The Unicorn and King Arthur — Bonjour From Brittany

The legendary unicorn is probably one of the world’s most famous fantastic beasts. This white horse-like animal sporting a long, spiral horn on its forehead was said to live for a thousand years. Long held a symbol of purity and chastity; a protector of the just endowed with exceptional magical powers. Little wonder then that the unicorn myth developed its own associations with the fabled King Arthur and mystical Brittany.

The Unicorn and King Arthur — Bonjour From Brittany


Monday, 7 September 2020

Unicorn, 13th c. floor mosaic, Basilica of San Giovanni Evangelista, Ravenna

While we are talking about unicorns, I actually believe that unicorns (horses with a single giant „horn“) do exist…Except their horns are depicted in the wrong place…Probably because of the morals 🙂

The predecessor of all medieval bestiaries, Physiologus (Φυσιολόγος), which was compiled in Alexandria sometime between 2nd-4th c. AD, popularised an elaborate allegory about a unicorn trapped by a maiden (representing the Virgin Mary)

„As soon as the unicorn sees the virgin, it lays its head on her lap and falls asleep“ it claims…

What does this mean?

Well I believe that this is another myth which has its root in the „natural zodiac“, set of symbols based on fixed annual lifecycle events…

In this case the unicorn symbol is derived from the natural reproductive cycle of horses.

The natural breeding season of horses typically begins around mid-April and finishes around mid September…It is characterised by violent stallion fights…

The beginning of the horse mating season coincided with the beginning of the sailing season in the Eastern Mediterranean, which is probably why the Greek sea god Poseidon to whom then sailors prayed for calm seas, was also „god of horses“ who was „worshiped as a stallion“. You can read more about this in my post „Trojan horse„..

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Sunday, 6 September 2020

A re’em, also reëm (Hebrew: רְאֵם), is an animal mentioned nine times in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek Old Testament (3rd-2nd c. BC) translated re’em as „unicorn“ which stayed as the main translation of this word until the end of the 19th century…

Then, in 1899, Johann Ulrich Duerst discovered that the word „re’em“ it was based on the Akkadian cognate „rimu“, meaning „Auroch“, the Eurasian wild cattle…This has been „generally“ 🙂 accepted today as the correct translation, „even among religious scholars“ 🙂….

Now, I would like here to talk about the folklore related to re’em. Which is really interesting as it is directly based on the ancient Hebrew solar cult from the time of the First Temple…You can find more about this cult in my post „Sun god from the First Temple„. Pic: Sun on the seal of the kingdom of Judah (739-687 BC)

Re’em in folklore: read more;