Griffins (Scientific Name: Raptopanthera Gryphos) are a legendary and hybrid creature. Residing in mountains, they survive for as long as 50-60 years. On an average, they measure 2.4 m and approx 5.5 m on the cross. The entire population is distributed throughout India, Middle East and North Russia. Griffin was considered the king of the beasts and the eagle as the king of birds. It was a powerful and majestic creature who was also looked on as the King of all creatures. They were also looked as treasure guards and were believed to be in hold of many priceless possessions.
And if you thought that the legendary creature had just been another lost name in the sands of time, you’re wrong. There’s a lot more, really. Like what? Check it out some most fascinating facts about the mythical creature Griffin.
The beast appears with ears and a lion’s hind body; and head, wings, legs, beak and eagle claws. It is considered as the king of beasts and king of birds. It also was particularly strong and majestic. The Opinicus is a creature similar to the Griffin with the difference that has the four legs of Leo.
They are ferocious flying beings , half lion, half eagle. The upper part is of a giant eagle, with golden feathers, sharp beak and powerful claws. The lower part is that of a lion, with yellow fur, muscular legs and tail. Its size is quite large, and usually measures about 3 meters. The female carries the wings and the males spikes in its backs instead of wings.
Some are depicted with pointed ears on the head or feathers on the tail. The myths claim that it is eight times bigger and stronger than an ordinary lion. Also it is not uncommon for a rider to take his horse, or a pair of oxen, which enter his paws. Their claws are made into drinking glasses, and with their ribs bows to shoot arrows.
This morphology comes with variants too. The head may be of vulture or, maybe of a lion. The legs maybe of lion or eagle, or appear two and two. It is also possible that the feline’s body appears winged and is smaller, the size of a wolf, and occasionally may have snake tails. Other times it was attributed to a lion’s body, but with eagle’s head and wings, horse’s ears and a crest with fish fins.
The Greek historian Ctesias said that the Griffin was covered with red feathers on chest and black on body, blue on neck and white on his wings. In Byzantine times, the tap completely consolidated his solar character and became totally white.
Griffin’s favorite food was horse meat and it was a common sight to see them attacking horses and lifting them in the air with their powerful claws.
5 Life in a hierarchy
They live in group of 5 to 30, with an organized hierarchical organization. The hierarchy is similar to that of lions, where the largest and oldest is the head of the herd.
In the 9th century, a documentary was written by the Irishman Stephen Scotus. According to it, the taps are monogamous. Even if one member of the couple died, the other tap spent the rest of his life without looking for a new partner.
On the other hand, the habits of the female were described by St. Hildegarde of Bingen in the twelfth century. The claim was that the female faucet was looking for a cave where she could secure her three eggs and take care of them until they hatch.
6 Fighters, Hunters and Loyal
The taps are known to hunt for food, in small groups. The number of taps doesn’t exceeds 12. They have the ability to fight in the air, or dive with the weight of their body. The taps are formed of two animals and clearly carry its characteristics. One is of the eagles, who have a very developed sight and smell. The lion’s share leads him to live in herds, which always has a leader.
They reside in rocky mountains, and build their immense nests on the slopes. These nests are made of branches and leaves. They are capable of being trained as mounts, but it is a time taking task. Once trained, the taps are loyal and defend their rider to death. They are brave fighters, brave enough that they don’t think twice before considering a threat. The rider and griffin are united for life. They also have a instinctive hatred for horses.
Various hypotheses surface about the real origin of the griffin. As a mythological creature, it is found in the numerous fossil remains of dinosaurs belonging to the family Ceratopsidae. They can be found in large numbers in the deserts of central Asia, especially Mongolia.
These dinosaurs have crushed skeletons and hook-shaped mouths with large scapular bones. They also have a long tail, and feet with hooves of several fingers. These hooves of fingers may lead to an interpretation of the owners of these skeletons becoming mythological creatures in the absence of a referent.
The Gryphon has been present in the iconography and in the art of the Mediterranean and the Middle East for more than 6,000 years.
8 The Amalgamation Of Figures
The Gryphon unites in it the figure of two animals: : the eagle and the lion. They embody strength, beauty and power.
The belief in the existence of such beings dates back to ancient Egypt around 3,300 BC. There are claims that they are older and in the Babylonian, Assyrian and Persian cultures as it is found in the paintings and sculptures of the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Persians. There are also representations of griffins in Minoan painting , as in the famous sarcophagus of Hagia Triada.
