Previously discussed in the mythical creatures series was about dragons and why they are considered as good/bad omens. Now, we’ll go to the next series which will be about unicorns. When we heard the word unicorn, the thing that immediately pops out in our head is Pegasus.
Pegasus is actually a winged divine stallion and stallions are different from unicorns.
Unicorns are known as mythological creatures resembling a horse or a kid with a single horn on its forehead.
This mythical creature originally appeared in early Mesopotamian artworks and was also referred to in ancient myths of India and China. The earliest description of a single-horned animal (Greek – monokeros; Latin – unicornis) was given by the historian Ctesias (c. 400 BCE) as he related that the Indian wild ass was the size of a horse with a white body, purple head and blue eyes and a cubit-long horn on its forehead (red- pointed tip; black – middle and white – base).
It was said that those who drank from the horn of a unicorn will be protected from stomach trouble, epilepsy and poison.
In the Biblical context, unicorns were referred to a strong and splendid horned animal called re’em (translated as ‘unicorns’ or ‘rhinoceros’ in many versions of Bible.) As a Biblical animal, unicorns are interpreted allegorically in the early Christian church wherein one of the earliest interpretations appears in the ancient Greek bestiary (Physiologus) stating that the unicorn is a strong , fierce animal that can only be caught if a virgin maiden is thrown before it. This unicorn leaps into the virgin’s lap then she suckles this creature and leads it to the king’s palace.
Unicorns were likened by medieval writers to that of Christ, who raises up a horn of salvation for mankind and dwells in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
* “Unicorn – Mythological Creature” ; Encyclopedia Britannica ; retrieved August 31, 2017; https://www.britannica.com/topic/unicorn
Unicorns & Pegasus (Difference)
What’s different from unicorns and Pegasus is that unicorns were once considered as real creatures. They were said to have their own versions from different cultures – Greek (the Greek unicorn) , the Chinese unicorn (Ch’i lin), the Japanese unicorn (Kirin or Sin-you) and Vietnamese unicorn lore.
Many times we see a white stallion with a horn in a movie like Pegasus in a movie or book which is the original depiction of the unicorn (Greek Mythology) as a white, red and black horse with a goat beard and a boar’s tail. Sometimes, it’s also said to have a head of a stag.
Folklores in China and Japan bring even more versatile descriptions to this mythical creature – body of an antelope or having a lion’s mane. But one thing that remains or is consistent is that unicorns were known for their great display of color.
Unicorns symbolize interesting characteristics:
* They can only be captured by maidens
* They walk softly, with their hooves making no noise (Chinese unicorn lore)
* Their horns possess magical healing qualities
* The Sin-you unicorn has the ability to distinguish right from wrong, helping in judging offenses (Japanese unicorn lore)
* They symbolize prosperity and peace
Some books have these mythical creatures:
* Of the Persecuted by Angie Brashear (Callie- war unicorn)
* Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Jewel – war unicorn; steed of King Peter)
* The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Just to let you know, however, Pegasus isn’t really a type of creature, but rather a name of a winged white stallion from Greek mythology. Pegasus born from Poseidon (horse lord) and Medusa. The name Pegasus is often being used as a defining term for winged horses in general.
Pegasus has these defining characteristics:
* a horse which has the ability to fly (possesses massive wings)
* pure white
* symbolizes wisdom and fame
* carries the role of bringing thunderbolts to Zeus (in Greek mythology)
One book has Pegasus in it:
* Percy Jackson series by Rick Jordan
* “Mythological Creatures: Unicorn & Pegasus” by Nadine Brandes; Retrieved August 31, 2017; https://www.enclavepublishing.com/mythological-creatures-unicorn-pegasus/