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Griffin

Description There are a couple descriptions for Griffins: one is that it is part bird and part lion.  Sometimes it is specified as part lion, part eagle. Occasionally, it is represented as a lion's body with an eagles head (without wings.) Griffins are frequently large, capable of carrying a man and horse, or an elephant, in its talons. The term Griffin is also used to describe a large bird (see Roc.)

 

Features The long nails on a griffin's feet are as big as oxen horns, and can be used as cups.  The ribs can be used to make a bow. A male griffin that mates with a female horse produces a Hippogryph. According to Olaus Magnus, they live in the "Northern Mountains." According to Marco Polo, they are from Madagascar.  Can be hostile to horses.  

 

Also called Griffon or Gryphon

 

Could Actually be A large bird such as a Moa or a Condor, or the extinct elephant bird of Madagascar.

 

Described By: Pomponius Mela- " In Europe, constantly falling snow makes those places contiguous with the Riphean Mountains so impassable that, in addition, they prevent those who deliberately travel here from seeing anything.  After that comes a region of very rich soil but quite uninhabitable because griffins, a savage and tenacious breed of wild beasts, love- to an amazing degree- the gold that is mined from deep within the earth there, and because they guard it with an amazing hostility to those who set foot there."  (Romer, 1998.)

Mandeville- "In this land are many gryffons, more than in other places, and some say they have the body before as an Egle, and behinde as a Lyon, and it is trouth, for they be made so; but the griffen hath a body greater than 8 lyons, and stall worthier than a hundred eagles.  For certainly he wyl beare to his nest flying, a horse and a man upon his back, or two oxen yoked together."  (speaking of the land called Bactria)

Isidore of Seville- "The Gryphes are so called because they are winged quadrupeds.  This kind of wild beast is found in the Hyperborean Mountains.  In every part of their body they are lions, and in wings and heads are like eagles, and they are fierce enemies of horses.  Moreover they tear men to pieces."  (Brehaut, 1912)

 

Links http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/griffins/   - an excellent site with hundreds of images of griffins

 

 

 

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