Did Unicorns live a few hundred years ago?

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
163
Likes
118
#1
John Jonston (in Polish, Jan Jonston; in Latin, Joannes Jonstonus (1603–1675) says they did. Who was Mr. Jonstonus? Sounds like he was a pretty serious scholar.

In 1632 Jonston traveled abroad with Bogusław and several other Commonwealth magnates' sons. Their first stop was Franeker (1632), followed by Leiden and Amsterdam (all, that same year), where Jonston published his Thautomatographia naturalis. In 1634 they visited England, returning to Leiden, where Jonston received an M.D. degree; soon afterward he would receive a second M.D. degree (ad eundem) from Cambridge. That year he also received a Ph.D. from both those universities, for his dissertation De febribus (On Fevers). Bogusław, Jonston and the others toured Europe until 1636, returning to Poland upon news of Bogusław's father's death. Jonston returned to Leszno, remaining a Leszczyński's retainer, in whose service he had the title of Archiater et Civitatis Lesnensis Physicus Ordinarius.

200px-Johnston_Portrait.jpg

In Leszno he was employed at the Leszno Academy, where he was a friend of Comenius, who was another important member of the Academy's faculty. In 1642 Jonston once again turned down an offer to chair a department abroad (this time, that of medicine at Frankfurt). That same year, his Idea universae medicinae practicae was published in Amsterdam (it would be translated into English in 1652). Jonston would turn down further offers from Heidelberg and Leiden. - says Wikipedia.

A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge : "Johnston, John (JHNN634J)"
For the full list of his scientific publications you can direct your attention to Wikisource.

Obviously it was a while back, and anyone's credibility could be questioned from one position or another. Yet, Mr. Joannes Jonstonus does not sound like some fantasy author of his generation. He sounds like a scientists who specialized in Flora, Fauna, Medicine, and some additional topics.


In his book Historiae naturalis de quadrupedibus libri, cum aeneis figuris, Johannes Jonstonus,... concinnavit (J. J. Schipperi, Amsterdam, 1657), which can be found at the New York Public Library he chose to depict quite a few differentanimals.


Among bears, squirrels, lions, cows, elks, rhinos, and other common animals,
Mr Jonstonus decided to present at least six different types of Unicorns
:

10.jpg 11.jpg

I understand that Unicorns are considered to be a mythical animal. Yet, they exist on multiple non-fictional paintings of the not so distant past. It is very easy to say, that the author was just imagining things and did not really mean that they were real. In his book he did not distinguish the unicorns in any way, shape or form. He simply included them along with other regular animals.

Other publications from not so long ago, also describe unicorns as regular animals.

Unicorns_Historie.jpg Unicorn.jpg Peregrinatio_Unicorn.jpg

The publication is clearly an interesting one. Obviously, some of the animals depicted by the author do not exist any more. Yet they do not look that much different from the regular ones which are still in existence today.

Alexander the Great

Unicorn-Alexander_1.jpg
According to legend, Alexander first encountered a Unicorn when he was about thirteen years old and one was presented for sale to his father Philip, king of Macedonia, by a Thessalian named Philonicus. Called Bucephalus on account of its horn (the name meaning literally, if not very poetically, Ox-head), the beast lashed out so furiously at every attempt to mount it that soon Philip's champion riders gave up and it was led away as wholly useless and intractable.

Alexander protested that they were missing a wonderful opportunity, for want of the skill and courage, to manage the creature properly.

At first Philip ignored him but, when he persisted, the king finally said a little angrily, 'Do you think you know so much better than all these grown champions?'

'I could manage this creature better than they have done,'Alexander said stubbornly.

Now Philip had not made the attempt himself because of a leg injury but he took his son's defiance personally and thought maybe it was time to teach him a lesson in humility, 'And if you fail,' he said, 'what will you forfeit for your rashness?'

'The whole price of the beast,' Alexander replied.
'Do you have thirteen talentsT the king asked, that being the Thessalian's asking price.