9 Tale of struggle between Man and Griffin
It was in Greece that the motif of the struggle between men and griffins appeared for the first time in a poem of the fourth century BC, entitled Arimaspeia. Unfortunately only six verses remain. The author of the story was the poet Aristea de Proconeso. He recounted his journey to the land of the hyperborean , the land of the god Apollo, who had inspired his work. Along the way, strange Cyclopean beings called Armagnac, were found struggling with the griffins to seize the gold they guarded. A century later the historian Herodotus took up the story and wrote that built nests gold taps.
10 The Greek Seek
A Greek legend relates god Apollo going back to look for faucets and then returning to Greece riding on the backs of one of them. They were holy to Apollo and guarded their treasures to protect them from the Arimaspos. They also guarded the Dionysius wine craters.
11 The Indian myth
A more recent myth tells that they were in charge of guarding the gold that was in the deserts of the north of India . The reason for this surveillance could be due to the desire to protect their young, since they put their nests in the mountains from which the precious metal was extracted.
12 The Roman touch
The Romans used it simply for decorative purposes in table legs, altars and candlesticks. The faucet motif was used in the earliest times of Christianity in the bestiaries of St. Basil and St. Ambrose. Stone replicas often serve as gargoyles in the Gothic architecture of the late Middle Ages.
13 Griffin In Art
In medieval Christianity, the combination of an earthly beast with a bird propitiated its use as a symbol of the humane and divine qualities of Christ. For this reason, images of griffins were often sculpted in churches.
According to legend, horses were the favorite prey of faucets and when the two species copulated, the result of their union proved rare and fabulous. As conceived by European medieval folks, the hippogriff was partly horse and partly griffin. The creature has an eagle’s head and beak, and claws and wings covered with feathers. However, the rest of his body is horse.
The hippogriff is the result of the union between a faucet and a mare. It was one of the favorite creatures of medieval poems and fables. These creatures appear in the epic poem Orlando Furioso (1516), by the Italian author Ludovico Ariosto.
This excellent horse is capable of flying at lightning speeds. It transforms to become the magician Atlante and transports the heroes of the poems during the rescue of damsels. This creature has awakened a new interest due to the role played by hippogriff Buckbeak in the Harry Potter saga.
Taps were said to guard treasures and were especially ferocious in defending them. They often appear on bestiaries and are emblems of royal courage, as evidenced by their inclusion in the coats of arms . It represents strength, courage and vigilance.
The Dictionary of Symbolism of Hans Biedermann says that the Gryphon was a fabulous and symbolically significant animal. In hieroglyphics, the faucet represents heat and summer. In Assyria, both the tap and the dragon represented wisdom. The ancient Hebrews considered the griffin to represent Persia and its religion-Zoroastrianism. But basically, the griffin was always a guardian figure.
In Crete he represented vigilant courage, and so did the ancient Greeks. They were convinced that griffins protected the gold treasures in Scythia and India.
15 Symbolic Importance in Rome
For the Romans, the Griffin was the emblem of Apollo, the sun god, and was related to Athena , goddess of wisdom. In Roman art, the griffin is usually seen pulling the carriages of Nemesis (the goddess of justice and revenge).
Griffin became the image of revenge and persecution and was one of the pillars of Christian bestiaries. It symbolized the dual nature (human and divine) of Christ. The faucet always maintained its guardian character because images of it in stone (like gargoyles) frequently guarded the temples and palaces in the Gothic architecture of the Late Middle Ages.
At first it was also depicted as a figure Satá, but the creature later became a symbol of the dual nature (divine and human) of Jesus Christ, precisely because of his mastery of the sky and tier.
The Griffin is a gigantic bird and the largest of all species. It has the head similar to the eagle, of gold color and the body of lion, of white color. He has a very sharp sight and he is strong and agile. When it flutters its wings, it raises so much wind that it is capable of knocking down a person. Their huge claws can allow them to catch any prey no matter how large. The Griffins are known to be greedy, rapacious, cruel and enemies of men and horses.
Greek mythology associated the brightness of its gold with the sun. Legend tells that these birds were consecrated to Apollo the god of the sun. From his chariot they threw across the sky, and guarded the treasure that belonged to this god. They are also related to Dionysius, god of wine, as protectors and guardians of wine.
Griffin is believed to be a mythological animal, and a symbol of wit and greatness. All the blazons that own a Griffin, belong to a lineage in which its members are emphasized by their ingenuity during his life. Another heraldic term is Griffed.