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Celtic Griffins:
An ancient creature embraced by many cultures, the Celtic animal griffin is a symbol of duality. Part eagle and half-part lion (depending on the region - even part serpent, horse or dog), the meaning of the griffin reflects is dual physical form by presenting a balance of both good and not so good qualities. The griffin's more likeable qualities include nobility, gentleness, and justice. Depicted on ancient stone tombs, griffins are the guardians and protectors of life, and remain loyal in their protection even in the afterlife. Griffins count nobility, vigilance, virtue and strength among their many positive attributes. The griffin is an incredibly strong symbol, and used only when the mightiest gods' attention needs to be captured, and reserved only when the need is greatest. Misused, or invoked for selfish reasons, the griffin brings about gluttony, vengeance, ferocity, and violence. In Roman texts, the Griffin is strongly aligned with the fire god, Apollo. This makes the griffin a possessor of fiery forces - and not to be trifled with when in partnership with Apollo. Given it's power, and considering it can be just as nefarious as it can be kind, respect must be paid when invoking the spirit of the griffin. 


The Iconic Gryphon...the Normans...and, Scotland:

(Pictured: Arms 'Ancient Lauder)

***Note: The following text has been redacted from an article entitled, 'Lauder Coats Of Arms And Crests' view article in its entirety, see attached link.***

"According to all the sources I have consulted, the ancient family of Lauder bore arms long before any established heraldic authority existed in Scotland. 

***It is probable that, as Normans, they brought their arms – a griffin – with them when first entering Scotland in 1056. From about the year 1000, Normans were decorating their shields, especially with wavy crosses and with beasts. Alexander Nisbet, writing in his famous Systems of Heraldry in 1722, seems to think that the Lauders may originally have been Flemish or German and suggests this is where they acquired the griffin from, as in the 11th century only the Germans were known to be using this mythical figure.***

Gryphon Fibula (ie. Brooch) from Merovingian Period:
Merovingian gryphon fibula probably from Lens, Collection Guy Ladrière, Paris.

Foto: Gryphon Fibula (ie. Brooch)  from Merovingian Period:
Merovingian gryphon fibula probably from Lens, Collection Guy Ladrière, Paris.

The Hippogriff & Charlemagne's Legendary Legacy:

Hippogriffs are the offspring of a very rare coupling of a male griffin or gryphon and a female horse. It has the head, front legs and the wings of a griffin but the back and its hind legs are that of the horse.

Its wing span can measure up to twenty-four feet.

They lived in the frozen Riphaean Mountains, that were thought to be in Ural, northern europe.

The offspring is unique as griffins and horses are mortal enemies, the griffin preying upon the horse, although the hippogriff was usually an omnivore, eating both meat and vegetation. 

***The hippogriff’s distant cousins are the Pegasus, the winged horse and the Unicorn.*** 

An old expression in Medieval times “Jungentur jam grypes equis” which roughly translates as

“To cross griffins with horses”, is said to mean about the same as the modern equivalent “When pigs can fly”. And so was thought to be quite impossible and became a symbol of impossible love.

This large and powerful beast was said to be able to move through the air faster than lightning.

***They were said to have a much more even temperament that that of their sire. Supposedly easier to tame than a full griffin, they were often used as mounts by knights and sorcerers and feature in several legends of Charlemagne and even earlier to medieval times.*** 

Charlemagne, also known as Charles I and Charles the Great, was King of the Franks from 742BC until his death in 814BC. As Holy Roman Emperor, he is mostly remembered for his revival of Roman Catholic culture, art and religion during his reign. 

***Hippogriffs also feature in the saga of Orlando Furiosa, by the famous Italian renaissance poet, Aristo. In which he wrote about a war between King Charlemagne and the Saracen King of Africa and includes many mythical creatures:*** 


No empty fiction wrought by magic lore,

But natural was the steed the wizard pressed;

For him a filly to griffin bore; Hight hippogryph.

In wings and beak and crest,

Formed like his sire, as in the feet before;

But like the mare, his dam, in all the rest.

Such on Riphaean hills, though rarely found,

Are bred, beyond the frozen ocean’s bound.


Drawn by enchantment from his distant lair,

The wizard thought but how to tame the foal;

And, in a month, instructed him to bear Saddle and bit, and gallop to the goal;

And execute on earth or in mid air,

All shifts of manege, course and caracole;

He with such labour wrought.

This only real, Where all the rest was hollow and ideal.
(credit Helen Young)

footprints of the Gryphon(part 2)...from Scythia to Nordic Lands:
The First English and their ancient origins – a Scythian race? (Anglo-Saxons and Scythians were both Nordics and both spoke Indo-European tongues but I doubt if the Germanic tribes and Anglo-Saxons were descended directly from the Scythians, they were cousins K.S. Doig) 

The source stories of both the English and Scandinavian cultures claim that the Kings of both peoples originated from families which came out of ancient Black Sea/Macedonian tribes. Collectively they are known as the people of Allfather from the Middle Enclosure. The English stories claim descent from ancient Troy. The Scandinavians claim descent from the faraway south-eastern city of Asgaard, which no longer exists in fact or in the archaeological record. The Gauls Gallic tradition claims their descent from warrior tribes forced to wander landless out of the region of the Black Sea, through Europe, to the ends of the world... including the Britannic Island: Albion. 

***Diodorus Siculus around 90 BC to 30 BC was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira,) who describes the Gauls as a Germanic or Nordic type people.***