Wondering if unicorns can really ﬂy? Well, keep reading to ﬁnd out.
Unicorns are strikingly beautiful creatures usually associated with purity. Over the years, a number of other characteristics have been attributed to these magical creatures, the most recent being their ability to ﬂy. However, not all people agree with this fact prompting serious debates whether they can ﬂy or not.
You see, in the past, it wasn’t believed that unicorns could ﬂy; if not walking, they sometimes could jump or bounce, but that’s it. So when exactly did they start ﬂying? Let’s dig into history to ﬁnd out the source of this confusion.
If you want a more in dpeth history of unicorns check out our article “Are Unicorns Rea” in the meantime here is a breif little rundown.
The idea that unicorns exist was first established around 5th AD (about 15 decades ago). A Greek historian, Ctesias wrote about a unicorn describing it as a beast with an enviable multi-colored horn, blue eyes, and a white body.
Generally, during the early civilization, unicorns were also depicted in seals and by other authors who reﬂected similar characteristics in their writings. The idea took a firm hold and people became interested in ﬁnding more about this intriguing creature. Originally, unicorns didn’t look anything like what we have now. Some cultures thought unicorns to be a white goat with a single horn protruding from the head while others concluded it looked more like a rhinoceros.
They were said to be pure and symbolized peace and prosperity. Due to this quality, it was believed that only a girl or lady who was a virgin could capture them. Unicorns were also said to walk gracefully and elegantly, the exact qualities of a real lady were expected to possess.
It was believed that if you managed to steal their horns, you could not only use it to heal diseases but also ﬂy. A unicorn horn at the time could be bought for about $ 20,000 (value converted to modern-day currency)
The Bible makes nine references about unicorns in its texts. But, you can only ﬁnd them in the authorized King James Version of the Bible, since other versions have replaced the word unicorn with other names mainly attributed to translation errors. The Bible was originally in Hebrew and has since been translated to so many other languages, in the process, accurate translation has been a major challenge.
Curious to see the exact verses that mention unicorns?
Check out the following: Numbers 23:22 and 24:8, Deuteronomy 33:17, Psalms 29:6, Psalms 92:10, Psalms 22: 21 and Job 39:10.
As years went by, artists came up with drawings portraying unicorns as beautiful horses with single horns protruding out of their heads. The theory that they could ﬂy was not considered until the 1970s when drawings and posters of winged unicorns came up. The illustrations were visual and did not include any wording; hence the involved artists did not explain what kind of creatures these were. People ended up concluding they were unicorns due to similar features; and just like that, with no proof to support the theory, other artists ran with the idea and it has stuck ever since. Critics say the concerned artists could have mistaken the unicorn for almost similar creatures; The Pegasus and Alicorn.
Looking at these creatures, one gets to understand the mix-up; they almost look similar except that a Pegasus adorns a pair of wings while unicorns have a singular horn.
To shed light on the matter, let’s analyze the Pegasus. In ancient Greek literature, the might and strength of the Pegasus were constantly recognized through poetry and songs. It is said to have been ridden by iconic people during famous wars including Hercules and Bellerophon. The creature is associated with the Greek gods Athena, Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, and Perseus. As you can see, these two creatures are very much different as one is associated with beauty and the other power.
It is also commonly referred to as a Pegacorn. The creature is a ﬁctional horse that combines the features that differentiate a Pegasus and
unicorn – horn and wings. Nevertheless, it is worthy to note in the past the name ‘Alicorn’ referred to totally a different animal. During the 16th century if someone mentioned an Alicorn the picture of a bull with wavy horns immediately came to mind. Since the name was not that common, it took a back seat until in the 1930s when a scholar by the name Odell Shepard mentioned it in his book ‘The Lore of the Unicorn’ using it to refer to a Unicorn’s horn. Renowned novelist, Piers Anthony, also used it in his novel Bearing an Hourglass but this time to refer to a unicorn with wings. Since then the word Alicorn has been used more prominently.
To further spur the confusion artists do not seem to have a clear stand whether unicorns possess wings or not. This is evident from modern-day productions where some feature unicorns with horns and others do not. Common examples include:
i. The Robot Unicorn Attack Game- It is an interesting fantasy game that uses a robot unicorn to chase down birds. Surprisingly, the unicorn does not have any wings but works perfectly ﬁne in accomplishing its mission.
ii. My Little Pony — Its characters mostly feature creatures which the manufacturers refer to as unicorns. Some have wings while others do not, yet all of them get to ﬂy.
iii. Meme Universe- A majority of its unicorns can only walk while a few get the privilege to be able to jump around or bounce. None of them can ﬂy.
They do not. Looking at history, it seems like the idea of a winged unicorn was based purely from the imagination and fantasy of modern storytellers rather than real facts. Only Pegasus and alicorns possess wings.
If still not convinced, why not go hunting for a real unicorn and see things for yourself. You can visit the Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The university permits people interested in unicorns to hunt them down. Do not forget to take with you a pair of pinking shears and ﬂask of cognac.