Did Unicorns live a few hundred years ago?

Onthebit

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#26
quite huge too, will take an while to look at
Half way through only looking at the drawings and noticing names I recognize. There are a lot of pictures of fire coming from the sky. And in particular genetic mutations as a result......? There's an 'english' translation I'll read after I peruse the artwork....... The book is supposedly a true history of the world of course now denied as mere fantasy fiction.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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#29
KorbenDallas - What is the oldest representation of a unicorn you were able to find?
I am not sure, I have not been looking for the age thing. Alexander the Great supposed to be pretty old, but looks like he could be a medieval character.

Things are getting cleaned up. The book I got these images from has been deleted by the New York Public Library. At least the original link comes back with blanks. Hopefully it's just a temporary issue.

Historiae naturalis de quadrupedibus libri, cum aeneis figuris, Johannes Jonstonus,... concinnavit (J. J. Schipperi, Amsterdam, 1657)
 
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#30
I have been trying to go through Joannes Jonstonus’s books, with very little success as my Latin is by no means good. But I have gotten a few impressions from the attempts.

In his various volumes of Historiae naturalis there are depictions of various mythological animals but they are rarely explored within the text. Instead, he tends to write about the somewhat more normal animals, say a donkey or hippopotamus.

A case where I did find him discussing a depicted mythological creature was the Phoenix in Vol VI. From what I could tell, in this section he starts by calling it a mythical bird, covers it's scholarly history, and eventually seemed to say that he thought he saw one but he was wrong.

There was also a picture of a one horned ass in Vol I and he then discusses the ass, but I did not see any reference to the horn even though he discussed much of its anatomy.

There was what I think was Greek that I had no hope of translating, which may have made me miss things. And my attempts to translate and read through could easily have been and most likely were off, and I have by no means gone through everything, but I don’t think he actually saw any of the mythical creatures that were depicted, or if he did, they and their, what we consider, unique features were so commonplace as to not be mentioned beyond the depiction of them.

Of interest, however, is how he regularly makes mentions of the Greeks, Herodotus, Claudianus, Pliny, Heliopolis and the like, leaving me with the feeling that they are contemporary, or at the very least recent, not a millennium and a half ago.

That leads me to question why their existence would be converted to myth?
As pure speculation, for unicorns, in most tales they are depicted as being very particular, only allowing the pure, chaste, calm, good, respectful, or similar other positive qualities near them or to ride them. If, as some people think, there is something different about our current rulers/the history stealers is it too far-fetched to think that unicorns may have been able to detect that difference and shied away from such people? To me this could explain a few things.

I could provide a technical potential explanation for what the difference is and how a unicorn could detect it, but I’m already going to go into several speculative directions in this post…

If it was common knowledge that unicorns could so easily identify the worthy, this could explain why conquerors such as Alexander and the Korean King Dongmyeong of Goguryeo were claimed to ride unicorns. It’s a similar tactic is claiming to have divine right.

As even further out there speculation, it may be that worthy Scythian and Tartar Kings, and perhaps even people, really did ride unicorns, and when their country was wiped out and history rewritten, their custom may have been instead ascribed to the rulers of those that rewrote the history.

Well, you guys have those The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries. Apparently, the original workmanship of the tapestries still remains unanswered at the present.
Similarly, if there was a group that was “unworthy” that wanted to rule and control everyone and everything and there was an animal that could so easily identify them as such and that this would be trusted by the general people, then it would make sense that they would want to remove or eliminate the animal so that there wouldn’t be such a clear reason to remove them from power.

This could explain things like unicorn hunts, the seeming disappearance of every branch of the species, and the transformation of their very existence to a mere myth. For mass hunting, those that wanted this done could have even had the common people do it for them by convincing them that unicorn horns had special magical or medicinal properties.

If all this is the case, and so too is my suspicion that the revisionists trace back at least to the Greek mystery schools such as the Pythagorean’s, then it would make sense that the unicorns had already been wiped or in the process of being wiped by Jonstonus’s time.
 
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