The Griffin in Greek Mythology

The Griffin was a mythological monster with the body of a lion and the wings of an eagle, while in some representations it appears to have the tail of a snake. Just as the eagle was considered the king of birds and the lion the king of animals, the Griffin as a combination of both was a symbol of power and majesty.

The Griffins is a protagonist in the myths and art of ancient Greece. However, there were indications that the Griffin also existed in other cultures such as in Persia, where it was considered a symbol against evil, magic and slander, but also in Egypt around 4,000 BC. Remaining Time-0:00 Fullscreen Mute In Minoan Crete archaeologists found images of him in the throne room in the palace of Knossos Besides the Griffin, there were other such mythological creatures with a similar form.

Dedicated to Apollo, they guarded his treasures from the one-eyed Arimaspus in the country of the Hyperboreans, Scythia, where the god rode on a chariot pulled by Griffins. At other times they are placed in Ethiopia or India—in any case, in distant worlds, where they attack gold hunters, either because they are guardians of the gold mines of the Indians, as the Bactrians say, or because they want to protect their young from all danger, a and their nest was in the golden mountains, as the Indians themselves say. And it is said that, for fear of the Gryphons, the gold hunters did not search for gold during the day but at night. And many went together, a thousand or even two thousand, armed, and on moonless nights.

In addition to Apollo, the Griffins are also associated with Dionysus, roughly as the god’s winemakers, since they make sure that his cup, the beetle, is always full of wine. Aeschylus claims that the Grypes were the dogs of Zeus and Nonnus that they were animals of Nemesis.

They were particularly fascinating because they combined the best features to create a creature with special abilities and symbolism. The Lamassu of the Assyrians was very similar to the Griffin. He had the head of a man, the body of a lion or a bull and the wings of an eagle..

In the depths of the East we meet the Garuda, a mythical creature half man, half bird which was used as a yoke by the god Vishnu of the Hindus. In the Middle Ages we see the Griffin in coats of arms. According to the mythology of the time, Grypas always had a life partner, an argument that the church also used to prevent second marriage although there is insufficient evidence to confirm this.

Although the Griffin seems to be a figment of people’s imagination, there may be some nuggets of truth after all. Its origin may be traced back to the time when prehistoric man discovered dinosaur fossils. There is a theory that this creature was brought as an idea by traders traveling the Silk Road and crossing the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.

In this desert have been found the fossilized bones of a type of dinosaur called protoceratops. Apparently the travelers of the time believed that such creatures once lived there, since they saw in the desert the bones of the body and also of the skull of the dinosaur that seemed to have a bird’s beak. They then took these strange images back to their homelands.

But there are also some indications that stories about Griffin existed even before the Silk Road. And that’s why the reverse might be true. That is, perhaps these stories that the travelers already knew from their homeland made them interpret the bones they saw as the mythical creatures of the stories. Whatever the origin of the Griffin, it is certain that it is an integral part of human culture that still remains popular since we see it even today as an emblem, mascot and also a protagonist in modern fiction.