'No, but I will get it.'

'Very well, and if you succeed in taming Bucephalus you can have him as a gift.'

Laughter spread through the assembly with news of this wager and there was much debate over whether Alexander was wonderfully brave or simply mad. Many side bets were exchanged as Bucephalus was led on to the field, and not a few of them were on whether the boy would survive his wager, let alone win it.

Trumpets brayed for silence as Alexander strode confidently out on to the field. Small for his age, he looked a child beside the large Unicorn, but his confidence was not just bravado. He had taken notice of several ways in which, it seemed to him, previous attempts to tame the beast were misguided. Their biggest mistake was approaching Bucephalus as a horse whose will needed to be broken. In contrast, Alexander recognized that the Unicorn could only be ridden with its own consent. They had also thrown their cloaks over the creature's head before trying to mount it. So to prove he had no intention of doing this, Alexander unfastened his cloak and dropped it on the ground. He also made it obvious to Bucephalus that he carried no weapon, whip or rope on his person.

Another thing Alexander had noticed was that Bucephalus seemed nervous of the long shadows being cast by those around him. So when he took the bridle Alexander dismissed the handlers and turned so the low sun was directly in the Unicorn's eyes. Then, bowing from the waist, he said, 'Greetings noble beast. I come in friendship. Only permit me to ride on your back today and you may choose your freedom.'

Thus he remained, totally defenceless. The Unicorn stepped closer and lowered its head so the gleaming horn almost touched the skin over the boy's heart. There was a shifting in the crowd and a drawing of - strings by those bowmen posted by Philip to protect his son, but all knew that should the beast strike, nothing could save Alexander.

After what seemed a long while, Bucephalus suddenly lowered the point of his horn to the ground and, trembling, allowed the youth to spring on to his back. Once there, Alexander sat still for a while as they accustomed themselves to each other. Then Bucephalus leapt forward in a gallop that carried them away into the distance swifter, it seemed, than the wind. Many in the crowd feared never to see their impetuous prince again, but at last he turned in the distance and came riding back to cheers and rejoicing. The king, it is said, shed tears of joy and pride and, kissing the boy as he climbed down from the beast, cried, 'Oh my son, look out for a kingdom equal and worthy of you, for Macedonia is too small to contain you.'

Bucephalus remained with Alexander almost to the end of both their lives and was ridden by him into every major battle in his conquest of Egypt and the Persian Empire. Something of the Unicorn's temperament seems to have rubbed off on Alexander too. The young hero became famous for his fairness, restraint and clemency towards enemies who submitted to him.

In fact, the story of Bucephalus' capture during an expedition near the Caspian Sea is a perfect example of Alexander's noble behaviour. As he was in the habit of only riding the Unicorn when going into battle, Bucephalus was usually transported in style in a cage designed to prevent reckless soldiers from trying their luck in riding him. On this occasion, while Alexander was off exploring with the majority of his army, some raiders from the northern steppes carried off Bucephalus and his escort as prisoners. Alexander was so incensed that he sent word that if they were not returned, every man, woman and child of that nation would be put to the sword. The raiders, who had now seen the enormous size and might of the returning army, realized this was not an empty threat. They returned Bucephalus and his guards immediately, and also surrendered all their cities into Alexander's hands. Alexander's noble response was to treat them with all kindness and even to pay a ransom for Bucephalus.

Alexander also had connections with other Unicorns. One such beast, notable for the gem at the base of its horn, was presented to him on his travels by Queen Candace. There are also numerous Eastern accounts of him hunting the fierce Karkadarm, usually shown as a one-horned ox or rhinoceros. On occasion he also had to do battle with demonic Unicorns that were the manifestations of hostile spirits. With all these Unicornic associations it is ironic that Alexander should have survived all his battles only to succumb to poison at the tender age of thirty-two, but by then Bucephalus was no longer with him.

