Mysteries of the Unicorn


Yet Julius Caesar, describing his conquest of Gaul, reported the strange creatures that live in the forest wilds of Germany and the bull-like body with a deer in the middle of the forehead which, between the ears, grows very long horn.

A to Caesar his impressions about the mysterious unicorn brought Ctesias of Cnidus in 41 g, BC from Persia, where he remained for a long time at the court of Darius II. Those were not his own memories and stories of Indian merchants and travelers, but the author swears that they can be trusted. Here's what you can read in Ctesias of being the size of a horse, which he, and many others, calls the Indian wild ass, "He has a white body, brown head and blue eyes. On his head horn length about the elbow. Powder obtained from This horn is used as a remedy against the deadly potions … these animals are extremely swift and strong, so that no creature, whether horse or someone else, can not cope with them. " Except for some details, the unicorn Ctesias describes exactly as it will appear on European tapestries good two millennia later. And Herodotus and Aristotle — the great scientific minds of antiquity — also mention the one-horned wild donkey, the belief of which was common in the East.

Courage or madness?

According to legend, Alexander the Great was first met with a unicorn, when he was about thirteen years old. Unicorn named Bucephalus (literally, though not too poetic, Bykogolov) led to his father — King Philip of Macedonia. And selling it to a Thessalian named Filonik. On every attempt to ride the unicorn he kicked with such ferocity that soon all the best riders left it unprofitable occupation.
In the contest Alexander dared to enter. His royal father at first did not pay any attention to this impulse, but the boy insisted, and finally the king said some exasperation: "You what? Consider themselves more skillful than these adult warriors?" At that future commander said that he could cope with the beast better than the clever and powerful warrior. My father got nervous, "If you will not, than you agree to pay for his hot temper?" The son replied that he would pay the price Bucephalus. Philip agreed, promising a win to give him a unicorn.
After hearing about this bet, all the participants started laughing and arguing with each other, "What is this? Wonderful courage or sheer madness?" Alexander was small in stature, even for his age, and next to a large unicorn looked at all the child. But he was observant and noticed a few previous attempts to false acceptances all approached as Bucephalus the horse, whose will must be broken. Alexander also felt that unicorn rider will, unless he so desires.
Also, before you ride the animal, he'd throw down coat, that probably scared him. What does Alexander made? He showed the animal was not going to do the same. I untied the ribbon of his coat and throwing him to the ground, he made it clear Bucephalus that if it does not have any weapons, whips or ropes. Then applied another trick: he noticed that Bucephalus clearly irritated the long shadows cast by the people standing around him. And then, gripping the reins, he let go to keep the animal grooms and turned so that the low sun began to beat in the eye Bucephalus.
Left unprotected, bowed at the waist and said, "Greetings, noble animal. Friendship I came up with, so let me now just time to ride on your back, then you can choose freedom." The unicorn stepped closer and lowered his head so that his shining horn almost touched the boy's chest in front of the heart. Murmur ran through the crowd. Passed, it seemed like an eternity, and suddenly dropped his Bucephalus tip of his horn to the ground and, trembling, "suggested" the young man to jump on him. It is said that Philip wept with joy and pride in his son, and when he dismounted, kissed him and said: "O my son, look for himself a kingdom equal to and worthy of you you, for Macedonia is too small to accommodate you."
Bucephalus accompanied Alexander almost to the end of his days, and wore it in all the major battles in the conquest of Egypt and the Persian Empire. It seems that something of the nature of the unicorn came in the flesh and blood of Alexander. The young hero has become famous for his justice, restraint and mercy to enemies who surrender. As usual, Alexander went to the unicorn only battles in the campaign Bucephalus transported in a comfortable cage. Legend and history agree that Bucephalus died in the last major battle against the Indian king Alexander's time on the banks of Hydaspes, one of the five mighty branches of the river Indus. His departure was a bad omen: Alexander luck turned against him, the sun had set his glory, and although Alexander with great difficulty, but still won the battle against Time, it was his last big win.

Physical evidence

In 1663, a skeleton was discovered a large unicorn that has caused quite a stir. Skeleton found among piles of other fossils in the limestone cave near Quedlinburg, in the north of the Harz mountains. Followed by a rapid trial, and was recognized as the owner of the abbess of a local monastery. And despite its strictest supervision during the excavation of the skeleton was still damaged and removed to the surface in the sad video presenting a pile of broken bones. "Scientific" study conducted at the time of the famous scientist Otto Guericke.
The drawings, which he did, the skeleton of an animal found looked pretty pathetic: it was missing half of the entire spine and back. But the skull miraculously survived intact, and on it, firmly seated, straight, conical horn more than two meters long.
A century later, another skeleton found in Aynhornhole. Both findings were studied philosophy, mathematics, and natural philosopher Leibniz. Then he stated emphatically that these bones made him, throwing the old doubts aside, once and for all to believe in unicorns.
In December 1991, in an interview with "Die Ganz Box" by the famous Austrian zoologist An-tal Festetiks, Professor, University of Gottingen, made a stunning statement.
He was filming a documentary about the nature of the Harz and one day, riding on horseback with a video camera in the area Aynhornhole, suddenly saw him galloping towards the Unicorn: "From him came the glow. My horse reared and nearly threw me. Then, with the same fast as it had appeared, it disappeared. " This statement was repeated in a television interview, where the scientist claimed that he managed to film the meeting on video. Skeptics can have a look at Gottingen, as in a television program, it has not been shown. The question of how serious was this statement is still open.
Whatever the truth, these days it is difficult to imagine a place more likely to meet a unicorn than this region, one of the last places in Europe this wild, vicious piece of primeval forest — the last refuge of such a creature, like a unicorn who is unable to bear a close proximity to man.

Miraculous alicorn

The unicorn's horn, or alicorn, — the cause of not only his glory, but also the fall. The best way to protect yourself from poison — drink from alikornovogo vessel and magnificent instances of them survived to the present day. It was believed that such vessels do not only protect from poisons, but also contribute to a happy, healthy and long life of their respective owners. For lack of a bowl cut or cleavage horns could operate just as good, and many rich people wore such ornaments on the neck in the gold and silver chains. To detect toxins in food by those who could afford it used knives with handles alikornovymi. Whole horns were still a rarity, and were of great value. One horn could cost as much as an entire city.
For example, in 1550, Pope paid 17 thousand ducats finest ever before seen alicorn, who skillfully straightened in gold and silver, was presented as a gift to the King of France. And in 1584, Russian Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich during the coronation held wand, which was let into meter-long alicorn purchased from merchants Habsburg 7 thousand silver rubles. But the most famous of all was the horn that belonged to Queen Elizabeth I. The list of treasures the British crown, he is listed as Windsor Horn and was estimated at 10 million pounds (about $ 10 million at current prices).

Source: "Interesting newspaper. Incredible" № January 2010

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