Why dating a unicorn

Cosmas Indicopleustes, a merchant of Alexandria who lived in the 6th century, made a voyage to India and subsequently wrote works on cosmography.He gives a description of a unicorn based on four brass figures in the palace of the King of Ethiopia.The unicorn was depicted in ancient seals of the Indus Valley Civilization and was mentioned by the ancient Greeks in accounts of natural history by various writers, including Ctesias, Strabo, Pliny the Younger, Aelian In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves (sometimes a goat's beard).In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could be captured only by a virgin.Cups were made from alicorn for kings and given as a gift; these were usually made of ivory or walrus ivory.Entire horns were very precious in the Middle Ages and were often really the tusks of narwhals.The Danish physician Ole Worm determined in 1638 that the alleged alicorns were the tusks of narwhals.

In the series, richly dressed noblemen, accompanied by huntsmen and hounds, pursue a unicorn against mille-fleur backgrounds or settings of buildings and gardens.The unicorn also figured in courtly terms: for some 13th-century French authors such as Thibaut of Champagne and Richard de Fournival, the lover is attracted to his lady as the unicorn is to the virgin.With the rise of humanism, the unicorn also acquired more orthodox secular meanings, emblematic of chaste love and faithful marriage.The unicorn, tamable only by a virgin woman, was well established in medieval lore by the time Marco Polo described them as "scarcely smaller than elephants.They have the hair of a buffalo and feet like an elephant's.

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