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Γρύψ! (Griffin)

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The griffin, griffon, or gryphon (Greek: γρύφων, grýphōn, or γρύπων, grýpōn, early form γρύψ, grýps; Latin: gryphus) is a legendary creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle was the king of the birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of the creatures. Griffins are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions.[1] Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposes that the griffin was an ancient misconception derived from the fossilized remains of the Protoceratops found in gold mines in the Altai mountains of Scythia, in present day southeastern Kazakhstan, or in Mongolia.[2] In antiquity it was a symbol of divine power and a guardian of the divine.[3] Some have suggested that the word griffin is cognate with Cherub.[4]

While griffins are most common in the art and lore of Ancient Greece, there is evidence of representations of griffins in Ancient Persian and Ancient Egyptian art as far back as 3,300 BC.[5][6] Most statues have bird-like talons, although in some older illustrations griffins have a lion's forelimbs; they generally have a lion's hindquarters. Its eagle's head is conventionally given prominent ears; these are sometimes described as the lion's ears, but are often elongated (more like a horse's), and are sometimes feathered. The earliest depiction of griffins are the 15th century BC frescoes in the Throne Room of the Bronze Age Palace of Knossos, as restored by Sir Arthur Evans. It continued being a favored decorative theme in Archaic and Classical Greek art. In Central Asia the griffin appears about a thousand years after Bronze Age Crete, in the 5th–4th centuries BC, probably originating from the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The Achaemenids considered the griffin "a protector from evil, witchcraft and secret slander".[7] The modern generalist calls it the lion-griffin, as for example, Robin Lane Fox, in Alexander the Great, 1973:31 and notes p. 506, who remarks a lion-griffin attacking a stag in a pebble mosaic Dartmouth College expedition at Pella, perhaps as an emblem of the kingdom of Macedon or a personal one of Alexander's successor Antipater. The Pisa Griffin is a large bronze sculpture which has been in Pisa in Italy since the Middle Ages, though it is of Islamic origin. It is the largest bronze medieval Islamic sculpture known, at over three feet tall (42.5 inches, or 1.08 m.), and was probably created in the 11th century in Al-Andaluz (Islamic Spain).[8] From about 1100 it was placed on a column on the roof of Pisa Cathedral until replaced by a replica in 1832; the original is now in the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo (Cathedral Museum), Pisa. Infrequently, a griffin is portrayed without wings, or a wingless eagle-headed lion is identified as a griffin; in 15th-century and later heraldry such a beast may be called an alce or a keythong. In heraldry, a griffin always has forelegs like an eagle's hindlegs; the beast with forelimbs like a lion's forelegs was distinguished by perhaps only one English herald of later heraldry as the opinicus.

Griffins not only mated for life, but also, if either partner died, then the other would continue throughout the rest of its life alone, never to search for a new mate. The griffin was thus made an emblem of the Church's views on remarriage[dubious – discuss]. A Hippogriff is a legendary creature, supposedly the offspring of a griffin and a mare. Being a union of a terrestrial beast and an aerial bird, it was seen in Christendom to be a symbol of Jesus, who was both human and divine. As such it can be found sculpted on some churches.[1] According to Stephen Friar's New Dictionary of Heraldry, a griffin's claw was believed to have medicinal properties and one of its feathers could restore sight to the blind.[1] Goblets fashioned from griffin claws (actually antelope horns) and griffin eggs (actually ostrich eggs) were highly prized in medieval European courts.[9] When it emerged as a major seafaring power in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, griffins commenced to be depicted as part of the Republic of Genoa's coat of arms, rearing at the sides of the shield bearing the Cross of St. George. By the 12th century the appearance of the griffin was substantially fixed: "All its bodily members are like a lion's, but its wings and mask are like an eagle's."[10] It is not yet clear if its forelimbs are those of an eagle or of a lion. Although the description implies the latter, the accompanying illustration is ambiguous. It was left to the heralds to clarify that.

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Comments (86)

SzőkeSándor on December 6, 2012
  • Dear Μάκης !:-)L/69
  • Very good recording, and I love it.Nice lights I wish!Sandor
Philippe Buffard on December 7, 2012

Great detail, L

leo1383 on December 7, 2012

Like,very nice composition,greetings Leo

Nelson Castrillon Ri… on December 8, 2012


morales trevisan on December 9, 2012

Eleganza e stile dell`arte Greca>>>*L+F ph

Ge Ko on December 9, 2012

A truly excellent shot!

Like 74

Greetings from Germany,

Ge Ko

KH goldfoto on December 10, 2012

Wonderful golden lion,Makis...very Greetings and best wishes from Germany!

poludziber on December 10, 2012

molto bella, like........ciao, Flavio

Fili Poche. on December 10, 2012

Interesting image.

Yane LB on December 10, 2012

Très belle présentation. L

Pom' Angers on December 12, 2012

YsL 26/79 ~ vale ~ pom'

Giorgos Dimitriadis on December 12, 2012

Υπεροχη ληψη,Αρεσει 80 Χαιρετισματα,Γιωργος

jtapia on December 13, 2012

LIKE!! Best wishes, Jose.

Aleksandar Marković on December 14, 2012


Бобан Армуш on December 14, 2012

Μια υπέροχη φωτογραφία, αρεσει 83 και αγαπημενη 27. Χαιρετίσματα από τη Σερβία, Бобан

Mehmet Güçlü on December 19, 2012

Excellent. YSL - Best wishes, OLYMPIST

senmax on December 20, 2012

Very nice photo. Like+F.

Elakramine on December 20, 2012

Fantastic view!!

Detailed information !!


Greetings, elakramine

Elakramine on December 20, 2012

Καλά Χριστούγεννα !

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Joyeux Noël et bonne année!

Greetings, elakramine

Ognjen Đukić on January 1, 2013

Predivna fotografija !

Srećna Nova 2013 Godina i mnogo zdravlja, sreće i ljubavi za tebe i tvoju porodicu dragi Makis !


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 19, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by makis-GREECE ®
    • Camera: Canon EOS 1000D
    • Taken on 2012/10/06 16:29:06
    • Exposure: 0.002s (1/640)
    • Focal Length: 63.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash