Unicorn. Mythical Creatures With Magical Abilities +15 Facts

Discover with us the Unicorn, a legendary animal with multiple stories and associated powers. Know all its magical myths.


¿What is a Unicorn?

Unicorn mythical creatures with magical abilities. Deep in the forest a creature emerges from behind a tree. Beautiful in radiance and with a shimmering white coat of fur, this impressive creature trots vigorously through the trees. A single horn protrudes from the center of its head, erect and proud. You try to chase after it, but give up soon after, knowing that you will never be able to beat the proud beast. The unicorn is too fast to be caught by man.

A unicorn is a legendary creature known to possess magical abilities. Although this creature is now thought to be nothing more than a myth, ancient cultures wrote about it as a real animal. In fact, it was included in many natural history books of the time. The most popular depictions of the unicorn are known from Greek and European stories and mythology, although there are unicorn-like creatures that have been recorded all over the world. There were many interpretations of the beast – some saw it as the embodiment of purity and grace.

Horn of the Unicorn

The horn of the beast was believed by some to have the power to provide cures for disease and the ability to serve as an antidote for poison. Because of its supposed magical abilities, the unicorn and its horn were highly sought after by anyone of means in early times. It was common for those of great wealth or nobility to try to obtain a horn to protect themselves from attack or to prolong their life in general.

In fact, many “horns” were sold by traders coming from the north and south. Although they were not unicorn horns (they were rhinoceros horns or narwhal horns), they sold for many times their weight and gold and proved to be a very profitable industry. As well as centaurs that have special characteristics.


Types of Unicorns

According to many legends as time went by, these legendary ones became part of a culture that from generation to generation became popular. Let’s see the types of Unicorns in the different cultures of the world.

Asian Unicorn

In Chinese mythology, there are many accounts of a creature that is known as the qilin. This creature is often thought to be the Chinese equivalent of a unicorn, although it also has the properties of a chimera. The qilin is known to have the body of a deer, a lion’s head, green scales and a long horn that was its defining characteristic. There is also a Japanese beast of similar makeup that is called a kirin, but this creature is known to be based on the qilin.

The qilin are peaceful creatures and are known to be very magical and powerful. It is believed that qilin can walk on grass without disturbing a single blade of grass. However, since these creatures did not want to damage the ground, they were often thought to walk on clouds or water. They were also believed to be good judges of character.


Many ancient stories show these creatures as being able to tell if a person was good or bad just by looking at them. They are peaceful in nature and only punish the wicked. Also similar to unicorn mythology, the qilin is often seen as a symbol of fertility. Although they were not hunted for their horns, they were often depicted in artwork as bringing babies to families.

African Unicorn

In Kongo oral traditions, there is a creature called Ababda that is very similar to a unicorn. This creature is known to be the size of a donkey and is said to have the tail of a wild boar. Although it is known to have two horns instead of one like a unicorn, the horn of the Ababda is known to serve as a cure for many diseases. Perhaps most importantly, however, the Ababda horn is known to be an antidote for many poisons.

South American Unicorn

The legend of the unicorn can also be found in South America, specifically in Chile. This creature is called the camahueto and is known to possess many of the qualities of the unicorn. The camahueto is a creature much like a calf or bull. However, instead of having two horns, it has only one. The camahueto is known to be hunted by machis (female healers) because its horn is known to possess cures for diseases.

Unicornio criaturas míticas

The machis are known to stalk the camahueto until they are able to capture it with a lasso and tear off its horn. After he has caught it, he will bandage the opening and let the beast continue on its way. One of the most common uses of the peacock horn is to scrape shavings from the horn and mix them with seawater and apple cider. This combination was thought to cure impotence and restore vitality in older men. It was also believed that the machis would replant small pieces of horn in the ground to allow other peanuts to grow.

Greek / European unicorn

The unicorn captured the minds and hearts of many in European culture, especially because of the unique properties it supposedly possessed and the connection later made with Christianity. The unicorn was often portrayed as a magical white horse or a goat-like creature with a long horn rising from the center of its head. It was often thought to be a woodland creature that was difficult to capture and full of grace and majesty.

The unicorn was also believed to have cloven hooves and was known to possess powers that were invaluable for the time period. Among other things, the unicorn was believed to have the cure for many diseases, the ability to purify water and the antidote to poisons in its horn. Because of its innocence and purity, it was believed that only a virgin could capture the creature.

