toothed whale, which possesses a large "tusk" from a protruding canine tooth.

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