The mythical Griffin is a creature with the face, beak, talons and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, often portrayed with a long snake-like tail. Some versions claim that only the female Griffins have wings.

Its birdlike characteristics grants it retractable talons on its nails, used to claw, scratch or seize predators or prey. The Griffin also utilized its long eagle beak as an appendix.

This fearsome beast is endowed with the speed, flight and powerful eyesight of the eagle and the strength, courage and majesty of the lion.

The Griffin thus combines the symbolic qualities of both the eagle and the lion - It is the king of birds and lord of the sky, combined with the king of beasts and lord of the earth, feared by all.

Like birds, the Griffin build their nests - but theirs are made from gold found in the mountains and in it they lay an agate ornamental stone. Their instinct and keen powers of sight led them to know where to locate buried treasure, making their nests extremely tantalizing for hunters.

This necessitated the monsters to be very vigilant of their nests, guarding their young babies, emerald and other priceless treasures, doing their utmost to keep plunderers at bay.

The Arimaspi were a legendary tribe of one-eyed people in northern Scythia. They were reputed to be the chief thieves of Griffin gold, resulting in battles often depicted in works of art.

The Arimaspi rode horses as they attacked the Griffins, leading to a hatred of the creatures towards horses. They were often depicted attacking and killing them.

Other significant treasures said to be guarded by Griffins were the Tree of Life, knowledge and the roads to salvation. Ancient Greeks and Romans used Griffin statues and images to guard tombs.

They are said to be easily distracted, especially by gold, but any shiny object serves to sidetrack them.

Alexander the Great was the King of the Greek Empire in the fourth century BCE. He remains famous to this day for his amazing military exploits, with many myths and legends associated with him.

Alexander desired to ascend to the heavens so he captured two Griffins and hitched them to his throne or a cage. He skewered chunks of roast beef on long spears and held them tantalizingly above their heads

The Griffins rose upwards trying to catch the meat, causing the throne to be lifted off the ground. For seven days the throne rose pulled by the Griffins, climbing so high that Alexander could see the entire world. The frightened King prayed to return to the ground safely, and once he did so, he founded a city upon the spot where he landed.

Sometimes called 'The Unbarking Hounds of Zeus', Griffins are a symbol of the sun, wisdom, vengeance, strength and salvation. In Greece they are a symbol of vigilant strength. Griffins were said to pull the chariots of Zeus and Apollo.

Griffins guarded the priceless gold of the Hyperboreans of the far north, where they were said to live. The Griffin was also a personification of Nemesis, the goddess of Retribution, even turning her Wheel of Fortune.

Egyptian art portrays Griffins, that are shown as protectors from evil, slander and witchcraft. They were said to be loyal and protective creatures, guarding their treasures fiercely, whether that treasure was a person, a place or a mound of shiny gold.

According to the Academy of Classical Christian Studies, “The griffin became for [Christians] a rich symbol of the two natures of Christ Himself: the eagle, which is lord of the sky, reminds us of the divine nature, while the lion, which is lord of the earth (the 'king of beasts'), reminds us of the human nature."

Medieval lore tells us that Griffins were monogamous and mated for life. If their mate died, they continued through life alone, and never re-mated. If their mate was harmed they would fly into a murderous rage and kill and destroy anything that got in their way.

A good way to kill a Griffin would be to stab it with a silver coated weapon, as it can penetrate their rough skin.



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