It was also highly sought after by nobility and royalty. There were many who were known to pay an impressive sum of money for the chance to possess the legendary horn. Although no real unicorn horns have been found to date, unicorns were thought to be a living creature that was easy to find in primitive cultures. There was no speculation as to whether the creatures might be fictional, as they were often included in natural history books.

Unicorn History

The first mention of the unicorn comes from the Greek writer Ctesias. They are mentioned in his work entitled ‘Indika’ (meaning ‘About India’). He describes unicorns as a breed of wild ass that was incredibly fast and light on its feet. Their defining characteristic, of course, was a horn about 28 inches long that grew from the center of their head. Unlike later unicorn stories, however, these horns could be white, red or black rather than the white color that characterizes the modern understanding of unicorns.

Ctesias supposedly obtained his information from his time in Persia. Aristotle also gives a similar description of two of these beasts coming from the same region – the oryx and the ‘Indian ass’. It is believed that there were many others who drew their descriptions of unicorns from this area as well. In fact, carvings of unicorns have been found in a sculpture in the ancient capital of Perspolis.

Unicornio criaturas míticas

There is also an account of the power of unicorns that was found by Cosmas Indicopleustes – a merchant from Alexandria who shed much light on early India. During his visit to the King of Ethiopia, he saw four bronze statues depicting the unicorn and wrote an account of what he had learned. He stated that all the creature’s strength could be found in the horn. He also noted the creature’s tremendous skill and its tendency to throw itself off a high cliff rather than be captured. Supposedly it was able to absorb the full impact with its horn and escape safely.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, the image of the unicorn evolved into the fantastic image we recognize the creature as today. This is partly due to the adaptation of the story by the Christian Church. The Church’s vindication of the creature allowed many artists to portray it in a wide variety of artwork. Because there was a great emphasis on religion during this time period, this allowed artists to work with mythology without being prosecuted by the church.

The unicorn was also seen in a new light in mythology. The beast was largely considered invincible, but with some exceptions.

Portrait of the unicorn

The unicorn was known to be a powerful beast that was a creature of the forests and largely invincible by man. However, there was one important exception to this rule – the unicorn could not resist its desire to be attracted to a virgin maiden. When hunters went out in search of a unicorn, it was often thought that the proud creature would stop now and then rather than simply run away to taunt the hunters.

To take advantage of this weakness, tradition says that a virgin maiden was sometimes told to wait under a tree and wait for the unicorn to gallop past. When the unicorn saw the maiden, she would inevitably be swept away and lay her tired head in her lap. When she fell asleep, the hunters would gather around and catch the creature.

The Unicorn and Romance

There were also connections between the story of the unicorn and romance between men and women in the process of courtship. Many thirteenth-century French authors liked to make the analogy that just as a unicorn is attracted to the virgin, so too is a lover attracted to his wife. There were also similar comparisons that sought to speak of the unicorn as a symbol of chaste love and faithful marriage.

Marco Polo’s description of the unicorn

Although there are many different interpretations of unicorns throughout the Middle Ages, many of these descriptions echoed the magical awe of the beast. Marco Polo’s account, however, leaves much to question. He describes the creatures as close in size to elephants and hair similar to that of a buffalo. They had a black horn in the middle of their head that could only be described as similar to a wild boar.

Unicornio criaturas míticas

He also noted that they liked to bask in the mud and slime, a far cry from the pure nature that was characteristic of the beast at the time. He was surprised to see that the beasts were remarkably different from the charming creatures that could be captured by the virgins. His obvious description of a rhinoceros in his writings leads many to wonder if he was mistaken in his identification of the creature or if he was alluding to the beast being an over exaggeration of the rhinoceros.

The Unicorn as interpreted by the Christian Church

The unicorn was enthusiastically adopted by the Christian Church, which appreciated the many allegories that could be used to symbolize the creature’s connection to Christ. The two most popular expressions of this idea were used to describe the incarnation of Christ and the Passion of Christ.

The Virgin Mary and the Incarnation of Christ

One of the most popular ways in which the legend of the unicorn was used to relate to Christianity was with the Incarnation of Christ. This version likens the unicorn approaching the virgin as the process that took place to allow the Virgin Mary to become impregnated with Yahweh. It is believed that this reference can be clearly seen by the unicorn laying its head in the virgin’s lap – very close to the womb.