Legend and history agree that Bucephalus died in Alexander's last great battle with King Porus of India on the banks of the Jhelum or Hydaspes, one of the five great branches of the Indus River. Only the cause of his death is disputed, whether it was from wounds, age or simple exhaustion. Whichever it was, his demise marked a change in Alexander's fortunes. His legendary luck seemed to desert him and his character, which had begun to show signs of instability, took a rapid turn for the worse.

Alexander won the battle against Porus, but only just. It was his last great victory and after it his army refused to go any further. He was forced to turn back, but his decision to explore the coast on the way led to thousands of his troops perishing as they crossed the Makran desert in what is now southern Pakistan. Plutarch puts the number at 80,000 men and, although Alexander faced all hardships on equal terms with his men, the death toll did much to undermine support for him.

Back in the heart of the Persian Empire he set about restoring order. He employed some of his old magnanimity, but it was tempered by a good deal of new harshness which shocked many Greeks and Macedonians. Then, tiring of administration, he began organizing an expedition to circle Africa round to the gates of the Mediterranean. it was at this point he caught a fever which hardly seemed serious at first, but after ten days of steady deterioration he died.

After all he had risked it was an ignoble death, and rumours of poisoning soon began circulating, with the finger even being pointed at Aristotle as one of the instigators. Alexander's mother had many suspects put to death, but the full truth of the matter was never disclosed. And, sad to say, not that many people wanted to know For all his astonishing achievements it came as a relief to most of his generals and followers when Alexander died. It meant they could settle down to enjoy the fruits of their labours and carve up his empire just as described in Daniel's vision.
I do entertain the possibility of their existence in the recent past. What's your opinion?
 
Last edited:

PiotrRasputin

New member
Messages
10
Likes
9
#2
It is very feasible to believe that unicorns once roamed the earth and are now extinct like many other animals are, or are becoming. That leads me to question why their existence would be converted to myth? Could there be more such creatures? Dragons, Griffins, Chimera?

Maybe these can all be explained away as failed attempts at cross breeding, and/or more nefarious experiments. Hence their conversion to mythical creatures that we are lead to believe never existed.

Or, maybe these creatures actually inhabit the unexplored landmass near Antarctica and we were never meant to know about them.
 
Last edited:

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
163
Likes
118
#3
I think genetic engineering would be possible as well. That's what came to my mind when I was looking at some of the creatures from this Joannes Jonstonus's book. Below are some additional examples. The below animals are from the same book mentioned in the first post.

29.jpg 31.jpg 35.jpg 50.jpg 54.jpg 57.jpg 58.jpg 65.jpg 69.jpg
Post automatically merged:

And Griffins alone are a separate topic. They represent one very interesting country which could be much more than just a country.
 
Last edited:

Hazelfire33

New member
Messages
2
Likes
3
#6
I believe they did exist at one time. So many appearances in old artwork and mentions in many different old texts. I've always found it interesting that they are mentioned in the bible 9 times. However in modern versions they have been replaced with rhinoceros and wild ox. Strange though, that most of the old religious art contains more tradional unicorns rather than rhinos and ox. Seems like the unicorn's true existence have been hidden in these modern times.
 

