For most people, when someone mentions a unicorn, images of rainbows and big eyed, one-horned ponies come to mind. I'm not sure exactly when this started but it probably resulted from the peace and love craze of the 60's along with marketing strategies targeting little girls with cute art. Go figure, you put hippies and capitalists together and they butcher a powerful creature's manliness. Today you won't find many men saying that they like unicorns without of fear of being ridiculed by his peers and deemed homosexual. In fact, you can barely do anything without 90% of men ranting and raving about sexual orientation, and it's a shame that men today are so homophobic (Just read up on the friend chapter of The Art of Manliness
book). The truth of the unicorn is that it isn't some little girl's fantasy horse that hangs out on rainbows, dancing with pixies. Unicorns are powerful, dangerous, and magnificent creatures. So throw everything you thought you knew about unicorns right in the trash can.
The Mythical Unicorn
Unicorns have existed throughout history, from the stories told by ice-age men to the earliest books of the bible. They also were not just a horse with a horn on its head. Unicorns have a horse’s face and body, with a goat beard, cloven hoofs, and a lion’s tail. They had the famous single horn but it wasn't encrusted with diamonds or anything, it was just a white horn.
In medieval times, these beasts were highly sought after for their horn’s medicinal ability to cure poison and you could often find merchants trying to sell unicorn horn cups that would cure sickness when drank from. A unicorn couldn’t just be hunted by anyone though; unicorns were considered impenetrable and would impale and gore anyone who approached them. The only way to capture and kill one was through deceit, which was done by luring the unicorn with a virgin maiden. The unicorn would approach the maiden and fall asleep in her lap, allowing the hunters to net or shoot the beast.
In Catholicism, the unicorn symbolized Jesus and the unicorn in the virgin’s lap (the virgin Mary) symbolized the immaculate conception. Unicorn artwork can be seen throughout the medieval period and the renaissance.
The Real Unicorn
Unicorns appeared in the writings of very famous people throughout history. Both Aristotle and Ctesias mention unicorns in their studies of natural science, and Marco Polo wrote of unicorns when traveling the world. Now there hasn’t been any evidence of an actual unicorn existing and these reports are most likely misconceptions of actual animals. Marco Polo described a unicorn as:
“scarcely smaller than elephants. They have the hair of a buffalo and feet like an elephant's. They have a single large black horn in the middle of the forehead... They have a head like a wild boar's… They spend their time by preference wallowing in mud and slime. They are very ugly brutes…”
Obviously he was describing a rhinoceros and there are other reports that made the same mistake. Other possibilities include goats or antelopes with only one horn because of a birth defect or a broken horn. It is understandable that our ancestors could have seen these creatures from a distance and saw them as unicorns, though there always holds a theory of a now extinct one-horned antelope of goat. Another possible misconception is the narwhal, a whale who has a horn-like tooth protruding from its forehead. In fact, there is a good chance those medieval unicorn cups came from the narwhal.
Though the unicorn might have never existed, people have made them artificially. An interesting U.S. patent details the surgical process of creating a one-horned animal, such as a goat or any other two horned creature (http://www.colitz.com/site/4429685/4429685.htm
). When the animal is young, the horn buds are floating atop the skull and can be surgically grafted and placed into the center of the skull where they will form a straight horn. Behind this process lies a theory that ancient herders created creatures like this in order to have an animal more capable of defending against predators while not having to worry about feeding it meat like they would with dogs. Modern thought on this process claims that the animal gains increased mental capabilities along with the ability to use its single horn as a tool and effective weapon.
Respect the Unicorn
Though today’s society has butchered the concept of a unicorn, remember what it stands for. It is known as the only mythical creature not created out of fear. It stands for healing, purity, and to Christians, the birth of Jesus. In order to bring this magnificent creature back to its prime, let others know just how manly this beast is.