The Passion of Christ

Another interpretation of Christianity’s connections to the unicorn comes in the form of the passion of Christ. The hunters represent the sinners who sought to overcome Christ. The unicorn (Christ) could easily flee from the hunters because he was the embodiment of all that is pure and good. However, because of his great desire to save those who are pure of heart (the virgin), the unicorn goes to the virgin maiden and lays his head in her lap, selflessly sacrificing himself.

This interpretation can possibly be seen in the seven-panel tapestry entitled “The Hunt of the Unicorn”. This series depicts a unicorn being pursued by many nobles. They are unable to capture the creature until it rests in the lap of a virgin. They seem to kill the creature, but the last panel shows a resurrected unicorn living happily in the field of flowers.

The value of the unicorn in primitive cultures

The unicorn was highly sought after in many cultures, especially in European cultures that hoped to gain some of the mythical powers of the beast. Many early accounts claim that the secret of the unicorn’s power is hidden in its horn. The horn itself is believed to be made of a substance called Alicorn that was believed to have the ability to cure various ailments and diseases. In addition to this, it was also thought to cure impotence and give the owner the ability to purify water and protect against poisons.

Unicornio criaturas míticas

The horn was highly desired by many kings and nobles. In fact, it was common practice for nobility to use the alicorn to create ceremonial goblets that were used by high-ranking members of society. The horn’s protective ability would prevent one from dying even if their cup had been poisoned. Horns were also desired as decorative accessories. The Danish Throne Chair is believed to have been made of unicorn horns for many years. In reality, these horns are probably narwhal horns that were sold by northern traders. Europeans were unaware of the narwhal and its unique horn – as a result, it was very easy for northern traders to swindle Europeans with fake horns that sold for much more than their weight in gold.

Possible explanations for the myth

what inspired the story of the unicorn? It is likely that the mythical beast is nothing more than a misunderstanding of the natural wildlife of ancient worlds. It is very likely that the beast was created by European traders and travelers who studied the drawings, statues and paintings of the cultures they visited on their trade routes.

Unicornio criaturas míticas

While it is possible that there was, in fact, a horse or goat-like creature called the unicorn, it is doubtful that the creature existed to this day. It was probably wiped out by hunters who hoped to use its horn for an impressive profit.

The Rhinoceros

One of the most logical answers to the question of the existence of unicorns comes from the rhinoceros. Many people point to the creature not only because of its distinctive single horn, but also because of Marco Polo’s account. In his writings, Marco Polo claims to have encountered a unicorn during his travels. However, the brutal account of the beast and the single black horn protruding from its head was more characteristic of a rhinoceros than a magical unicorn.

This leads many to believe that the original unicorns were rhinoceroses that were exaggerated by travelers and traders seeking to profit from their stories.

The Aurochs

There are also those who believe that the aurochs of Europe may have been the inspiration for the story. Aurochs are an extinct species of cattle that are known to have been very large. As the ancestor of domestic cattle, it is believed that the creature could have inspired many stories due to its great power and strength.

When drawn from the side (as many creatures were in early cultures) it may have appeared that the aurochs was a one-horned creature. Over the years, early cultures may have thought that the images referred to a strange, mythical creature. In addition, the sightings established in history may have explained why this unknown creature was recorded in natural history rather than mythology.

The Narwhal

One of the major authors of the myth were probably northern hunters and traders who decided to pass off narwhal horns as unicorn horns. These hunters knew that the European population had never seen a narwhal and would not be able to tell the difference. In fact, there was often speculation about what a unicorn horn might look like until narwhal horn was introduced into the trade. Previously, a unicorn horn could be long or short and of many different colors.

However, when narwhal horns were introduced into the trade, they set the standard for what was considered a proper horn. They passed every test that was in place to check for fake horns because they were made from real horns. In addition, their long length and spiral texture was quickly adopted as the standard for what a unicorn horn should look like and adopted into what is now the modern understanding of unicorns.

Genetic engineering

Still many wonder, is it possible that a unicorn existed? And if so, could it ever exist again? Those looking at Oberon Zell-Ravenheart would say yes. Zell – a self-proclaimed wizard – has been pursuing magic and the secrets of the past for many years. It was this obsession, along with an appreciation for the book “The Last Unicorn,” that inspired Zell to experiment with genetically manipulating goats to display a single horn.

Many who look at his successes are quick to say that the experiment is a fake unicorn replica. Others argue, however, that the results are results and that the creature is perhaps the best answer we have to how the unicorns of primitive cultures came into existence. Regardless of what the popular opinion is, many of Zell’s followers are certain that he is, in fact, a magician and has brought the unicorn back into existence.

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