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The gryphon, also commonly spelled griffin, is a creature which is part eagle and part lion. It is one of the most well-known mythical creatures today.

Appearance Edit

  • Lion + eagle
  • body/tail/hind legs of lion, head/wings/front legs of eagle, tufted ears
  • however descriptions change all the time, that is only modern (four-footed bird with lion legs, lion with wings and eagle beak)
  • rarely, no wings or is an eagle with a lion's head, but usually this is keythong
  • "red membranes" woven into feet or wings, possibly just the red breast
  • size varies, sometimes big as a lion or wolf, other times so big that ribs = bows, talons = cups
  • one account claims is the largest of the flying "genus"
  • Greek/Roman depictions show it with a knob on its head, horn maybe? see keythong
  • often depicted with wings spread, tongue lolling
  • black feathers, red (eventually purple) breast, white wings, dark blue on neck
  • spots of a leopard, but discredited by Pausanias (Greek)
  • fire eyes?
  • ears may be ass ears, from syrian/babylonian myth (lots of creatures had ass ears)
  • another: mostly red, but with the rest of them peacock-coloured
  • vultures maybe? black with white wings and red heads

Behaviour Edit

  • guards treasure
  • mate for life, if one dies the other never searches for new mate
  • Jesus symbol (terrestrial + divine)
  • mine gold with beaks
  • exist in India
  • fight elephants and dragons and win
  • not "winged properly", can only fly for a short time or in small circles like eagles
  • only beat by swift tiger
  • can fly and fight at the same time
  • stronger than 8 lions, 100 eagles
  • can carry a horse or two oxen back to nest
  • horse enemy
  • not magical, considered ordinary and real animal
  • young could be captured but not adults
  • one account - not truly GUARDING, just digging it up, then fighting to protect young
  • nest of gold
  • "will not face lion or elephant"
  • live in mountains, often especially cold, snowy places
  • Agate egg? Dubious
  • alternatively lays emeralds which protect against venomous creatures...? look into emerald symbolism
  • Fight Arimaspi/Scythians, one-eyed
  • also Amazon, who are moon (moon vs. sun)
  • excellent hearing
  • claws can only be obtained out of gratitude (e.g. holy man heals one)

Cultural significance Edit

  • eagle is king of birds, lion king of beasts, gryphon king of all
  • based on Protoceratops?
  • sign of divinity, protected divine
  • protect from evil, slander, occult
  • guardian, noble, loyal, but also ferocious, vengeful, gluttonous
  • claws have medicinal properties
  • also, claw goblet would change poisoned liquid a different colour
  • feather brings sight to blind
  • gryphon claw goblets (antelope horn) and gryphon eggs (ostrich)
  • related to sun/wheel/circle, wholeness
  • symbol of duality: good/evil, earth/sky, wild/tame, fierce/gentle
  • pull sky chariots in Greek
  • guardian even in death, carved on tombs

Heraldry Edit

  • courage/boldness
  • strength, military prowess, leadership, intelligence
  • male gryphon has no wings, is spiked (sun rays?), has two horns or tusks
  • gold by default

Similar creatures Edit