Falkes

New member
Messages
12
Likes
23
#8
Considering humans have a long history of hunting things into extinction or near extinction I would say the actual possibility of most "mystical" animals that have been mentioned/ or seen in art and by explorers are most likely real. Being either no longer alive or super rare. I've read accounts from old books about how when a lot of explorers first were roaming around North America that when the Buffalo ran through it was "like an ocean of fur" and left paths in the grass like man made roads. The earth would shake like an earthquake. The Natives had many many stories and tales of such things. Then humans hunted them into oblivion and a lot modern "scholars" claim those stories were just blown out of proportion. See in my own personal research I believe what we are told as "how the world works" is mostly written by scholars in Universities that just compile thousands of accounts of actual explorers and hunters and then decided what is "cannon" and what is not about the real world. While spending most of their lives, especially these days, living in lofty comfort and suburban areas. I have had my own experience seeing two animals in my short life hiking/hunting in the rural woods of the Canadian province I live in that I have been unable to identify online. One I saw in the night so it's harder to give an exact description beyond something sort of like a wolf but a lot bigger with really scary looking eyes. The other was a giant giant bird, I'd say the size of a really big eagle that had really white feathers like a dove and a wing span of probably 8 feet or so. It was one of the biggest birds I've ever seen in my life and it looked really ... strange because my mind was like "I don't know what that is." When I, and the g/f at the time saw it and it saw us it flew away really quickly and its wings made such a loud flapping sound. So I do honestly believe there are many types of animals lurking out there in the woods, deserts, rain forests that people do see. But they are just ordinary people and thus the academia world doesn't believe them. Sort of like how they write off legit like 80% of explorers writings and maps from before the 1900s. Unicorns appeared in almost all European history so that is merit a lot of people saw then considering it's not like all the different European cultures had telephones internet and translators to randomly be able to draw the same animals. Just think about even how both World Wars probably destroyed the majority of ancient forests, towns and probably many relics and evidence of a lot of things people would now call "myths & legends" .
 

Falkes

New member
Messages
12
Likes
23
#11
Maybe if we raided Monsanto headquarters we'd find all these modified creatures.... I remember seeing an egyptian glyph of a person holding a man headed dog on a leash. YIKES!! Scary stuff and they want us to eat their inventions? Nope.
I've actually read of explorer reports of them finding humans with dog like heads and they ate humans and were tribal in south America. Also because the world map everyone knows is completely 100% out of scale a lot of people don't realize just how big the Americas are, like Texas alone is bigger than Western Europe.
 

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
163
Likes
118
#14
Thanks for the link, Marco Polo was the explorer I was thinking of.
I've heard that his memoirs were over-censored prior to being published. Though not sure how credible such a statement could be. Then again, censorship sounds reasonable.
 

Hazelfire33

New member
Messages
2
Likes
3
#15
Maybe if we raided Monsanto headquarters we'd find all these modified creatures.... I remember seeing an egyptian glyph of a person holding a man headed dog on a leash. YIKES!! Scary stuff and they want us to eat their inventions? Nope"
Yep, Monsanto is pretty creepy. Wouldn't doubt they're playing around like with some Island of Dr. Moreau stuff.
 

KorbenDallas

Negotiator
Messages
163
Likes
118
#17
I see the unicorn.

Off-topic follows.
But what I also see is a bummer. In the Pacific North Western area of the N. America it says 1492. This is the year Columbus discovered something. Wonder what the meaning of this 1492 is. And in general, the place is pretty densely populated.

old_map_1.png
I also see 2 flags resembling flags of the Union and the Confederates. Considering that the map is dated 1594, it's pretty weird.

old_map_2.png

union_vs_confederate.jpg

And one of the variations of the Gadsden Flag

'Don't Tread on Me' flag.jpg
 
Last edited:
Messages
13
Likes
27
#18
Wow,the American flags in Europe and to top it all at the [wrong ?] time.The devil is in the detail.Interesting,the snake flag.
By the way, Magallanica seem to be Antarctica.The Illustration shows a lot of people on elephants there.The kontinent goodesses looks always pretty androgyne and able to put up a fight - not some kind of fertility goodess with pronounced gender attributes as a side note.
The map is from David Rumsey map collection,i guess there is a lot of more weird stuff.
 
Messages
163
Likes
118
#19
Those old maps inadvertently disclose some unwanted details, that is for sure. As far as this specific map goes, it also exists in the hand colored version, where the flags are colored to match the expectations. Though I do not believe those colorings represent the true meaning.

Orbis_Terrarum_1594_1.png
And this one is different as well. Basically it shows that the reality is hidden.

Orbis_Terrarum_1594_2.png
P.S. So far from unicorns now :)